Washington • U.S. military commanders have been told to explore ways to increase security assistance to Lebanon and Iraq, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs said Wednesday, as the violence in Syria spills across the borders and the Iraqis face growing threats from the local al-Qaida offshoot.
Gen. Martin Dempsey said the assistance is aimed at improving the two nations' military capabilities and could include sending in U.S. training teams and accelerating foreign military sales of weapons and equipment to Iraq and Lebanon.
Dempsey made the recommendation to U.S. Central Command in recent weeks, according to Air Force Col. Ed Thomas, a spokesman for the Army general. There have been no U.S. military trainers in Iraq since troops left at the end of 2011, as the war there ended. But the U.S. has provided military training and assistance to Lebanon for a number of years.