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January 23, 2017 / 25 Tevet, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘Lebanese army’

US Gives Lebanese Army Third Hellfire-Equipped Cessna [video]

Tuesday, December 20th, 2016

The US on Monday delivered to the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) a third Cessna 208B Caravan turboprop aircraft (L-403) capable of launching AGM-114 Hellfire laser-guided missiles, as part of the US efforts to strengthen the Lebanese Army, Lebanese and European media outlets reported.

“This Cessna that we see here today will be equipped with Hellfire missiles and a day-time/night-time targeting system,” US Ambassador Elizabeth Richard said at a ceremony in a Beirut Air Base. “It will help the LAF support ground troops, combat extremist groups, and keep Lebanon’s borders secure.”

According to the US Embassy in Beirut, the Cessnas are part of a $30 million package that includes maintenance support and training.

Lebanon’s army is fighting the Islamic State and al-Qaida’s Syrian branch in border areas. It is not currently engaged in hostilities with terrorist group Hezbollah, located in south Beirut.

David Israel

Exclusive Interview: Hillary Clinton On Israel, Iraq And Terror [archive]

Saturday, October 29th, 2016

Originally Published:  Wednesday, October 25, 2006 [Restored from Archive]

On the eve of her expected reelection victory, New York Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton met with the editorial board of The Jewish Press.

The former first lady (and current front-runner in opinion polls for the Democratic Party’s 2008 presidential nomination) spoke at length about Israel, the ongoing war in Iraq, and the war on terror. Following are highlights of the discussion:

The Jewish Press: Israel recently concluded its war against Hizbullah in what many consider to be a stalemated position. How do you see things right now?

Sen. Clinton: First, I don’t think we should have pushed for an election in the Palestinian territories. I think that was a big mistake. If we were going to push for an election, we should have made sure we did something to determine who was going to win instead of signing off on an electoral system that advantaged Hamas.

That, to me, was a first step that led Hizbullah to take the actions that it took [killing and kidnapping Israeli soldiers and firing missiles into Israeli population centers]. What has concerned me is that I don’t think our or Israel’s intelligence was very good at uncovering what Hizbullah had developed in the last six years.

Frankly, the American intelligence didn’t know how dug in Hizbullah was, how many rockets they had, where they were going to be launched from and what the range was.

I think, based on what I know, that a lot of damage was inflicted on Hizbullah’s capacity. But that capacity is not destroyed and has not disappeared. Thus, Hizbullah, the Syrians and the Iranians have been emboldened.

This was a problem of situational awareness and about what we were up against. This is a longer-term issue for us and for Israel as we try to figure out how we’re going to get a better grasp of what we’re up against.

Do you think the peacekeeping forces on the Israeli-Lebanese border will be effective?

I don’t have a lot of confidence in what the peacekeeping forces will do, because nobody’s willing to say that they’re willing to disarm Hizbullah. That’s the problem. UN Resolution 1701 [which ended the war] originally said that you had to go in and disarm Hizbullah — but there was no effort to do this at the time, and now we’re trying to play catch-up. They initially said the Lebanese army’s going to do it, but that’s not going to happen.

Is it worth talking to Syria, from the perspectives of the U.S. and Israel?

You know what? I’m pretty much of the mind that I don’t think it hurts to talk to people as long as you’re not stupid in giving things away. I would argue that we don’t know what’s going on inside Iran and Syria. I just want us to get better info. We don’t have good info. I asked the Israelis if [Syrian President Bashar] Assad is really in charge. They said they weren’t sure. So I suggested that we get something going to see who is pulling the levers of power in order to try and figure out how we can influence them.

Please explain your strong criticism of President Bush’s Iraq war strategy after you voted to give him authorization to topple Saddam Hussein’s dictatorship.

I guess I hae been more willing to criticize the administration’s conduct of the war than some [of my Democratic colleagues]. I don’t know why they wouldn’t put in more troops.

Why wouldn’t they follow the military plans that had been drawn up previously by Gen. [Anthony] Zinni and others? Why did they create this awkward entity known as the Coalition Provisional Authority, which was a disaster, diplomatically and strategically?

But I voted to give the president authority and I’ve said many times that I regret the way he used the authority. I haven’t said I made a mistake or I wouldn’t have given it to him again. I made the best decision I could at the time, based on my assessment.

I think my position differs with the administration largely with respect to the execution and implementation of the policy, which I think has been a terrible series of blunders.

There are many people in the Democratic Party who are pushing for the U.S. to leave Iraq. What about those folks who say “cut and run”?

Well, I’m not saying that. I’m saying that if we don’t change what we’re doing, our chances for success are pretty limited. This undermines our capacity to take action that is in our interest and in the interest of Israel and our other allies.

I’ve joined onto a very reasonable proposition put forward by Senators Carl Levin (D-MI) and Jack Reed (D-RI), which says we’ve got to do three things: You’ve got to have an internal political process in Iraq. We haven’t told the Iraqi government, “You’ve got to deal with the unfinished business, and we’re going to push you to do it and we’re going to help you do it, but we’re not going to stand by and have you ignore doing it.”

Second, why haven’t we done more to put Iraq’s neighbors on the spot? This international process would say, “You have a big stake in the survival and stability of this regime — you, Saudi Arabia; you, Jordan; you, Kuwait.”

And third, we have to send a message to the Iraqis that they’ve got to do a better job of securing themselves, which is where this concept of phased redeployment comes.

But this proposal says nothing about cutting and running. It says to the Iraqi government, “You’ve got to disarm your militias. You’ve got to rein in your Interior Department, which has been a haven for death squads. You’ve got to get the Islamic clerics, both Sunni and Shi’ites, to issue fatwas (Islamic decrees) against this sectarian violence.”

There’s a lot we could be doing. And you know what? I don’t see it.

How do you view the war on terror?

In this new type of war, we have several big tasks ahead of us. First, we must do everything possible to prevent any of them — Iran, Al Qaeda and the like — from getting nuclear weapons or other types of weapons of mass destruction. That’s the ballgame.

I don’t think our strategy is working. Six years ago, North Korea and Iran were not as close as they are today to having nuclear weapons. Let’s ask ourselves, “What do we need to do differently to be more effective?” Let’s get the best people we can to deal with this problem. And let’s have a robust discussion and not shut people’s ideas down because they don’t agree with yours.

That’s one of my criticisms of the administration, which has the attitude that it’s their way or no way. I’m not sure any of us have the way. That’s why we need, in a democracy, a vigorous debate. There are a lot of people who may have some good ideas that have basically been ignored up until now.

 

Eli Chomsky

UNIFIL Soldiers Wounded in Southern Lebanon by ’30-Year-Old’ Landmine

Wednesday, September 14th, 2016

A group of UNIFIL soldiers were injured Wednesday when their vehicle inadvertently ran over a “30-year-old landmine” in southern Lebanon, according to the Al Masdar News website.

A military source in Beirut told Al Masdar the UNIFIL vehicle was patrolling along the Lebanese-Israeli border, driving off pavement near the village of Maqam, when it hit the landmine.

The explosive reportedly dated back to the Lebanese Civil War, according to the report. The UN soldiers were rushed to the nearest field hospital by the ambulance that arrived at the scene.

UNIFIL — the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon — was originally created by the UN Security Council in March 1978 to “confirm Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon, restore international peace and security and assist the Lebanese government in restoring its effective authority in the area,” according to the agency’s website.

After the 2006 Second Lebanon War, the Security Council “enhanced” that mandate. The force was ordered to monitor the cessation of hostilities; accompany and support the Lebanese armed forces as they deploy throughout the south of Lebanon; and “extend its assistance to help ensure humanitarian access to civilian populations and the voluntary and safe return of displaced persons.”

In addition, the force was tasked with ensuring that no weapons or armed militias other than the Lebanese government forces were to enter the region — a mandate that was blithely ignored within seconds after it was set forth.

Since the ceasefire (UN resolution 1701) the Hezbollah guerrilla terrorist group has taken control over the country and has exerted significant control over the government as well. The terrorist group possesses possibly the largest arsenal in the entire hemisphere, thanks to the generous support of Iran, and has completely restocked and exceeded the prior supply level of rockets and missiles it held at the start of the Second Lebanon War.

The group has been threatening for the past five years to eventually invade Israel and seize control of the Galilee. As a result, the Israeli military has begun to include military and civilian drills that feature evacuations of the civilian populations of major northern Israeli cities, in response to those threats.

Hana Levi Julian

$50 Million in US Military Aid Delivered to Lebanon

Tuesday, August 9th, 2016

Lebanon has received some $50 million in military aid from the United States, including 50 armored Humvees, 40 Howitzers and more than a thousands tons of ammunition.

“An entire ship full of military equipment,” was how U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon Elizabeth H. Richard described the aid to the Lebanese army, intended to provide support in the fight against jihadists near the Syrian border.

Lebanon is the fifth largest recipient of U.S. foreign military financing in the world, the ambassador told reporters.

The Lebanese Army works hand in hand with the Iranian proxy Hezbollah terrorist organization, a sworn enemy of the State of Israel.

Hezbollah possesses one of the largest and best-equipped arsenals in the world, which includes approximately 100,000 rockets and missiles of varying ranges capable of reaching all parts of the Jewish State.

Hana Levi Julian

New Military Watchtowers Dot Lebanese Side of Israel’s Northern Border

Monday, May 23rd, 2016

Northern Israeli residents are worried about new observation posts built by the Lebanese Army which have sprung up along the border. In Lebanon, to speak of the Lebanese Army in many ways is also to speak of Iran’s proxy group, Hezbollah.

The group has grown from a terrorist organization into a powerful guerrilla military force trained, equipped and funded by Iran. It fields cabinet ministers and parliamentarians from a mammoth political machine that has prevented the country from electing a new president for more than a year.

Although built by the Lebanese Army it is clear the new watchtowers, situated on the Lebanese side of the border, can see into Israeli towns and kibbutzim as well as Israeli military bases on behalf of Hezbollah — if not with its own personnel.

United Nations Security Council Resolution 1701 – the cease-fire agreement that ended the 2006 Second Lebanon War – prohibits weaponry in this area, which is supposed to be a demilitarized zone.

The watchtowers provide a bird’s eye view of what is happening in Israel’s military and civilian fields and roads as well. But the Israeli army is monitoring the situation, according to the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit. “There is no change in the security situation,” said a military spokesperson on Monday (May 23).

It took barely a month to build the towers, according to a resident of Moshav Zar’it who spoke with Ynet and who said three such watchtowers are within sight of nearby Kibbutz Admit.

Another overlooks Kibbutz Hanita, according to security coordinator Erez Adar, who told Ynet the structure is less than a third of a mile away. “We are worried about getting shot at from the tower as it’s so close.

“While the Lebanese Army may be the ones in the tower for now, it’s clear that during the next war, these positions will be manned by Hezbollah.”

Hana Levi Julian

Hezbollah Sabotages French Effort to Advance Lebanese Presidential Elections, Unrest to Continue

Sunday, April 17th, 2016

French President Francois Hollande is wrapping up a two-day visit to Lebanon where he did his best to convince leaderless lawmakers to move ahead towards presidential elections, with little visible success. Hollande’s next stop on his Middle East tour is Egypt and Jordan.

The Iranian-backed Hezbollah terrorist group cancelled a meeting between Shi’ite representatives and visiting French President Francois Hollande in Beirut on Sunday. Kuwaiti newspaper Al Seyassah quoted Lebanese ministerial sources as saying a minister from the terror group’s political wing, Lebanese MP Mohammed Ra’ad, was slated to meet Sunday with Hollande.

The French president was in Beirut Saturday and Sunday. Lebanon has been without a president since 2014. Internecine conflicts are rising in the country due to the raging civil war in Syria and the expanding threat of the Da’esh (ISIS) terror group flowing over their common border.

The unrest in both Syria and Lebanon has prompted Israeli defense officials to beef up its military troops along the border with both countries.

“I want to visit Beirut again when there is a president in Lebanon but the issue lies in the hand of Lebanese lawmakers … who should resolve the deadlock and elect a head of state,” Hollande said Saturday following talks with Lebanese parliament speaker Nabih Berri and Prime Minister Tammam Salam.

The country has been without a leader nearly two years, in part because Hezbollah keeps boycotting the parliamentary process that leads to the presidential elections.

Hollande is expected to reiterate France’s support for the Lebanese army, according to Yalibnan. Saudi Arabia suspended a $3 billion military grant to Lebanon earlier this year. Lebanon is home to more than a million Syrian refugees, the equivalent of a quarter the country’s population of 4.5 million. There are also nearly 400,000 Arabs who migrated to the country when they fled their homes during wars with Israel. They are still held at arms’ length as refugees in 12 camps after moving to the country after more than half a century.

The French leader was also scheduled to travel Sunday to an informal Syrian refugee camp in Lebanon’s eastern Beka’a Valley to speak to families who will be resettled in France.

Hana Levi Julian

Battle Ends Between ISIS-linked Fighters and Lebanese Army in Tripoli

Monday, October 27th, 2014

After two days of heavy gunfire, the streets are now silent in Tripoli, Lebanon’s second-largest city.

Lebanon’s army and Islamist fighters linked to Syrian rebels, the Jabhat al Nusra (Al Nusra Front), Al Qaeda and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terror groups have ceased fighting.

But not until after they had claimed the lives of 11 soldiers and eight civilians.

The two-day battle was the worst Syrian-linked violence in Lebanon since the summer, when Islamist fighters linked to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorist group, and Jabhat al Nusra (Al Nusra Front) invaded the Lebanese border town of Arsal.

The Syrian “rebels” – actually foreign terrorists, for the most part – took 20 Lebanese soldiers captive in that raid. Three have since been executed.

The mostly Sunni Muslim city has seen numerous battles – overflow from the civil war raging in Syria – over the past three-plus years.

Israel has seen overflow from that war as well, with some of the shelling and missile fire directed into the Golan Heights. Occasionally it becomes unclear who is firing what at whom; on those occasions, the IDF fires back at the source, and the silence on Israel’s northern border returns.

Due to the sectarian nature of the Middle East, Lebanon has had its share of instability. Sunni Muslims have for the most part lined up behind the Syrian rebels, who are themselves a divided group, some having broken away to become jihadists and others having remained moderate.

Shi’ite Lebanese have supported the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, along with the Hezbollah terrorist organization. Both are generously patronized by Iran. Russia has also been an eager participant, supporting Assad with weapons as well.

Since February, Lebanon has been a country without a president. That is when the term of former President Michel Suleiman expired – and none has been elected to take his place.

For now, the army has managed to clear nearly all the positions held by the Islamist gunmen, according to Sunni politician Samir Jisr, who spoke with international media. Almost. There are still a few positions left to clear around the city.

Hana Levi Julian

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/battle-ends-between-isis-linked-fighters-and-lebanese-army-in-tripoli/2014/10/27/

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