Trump’s Curious Freeze, Then Release of Military Aid to Lebanon
Officials won't comment on who or why these decisions were made at the height of protests there.
A $105 million security assistance package to Lebanon to support the Lebanese Armed Forces will be delivered, with no explanation as to why the aid was held up.
State Department officials refused to comment on the reason for the freeze, why it had been put in place, why it had been lifted, or who made these decisions. A senior State Department official told CNN the hold was due to “process” and that they would like to comment, but could not.
The aid had been authorized by Congress and received the backing of Trump’s State Department, Pentagon, and officials on the White House National Security Council.
While the reason for the hold is unclear, it is known that the delay came from the Office of Management and Budget office, which delayed releasing the funds for months.
“The bottom line is simple: (1) in a way this is Ukraine again – it’s not legal for Trump to hold funding that Congress authorized,” wrote Sen. Chris Murphy, a Democrat from Connecticut. “There was no legitimate security rationale to withhold funding, and lots of reasons why withholding aid would actually hurt US interests. But the administration alarmingly decided to delay these funds without explanation and did so at the worst possible time. In contrast to the violent response to other protests sweeping the region, the [Lebanese Armed Forces have] stepped up to protect demonstrators and defend the democratic rights of Lebanese citizens. They deserve our respect and strong support at this critical moment.”