Due to the crippling effects of Lebanon’s financial crisis, the United States has decided to divert $67 million in military assistance to the country’s armed forces.
As outlined in a notification to Congress, the State Department proposes to include “livelihood support” for members of the Lebanese military in the previously allocated foreign military financing for Lebanon, citing economic and social upheaval.
In the words of a notification to Congress obtained by a news agency “Livelihood support for armed forces members will strengthen their operational readiness, mitigate absenteeism, and thus enable the Lebanese Armed Forces members to continue fulfilling key security functions needed to stave off a further decline in stability.”
Chris Murphy, a Democrat Senator from New Jersey, hailed the move.
Lebanese citizens and the United States’ national security interests necessitate that our security assistance money be used to help these servicemen make ends meet and continue serving the Lebanese people,” Murphy said in a statement.
Lebanese financial woes have prompted Washington to become the largest foreign assistance giver to the country in decades. According to official estimates, the United States gave $372 million in humanitarian assistance to Lebanon in 2017.
In September, President Joe Biden approved an additional $50 million in military equipment for the Lebanese armed forces. The Lebanese army’s budget would be relieved by the change, allowing it to spend more of its money on pay and benefits for its troops.
Since last year, Qatar has been supplying the Lebanese army with 70 tons of food each month.