'The Lebanese Army will fight alongside Hezbollah in a war with Israel'

ByMOSHE COHEN - MAARIV HASHAVUA, YASSER OKBI/ MAARIV HASHAVUA
March 4, 2017 11:47

Since the second Lebanese war the Lebanese army has rearmed itself, strengthening its ability in the air as well as on the ground and sea, with the help of the United States, France and Saudi Arabia.

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Lebanon's Hezbollah scouts carry their parties flag while marching at the funeral of 3 Hezbollah men

Lebanon's Hezbollah scouts carry their parties flag while marching at the funeral of three Hezbollah fighters who were killed in Syria. (photo credit:REUTERS)

Since the Second Lebanese War, the Lebanese army has rearmed itself, strengthening its ability in the air as well as on the ground and sea, with the help of the United States, France and Saudi Arabia.

In the past two years, a new challenge has risen on the northern front. Should Israel go to war with Hezbollah, the Lebanese army would fight on the Shi’ite terrorist organization’s side, Maariv, the sister publication of The Jerusalem Post, quoted Israeli security officials as saying on Friday.

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According to the officials, unlike Israel’s 2006 war with Hezbollah in Lebanon, a future war would feature the Lebanese Armed Forces on Hezbollah’s side.

The army had originally rearmed itself in order to deal with internal terrorism, however they also strengthened their ability to fight an army such as the IDF.

While the army may not have specifically advanced weaponry, they do currently have more ability than before to fight the IDF, including more precise anti-tank rockets.

The Lebanese army is made up mostly of Christians, although Lebanese from all ethnic groups and religions serve in the army as well, which is under the rule of President Michel Aoun, a political ally of Hezbollah.

Many Shi’ites also serve in the army, as well as in Hezbollah.

“Shi’ites serving has no correlation to the strengthening of the army,” officials in Israel said. “They have always served. The strengthening came from the army’s rearming as well as its commander- in-chief, Aoun and Hezbollah.”

Aoun, 81 years old, was once a Lebanese Armed Forces officer, and in the 1980s was an ally to Israel. He has since changed his views. Due to changing circumstances in the country, the Christians have grown closer to the Shi’ites, and Aoun was able to win their support, taking office four months ago.

In an interview with Egyptian TV two weeks ago, Aoun hinted that Hezbollah and the Lebanese Armed Forces are working side-by-side.

“The Lebanese army is not strong enough to fight Israel face-to-face,” he stated.

“Because of that, Hezbollah is necessary. There is no contradiction between them.

The people of Hezbollah are southerners, they are people of the earth. They protect themselves when Israel threatens or invades them.”

Aoun has said that Hezbollah’s weapons are not considered a problem for Lebanon.

“Hezbollah is a significant factor in protecting Lebanon,” Aoun said.

The website Al-Ahed, which works closely with Hezbollah, published on Thursday what it called a “bank of targets for the next war” with Israel.

According to the website, Hezbollah is targeting nine centers it has declared are holding nuclear and chemical weapons. The site has also declared how many employees each center has.

The article featured photos depicting Hezbollah members using Russian-made F-300 missiles to damage the Dimona reactor, which they claim boasts 10 floors and 2,700 employees.

The list included other targets it claimed store missiles and nuclear weapons.

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