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Trump Administration Withholds $105M In Lebanese Military Aid

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Trump Administration Withholds $105M In Lebanese Military Aid

The U.S. government is withdrawing $105 million in aid to the Lebanese military that it originally announced in May, Reuters reported Thursday.

What Happened

The decision to withhold the assistance was made by the White House Office of Management and Budget and National Security Council, the State Department told Congress on Thursday, according to Reuters. 

The State Department didn’t specify the reason for this decision.

What's Next

Lebanon’s Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri resigned Tuesday amid protests over the country's failing economy.

The resignation means the focus is shifted on Shia Islamist group Hezbollah — which the U.S., the E.U., and many other countries consider a terrorist organization — according to Al-Jazeera.

Hariri was largely seen as a “pro-west” leader both within and outside the country.

The Iran-backed Hezbollah, one of the two largest political parties in Lebanon, has seen its influence over the Beirut government growing in recent times; it came to power last year as part of a coalition.

Protestors are demanding a government that will enact economic reforms, a demand the U.S. has supported. But Al-Jazeera said this is highly unlikely.

The officials who spoke to Reuters expressed concerns that the U.S. withdrawing aid could give Russia an opportunity to influence the region, much like what occurred in Syria when President Donald Trump started moving troops out of the country.

 

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