Report: Lebanon army wants U.S. heavy weapons
Lebanese commanders are anxious about the slow pace of U.S. military support so far and say the army needs heavier weapons, the New York Times reported. "Of the $410 million that has been committed since 2006, less than half has been delivered — mostly ammunition, communications equipment, Humvees, trucks, rifles, automatic grenade launchers and other light weapons, and spare parts," the newspaper quoted Lebanese and American military officials as saying.
"It is heavier weapons that are most needed," Lebanese officials told the daily. "It is understandable, the frustration the Lebanese are expressing," said Mark T. Kimmitt, assistant secretary of state for political and military affairs.
In particular, they want an air defense system, which would allow them to argue that they could completely replace Hizbullah as a warding force against Israel in southern Lebanon, the Times said. The Lebanese also want precision antitank missiles and a rebuilt fleet of tanks to replace their aging American and Soviet models. Specifically, they want surplus Vietnam-era M60 tanks that would be rebuilt with American parts and transferred to Lebanon from Jordan, according to the daily.
"We don't want Lebanon to be run by Hizbullah," the newspaper quoted one Israeli official as saying. The fear, he said, is that the weapons might fall into the wrong hands.