"The United States is planning to boost its military support to Lebanon’s army with high-tech tanks," writes Raed Rafei in the LA Times:
The Lebanese daily An-Nahar reported last Friday that the United States was going to provide Lebanon with dozens of M60 battle tanks to be shipped in batches starting early 2009.
The assault tanks in question are all-purpose vehicles with advanced firepower and mobility at night and under conditions of limited visibility.
[The deal] coincides with the visit of Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence James Robert Clapper.
He is responsible for overseeing and providing policy and budgetary guidance to defense intelligence agencies.
In past years, the US has significantly boosted its military aid to Lebanon, providing the army with ammunition, communication devices and Humvees. But Lebanese military experts say that this kind of military assistance is not enough to lift the capacity of an army with ailing equipment.
Israeli military officials reportedly frowned upon the alleged offer.
"There is a possibility these tanks will fall into Hezbollah's hands," one official told the Jerusalem Post. "At the moment, Hezbollah does not yet have heavy armor in its arsenal."
But some military officials toned down the impact of these weapons.
"Hezbollah's strength is that it is a guerrilla force that does not operate in a conventional manner," another official told the Israeli daily. "Tanks are easy targets from the air and from the ground."
Meanwhile Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak warned that Hizbollah had greatly improved its capabilities since the 2006 war.
"Hezbollah has three times the ability it had before the Second Lebanon War and now has 42,000 missiles in its possession, as opposed to the 14,000 it had before the war," Barak said.
He warned that in view of Hezbollah’s integration into the Lebanese government, Israel would bomb Lebanon’s infrastructure in case of a military confrontation between the two countries.
Hezbollah ruled out this possibility anytime soon.
Picture: The M60 battle tank. Designed 1960. Even though it has some new bits added on, it is primarily a siege gun.
Thursday, 27 November 2008
Posted by Design at 10:51