Syrian Regime Sows Divisions, Threatens Regional Stability - Al-Monitor: the Pulse of t... - 0 views
while Lebanese politicians talk about strengthening the LAF, most of them do not really want a strong national army. A strong LAF would mean empowered state institutions that, in turn, would weaken feudal political leaders who have been in power for decades. Lebanon’s current weak state institutions allow politicians to offer their supporters services such as medical care, education, and welfare support
The United States and other outsiders became increasingly aware of the LAF’s needs after it ousted an al-Qaeda inspired group entrenched in the Palestinian refugee camp of Nahr al-Bared in 2007. An underequipped, undertrained army was sent into an urban fighting environment. Commanders managed the battle via regular cell phones, and soldiers had little ammunition, no real air support, and limited intelligence. The LAF won the battle after three months, but it cost the lives of 169 soldiers.
This confrontation showed the international community the potential value of the LAF and highlighted the importance of a strong state capable of curtailing the growth and infiltration of violent extremist groups in Lebanon. But because of the continued state of war between Lebanon and Israel, most Western countries donated insufficient, secondhand, or technologically outdated military equipment.
With no real defense strategy or a serious procurement budget, the LAF is pushed into a domestic security mission for which it is not prepared. Should it play that role effectively, it would clash with the multitude of local politicians protecting rogue armed supporters. The fact that it cannot ensures a weak military institution to the advantage of the same old established political elites, most of whom are former civil war warlords. This domestic role also comes at the expense of an external security role, in which the army would take over Hizbollah’s self-declared mission of protecting Lebanon against Israeli aggressions.