Ukraine, Lebanon Demand US "Weapons, Aviation, Air-Defense Equipment"
Now that the US is exhibiting all the tact of a neocon bull in a china world, and has resumed airborne assaults in Iraq (with US marines on the ground merely for decorative purposes) it is hardly surprising that the rest of the world - at least those who are supposedly allied ideologically with Washington (if only for the time being) - suddenly feels entitled to US assistance. Not surprisingly, the first one to knock on the door of US military handouts is none other than the Kiev, whose parliamentary speaker Oleksandr Turchynov, said in an interview with BNS, that the country needs "modern weapons, aviation, air-defense equipment from U.S., European partners."
He continues: "If we were to receive military equipment assistance, we could regain the territory in a relatively short period of time. That’s an obvious fact for us. However, if strategic partners believe aggression should be addressed by peaceful means, through negotiations, then it may take a while."
The reason for this strong hint that the US should step up and protect its national interest bordering Russia? The usual hint that it is this, or Ukraine becoming a member of the EU and NATO "to feel secure."
Turchynov continues: "EU, NATO membership would be “tangible guarantee against Russia’s future intentions. Russia would then stop dreaming it can recreate some sort of post-Soviet empire that includes Ukraine. That won’t happen. Ukraine can defend itself. When we become a full member of civilized Europe, this will put a full stop to Putin’s dreams."
Alas, there was little contemplation to what Russia's response would be if the Kremlin were to wake up one day with a brand new NATO member country along its border, when it is precisely the threat of even more NATO expansion that may explain Putin's behavior of the past 6 or so months.
But while Ukraine's request clearly has strings attached, another comparable demand just issued by Lebanon was far more direct: the middle-east country has joined the chorus of those seeking to obtain fixed-wing combat aircraft from the US to use in its struggle against jihadists after a recent heavy battle for control of the town Arsal. A potential deal for planes comes alongside a request to replenish spent ammunition stores that were depleted during the fierce five-day clash earlier this month, the Lebanon Daily Star reported on Monday.
And unlike Ukraine, where the retaliation by Putin is a far too glaring concern on the minds of NATO leaders, when it comes to Lebanon, providing further weapons to the nation that borders both Israel and Syria in a conflict that many allege was started by the US itself when it began arming Syrian "rebels", the US will have no qualms about boosting the top and bottom line of its private and public-sector arms exporters. From the Times of Israel:
The United States plans to supply Lebanon’s army with additional munitions and ordnance in a bid to bolster the force after clashes with jihadists, the US ambassador to Beirut said last week. The new assistance comes after Lebanon’s military requested emergency aid following the unprecedented clashes with jihadists in the eastern Arsal region of the country, on the Syrian border.
The clashes that began August 2 left 19 soldiers dead, and another 19 are still being held hostage despite a truce deal that saw the militants withdraw from the town after five days of fighting, in the most serious spillover of violence from Syria after three days of fighting.
“The United States will soon deliver additional munitions and ordnance for offensive and defensive combat operations by the LAF (Lebanese Armed Forces),” US ambassador David Hale said in a statement.
“This assistance will enhance the LAF’s ability to secure Lebanon’s borders, protect Lebanon’s people, and fight these violent extremist groups,” he said.
“US military assistance will begin arriving in the next few weeks and continue in the months to follow.” He said the aid was part of a long-term US project to support Lebanon’s army, often seen as one of the few institutions in the country commanding near universal support and allegiance.
“Since just last October, the United States has provided more than $120 million worth of training and equipment to the LAF to strengthen its role as the sole legitimate defender of Lebanon’s sovereignty,” Hale said.
It's not just the US: a brief timeline of recent arms "supplies" to the region:
Lebanon’s army has publicly requested international assistance to bolster its poorly-equipped troops as they battle the violence spilling over from the war in neighboring Syria.
Last December, Saudi Arabia pledged to buy the army $3 billion worth of weapons and equipment from France, but the items to be provided have yet to be finalized and nothing has been delivered so far.
Riyadh also pledged an additional $1 billion to pay for immediate needs, delivering it through their close ally, former Lebanese prime minister Saad Hariri.
That additional aid was announced during the fighting in Arsal that left dozens of militants and civilians dead, raising new fears about the effects of Syria’s war on Lebanon’s stability.
A Syrian war, incidentally, which only escalated out of control and lead to the rise of ISIS, the caliphate, and a grand realignment of regional Mid-East forces, only after the US decided to provide the domestic al-Qaeda linked rebel forces with state of the arts troops, which then made their way to Iraqi-based Jihadists, who then used the same weapons to capture even more made in the US weapons in various army bases in America's foreign intervention "success story" - Iraq.
At this point the cynically inclined would be forgiven if they assume that the only purpose of the ever broader middle-east conflict is to supply all the warring parties with US weapons, training and supplies (with loans provided by Western, "money-laundering" banks whose inevitable penalty will be about 0.1% of all the profits generated). Because that GDP won't grow on its own.
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