The $3 billion Saudi Arabian grant to the Lebanese Army to buy equipment from France will prove to be a real test for Iran’s new foreign policy, according to an expert.

The grant, described by Lebanese President Michel Suleiman as the largest ever given to the country’s armed forces, represents the more proactive role Saudi Arabia is playing in Middle Eastern politics. It will also force Iran to present more concessions in its efforts to lift international sanctions that have crippled the country, said Riad Kahwaji, founder and CEO of the Institute for Near East and Gulf Military Analysis in Beirut and Dubai.

On Sunday in a televised address, Suleiman said “the king of the brotherly Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is offering this generous and appreciated aid of $3 billion to the Lebanese Army to strengthen its capabilities.” […]

Kahwaji added that the UK has given the green light to the United Arab Emirates to transfer 10 Hawk light attack jets to Lebanon that can provide close-air support to their ground troops. […]