WASHINGTON – Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton says the U.S. should continue to fund the Lebanese army despite concerns that recent political gains by militant Islamists might influence its leadership and pose a threat to Israel.
Clinton told Congress on Wednesday that U.S. support for Lebanon's armed forces was in American and regional security interests. She said the army is professional and non-sectarian with a national presence. She said annual U.S. funding of about $100 million to the armed forces is important to stability in Lebanon, particularly along its southern border with Israel.
Some lawmakers are concerned the military may be compromised by the rise of the Hezbollah movement, which the U.S. regards as a terrorist organization. Clinton said there was not yet any evidence that this has happened.