Lebanon's military future in jeopardy, army commander says

Lebanon military's future in jeopardy, top army commander says
2 min read
27 May, 2021
Commander Joseph Aoun explained to top figures in Paris that the current state of affairs cannot continue, sources said.
Joseph Aoun met France's President Emmanuel Macron while in Paris [Muhammed Ali Akman/Anadolu Agency/Getty-file photo]

Lebanon's economic meltdown is jeopardising the future of the nation's armed forces, the country's military commander said on Wednesday.

Commander Joseph Aoun made the remarks while on a trip to France, according to sources who spoke to Reuters.

Aoun met with President Emmanuel Macron during his trip, according to Lebanon's French-language L'Orient-Le Jour newspaper. The French leader described Beirut's military as a "true pillar of the country's stability".

Aoun explained to top figures in Paris that the current state of affairs cannot continue, Reuters heard from three informed sources.

Lebanon's armed forces will receive healthcare provisions and food from Paris, the news agency learned from two sources.

Members of Lebanon's armed forces have often had to take on additional work elsewhere, as their income's worth has lately plummeted by a factor of around five.

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Aoun said his country's military was experiencing "a great crisis which is set to get worse", according to a statement following a meeting with French Chief of the Defence Staff François Lecointre.

A source, seemingly from the French side, told Reuters: "We're worried because the Lebanese army is the backbone of the country".

The news agency was told that the French are attempting to organise a conference aiming to galvanise the world to help Lebanon's armed forces.

However,  Macron said that "the formation of a government capable of implementing the necessary reforms in Lebanon remains the condition for mobilising a longer-term international aid", the Elysée related.

This comes after Aoun claimed in March that his cautions to Lebanese leaders of a possible "implosion" had gone unheeded.

France has been a key driver in aid in its former colony amid its current economic crisis, which has seen the Lebanese pound dive by 90 percent against the dollar on the black market.

In December, alongside the UN, Paris helped host an online conference aimed at securing Lebanon aid.