The White House officials have finally released Lebanon military aid worth $105 million after withholding it for several months. The aid has increased the possibility of US-Israel relations being impacted.
Speaking on the condition of anonymity, two congressional staffers and an administration official claimed that the aid was released right before Thanksgiving and the officials were informed about it on Monday.
The official said, “The administration continually reviews and thoroughly evaluates the effectiveness of all United States foreign assistance to ensure that funds go toward activities that further U.S. foreign policy and national security interests, and do not directly or indirectly benefit our adversaries.”
On the other hand, the officials have not yet explained why the Lebanon military aid was held back for months, despite the approval from Congress and support of the Pentagon, State Department, and National Security Council.
The speculation that military aid to Lebanon might impact US-Israel relations stems from the fact that Israel and Lebanon have strained relations from the past 40 years. Moreover, the occurrence of uneventful incidents at regular intervals has buried any chances of the revival of the relationship between the two countries.
Since Israel has not yet commented upon the release of the military aid from the US, there is a possibility that the matter has already been discussed between President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during their call on Sunday.
US and Israel’s friendship dates back to 1960s. The US has not only supported Israel at almost every step but also played a crucial role in boosting the country’s relations with Jordan, Lebanon and Egypt, while tackling the aggression from other countries like Syria.
While US maintains a strong hold in Israeli matters, releasing Lebanon military aid will further help America in increasing its solidarity and power in the Middle East, boosting its say in the matters of the region.
However, just like Ukraine’s aid was withheld by the President for his own personal reasons, the reason behind doing the same with Lebanon remains unclear.