The Lebanese government has requested
guided missiles from the US, with the State Department approving the possible Foreign Military Sale, estimated to value $245 million. 1,000 of the missiles requested are the anti-armor variant and the remaining 500 bunker busting variants, with the order also including fifty launchers. The Lebanese government has recently received the first weapons purchased from France in November last year
with Saudi financing the deal worth around $3 billion. Shipments of these weapons (including Milan anti-tank missiles) began in April
. The country's government also received weapons from China
earlier this month, with these thought to have been donated by the Chinese government. The US has sent approximately $1 billion
in military aid to Lebanon over the last eight years, previously supplying older versions of the TOW-2 system.
A number of countries are stepping up to fill those gaps, left in a military ravaged by foreign occupation, a long and losing civil war, and the presence of Hizb’Allah – a foreign-backed private army in Lebanon, with superior firepower. The battle for influence in that country is multi-polar, with countries including the USA, France, and Saudi Arabia moving to counter Syria and Iran’s proxies, and countries like Russia working with independent agendas. The USA has been supplying a wide range of equipment from ammunition to armored vehicles, and is adding tanks, mini-UAVs, and even patrol boats to that list. Belgium has worked to sell some of its own tanks and APCs, France has offered help with Lebanon’s existing French equipment; and in April 2009, Russia went so far as to offer MiG-29 fighters, for free, from its own stocks.
What capabilities would these systems bring? How are those sales going? And how is Lebanon itself changing, in the wake of both Hezbollah’s takeover and Syria’s civil war?
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