Threatened by regional turmoil, France is arming the Lebanese army with weapons to fight ISIS, paid for by Saudi Arabia.
By: Aryeh Savir, World Israel News and AP
France has begun to arm Lebanon’s military with weapons to help them ward off the Islamic State (ISIS) and other terror organizations’ advance into the country from Syria.
The first French weapons from a $3-billion, Saudi-funded four-year program arrived in Lebanon on Monday, as Saudi Arabia seeks to bolster the country’s defences against ISIS and other terror groups.
The handover ceremony held Monday at Beirut’s airport was attended by Lebanese and French defense ministers and top army officers.
Saudi Arabia is supporting the Lebanese government in its fight against the encroaching and destabilizing groups, which consist of a regional threat, and as part of an intricate proxy war fought by several countries throughout the Middle East.
The shipment includes anti-tank guided missiles, combat and transport vehicles, warships and a range of surveillance and communications equipment.
The modernization plan also promises seven years of training for the 70,000-strong Lebanese army and 10 years of equipment maintenance.
Since the civil war broke out and the central government collapsed in neighboring Syria in 2011, Lebanon has faced mounting spillover from the millions of refugees pouring across the border, and increasingly from terror organizations based in Syria, such as ISIS, which aims to expand the boundaries of its self-declared caliphate.
Sectarian fighting within Syria has heightened religious and ethnic tensions inside Lebanon, further destabilizing the country and generating violence and terror.
“Lebanon’s victory against terrorism is a victory to all nations threatened by terrorism,” Lebanese Defense Minister Samir Moqbel said.