Top US Lawmaker Seeks Pentagon Briefing On Lebanon

mid rising US-Lebanon tensions, a top US lawmaker asked the Pentagon in a letter released Wednesday for assurances that military aid from Washington is not indirectly helping Hezbollah. House Armed Services Committee chairman Ike Skelton, a Democratic White House ally, wrote Defense Secretary Robert Gates seeking a formal briefing on Lebanon, including "measures we have in place" to safeguard military aid. Skelton said a deadly clash between Lebanese and Israeli forces along the countries' shared border "has me concerned that our policy with Lebanon may be counter-productive". "I am concerned that the training and equipment we have provided the LAF (Lebanese Armed Forces) for the purposes of counter-terror may in fact be used by the LAF against the Israelis," said the lawmaker. "I am also concerned of reports that the LAF is collaborating with Hezbollah and that Hezbollah is, as a result, an indirect recipient of our aid," Skelton said in the letter, which was released by his committee. His comments came after another senior Democratic lawmaker, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Howard Berman, said he would freeze 100 million dollars in military aid to Lebanon after the clash, which left four dead.