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August 18, 2014 9:47 pm

Lebanese Military Requests U.S. Aircraft to Combat Islamic State Jihadists

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The flag of Lebanon. Photo: Wikimedia Commons. – The Lebanese military issued a request to the United States for military assistance to help combat jihadist groups, including the Islamic State.

Lebanon is asking the U.S. to provide new fixed-wing aircraft to assist in close-air support for ground troops, as well as the replenishment of ammunition depleted in its fight against the jihadists, the Daily Star reported. The money for the purchase will likely come from a $1 billion grant from Saudi Arabia.

On Aug. 2, Syrian jihadists launched an attack against a Lebanese military checkpoint near the Syrian border. While the Lebanese military eventually thwarted the attack after heavy losses, many fear that the country’s weak central government and complex sectarian mix of Christians, Sunni, and Shi’a Muslims is a ripe target for the Islamic State.

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U.S. assistance is further complicated by Lebanon’s ties with Hezbollah, the Shi’a terror group headquartered in Beirut. Hezbollah has been heavily involved in fighting against the Islamic State in Syria.

The U.S. has provided military assistance and air support to Kurdish Peshmerga forces in their fighting against the Islamic State in Iraq.

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