Military aid provided by Saudi Arabia and the United States has boosted the firepower of the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) by about 30 to 40 percent in recent years, analysts said.
Over the past eight years Lebanon has received US military aid worth $1 billion, according to David Hale, the US ambassador to Lebanon.
“Almost every month orders are arriving to the Lebanese Armed Forces,” said Riad Kahwaji, CEO of the Dubai-based Institute for Near East and Gulf Military Analysis.
“The firepower of the LAF has at least multiplied by 30 to 40 percent, they have for the first time doubled their arsenal of howitzer guns and have been deploying their stand-off weapons more effectively in the battlefield, like the Hellfires and TOW II missiles,” he added,
According to an article authored in November for the Middle East Institute by Basem Shabb, a member of the Lebanese parliamentary Committee for National Defense and Interior, the LAF has quietly been developing a credible force over the past few years with US assistance.
“The training and materials geared toward counterterrorism, internal security and border control were not seen by Hezbollah as a threat to its military arsenal of rockets and long-range missiles. As it turns out, the LAF was better prepared for the Syrian crisis and its spillover into Lebanon,” he said.