In a briefing on Jan. 12, Crowley said the State Department was
monitoring coalition efforts in Lebanon in wake of the Iranian-sponsored
Hizbullah's decision to withdraw from the Hariri government, Middle East Newsline reported. Crowley said
political uncertainty would not hamper U.S. military and security aid
programs. Eleven out of 30 ministers in the Hariri government resigned and
the prime minister was asked to head a caretaker government.
"But at this point, Lebanon will work to put together a new government,
and we'll see what emerges," Crowley said.
Since 2006, the United States has provided nearly $750 million in
military and security assistance to Lebanon, about a third of that over the
year. Officials said the administration has been working on plans to supply
Lebanon with main battle tanks, armored personnel carriers, helicopters and
unmanned aerial vehicles.
Congress has warned that a Hizbullah-dominated Lebanese military could
use American combat platforms against Israel as well as U.S. interests in
the region. In August 2010, the House froze $100 million in U.S. military
aid, a decision that was rescinded four months later.
Officials acknowledged an increase in tension since the fall of the
Hariri government. They said both Israel and Lebanon have placed their
militaries on alert along their mutual border.
"We decry the motives of Hizbullah and what they've obviously tried to
do to continue to intimidate the government and use this activity as a
pressure tactic," Crowley said.