Sunday, December 29, 2013

Saudis Give Lebanon $3 Billion

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:
Saudi Arabia just gave Lebanon a $3 billion grant to bolster their army.

Lebanese President Michel Suleiman announced the aid on Sunday TV. "The king of the brotherly Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is offering this generous and appreciated aid of $3 billion to the Lebanese army to strengthen its capabilities."

The obvious purpose of the money is to counter the enormous support that Iran gives to Hezbollah in Lebanon. That support has a huge impact on everything that happens in Syria.

If the Saudis successfully strengthen the Lebanese army it can influence the facts on the ground in Lebanon, in Syria and even - by extension, Israel. A stronger army in Lebanon will also, hopefully, prevent the violence overtaking Syria from spilling over into Lebanon.

The biggest however, is that giving money and buying better and bigger weapons does not necessarily make for a better army.

Hezbollah is disciplined and well trained. They are also well armed. Unless the Lebanese army is better trained and better motivated than Hezbollah, there is a strong possibility that  Hezbollah will capture many of the new weapons that Saudi Arabia will be giving to Lebanon.

If that happens the $3 billion gift will turn into one explosive backfire. 

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