The United States will give the Lebanese army $120 million in aid, U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon Elizabeth Richard announced December 13.
The aid includes “six MD 530G light attack helicopters, six Scan Eagle drones, and communication and night vision equipment,” as reported by Middle East Eye.
America has long worried that the Syrian Civil War will spill into Lebanon and destabilize the country. There is also the problem of Hezbollah. Originally an Iranian-backed terrorist group established to fight Israel, Hezbollah is now part of the government of Lebanon as well as a key ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Citing fears over Hezbollah’s influence, Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri resigned last month while in Saudi Arabia, prompting speculation he was forced to resign by the Saudi government. His stated reason for resigning was that Hezbollah had taken over the country and he feared for his life.
However, Hariri withdrew his resignation a week ago and will continue to serve as prime minister.
There is also the risk of another war between Hezbollah and Israel. Israel’s Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz warned Israel will “return Lebanon to the stone age” in the event of a war.
Hezbollah, which was founded in the early 1980s to fight against Israel’s military presence in Lebanon, has long justified its large arsenal of weapons as needed to fight against alleged Israeli violations of Lebanese sovereignty, despite Israel withdrawing all its forces from southern Lebanon in 2000.
Since Hezbollah is part of the Lebanese government, Israel views all state institutions as legitimate targets in the event of a war with Hezbollah.