Analysis: What’s US plot for Lebanon behind helicopter donation?

Analysis: What’s US plot for Lebanon behind helicopter donation?

While Lebanon is struggling with multiple economic problems, the US in a supportive gesture delivered to the Lebanese armed forces 6 MD-530F+ attack helicopters.

AhlulBayt News Agency (ABNA): While Lebanon is struggling with multiple economic problems, the US in a supportive gesture delivered to the Lebanese armed forces 6 MD-530F+ attack helicopters. 

"Good morning, General Joseph Aoun, General Haikal, distinguished guests. What an honor it is to be with you this morning.  As you probably know, General Aoun and I recently traveled to the United States where we were hosted for a series of meetings about U.S. – Lebanese military cooperation and coordination, and I am proud to have the opportunity to demonstrate how real that commitment is with yet another major equipment delivery," said Washington's ambassador to Beirut Dorothy Shea at Lebanon's Hamat Airbase, adding they are valued at over $40 million. 

Help to Lebanon in coordination with Tel Aviv 

Although it has been announced that the delivery of these helicopters is a donation to Lebanon, there is no doubt that this aid has been provided with the full coordination of the Israeli leaders. Maintaining Tel Aviv's air and military superiority in the region is crucial for both Washington and Tel Aviv and it is highly unlikely that such assistance would have been provided without knowledge of the Israelis. In fact, the delivery of American helicopters to Lebanon is done in such a way that this air superiority is not harmed. This completely showed itself during the normalization of the Israeli regime's relations with the UAE. Despite the compromises made by the Emirates, Tel Aviv successfully lobbied against delivery of the F-35 stealth fighter jets to Abu Dhabi. The fighters are now only operated by the Israeli air force in the region. Therefore, the American military aids to Lebanon, naturally, are not in a position of being challenging to Tel Aviv. Given their specifications and scanty capabilities, these helicopters, thus, are not aimed to strengthen Lebanon's armed forces in the face of foreign threats which majorly come from the neighboring Israel. 

Supportive gesture 

Donating these helicopters is coming amid a huge economic crisis the Arab country has been dealing with for over two years. Part of this crisis should be blamed on the American sanctions on the Lebanese companies and figures. Many wonder that while the Lebanese citizens are feeling the pinch and the crisis is even intensifying, how these helicopters can be healing to the economic woes. At the same time, US restrictions on some Lebanese citizens have fueled anti-American sentiments in Lebanon, and in the middle of this, Washington appears to be utilizing helicopter donation to the Lebanese army to strengthen its sphere of influence in Lebanese public opinion. However, it finds it difficult to rebuild its influence in the Lebanese developments as trust in it is hit hard by the sanctions imposed on Hezbollah, a powerful and respected movement among a large part of the Lebanese society. 

Pressuring Hezbollah 

The Americans set conditions for Beirut along with the delivery of the helicopters. Washington asked Beirut to restrict Hezbollah power. This demand is made while essentially Lebanon owes its deterrence in the face of the existing Israeli hostility to Hezbollah military might, particularly its missile power. With Hezbollah being the face of the Lebanese deterrence, its restriction means opening the door for foreign, and especially Israeli, aggression. 

Therefore, there are hidden aspects and dangerous goals to the American donation characterized by unraveling Lebanon's deterrent power, something Tel Aviv is yearning for. Also, putting the Lebanese army under obligation of curbing Hezbollah power can usher in some plots aimed at destabilizing Lebanon and fueling domestic division and this is what the Israeli regime has long been waiting. A show of acuity by the Lebanese officials, however, can thwart these conspiracies against the Lebanese people.


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