Socialist Worker

US wants bases in Lebanon

by Simon Assaf
Issue No. 2074

The US wants to set up a string of military bases in Lebanon as part of its plans to develop a wider military strategy in the Middle East.

A report in Lebanon’s al-Safir newspaper last week revealed that the US wants to establish three military bases, an airforce base and a naval base that will encircle Hizbollah areas and Palestinian camps while threatening Syria.

A Pentagon delegation headed by under-secretary of defence Eric Edelman met with top-ranking Lebanese officials last week to discuss setting up the bases.

The US also wants to establish radar stations along the Lebanese mountain range and the strategic Beirut to Damascus highway.

It has also asked the Lebanese army to abandon its neutrality towards the resistance and Syria, and to reassess its relations with Israel.

Since the defeat of Israel in last year’s war on Lebanon, the US has hiked up military aid to the Lebanese army from $43 million to $270 million. Now it has announced this aid will double to $500 million.

Last month the US delivered hundreds of military vehicles to the Lebanese army as part of a massive airlift of weapons.

According to the reports, the Pentagon delegation told the Lebanese government that they wanted to counterbalance the “Russian presence in northern Syria”.

The revelations come as the country heads towards a showdown over upcoming presidential elections between the opposition – led by Hizbollah and the mainly Christian Free Patriotic Movement – and the US backed ruling coaltion.

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Tue 23 Oct 2007, 18:36 BST
Issue No. 2074
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