Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, August 22, 1983, Page 6
Facts For Your Files: A Chronology of U.S.-Middle East Relations
The Pentagon informed Congress of its intent to sell the Lebanese government 68 M48A5 tanks, along with ammunition and spare parts, for about $64 million. The tanks will be used to equip two battalions of the Lebanese army, the Pentagon said.
At a news briefing, State Department spokesman John Hughes defined as follows the U.S. strategic interest in Chad: "The U.S. has a strong strategic interest in assuring that (Libya's) Qadhafi is not able to upset governments or to intervene militarily in other countries as is currently happening in Chad. Qadhafi has considerable resources both military and financial which makes Libya particularly threatening. If Libya or Libyan-supported forces were to gain control of Chad, close U.S. allies such as Egypt and Sudan would be seriously concerned about their own security. Other states in the region would also be deeply worried. It is important to the United States that its allies and friends be able to count upon its assistance to defend themselves against Libyan aggression."
A U.S. shipment of30 Redeye antiaircraft missiles arrived in Ndjamena, Chad, along with several American advisors, whose role was to instruct Chadian soldiers in the use and maintenance of the weapons. The delivery followed several days of Libyan bombing raids on the northern Chadian town of Faya Largeau.
The Reagan Administration authorized an additional $15 million—up from $10 million approved July 18—in emergency military aid to Chad. "The $15 million," the State Department said, "will be used to provide the government of Chad with a reasonable chance to defend itself against Libyan escalation" of the fighting.
Secretary of State George Shultz announced that Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs, Nicholas Veliotes, would be leaving that post and would be nominated by President Reagan to be Ambassador to Egypt, replacing Alfred Atherton Jr. Mr. Shultz said that President Reagan would nominate Richard Murphy, currently U.S. Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, to replace Mr. Veliotes. The nominations must be confirmed by the Senate.
President Reagan notified Congress—under the provisions of the War Powers Act—that two AWACS surveillance aircraft, eight F-15 jet fighters and 550 support personnel had been sent to Sudan for a "limited period" to help the neighboring country of Chad, "and other friendly governments assisting it," in that country's effort to defeat a Libyan-backed insurgency.
The U.S. military began joint naval and air exercises with Egypt which were expected to last for about one month. The maneuvers, called Bright Star 83. are the most sophisticated since the U.S. and Egypt began staging joint exercises three years ago. Smaller joint maneuvers were going on simultaneously with the U.S. in Oman, Somalia and Sudan.
Against the backdrop of U.S. efforts to persuade France to play a more active role in the defense of Chad, President Reagan told reporters at a news conference: "As I've said before, it (Chad) is not our primary sphere of influence. It is that of France. We remain in constant consultation with them (the French), but I don't see any situation that would call for military intervention by the United States there."
State Department spokesman Alan Romberg confirmed reports that the government of Kuwait had refused in early August to accept Brandon W. Grove, Jr., a former consul general in Jerusalem, as U.S. ambassador. Many observers in Washington believed the rejection was a signal of Kuwait's displeasure with the Reagan Administration's Middle East policies.