Day 32, December 1, 2008

DAN-CHYI CHUA
Dec 17, 2008
*Special to asia!

GETTING BY WITH A LITTLE HELP FROM A FRIEND

Agenda:

Meeting in Beirut with Lebanon's Prime Minister Fouad Saniora and newly-appointed Army Chief Gen. Jean Qahwaji

Official Press release by the US Embassy in Lebanon:

“The discussions focused on the United States’ continued assistance to the Lebanese Armed Forces so it can maintain peace and stability, and safeguard the Lebanese people.”

As Safir newspaper :

The general informed Lebanese officials that the U.S. will not provide arms to the Lebanese army before the spring parliamentary elections.

They also said Petraeus made it clear that the Lebanese army will not receive heavy weapons "before or even after the polls because the U.S. military strategy in the region takes into consideration Israel's military edge."

According to figures released from the US State Department,

Foreign Military Financing given by/ Direct Commercial Sales made by the United States:
(In US Dollars, ranked in order of amount)

Israel          $2,340 million (2007), $2,380.56 million ( estimated 2008) / $2,637,497,209 (2007)

Egypt         $1,300 million (2007), $ 1,289.47 million  (2008 estimated) / $  $176,353,161 (2007)

Pakistan     $ 297 million (2007), $297.570 million (2008 estimated) / $466,247,093(2007)

Lebanon     $ 224.8 million  (2007), $6.943 million (2008 estimated)/ $5,850,961 (2007)

Jordan         $ 207.9 million (2007), $ 298.38 million (2008 estimated)/$257,049,286 (2007)

Iraq         Figures not given / $1,844,366,336 (2007)

India        Figures not given / $926,398,314 (2007)

Saudi Arabia     Figures not given /  $667,923,730 (2007)

Afghanistan     Figures not given / $629,798,552. (2007)

Official definitions from the State Department:

Foreign Military Financing (FMF): The majority of funds - approximately 86% - provides continued assistance for the Near East. These funds help to promote regional stability and strengthen U.S. partnerships with moderate governments friendly to U.S. interests. With FMF, we seek to boost the legitimate defense needs of countries such as Israel, Egypt and Jordan, which, through their efforts, have demonstrated their desire to seek a comprehensive Middle East peace. In FY 2007, FMF for other friends and allies in the region, such as Bahrain, Morocco, Oman, Tunisia and Yemen, will help to strengthen and modernize their self-defense capabilities, safeguard their borders and territorial waters, meet their legitimate indigenous security needs, increase their interoperability with U.S. forces and support coalition efforts in the war on terrorism.

Other forms of security assistance include:

International Military Education and Training (IMET): In the Near East region, increased levels of funding reflect the requirements of individual countries and their capacity to absorb additional training as part of their efforts to help support our global counterterrorism efforts. Military-to-military contacts afforded by the IMET program are particularly important in this region, paying dividends far into the future as students rise up the military and political ranks of their respective countries. Strong IMET and military training programs in Jordan, Egypt, Morocco, Oman, Tunisia, Algeria, Bahrain, Iraq, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and Yemen have demonstrated the importance of IMET in fostering one-to-one relationships with the U.S., enabling countries to obtain technical training necessary to maintain U.S.-origin equipment and increasing awareness of international norms of human rights and civilian control of the military. An IMET program in Iraq supports professional military education and enhanced English language capabilities.

Peacekeeping Operations (PKO): Provide for the Multinational Force and Observers (MFO) in the Sinai, which is an important part of the peace between Israel and its neighbors. In addition to an established system to monitor compliance of the Egyptian-Israeli Peace Treaty, the MFO offers an effective liaison system between the Egyptian and Israeli defense forces. FY 2007 funds will allow the MFO to meet possible expanded requirements related to the Gaza disengagement, as well as previously planned aircraft upgrades. The United States has a firm political commitment to finance one-third of the annual MFO budget, with the other two thirds provided by Israel and Egypt.

 

dan-chyi chua

Dan-Chyi Chua was a broadcast journalist, before forsaking Goggle Box Glitz for the Open Road. A three-year foray led her through the Middle East, China, SE Asia, Latin America and Cuba, and she's now grounded herself as a writer for theasiamag.com, content with spending her days in Jerusalem.

Contact Dan-Chyi