U.S.: Iran's Actions Compromise Lebanon's Sovereignty

State Department spokesman responds to Iran announcement it will support Lebanon's army if U.S. halts its military funding.

Natasha Mozgovaya
Natasha Mozgovaya
Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
Natasha Mozgovaya
Natasha Mozgovaya

U.S. State Department spokesman Philip Crowley said Tuesday that "Iran's activities compromise Lebanese sovereignty," after Iran offered to support Lebanon's army if the U.S. were to discontinue military aid.

Exchange of fire on the border between Israel and Lebanon - August 3, 2010Credit: Reuters

For years, the U.S. has pumped money into Lebanon's military, hoping a strengthened army would sideline Iranian-backed Hezbollah's powerful militia.

On Monday, the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee said he suspended U.S. military aid to the Lebanese Armed Forces on Aug. 2 amid growing concern in Congress that American-supplied weapons could threaten Israel and that Hezbollah may have influence over the army. The State Department, however, stressed that continued financial support for the Lebanese army was essential.

"We've worked hard to build an effective relationship with the Lebanese government and to help expand the capabilities of the government and thereby improve its sovereignty over its territory," Crowley said when asked if he thought that Iran's proposal was in any way dangerous. "I think that the statements by Iran are expressly the reason why we believe that continuing support to the Lebanese government and the Lebanese military is in our interest."

On the unexpected decision by a U.S. Congressman to suspend that aid over concerns the weapons could be turned on Israel, Crowley said that "there is aid already in the pipeline. So I can't say that a hold today necessarily has an immediate impact."

Israel said it had complained to Washington and Paris about funding provided to the Lebanese army after Lebanese soldiers killed a senior Israeli officer in a rare border skirmish that also left two Lebanese soldiers and a Lebanese journalist dead.

Iran's ambassador to Lebanon met Lebanese army chief Jean Kahwaji on Monday and said Tehran was ready to "cooperate with the Lebanese army in any area that would help the military in performing its national role in defending Lebanon."

Comments

SUBSCRIBERS JOIN THE CONVERSATION FASTER

Automatic approval of subscriber comments.
From $1 for the first month

Already signed up? LOG IN

ICYMI

The Orion nebula, photographed in 2009 by the Spitzer Telescope.

What if the Big Bang Never Actually Happened?

Relatives mourn during the funeral of four teenage Palestinians from the Nijm family killed by an errant rocket in Jabalya in the northern Gaza Strip, August 7.

Why Palestinian Islamic Jihad Rockets Kill So Many Palestinians

בן גוריון

'Strangers in My House': Letters Expelled Palestinian Sent Ben-Gurion in 1948, Revealed

AIPAC

AIPAC vs. American Jews: The Toxic Victories of the 'pro-Israel' Lobby

Bosnian Foreign Minister Bisera Turkovic speaks during a press conference in Sarajevo, Bosnia in May.

‘This Is Crazy’: Israeli Embassy Memo Stirs Political Storm in the Balkans

Hamas militants take part in a military parade in Gaza.

Israel Rewards Hamas for Its Restraint During Gaza Op