Hezbollah’s deputy leader warned the U.S. on Sunday against setting up a military base in Lebanon, saying the guerrilla group would consider such a move “a hostile act.”
Sheik Naim Kassem’s warning came days after a senior Pentagon official said the U.S. military would like to see a “strategic partnership” with Lebanon’s army to strengthen the country’s forces so that Hezbollah would have no excuse to bear arms.
Eric Edelman, undersecretary of defense for policy, spoke on Lebanese television Thursday after holding talks on military cooperation with Prime Minister Fuad Saniora. He did not say the U.S. government wants to build a military base in Lebanon.
But Hezbollah and Lebanon’s opposition seized on Edelman’s comments as subtle confirmation of a pro-opposition newspaper’s claim that Washington was offering a treaty that provides for bases and training in the country. [complete article]