Saturday, February 20, 2016

The Lebanese army is not for sale

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Saudi Arabia has cancelled its 3 billion dollars pledge to the Lebanese army. Whatever the pretext, something is becoming increasingly clear: no one wants to properly equip the Lebanese army.

Why? It’s very simple: a strong Lebanese army means keeping Israel at bay, securing all borders with Syria and harnessing Palestinians militias still roaming free in refugee camps. A strong Lebanese army means no excuses for Hezbollah to keep its arsenal and foreign powers to keep meddling in our affairs.

In so many words: a strong Lebanese army means a truly independent Lebanon. And a truly independent Lebanon is not something international, regional and local powerbrokers want.

Lebanon needs to stay weak, needy, divided. It needs to remain in a permanent state of war, sometimes cold, sometimes hot. A chessboard where different players send messages to each other, a bargaining chip to use whenever necessary.

The 3 billion were promised over two years ago. The deal was simple: Saudi Arabia gives the money to France and France gives weapons and equipment to the Lebanese army.

But it never happened. It kept being delayed and delayed. Some talked of shady commissions distributed to some obscure go-between, others about Israeli pressure on France.

In fact it was used as a pressure tool on Lebanon. Do this, say that, or no billions for you! Yesterday, it was cancelled altogether. At least, that had the merit to be clear.

Today, all of us Lebanese need to take a stance in favor of our army. This army so badly unequipped but so heroic when it matters. An army of lions without whom there will be no more Lebanon.

We all need to say to anyone who puts condition on its military aid, anyone who want something in return, that the Lebanese army is not for sale, the Lebanese army is not for rent, the Lebanese army is not for bargain, the Lebanese army bteswa ra2betkon.

© Claude El Khal, 2016


Anonymous said...

When you offer 3-4 billion dollars in aid and your met by ill intentions and verbal attacks by many political factions within the country, it becomes somewhat of a turn off. If those who constantly attack Saudi learn to keep quiet at least until the deal goes through we would have already had the weapons long back.
Also, when did Saudi ask for anything in return from lebanon, as if it really can offer anything in return? If it didnt want to see a stronger lebanese army it wouldnt have offered the money to begin with. The deal was made under the assumption that lebanon and Saudi are friendly countries with close ties. Most of the deal had been finalized,. But lebanon's stance regarding the saudi embassy attack in Iran was the tipping point. No way are they giving money to a country that wont even support them even in the most trivial things such as condemning an act, it defies logic. I bet you if the roles were reversed in this situation, you would be the first to call for the halting of the deal.

Anonymous said...

Nothing is free.

We're naive to believe that promised aid will see the light, especially after 2 years time. If it was genuine we would have already got these weapons, but instead it was used as tool to pressure the Lebanese government when needed. And now, when things are getting out of Saudi hands, they reverted under the pretext of hezbollah and Gebrane Bassil.

Shame on any Lebanese who will justify what happened by saying its Bassil's or Hezbollah's fault. No.
Let's show some dignity for something that was never planned to occur.
For once let's be Lebanese, and not Lebanese with a price.