Foreign Aid Bolsters Lebanese Armed Forces
The United States and Middle Eastern partners help Lebanon through its economic crisis
The Lebanese Armed Forces will receive an additional $67 million from the United States to aid in stabilizing the country.
U.S. Undersecretary of State Victoria Nuland announced the new funding during her first visit to the Lebanese capital of Beirut in October 2021.
The country is suffering a deep economic downturn exacerbated by COVID-19 and the 2020 Beirut port explosion. Shortages of basic goods had led to rampant smuggling that Lebanese security forces have interrupted.
One operation in September 2021 seized hundreds of tons of smuggled fuel oil stored in underground tanks in the town of Ansar. Meanwhile police discovered a truck in Baalbek loaded with 20 tons of ammonium nitrate. The Lebanese Interior Ministry investigated to learn whether the chemical, most often used as agricultural fertilizer, was destined for the manufacture of explosives.
Ammonium nitrate was the source of the Beirut port explosion on August 4, 2020. Hundreds of tons of the compound, improperly stored at the port, led to the cataclysm that killed 214 people and injured another 6,500. The disaster left parts of the capital city in ruins.
Aside from the United States, other international partners are contributing supplies and money to alleviate the suffering of the Lebanese people.
France’s Ministry of Defense held a virtual conference in June 2021 soliciting partner nations for food, medical supplies and spare parts for military equipment to help the Lebanese Armed Forces.
Lebanon’s Middle Eastern neighbors were quick to send fuel, food, and medical supplies to Lebanon after the blast and during the COVID-19 pandemic. To address the electricity and fuel crisis in July 2021, Iraq promised to supply Lebanon with a million tons of fuel oil in exchange for services and goods. At the same time, Qatar announced it would continue providing Lebanon with 70 tons of food each month.
A Jordanian military cargo plane landed in September 2021 at Rafic Hariri International Airport, unloading 10 tons of food for Lebanese Soldiers. Kuwait’s aid to Lebanon continued as the Kuwaiti Red Crescent Society in August 2021 shipped 8 tons of medical supplies, baby formula, COVID-19 vaccine and an ambulance to the Lebanese Red Crescent.
The Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan Foundation from the United Arab Emirates, in conjunction with Lebanon-based Dar Al-Fatwa relief organization, launched an initiative to aid over 35,000 households in Tripoli and other cities in northern Lebanon.
Sources: Lebanese Army, Aljazeera.net, alquds.co.uk