'LAF set to receive Iranian weaponry'

Lebanese army says it's in need of anti-aircraft arms, which could change regional strategic balance.

lebanese army 224 88 (photo credit: AP)
lebanese army 224 88
(photo credit: AP)
The Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) has accepted an offer by Iran to provide it with weapons produced by the Iranian defense industries, a newspaper in Lebanon reported on Wednesday. According to Al-Akhbar, the proposal was sent from the Iranian Embassy in Beirut. In their response, LAF officers said the army was in need of anti-aircraft weaponry. Israeli officials have expressed concern that the existence of such weapons in Lebanon, whether in the hands of Hizbullah or the army, would constitute a change in the strategic balance between Israel and Lebanon. The Jerusalem Post could not independently confirm the report. In recent years, the Lebanese army, which is one of the smallest in the region, received weapon shipments from the United States, especially during and after the 2007 crackdown its security forces launched against the Jihad Sunni group Fatah al-Islam. The Lebanese military, in its own words, regards Israel as its "primary antagonist and enemy," while maintaining Hizbullah's right to "resist," despite the military's official role in ensuring that the organization does not rearm south of the Litani River.