Lebanon to buy US military gear used in Iraq
Published Friday, April 6, 2012
The Lebanese army is in negotiations with the US to buy equipment used in the occupation of Iraq, the US embassy in Beirut confirmed on Wednesday.
The army has already bought a number of American military items used in Iraq, but Al-Akhbar understands that negotiations are ongoing for a larger deal.
Among the items being considered are 4x4 humvee vehicles, as well as armor and other non-lethal gear.
A statement from the Embassy said some deals had already been signed.
"Lebanon has...received equipment from the military facilities in Kuwait as part of the US military’s drawdown from Iraq," the statement said.
"To date, Lebanon has not received any HMMWVs or other military vehicles from Kuwait, although this is a possibility in the future."
The statement said the supplies were "non-lethal."
The US still retains large stockpiles of weapons from its occupation that it wishes to sell onto other states at reduced prices, as it is deemed more cost effective than shipping them back to the US.
Former Lebanese army general Amin Hotait said the US had often sold its equipment off cheaply in the past as they pulled out from military conquests.
He said it made sense militarily to buy the weapons as it would be cheaper.
"They did this in Germany (in 1945), in Vietnam (in 1975) and in other places in the world."
"Lebanon needs some goods used by the American army and the price is not high, it is a good price for the Lebanese army. I think it is positive for the Lebanese to buy these weapons used in Iraq."
Among those believed to have bought a large number of weapons is Bahrain, despite concerns over human rights violations carried out by Manama against pro-democracy protesters.
Najah Wakim, founder of the Lebanese left-wing political group The People's Movement, criticized the Lebanese government for purchasing military gear used in Iraq.
"Shame on us for using military equipment used in the Iraq war. Those were our friends and family and brothers who were killed."
Lebanon's military regularly purchases US-made equipment, including 32 Humvees bought from the Pentagon last month
The US permits military sales to Lebanon on the condition that it cannot be used against Israel, America's key ally in the region.
For this reason, Lebanon should develop arms relations with other states so as to not undermine Beirut's capability in confronting the Israeli threat, Wakim added.
"Our government always buys weapons from the US or countries that have good relations with the US," he said
"It could take other options – to buy weapons from Russia where this condition didn't apply or could benefit from the deal with Iran that was offered to give the Lebanese army all their military needs cheaply."
Lebanon and Israel are currently technically in a state of war. The last full-scale war was fought in 2006, when Israel carried out land and air assaults on the country, devastating most of its infrastructure, and killing roughly 1,200 Lebanese civilians.
Israeli jets and reconnaissance planes violate Lebanese airspace on a daily basis.