The U.S. is planning to establish a military base in the Lebanese coastal town of Behdaidat in order to “monitor and deter” its enemies in the region, the Lebanese al-Joumhouria newspaper reported on March 27.
U.S. Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, personally inspected Behdaidat, which is located in the district of Jbeil, on March 23. During the unusual visit, Pompeo committed a half million U.S. dollars for the renovation of a historical church in the town. According to al-Joumhouria, this money could buy half of the 10km2 town’s properties.
Pompeo heavily criticized Hezbollah in the course of his recent visit to Lebanon. The senior diplomat called the Lebanese party a terrorist group and accused it of working to take over the country.
“Lebanon and the Lebanese people face a choice: bravely move forward as an independent and proud nation or allow the dark ambitions of Iran and Hezbollah to dictate your future,” Pompeo said during a press conference in Beirut on March 22, according to New York Times.
Experts told al-Joumhouria that that the strategic location of Behdaidat could allow the U.S. to monitor the coastal line and several alleged supply routes of Hezbollah. The experts predicted that if the base was indeed established, it would be only a part of a network of new bases that could cover a large part of Jbeil.
Al-Joumhouria’s claims remain unconfirmed. However, Hezbollah and its allies control the majority of the Lebanese Parliament seats. This means that they should be able to stop any US attempt to establish military bases in the country, at least by a legal way.