July 20, 2006

Why the Lebanese army may not be the best honest broker around at the moment

The Star, yesterday:

Hezbollah has a headquarters compound in Bourj al-Barajneh that is off limits to the Lebanese police and army, so security officials could not confirm the strike.


Across southern Lebanon, the Israeli air force kept up its strikes yesterday, hitting a military base at Kfar Chima as soldiers rushed to their bomb shelters, the Lebanese military said.

At least 11 soldiers were killed in an engineering unit and 35 were wounded, the Lebanese said. The base is adjacent to Hezbollah strongholds.

Lebanese Defence Minister Elias Murr denounced that attack as a "massacre," saying the regiment's main job was to help rebuild infrastructure. The Lebanese army has largely stayed out of the fighting, confining itself to firing at Israeli planes.

The commander of the Lebanese armed forces, in an interview with the Chicago Tribune three months ago:

“We need them,” Gen. Michel Sleiman said of Hezbollah’s fighters during an interview at the military command in Yarzeh, east of Beirut. “Israel is our enemy… and [Hezbollah] provides specific operations and abilities that, in general, [are] not provided by anyone in the army.

“We are not talking about Hezbollah as a strange foreign entity here,” Sleiman added. “We are talking about Lebanese people who provide a resistance… We have in Hezbollah brothers and relatives of those who serve in the army.”

The prime minister of Lebanon, Fouad Siniora, this last January:

"Lebanon will not sign any peace agreement with Israel even after the liberation of the Shebaa Farms from Israeli occupation and the release of our prisoners in Israel."

Posted by BruceR at 12:09 PM