US mulls cutting Lebanese Army funding using Hezbollah as pretext
The Republican Study Committee (RSC) presents a 2024 US budget proposal that eliminates finances for Lebanon's Armed Forces over fears from the Lebanese Resistance.
The United States is witnessing an internal heated political debate over whether to continue providing financial assistance to the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) and cut its future funding, Intelligence Online reported on Thursday.
The Republican Study Committee RSC objected to US funding of the LAF in its most recent 2024 budget proposal published on June 14, claiming that these finances will end up with the Lebanese Resistance Hezbollah, and thus Iran by extension. The committee said this relation between the three parties justifies cutting off the funding.
This comes at a time when Washington, under the administration of US President Joe Biden, has been providing the armed forces with their salaries following the economic distress Lebanon is facing, under the pretext of preserving security and stability.
Americans have a long history of using their alleged aid as a tool to coerce and enforce dominance over recipients and ensure that they abide by their diktats to further promote and protect US interests.
The Israeli entity invaded Lebanon in 1982 reaching its capital Beirut, and then continued its occupation of the country's south up until the year 2000, when the Lebanese Resistance managed to liberate the land and force its military to withdraw, except for some villages that are still occupied to this day.
Refraining from confronting the United States' closest regional ally, "Israel", whose forces violate Lebanon's sovereignty on a daily basis, is also an American prerequisite for providing aid to the Lebanese army.
In November 2019, American broadcaster CNN reported that former US President Donald Trump imposed an “indefinite implementation hold” on the financing of the LAF.
Trump's administration linked the continuation of funding then to Lebanon's implementation of "reforms" presented by the US, which included sidelining the country's largest party in terms of supporters, Hezbollah.
“There will be no bailout for Lebanon,” a senior State Department official said then.
“They should have done reform and they had plenty of time to do reform and they somehow couldn’t make it happen."
Soros' eyes Lebanon
The economic collapse of the Middle Eastern country, which started in 2019 and many experts suggest that it was orchestrated by the United States and implemented by its local proxies, has made the country exposed to foreign meddling with aims to subdue Hezbollah, which presents a major threat the Israeli occupation entity, the West's ally and policy enforcer in the region.
Mass protests broke out in October 2019 against the government in protest of the political ruling class' practices that resulted in the country going bankrupt.
French website OJIM, also known as L'observatoire du journalisme, reported earlier this month that the non-governmental organizations, backed by US-Hungarian billionaire George Soros' Open Society Foundations OSF, are using soft power to extend influence in Lebanon amid an absence from the government, giving them leeway to roam freely within the country.
The foundation has put more than $32 billion into various NGOs globally since 1988, placing Soros under the spotlight for what many described as the fabricating and financing of color revolutions in countries that don't align with American interests and oppose Washington's agendas in various parts of the world - namely in Eastern Europe in the 1990s and most recently the 2014 coup in Ukraine.
According to the news site, OSF infiltrated various protest movements in Lebanon, planting intellectuals, academics, and experts capable of steering them toward outcomes aligned with its interests. Some commentators even speculate about a "takeover bid" by Soros over the protest movement, highlighting the simplicity and effectiveness of the strategy employed.
During the Lebanese protests that lasted for months, Soros increased funding for Lebanese NGOs, and within a few weeks, an amount of over $3.6 million was disbursed to support their activities.
According to the report, the foundation's financial investments covered various sectors, including media (9%), justice (5%), human rights organizations (7%), culture and the arts (7%), higher education (5%), the economy (17%), equality and the fight against any form of discrimination (17%), health (10%), and children's right to education (8%).
Spy on Hezbollah
Intelligence Online published a report last month claiming that aid to the Lebanese army is part of an agreement between Beirut and Washington that the LAF's intelligence unit provides intel on Hezbollah.
The report also said the United States is eager to maintain its presence in Lebanon through its 93,000 square meters embassy complex that is currently under construction on a 27-hectare site in the town of Awkar.
According to the website, the new $1 billion mega-complex will include a data-collecting facility, preparing the site to be the new regional headquarters for US intelligence.
Things are progressing at our new compound! pic.twitter.com/Eb7ogVCAHX— U.S. Embassy Beirut (@usembassybeirut) May 5, 2023
The report also highlighted that due to its closeness to Syria, "Lebanon is considered both a safe and strategic location for deploying intelligence agents already present in the region as well as new personnel, drawn directly from Washington-based agencies."
Intelligence Online added that "Washington intends to take advantage of its excellent intel-sharing partnership - especially concerning Hezbollah - with the Lebanese Armed Forces' (LAF) military intelligence unit, B2."
"US funding of the LAF - it received another $60m last December - comes with a guarantee of unlimited Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) access to its intelligence."
Enjoying a majority in the House of Representatives since last November's mid-term elections, the Republicans are promoting drastic Middle Eastern measures in the name of the fight against Iran - even raising, as in the case of Iraq, the withdrawal of funds allocated to the ministries of the interior and defense.