WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), the top Democrat on the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Near East, South Asia, Central Asia, and Counterterrorism, on Monday made the following statement after reports that the hold on U.S. military aid to the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) was lifted:
“My trip to Lebanon confirmed that we must continue investing in the LAF, and I’m relieved that reports indicate these critical funds have been released. There was no legitimate security rationale to withhold funding, and lots of reasons why withholding aid would actually hurt U.S. interests. But the administration alarmingly decided to delay these funds without explanation and did so at the worst possible time,” said Murphy. “In contrast to the violent response to other protests sweeping the region, the LAF has stepped up to protect demonstrators and defend the democratic rights of Lebanese citizens. They deserve our respect and strong support at this critical moment.”
Last week, Murphy traveled to Lebanon to see firsthand the efficacy of U.S. military aid. In October, Murphy released a statement upon Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri’s resignation. Murphy also traveled to Bahrain to speak at the Manama Dialogue about U.S. policy and alliance relations in the Middle East, to meet with leaders from across the region and U.S. officials, and visit the U.S. Fifth Fleet. While in Bahrain, Murphy met with the family of Nabeel Rajab, a human rights activist in prison for being critical of the Bahraini government.