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

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

US Urges Restraint in Hong Kong Protests

Protesters angered by Beijing's decision to only approve candidates that it sanctions for Hong Kong's leadership elections in 2017 More

Archive of Forgotten UCLA Speeches Offers Snapshot of History

Recordings of prominent voices in social change, politics, science and literature from 1960s, early 1970s now available on YouTube 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.
Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenyai
X
Gabe Joselow
September 29, 2014 6:20 PM
Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Video

Video Reconstruction? What Reconstruction? Life After War in Gaza

It’s been a month since Israel and the Palestinians agreed to a ceasefire to end 52 days of an air and tank war that left 60,000 homes in Gaza damaged or destroyed and 110,000 homeless. Sharon Behn reports that lack of reconstruction is leading to despair.
Video

Video US, Saudi Arabia and UAE Hit Islamic State's Oil Revenue

The United States, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have bombed oil facilities operated by Islamic State militants in Syria. It was a truly collaborative effort, with the two Arab countries dropping the majority of the bombs. The 12 refineries targeted were estimated to generate as much as $2 million per day for the terrorist group. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb has the story.
Video

Video Russia's Food Sanctions Raise Price Worries, Hopes for Domestic Production

Russia retaliated against Western sanctions imposed for its actions in Ukraine by halting food imports from the West. The temporary import ban on food from Australia, the European Union, Norway and North America has Russian consumers concerned that they could face a sharp increase in food prices. But in an ironic twist, the restrictions aimed at the Kremlin have made Russia's domestic food producers hopeful this can boost their business. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Washington to Pyongyang: 'Shut This Evil System Down'

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is calling on North Korea to shut down prison camps and other human rights abuses following a United Nations Commission of Inquiry into "widespread and systematic human rights violations." VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid