A Lebanese army soldier holds his weapon after being deployed to tighten security following clashes between Lebanese soldiers and Islamist gunmen in Tripoli.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The Lebanese military is due to acquire some $3 billion worth of French military hardware, according to the English-language newspaper The Daily Star.
Saudi Arabia subsidized the weapons purchase.
The agreement calls for France to provide Lebanon with warplanes and cruisers.
Lebanon is also due to receive armored vehicles, seven helicopters and light aircraft.
Syria-based groups such as al-Qaida’s Nusra Front and Islamic State have attacked Lebanon and taken soldiers captive since last summer in some of the worst spillover from the four-year civil war. The weapons are part of a Western initiative to strengthen the Lebanese Armed Force’s ability to fend off attacks by those terrorist groups.
Israel has traditionally been uneasy about weapons shipments to Lebanon for fear that the arms will end up in the hands of the Iranian- backed Shi’ite organization Hezbollah.
Western and Arab governments, meanwhile, have long sought to counter Hezbollah’s influence by bolstering the Sunni community that has long opposed Iranian and Syrian meddling in Lebanon.