Lebanese soldiers walk past artillery pieces that were unloaded from a ship at the port in Beirut. (The Daily Star/Mohammad Azakir)
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The $25 million weapons donation from the United States to Lebanon will provide the Lebanese Armed Forces with a new strategic advantage in fighting rebel groups on the Lebanese border, experts say.A U.S. Embassy source, who oversaw the weapons shipment and spoke on condition of anonymity, said that the M198s have a range of 30 to 40 kilometers and their main use is to assist ground troops that are engaged in battle.During clashes between the Army and Fatah al-Islam militants in the north Lebanon Palestinian refugee camp of Nahr al-Bared in 2007, the Army ran out of 155mm ammunition very quickly due to the intensity of the battles and was forced to resort to 230mm rounds, Abou Zeid said.A similar scenario, which took place in Arsal during the clashes between the Army and extremist groups that attempted to overrun the town in August, has forced the Army to ration its 155mm ammunition, he added. While these weapons will provide immediate assistance to the Lebanese Army's fight on the border, Abou Zeid said they are not a long-term solution to the Army's deficiencies.The military aid, which will allow the Lebanese Army to modernize, will be supplied over the next three years, the spokesman said.
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