US to grant $120m to the Lebanese Army

US to grant $120m to the Lebanese Army
The US pledged on Friday to give $120 million to the Lebanese Armed Forces, boosting annual aid by 12% as a severe economic crisis takes a toll on the military.
2 min read
22 May, 2021
Lebanon is one of the biggest recipients of US security assistance, according to the American embassy [Getty]

The Lebanese Armed Forces will be granted $120 million from the US, Washington’s embassy said on Friday, boosting annual aid by 12% amid an unprecedented financial crisis that has strained Beirut’s military.

“The US State Department renewed its commitment to the LAF by announcing $120 million in Foreign Military Financing assistance to Lebanon for fiscal year 2021,” the US embassy said following an inaugural defence conference between the two allies, Lebanon's Daily Star reported.

The virtual meeting was held between LAF Commander General Joseph Aoun, International Security official Eliot Kang and US Ambassador to Lebanon Dorothy Shea, as well as other senior US officials.

The agreed annual financial support package includes a donation of $15 million, to boost “strong bilateral ties” between Lebanon and the US, the report said.

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US support to Lebanon will cement their “shared priorities in counterterrorism, border security, and defense institution building, which will enable effective joint planning for future defense requirements” the statement said.

The donation will build on “historic work” between the US and the Lebanese armed forces and ensured that the LAF remain the “sole defender” of Lebanon’s sovereignty, the statement added.

The announcement comes as Lebanon reels from an economic crisis that has taken its toll on the military, as social and political uncertainty threatens security.

The meeting also addressed the “deteriorating economic, political and humanitarian conditions affecting the Lebanese people and military”, and discussed ways the US can provide further assistance to the LAF in light of the current climate, the statement said.

Lebanon is one of the biggest recipients of US security assistance, according to the American embassy.

The US aid aims to strengthen border control and fend off extremist groups, which briefly took control of the town of Arsal bordering Syria in 2014.

The recently announced aid is meant for the fiscal year 2021, which begins in October.