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Published by: hernam19 on Oct 15, 2008
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EBANONMilitaryThe earlier incarnations of the Lebanese Armed Forces were marred by infighting, internal upheaval and generalineffectiveness as a national army. After the 1982 Israeli invasion, President Amin Jumayyil was convinced that astrong and unified army was necessary to rebuild the nation.however, the military branches are not a balanced for joint military operations. The Navy and Air Force are vastlyunderfunded compared to the Ground Forces and lack the resources and equipment of a capable modernmilitary. The Navy relies on small tracker boats and the Air Force mainstay are helicopters from the UnitedStates. In practice, both the Navy and Air Force are components of the internal security forces because their missions and operations are focused on domestic concerns.he announced plans to create a 12-brigade 60,000-man army which would be equipped with French andAmerican arms and trained by French and American advisers. He also planned to increase The Internal SecurityForces to 20,000 men. Unfortunately weak recruiting could muster only about 22,000 men and the governmentdecided on November 24, 1982, to impose a conscription law called the Law of Service to the Flag. Theconscription law mandated one year of military service for eligible males. Additionally, other changes sawhundreds of new appointments were made on a nonsectarian basis.In 1982 the United States proposed a Lebanese Army Modernization Program to be implemented in four phases.The first three phases entailed organization of seven full-strength, multiconfessional army brigades, to becreated from existing battalions. The fourth phase focused on rebuilding the Navy and Air Force. The total cost of the first three phases was estimated at US$500 million but the United States pledged to pay US$235 million of this sum, with the Lebanese government paying the balance.Still, there was a lack of effective military leadership which remained the Achilles heel. United States expertswere aware of this problem and devoted considerable resources to solving it. A cadre of Lebanese lieutenantswas given infantry officer basic training in the United States. Then a team of eighty United States militaryadvisers, including fifty-three Green Berets, provided officer training in Lebanon. Lebanese officers were alsoattached to the United States MNF contingent for training in military unit operations.
Despite all these changes, new training and new equipment the Lebanese Army was routed in the 1983-84 battles in the Shuf Mountains and all suffered defeats by militia forces in West Beirut. In 1988,General Aoun who was Interim Prime Minister, declared a “War of Liberation” against the Syrians.Several months of fierce fighting followed but General Aoun has temporarily defeated Syria and itsmilitia allies. The General's next campaign to absorb some of the remaining Lebanese militias met withdisaster and months of fighting brought enormous losses and the destruction of Lebanese air and navla bases. Syria capitalized on Aoun's weak position and launched an air strike at the Presidential palaceand the Ministry of Defence, followed by heavy artillery shelling. After he realized he could not win,Aoun surrendered and went to exile in France.
The Lebanese Armed Forces are not the only military force in Lebanon which at its height during the civil war was the battleground for 40 different armies. Syria maintained approximately 20,000 troops in the country avisible reminder of the power they have with the government. The Syrians originally had upwards of 30,000troops in Lebanon but lowered its troop numbers after Israel withdrew from south Lebanon in 2000. Hizballahalso has their own militia force of approximately 3,000 mostly located near the southern border in the Bekaavalley.
The autonomy of Lebanese Armed Forces' officials was limited due to widespread Syrian influencewith government officials. Syria played a key role in Lebanese affairs and makes sure that high-ranking
government officials are sypathetic to Damascus and Syrian interests. Consequently, international pressure on the Lebanese government and military officials to take action against groups like Hizballahthat are operating in the country had little effect.As of 2003 approximately 20,000 Syrian troops occupied the north of Lebanon above Tripoli, theBeqaa Valley north of the town of Rashayah, and the Beirut-Damascus highway. These numberscompare to 35,000 troops at the beginning of Syria's occupation. Between May 1988 and June 2001,Syrian forces occupied most of west Beirut. In October 1989, as part of the Taif agreements, Syriaagreed to begin discussions on possible Syrian troop withdrawals from Beirut to the Beqaa Valley, twoyears after political reforms were implemented (then-Lebanese President Hirawi signed the reforms inSeptember 1990), and to withdraw entirely from Lebanon after an Israeli withdrawal. While Israel has,according to the United Nations, complied with its obligations, the Syrian withdrawal discussions,which should have started in September 1992, had not begun as of early 2004.A September 2004 vote by the Chamber of Deputies to amend the constitution to extend PresidentLahoud's term in office by 3 years amplified the question of Lebanese sovereignty and the continuingSyrian presence. The vote was clearly taken under Syrian pressure, exercised in part through Syria'smilitary intelligence service, whose chief in Lebanon had acted as a virtual proconsul for many years.The UN Security Council expressed its concern over the situation by passing Resolution 1559, also inSeptember 2004, which called for withdrawal of all remaining foreign forces from Lebanon,disbanding and disarmament of all Lebanese and non-Lebanese militias, the deployment of theLebanese Armed Forces throughout the country, and a free and fair electoral process in the presidentialelection.Former Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri and 19 others were assassinated in Beirut by a car bomb onFebruary 14, 2005. The assassination spurred massive protests in Beirut and international pressure thatled to the withdrawal of the remaining Syrian military troops from Lebanon on April 26. In the monthsthat followed Hariri’s assassination, journalist Samir Qassir and Lebanese politician George Hawi were both murdered by car bombs, and most recently, Defense Minister Elias Murr narrowly avoided asimilar fate when a car bomb exploded near his convoy. The UN International IndependentInvestigative Commission (UNIIIC) headed by Detlev Mehlis iinvestigated Hariri’s assassination andreported its findings to the Security Council.Parliamentary elections were held May 29-June 19, 2005 and the anti-Syrian opposition led by Sa’adHariri, Rafiq Hariri’s son, won a majority of 72 seats (out of 128). Hariri ally and former FinanceMinister Fouad Siniora was named Prime Minister and Nabih Berri was reelected as Speaker of Parliament. Parliament approved the first “made-in-Lebanon” cabinet in almost 30 years on July 30.The new cabinet’s ministerial statement, a summary of the new government’s agenda and priorities,focuses on political and economic reform.On July 12, 2006 members of Hizballah infiltrated the Lebanese-Israeli border near Shtula, an Israelifarming village, and claimed responsibility for an ambush conducted on two Israeli Army Hummvees.The attack resulted in the capture of two Israeli soldiers and the deaths of three others. Five moreIsraeli soldiers were killed in the ensuing pursuit of Hizballah members into Lebanese territory. Thecombined capture of two soldiers and the deaths of 8 others; was considered the worst loss for Israelimilitary forces in more than four years. Hizballah also claimed responsibility for two separate Katyusharocket attacks on Israeli towns resulting in the death of 1 civilian and the injury of 25 others.The 12 July 2006 attack resulted in immediate retaliation by the Israeli military, which responded to thehostilities against their troops and citizens by bombing roads, bridges, and power plants insideLebanon. The specific targeting of al-Manar, the Hizballah controlled television station, and theLebanese international airport as well as the blockading of Lebanon’s sea ports was an attempt to force

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