Day 34, December 3, 2008

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

TO SEE THE FOREST FOR THE CEDAR

It was made clear for the Lebanese that US security assistance to them must take into consideration the need of Israel first. But for those who are screaming biasedness, it may be worth noting that basic US military aid for Lebanon had increased from a budgeted annual US$ 4 million to around US$ 200 million, after its war against Israel.

As a US ally and the only stable pro-Western democracy in the Middle East, the Americans are obliged by ties and in principle to back Israel. In a recent interview, the US deputy assistant secretary of defense for Near East and South Asian affairs Chris Straub indicated plainly that,

"We don't have a conversation on these matters without considering the concerns of Israel and Israel's qualitative edge... That's a commitment we take very seriously."

The US Defense Department also substantiated this point in a release : The US-supplied M-60 tanks are "no match" for Israel's Merkava 4 main battle tanks.

Straub also said, "We're not trying to build up some juggernaut that could be threatening to anyone in the region, but to make the Lebanese armed forces capable in their own country."

The need to counter the Hezbollah-forces is a definite prerogative of the Americans. Furthermore Straub also pointed out that,

"The Lebanese military needed a lot of help in the military basics," he said. "They needed trucks, Humvees, parts and ammunition more than they needed high-end expensive weaponry."

 

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