Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Lebanonizing the Lebanese Army

The Dailystar talks to analysts about the significance of U.S. military support to the Lebanese Army:
The recent US commitment to supporting the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) represents an effort to shore up state institutions, but the chaotic approach of the assistance undermines Washington's objectives, a number of analysts told The Daily Star on Monday.

US Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs David Welch, speaking on Sunday at the Future Forum in Abu Dhabi, said the US was not striving for the "Americanization" of the LAF. "What we are asking is the Lebanonization of government institutions, including the army," he said.

By empowering the LAF and the state, the US also hopes to weaken Hizbullah, which controls weapons and infrastructure outside the purview of the state and which the US considers a terrorist organization, said retired General Elias Hanna, who teaches political science at Notre Dame University.

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