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Ex-premier warns against cutting U.S. aid to Lebanese military
Hezbollah, Iran would benefit, Siniora says
“Naturally, we think that funding should be given to those who are committed to observing the tranquility and the stability, and with the ongoing effort to build the government in Lebanon, it’s not totally clear where this army’s going,” the official said. “If Hezbollah has major positions, that’s problematic.”
While Hezbollah did not actively participate in the 2006 fighting between Israel and Lebanon, some fear it could be drawn into a new cross-border conflict, particularly after a deadly border skirmish last August between Israeli and Lebanese forces.
“The army is supposed, in fact, to defend the country. And wherever a decision is taken by the political authority, yes, to really face the challenge of any attack by Israel, yes, the army has to do it,” he said.
Asked about the concern that the U.S. could find itself arming two sides in a war, Mr. Siniora laughed: “Don’t arm the Israeli army,” he said.
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About the Author
Ben Birnbaum is a reporter covering foreign affairs for The Washington Times. Prior to joining The Times, Birnbaum worked as a reporter-researcher at the New Republic. A Boston-area native, he graduated magna cum laude from Cornell University with a degree in government and psychology. He won multiple collegiate journalism awards for his articles and columns in the Cornell Daily Sun.
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