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US Refuses Israeli Request to Condition Lebanon Aid on Neutralizing Hizbullah

The United States is refusing to honor an Israeli request to condition military aid to Lebanon on the dismantling of Hizbullah’s advanced weaponry. Since 2006, Washington has provided more than $2 billion in funding to Beirut, primarily earmarked for the Lebanese Armed Forces. While the US continues to view the LAF as a counter-balance to Hizbullah, Israel has long maintained that it is subservient to the Shi’ite group and thus any effort to prop up the former empowers the latter. “The United States has a lot of confidence in the Lebanese Armed Forces, and thinks they’re an excellent partner in fighting Sunni jihadist terrorists. And we think that it’s a valuable bilateral security arrangement. And we plan on continuing it,” US Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern Affairs David Schenker asserted during a visit this week to Jerusalem. Israeli media last month quoted a senior official as saying that “in discreet talks with various capitals, we made it clear that any aid meant to guarantee the stability of Lebanon needs to be conditioned on [the country] dealing with Hizbullah’s precision-guided missiles. Anything short of that will be problematic, in our eyes.”