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

    Video How Aleppo Rebels Plan to Withstand Assad's Siege

    Rebels in Aleppo are laying plans to withstand a siege by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces in likelihood the regime cuts a final main supply line running west of city

    Scientists Detect Gravitational Waves in Landmark Discovery

    Researchers likened discovery to difference between looking at piece of music on paper and then hearing it in real life

    Prince Ali: FIFA Politics Affected International Fixtures

    Some countries faced unfavorable treatment for not toeing political line inside soccer world body, Jordanian candidate to head FIFA says

    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.
    NATO to Target Migrant Smugglersi
    X
    Jeff Custer
    February 11, 2016 4:35 PM
    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video US Co-ed Selective Service Plan Stirs Controversy

    Young women may soon be required to register with the U.S. Selective Service System, the U.S. government agency charged with implementing a draft in a national emergency. Top Army and Marine Corps commanders told the Senate Armed Services Committee recently that women should register, and a bill has been introduced in Congress requiring eligible women to sign up for the military draft. The issue is stirring some controversy, as VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports from New York.
    Video

    Video Lessons Learned From Ebola Might Help Fight Zika

    Now that the Ebola epidemic has ended in West Africa, Zika has the world's focus. And, as Carol Pearson reports, health experts and governments are applying some of the lessons learned during the Ebola crisis in Africa to fight the Zika virus in Latin America and the Caribbean.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Illinois Voters Have Mixed Emotions on Obama’s Return to Springfield

    On the ninth anniversary of the launch of his quest for national office, President Barack Obama returned to Springfield, Illinois, to speak to the Illinois General Assembly, where he once served as state senator. His visit was met with mixed emotions by those with a front-row seat on his journey to the White House. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Heated Immigration Debate Limits Britain’s Refugee Response

    Compared to many other European states, Britain has agreed to accept a relatively small number of Syrian refugees. Just over a thousand have arrived so far -- and some are being resettled in remote corners of the country. Henry Ridgwell reports on why Britain’s response has lagged behind its neighbors.
    Video

    Video Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growth

    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Jordanian Theater Group Stages Anti-Terrorism Message

    The lure of the self-styled “Islamic State” has many parents worried about their children who may be susceptible to the organization’s online propaganda. Dozens of Muslim communities in the Middle East are fighting back -- giving young adults alternatives to violence. One group in Jordan is using dramatic expression a send a family message. Mideast Broadcasting Network correspondent Haider Al Abdali shared this report with VOA. It’s narrated by Bronwyn Benito
    Video

    Video Civil Rights Pioneer Remembers Struggle for Voting Rights

    February is Black History Month in the United States. The annual, month-long national observance pays tribute to important people and events that shaped the history of African Americans. VOA's Chris Simkins reports how one man fought against discrimination to help millions of blacks obtain the right to vote
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.