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How to stop Lebanon’s army from entering a political maze

The lebanese army has come under political attack by some who hold a grudge against it

Nayla Tueni

Published: Updated:

The Lebanese army marked its 70th anniversary on August 1. The media campaign failed to add joy to this occasion, which is marked with grief this year. The army, which is sacrificing its members to defend the country’s borders, combat terrorism and impose security, is not met with the positive vibes so desperately needed. It has come under political attack by some who hold a grudge against it, or by some who oppose its performance at addressing certain affairs. But their opposition to the army tends to trespass the boundaries of constructive criticism, playing to a sectarian tune in an attempt to harm the military institution’s morale or divide its ranks. So far, however, these attempts have miserably failed.

Others try to dictate the military and deprive it of its decision-making capabilities. Meanwhile, the political authority’s decisions also affect appointments within the institution. Such actions aim to push high-level military personnel to resign or to submit to a politician’s will in hopes of attaining a higher ranking position.

Some try to exaggerate their “love” for the military by idolizing certain officials and personifying the 70,000-strong institution by limiting it to celebrations of one officer or a few. This is detrimental to the rule of law and the governance of institutions.

Whether these stances embody good intentions or not, it’s important to raise awareness that the army should be embraced as a major institution that defends the country.

At some point, we forgot about the martyrs who fell from among military ranks as they defended our homeland

Nayla Tueni

What does ‘real support’ mean?

Real support begins with preventing political interferences in the military institution’s efforts, preventing the army from entering political mazes.

Real support is represented by electing a new president who believes in the military institution and provides it with what it needs to confront challenges. Real support must also be provided by a government who holds accountable anyone who insults the army and seeks to weaken it to serve the interests of terrorist groups inside and outside the country.

Support must also be through providing the necessary logistic services and materials so the army can always fight back.

Finally, support from the judiciary must be implemented through severe punishment of those who assault the army. The judicial authority must not submit to any interference and must stand true to its oath of protecting the country.

At some point, we forgot about the martyrs who fell from among military ranks as they defended our homeland, because we try to avoid reopening old wounds. It is important to remind all Lebanese of the soldiers who were taken captive by armed terrorist groups in Arsal’s outskirts as a result of wrong political and military decisions. These soldiers’ families have been in pain awaiting news of their sons’ fate ever since their capture and it’s been one year without achieving any breakthroughs, despite negotiations.


This article was first published in al-Nahar on August 6, 2015.
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Nayla Tueni is one of the few elected female politicians in Lebanon and of the two youngest. She became a member of parliament in 2009 and following the assassination of her father, Gebran, she is currently a member of the board and Deputy General Manager of Lebanon’s leading daily, Annahar. Prior to her political career, Nayla had trained, written in and managed various sections of Annahar, where she currently has a regular column. She can be followed on Twitter @NaylaTueni

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