Pentagon providing surge of weapons to Mideast allies fighting ISIS, militant groups

The Defense Department is rushing hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of weapons to allies in the Middle East who engaged in the fight against remaining remnants of ISIS, as well as other terrorist/militant groups.

Using a little-known provision passed by Congress immediately in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, the Pentagon is handing out substantial arms packages to Jordan and Lebanon, in order to shore up their air assets.

The Pentagon is also equipping special forces units in North African nations such as Morocco and Tunisia that face the threat of IS fighters returning to the region.

The funds are part of a $600 million effort by the Trump administration to provide additional security assistance to American allies in the region who are engaged in clearing out remaining elements of the Islamic State as they disperse from their “caliphate” in parts of Syria and Iraq.

“This is a continuation of US policy since [the Sept. 11 attacks] to provide funds for building partner capacity,” said Seth Binder, the program manager for the Center for International Policy’s Security Assistance Monitor. “It’s easier to get these funds to partners through [the Defense Department] instead of State.”

Jordan has received UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters, M-4 carbines, rockets and 105-mm howitzers, among other arms.

Deliveries approved in October also included a $120 million boost for Lebanon’s air power, including US-made light attack helicopters and high-performance drones, as well as supplying Tunisia with body armor and helicopters and outfitting a special forces unit in Morocco. [source]

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Jon E. Dougherty is a political, foreign policy and national security analyst and reporter with nearly 30 years of experience in both fields. A U.S. Army veteran of Operation Enduring Freedom, he holds BA in Political Science from Ashford University and an MA in National Security Studies/Intelligence Analysis from American Military University.

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