Lebanon’s army commander Friday warned his troops to remain alert and “fully prepared” to defend their land in the face of continued Israeli threats.
“Be alert and fully prepared to face Lebanon’s foes, as the Israeli enemy does not hesitate to issue threats to attack our land; its hostile intentions towards us have not stopped,” General Joseph Aoun said to soldiers during the Order of the Day.
Aoun also said that terrorists and terror cells had not stopped their plans to “tamper with our internal stability.”
Lebanon was one of the world’s first countries to defeat ISIS and push it outside its borders during a 2014 operation where the Lebanese army defeated ISIS and Nusra Front militants.
The United States is the number one donor of aid and weapons to the Lebanese army. Washington has invested and donated more than $2 billion in the military since 2006.
Meanwhile, Israel continues to occupy parts of southern Lebanon in Kfar Shuba and Ghajar. Tel Aviv has long defended its actions over the continued possession of Iran-backed Hezbollah’s illegal arms and missile capabilities.
In October, Lebanon and Israel began indirect talks over their disputed maritime borders. The talks have been brokered by the US and hosted by the United Nations.
But this has not stopped Israeli threats, according to the Lebanese army chief.
قائد الجيش للعسكريين: كونوا على يقظة وجهوزية تامة في مواجهة أعداء لبنان، فالعدو الإسرائيلي لا يتورع عن إطلاق التهديدات بالاعتداء على أرضنا، ونواياه العدوانية تجاهنا لم تتوقف، وخلايا الإرهاب التي لم تكف عن التخطيط للعبث باستقرارِنا الداخلي.#أمر_اليوم #الجيش_اللبناني #LebaneseArmy— الجيش اللبناني (@LebarmyOfficial) November 20, 2020
“The bet is on you in the face of these dangers, so there is no toleration for those who tamper with the security and stability of our country, and there is no toleration for those who attempt to undermine the supreme national interest and tamper with civil peace,” he said Friday.
Aoun also said that Lebanon is going through an “unprecedented stage” of political, social, and economic difficulties, exacerbated by the Aug. 4 Port of Beirut explosion and the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
“We are confident that with our unity and solidarity, we will surpass this stage,” he said.
General Aoun has commanded the army since 2017, having previously headed an infantry brigade following counter-terrorism and military training in the US. He is not related to Lebanon’s President, Michel Aoun.