WASHINGTON – Two key members of Congress have decided to lift their holds on aid to Lebanese military on Friday, clearing the way for $100 million to be transferred to the force.
The money has been tied up since August after the members expressed concern about American funds ending up in the hands of Hizbullah, particularly after a deadly incident in which Lebanese Armed Forces soldiers shot at IDF soldiers along the border.
Nita Lowey (D-New York), chairwoman of the foreign operations subcommittee of the appropriations committee, and Howard Berman (D-California), chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, had both requested reassurances from the State Department concerning oversight for the money, which helps train and equip the military.
“The administration gave detailed briefings and provided thorough written responses to Congresswoman Lowey’s questions and concerns about the assistance and safeguards in place to prevent it from falling into terrorists’ hands,” a Democratic Congressional staffer said of Lowey’s decision to lift the hold Friday. “Improving Lebanon’s ability to defend its borders, stop arms trafficking, build institutions and fight terrorist elements is imperative to the security and stability of the region.”