News / Middle East

Lebanon Calls for Support for Army to Counter Syria Fallout

A general view of the area where clashes erupted between supporters and opponents of Syrian President Bashar Assad, near the Sunni neighborhood of Tariq Jadideh, in Beirut, Lebanon, March 23, 2014.
A general view of the area where clashes erupted between supporters and opponents of Syrian President Bashar Assad, near the Sunni neighborhood of Tariq Jadideh, in Beirut, Lebanon, March 23, 2014.
Reuters
Lebanon's foreign minister called on Arab countries on Monday to support the Lebanese army to counter fallout from Syria's civil war, which he said threatened to tear the country apart.
 
Around 1 million Syrian refugees have fled to Lebanon, a displacement that has strained public infrastructure and threatened to upset the sectarian balance.
 
This “is threatening the existence of Lebanon”, Gebran Bassil told reporters before a meeting of Arab League leaders in Kuwait on Tuesday.
 
“This would create a danger also to the whole [of] humanity, because if the Lebanese model would vanish, then a big clash is to be expected between civilisations, religions and all aspects or differences in the world,” he said, speaking English.
 
Power in Lebanon is split between Shi'ites, Sunnis, Druze and Christian leaders - reflecting the mixed population - and many fear that Sunni refugees, who represent the majority in Syria, could disrupt the fragile demographic balance.
 
Communal tensions in Lebanon were stoked last week by the fall of the Syrian border town of Yabroud to Syrian government forces and their allies in the Lebanese Shi'ite political and military movement Hezbollah.
 
The fighting prompted a chain reaction of car bomb and rocket attacks, roadblocks and protests along sectarian lines that took days to calm and revived memories of Lebanon's own 1975-90 civil war.
 
Bassil, who became foreign minister in a cabinet formed last month, said a preparatory meeting with his Arab counterparts on Sunday discussed Syria's conflict, now in its fourth year, the refugees and support for the Lebanese army.
 
“We hope that these decisions will be translated into reality by direct and tangible help and aid to Lebanon in backing the army, because the army of Lebanon is fighting terrorism for all the Arabs and all the world,” he said.
 
Bassil said the only way to protect Lebanon and its borders was to give additional support to the army. Saudi Arabia donated $3 billion to the army in December for upgrades and asked France to supply weapons using a large proportion of these funds.
 
“We cannot live with new military camps, whether Syrians or others, inside Lebanon,” he said. “Support for the army is something real for facing this coming danger.”
 
Lebanon is already home to large camps for displaced Palestinians where state authority does not fully extend. Many Lebanese trace the origins of their own civil war to militarisation in the camps in the 1970s.
 
Lebanon's military nowadays is religiously mixed but some Syrian rebels and Lebanese have accused it of being in thrall to Hezbollah, which has sent fighters to support President Bashar al-Assad, a member of the Shi'ite-derived Alawite minority.
 
In a video posted online this week, influential Lebanese Sunni militant leader and cleric Ahmad al-Assir called for Sunnis to defect from the army.
 
Bassil is a member of the Free Patriotic Movement, a Christian party allied to Hezbollah in the country's coalition government.

You May Like

Obama: Alaskans Feel Signs of Climate Change

They're seeing bigger storm surges as sea ice melts, more wildfires, erosion of glaciers, shorelines More

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

Magical Photo Slides Show Native Americans in Late 1800s

Walter McClintock spent 20 years photographing the Blackfoot Indians and their vanishing culture at the dawn of the modern age More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Not Again from: Canada
March 24, 2014 2:35 PM
Lebanon's army= is a figment of the imagination of many ignorant people. The so called "Lebanese Army" (LA) is in essence an extension of Hezbollah. Lebanon would not be in such a dire situation, if it really had an independent, unbiased army. This so called LA allows Hezbollah forces to use Lebanon as a training Base, arms strorage depot, and in no way impedes the flow of Hezbollah fighters, their weapons, their support suplies, to and from Lebanon, so that Hezbollah forces can freely involve themselves in providing full combat and support action for Assad and its chronies. Hezbollahs involvement has been documented by almost every reliable news org.

It is precisly the failure of the LA that has endangered the stability of the Lebanese state. It is astonishing that any one would blame the traumatized Sunni Muslim refugees, mainly women and children for any instability in Lebanon. This type of articles, in VOA, show that the information is not scrutinized, to ensure its correctnes because of lack of staff, or it is deliberatly planted to give the World a view, that somehow the LA is an effective, efficent or unbiased force. As far as the balance of the diverse communities, it is in fact the failure of the LA to rein in Hezbollah, that has destroyed the balance of power, in Lebanon. Far more information is available, many incidents, that demonstrates that the LA is a biased force; essentially when an incident occurs, if the Sunni population are victimized, the LA does not show up, or it only shows up well after the incident is over; when an incident occurrs in a Hezbollah location, with Hezbollah victims, the LA responds immediately. Not Again - another report that needs review/ needs credibility for it paints a distorted image of the situation in Lebanon.

by: Joe from: Lebanon
March 24, 2014 11:31 AM
Lebanon's "Army"...? what are you kidding me...? let me tell you some thing America... Lebanon is no "country" and the "Army" is a collection of criminal thieves sponsored by the US EU just like the corrupt Palestinian "Authority" - its a shell. and it has become a shell because of the Hizbulla cancer that ate it away.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs