Trump administration releases $105M in military aid for Lebanon after months-long delay

The Trump administration has released $105 million in military aid to Lebanon after months of withholding the money without explanation, The Associated Press reported.

The Foreign Military Financing dollars meant for the Lebanese Armed Forces was released ahead of Thanksgiving, and lawmakers were notified of the move on Monday, two congressional staffers and an administration official told the AP.

The administration had withheld the money since September despite the funds having been approved by Congress and supported by the Pentagon, State Department and National Security Council, but had stated no reason for not releasing the funds.

The State Department did not immediately return a request for comment from The Hill.

Lebanon since mid-October has seen nationwide protests over widespread corruption and mismanagement and newly announced tax on calls made using Whatsapp and other messaging services, forcing Prime Minister Saad Hariri to resign on Oct. 29.

The protests, however, began more than a month after the State Department on Sept. 5 notified Congress that the dollars would be spent.

Lawmakers have repeatedly pressed the White House for a reason for the delay, with House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), and Senate Armed Services Committee member Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), asking for an explanation October.

The aid pays for U.S.-made military equipment for the Lebanese army and is meant to help counter Iran’s influence in Lebanon.

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Written by Alan Smith

Alan Smith

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