Saudi Arabia halts military aid to Lebanon over militia concerns

Saudi Arabia announced Friday that it was halting a 4-billion-dollar military aid programme for Lebanon, saying it was concerned about money ending up in the hands of the Shiite militant movement Hezbollah.

"The kingdom has re-evaluated its relations with Lebanon and decided to stop the aid for the Lebanese army," the official SPA news agency in Saudi Arabia quoted a source as saying.

The SPA source denounced Hezbollah's "confiscation of the Lebanese state's will."

The announcement affects two deals. One, for 3 billion dollars in military hardware for the armed forces and another 1 billion dollars in aid for the police.

Hezbollah is a staunch supporter of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and has committed troops to help his forces. Iran backs both and is in a regional power struggle with Saudi Arabia, a Sunni monarchy.

Saudi Arabia has been a key backer of the Syrian opposition since the start of the uprising against al-Assad in 2011.

Lebanon's Foreign Minister Jubran Bassil, whose bloc in parliament is a main ally of Hezbollah, has been accused as well of adopting stances against the wishes of Saudi Arabia.

The Saudis influence over the Lebanese government has been in decline after a period in which the kingdom had strong allies in Beirut.  

Last update: Fri, 19/02/2016 - 19:31
Author: 

More from World

Iraqi forces seize control of eastern Mosul, prime minister says

Iraqi forces have taken full control of the eastern side of Mosul, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi announced Tuesday...

Trump signs order to advance controversial US pipelines

US President Donald Trump signed orders Tuesday to advance construction of the Keystone XL pipeline from Canada into...

Mexico draws 'red lines' for negotiations with the US

US President Donald Trump's call for a border wall and any significant watering down of the North America Free Trade...

Jihadist fighters assault rival rebels' bases in northern Syria

A powerful Syrian armed group linked to al-Qaeda launched a series of assaults Tuesday on bases of a rival rebel...

Trump meets with US carmakers to push for jobs

US President Donald Trump met with US carmakers Tuesday, part of his effort to pressure the manufacturers to build...