Dissatisfaction is brewing in the security forces as Lebanon’s currency falls, causing soldiers’ wages to fall.
The United States plans to divert $ 67 million in military aid to Lebanon’s armed forces to support members of the military as the country struggles with a grueling financial crisis.
According to a notice sent to Congress, the State Department intends to change the content of previously allocated foreign military funding for Lebanon to include “life support” for members of the Lebanese army, citing economic unrest as well as social unrest.
“Subsistence support for (armed forces) members will strengthen their operational readiness, mitigate absenteeism, thus enabling LAF members to continue to perform key security functions necessary to deter a further decline in stability,” it said. the notice to Congress, seen by Reuters.
Democratic Senator Chris Murphy welcomed the move.
“It’s in the United States’ national security interest to help these conscripts meet their lives and continue to support the Lebanese people, and I’m really pleased to see that the administration is donating our security assistance dollars to Lebanon in the direction of place that goal, “Murphy said. a statement.
Washington is the largest donor of foreign aid to Lebanon, which is facing its worst financial crisis in decades. The United States provided $ 372 million in humanitarian aid to Lebanon last year, according to official figures.
In September, President Joe Biden released nearly $ 50 million in additional aid to the Lebanese armed forces in the form of military supplies. The move was intended to reduce the burden on the Lebanese army’s budget and allow it to pay more of it on salaries.
Crippling economic crisis
For more than three years, Lebanon has been engaged in a crippling economic crisis that has destroyed lives and livelihoods. More than three-quarters of the population now live in poverty, while the Lebanese pound has lost 90 percent of its value.
The country’s economic collapse has been exacerbated in recent days by a looming political crisis it has refused to allow Sunni Muslim leader and former Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri to take part in the country’s forthcoming political efforts.
The Hariri family has dominated Lebanon’s political landscape for more than three decades since the end of the country’s civil war in 1990.
According to Lebanon’s sectarian system, where parliamentary seats are allocated on the basis of a sectarian quota, the prime minister must be a Sunni, the speaker a Shia and the presidency held by a Maronite Catholic Christian.
Hariri said he made the decision to suspend his political career because he was “convinced that there is no room for any positive opportunities for Lebanon due to the Iranian influence, our indecision with the international community, internal divisions and sectarian division ”.
Dissatisfaction is brewing in the security forces as Lebanon’s currency falls, causing soldiers’ wages to fall. Many took extra work, and some quit.