Source: World Tribune

In case you haven’t heard, The United States has donated one Cessna prop plane to Lebanon as part of its “commitment” toward strengthening the Lebanese Air Force.

Says US ambassador  David Hale in a big ceremony:

We will remain committed to strengthening the capacity of the LAF so it can pursue its mission of securing Lebanon’s borders, defending the sovereignty and independence of the state, and of achieving Lebanese unity and stability, to enable the full implementation of Security Council resolutions, including 1701 and 1559.

Whoa! That must be one hell of a Cessna, Ambassador!

I mean Lebanon’s neighbor Israel has over 700 advanced aircraft and its other neighbor Syria probably has hundreds more.

By contrast, the puny Lebanese air force is largely made up of a dozen or so Vietnam-era helicopters:

And while Uncle Sam was being so committed to Lebanon with this little propeller plane, last week it began delivering six of its most advanced aircraft to Israel at a total cost of over $400 million.

Hmmm. That doesn’t seem very balanced. Unless….

Ambassador Hale throws in a pilot! And there’s really only one man up to the job:

Maybe two:

At the very least, the state department should send us some Red Baron Pizza:

That’s sure to distract the Israelis from the humus wars.

The sad truth is Lebanon did once have a functioning air force:

You can read more about the LAF’s illustrious history at an interesting site with lots of great pictures like the one above, shot during the 1969 Independence Day parade. According to the site, Lebanon sold many of its remaining aircraft to Pakistan in 2000. I wonder where that money went!

It probably disappeared as fast as these boys once did over the Bekaa Valley:

Another mystery is how this LAF plane landed at an Israeli war museum:


The truth is, even Israel’s retired US planes are probably far more advanced than the current fleet of Lebanon or any neighboring Arab country. Now that’s American commitment!

Previous articleOn promoting Lebanese banks
Next articleVintage Hamra shopping center
Habib Battah
Habib Battah is an investigative journalist and founder of the news site Battah has covered Lebanon and the Middle East for over 15 years and teaches journalism and media studies at the American University of Beirut. He is a contributor to Monocle, The Guardian, BBC World, Al Jazeera and others, a former fellow at the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at Oxford University and two-time recipient of the Samir Kassir Press Freedom Award. Battah's investigative work was recently recognized for outstanding local reporting by the Columbia University Oakes Award for Environmental Reporting. Battah earned a B.A. in Journalism from the University of Texas at Austin and an M.A. in Near East Studies and Journalism from New York University.


  1. Have no fear, the Cessna is just the camouflage that this planes come in. Beneath that camouflage is one of the world most advanced weapons of mass destruction to ever take flight.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here