July 21, 2006
Israeli forces are moving into position on the Israeli Lebanon border, possibly massing for an invasion or incursion into Southern Lebanon. This, as the Lebanese defense minister is declaring that the Lebanese army will meet such a threat with force. "We'll defend our land to the last soldier.” said Lebanese Defense Minister Elias Murr today.
Unfortunately for Murr there are several factors working against him. First of all, his latest call to arms may prove to be only as successful as the last time he did so several days ago when attempting to assemble a force to go in and regulate the Hezbollah militants who control what is now essentially a terrorist zone south of the Litani River in Lebanon. When Murr last issued an order to muster his forces, no one showed up. If only the Lebanese army had gone into to restore order to the country, the Israelis would not be mounting a possible invasion and this current build up of Israeli troops would have perhaps not been necessary.
Also, there is the fact that The Lebanese army is not a significant fighting force capable of doing much damage according to regional experts.
“According to Mustafa Alani, senior security consultant at the Dubai-based Gulf Research Center, most members of the Lebanese military do police work rather than that of a real army.
“It is not a fighting force,” Alani told AFP. “Hezbollah is far stronger than the Lebanese Army.”
The Military Balance lists the army’s equipment as some 310 main battle tanks, mainly old Soviet-made T-54 and T-55 models, 1,257 armoured personnel carriers and 541 pieces of artillery.
It also has a paramilitary force of 13,000 men, a tiny air force of 1,100 servicemen and a navy numbering 1,000 personnel.”
As it stands now, Israeli forces, with the tacit blessings of President Bush, stand poised to attack Hezbollah and their new apparent, if not virtual, allies the Lebanese army.