Between 2006 and 2010, the US has given over $1.2 billion in aid to Lebanon, according to a 2010 report by the Congressional Research Service.
Now Lebanon, Aid on the chopping block?
There may be more where that came from--but not necessarily. The Obama administration has requested an additional $246.3 million for 2011, but a budget for this year has not yet been passed--and if Hezbollah's influence in the new Lebanese government becomes more pronounced, US aid to Lebanon might not be so forthcoming:
In mid-June, Representative Howard Berman, ranking Democrat on the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, introduced a bill, with three other Congressmen of Lebanese descent, that would cut some US aid to Lebanon. Called the “Hezbollah Anti-Terrorism Act” (HATA), it is modeled on a law passed to cut off US funds to Hamas following Palestinian elections in 2006.And the first real test of how much influence Hezbollah has in the government may already be here, as Lebanon decides on cooperating with the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL). The tribunal is supposed to be releasing an indictment as well as arrest warrants or summonses any day now.
The new Lebanese government is working on a policy statement, and Prime Minister Najib Mikati and Hezbollah are divided as to whether a mention of the STL should be included. Meanwhile the US and EU have made clear that they expect Lebanese support for the STL as part of its commitments to teh UN Security Council resolution that established the tribunal.
Lebanon may have finally cobbled together a government, but they are not out of the woods yet.
Congress has focused on Hezbollah as it did on Hamas, and it looks like it is ready to act.
Technorati Tag: Lebanon and Hezbollah.