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Monday, September 25, 2006

Lebanon seeks anti-aircraft and anti-tank missiles against 'Israeli aggressiveness'

Meeting with his Belgian counterpart Andre Flahaut today, and with the Belgian ambassador to Lebanon, Lebanese Defense Minister Elias Murr asked the Belgians for anti-aircraft and anti-tank missiles in order to defend his country against 'Israeli aggressiveness.' Murr also asked for helicopters "in order to transfer elite commando units and other units to the places where quick interference is needed," and armored vehicles according to a report in the London-based Arabic daily al-Hayat.

Murr referred to Hezbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah's speech on Friday, in which Nasrallah stated that his organization was 'running out of patience' in light of the Israeli 'violations' in southern Lebanon. Murr stated that "When the Israeli enemy withdraws and the Lebanese army deploys along the Blue Line, the Lebanese army will respond to any Israeli violation, using all means, that's for sure."

But what's amazing about this article is Murr's conception of the Lebanese army's mission:
Murr defined the Lebanese army's needs so that it could carry out its missions.

"The army's basic duty is to defend southern Lebanon against the Israeli enemy. This entails two types of weapons which we will have to receive in the coming year – antiaircraft missiles in order to protect Lebanon's sky against Israeli violations, and antitank missiles in order to protect the land against the Israeli tanks.

"The Lebanese army does not possess the financial options for that, and therefore, through the government's relations and through my personal relations with defense minister in the EU and the Persian Gulf and through our friendships in the world, we are working to guarantee that this equipment is received by the Lebanese army," he said.
I thought that we fought a war in July and August against Hezbullah, and not against the Lebanese army, which was portrayed as being forced into this by Hezbullah. As far as I can tell, Murr is not a Hezbullah representative in the Lebanese cabinet, and therefore his aggressive statements are quite eye-opening. Perhaps the 'enemy' in Lebanon needs to be re-defined.


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