Wednesday, August 11, 2010
WAR DRUMS ARE BOOMING
BEIRUT — Lebanon's defense minister says he would reject any American military assistance to the Lebanese army if it comes with conditions that the weapons not be used against Israel.
Elias Murr was commenting Wednesday on a decision by a U.S. congressman to suspend $100 million of aid over concerns the weapons could be turned on Israel and that Hezbollah may have influence over the Lebanese army.
Iran has offered support to Lebanon's army, a week after a deadly cross-border clash between Lebanon and Israel which prompted U.S. lawmakers to block funding to the Lebanese military.
The offer from Iran, which supports Lebanon's militant Shi'ite group Hezbollah, could fuel Western concern that Tehran is increasing its influence near Israel's northern border.
A Lebanese military prosecutor charged on Tuesday a Christian party member who was formerly an army general with spying for Israel, the first politician to be charged in a widening espionage case.
Judge Sakr Sakr accused Fayez Karam of the Free Patriotic Movement of dealing with "the enemy's intelligence and meeting their officers abroad, and giving them information by phone", according to the charge sheet.
Karam, who belonged to the movement headed by Michel Aoun, a former army chief now allied to the Iranian-backed Hezbollah group, was also charged with providing Israel with information on the Free Patriotic Movement, Hezbollah and other parties.