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This week several countries met in Rome to support the Lebanese armed forces.Though relatively small, the support of the United States remains vital to the armed forces.Not only does Egypt have American equipment ranging from M60 main battle tanks to M113 armored personnel carriers, Humvees, and trucks, it has various Russian weapon systems, such as field artillery and 122 mm rocket launchers, as well.For example, Egypt was a main Arab arms supplier to Iraq during the Iraq-Iran war during the 1980s, providing technical assistance and the massive firepower necessary to repulse Iranian infantry attacks.During the fighting in Nahr al-Bared in 2007 the Lebanese Army received such ordnance from Egypt.Egypt, as a leading Arab nation and one in close proximity to Lebanon, is in a better position than the United States to counterbalance Iran's ambitions through closer cooperation with the armed forces.One area in which Egypt beats Iran hands down is in its maritime capabilities. Cooperating with Egypt would provide such support rapidly and at great savings. The cooperation would, additionally, be welcomed by Saudi Arabia, which may find it politically and financially expedient in its support for Lebanon's armed forces.
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