Israel Expresses Concern over US-made Military Systems Reaching Lebanon’s Hezbollah

Foreign Affairs

By ARIE EGOZI

Tel Aviv. Israel is worried from the constant flow of US made military systems to Lebanon-based militant group Hezbollah. The new source- weapons that the US armed forces have transferred to the Iraqi army.

According to West Asian sources, in recent days civilian aircraft arriving from Iran and landing at Beirut International Airport have delivered military night vision equipment that the US has abandoned and the Iraqi army has taken over.

The Iraqi army, which is under Iranian control, handed this equipment over to Iranian Revolutionary Guards officials operating in Iraq who sent them to Iran for testing and probably for “reverse engineering” purposes to improve locally made equipment.

According to the report, the Americans have left a fair amount of night vision equipment and the Iranians have decided that Hezbollah terrorist organisation in Lebanon will use it against Israel.

In the recent months there is growing unrest in Iraq, following large scale violent protests throughout the country against government corruption – protests that culminated in Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi’s resignation. The outbreak of Coronavirus reduced the scope of the demonstrations, but at the same time highlighted the deep economic and social problems afflicting Iraq.

In response to the attacks by the Shiite militias and due to the Coronavirus epidemic, the United States regrouped its forces in Iraq, vacating small bases and concentrating its forces in large bases. Two Patriot missile batteries were deployed in major American bases – al-Asad and Irbil, the first US deployment of such missiles in Iraq.

At the same time, the US administration also demanded that the Iraqi government institute comprehensive government reforms, even as the government is working with the international community to arrange financial assistance for Iraq. The United States allocated approximately $500 million in foreign aid to Iraq in 2020 on top of its humanitarian aid to the country, which has totalled over $2.5 billion since 2014.

According to a report prepared by the Institute for national strategic studies (INSS), the relations between the US and Iraq were based on agreements signed in November 2008, which defined the outline for strategic relations in the security, economic, and cultural spheres. This agreement provided that American forces in Iraq would be withdrawn gradually, up to the end of 2011.

After the United States withdrew most of its forces from Iraq in 2011, however, it failed to reach agreement with the Iraqi government in 2014 on the renewal of the US military presence following the increase in activity by ISIS. Today, the 5,000 American troops in Iraq are there at the request of the Iraqi government.

In recent months, especially following the killing of Iranian Major General Qasem Soleimani in Iraqi territory, the internal discourse in Iraq on the future of the American forces in the country has increased, and many political groups are demanding that US forces leave Iraq. The Baghdad parliament passed a non-binding resolution calling on the government to demand the withdrawal of American forces.

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