Friday, August 31, 2007

Arms Race

Even as Iran and Syria arm up their jihadi buddies in Lebanon (Hezbollah, mostly), we continue to help the Lebanese army to fight jihadis and bolster the pro-Western government:

Washington and some of its Arab allies have airlifted supplies, mostly of ammunition, to the Lebanese army in the early days of the northern Lebanon fighting. The military in Lebanon is an all-volunteer force of 56,000, with about 220 battle tanks, no effective air power and no air defense system.

Murr, the defense minister, stressed in Wednesday's ceremony that arming the Lebanese army was a "vital necessity to defend Lebanon's sovereignty and existence and complete the war against terror."

He said it was a "joint interest" for countries to help Lebanon's military fight terrorism.

The United States has sharply increased its military assistance to Lebanon in the last year. U.S. military assistance surpassed $270 million in 2007, more than five times the amount Washington provided a year ago.

Players are jostling for position in the entire region. Many confrontations are brewing. My only question is whether these are all part of one looming confrontation.