Lebanese army to get backing from a mystery Gulf State

An unnamed Gulf State with deep pockets said that they are prepared to fund Lebanon’s army amidst tensions between the country and neighbouring Israel, Lebanese news outlet Nidaa Al-Watan reported on March 9. 

It has been speculated that Qatar is showing interest in financing cash-lacking Lebanon’s army recruitment drive. The country is in need of roughly 7,000 new recruits and is unprepared for a full-blown war contrary to Israel which enjoy generous western military backing. 

Lebanon’s financing initiative is just in time for the long-forgotten UN Resolution 1701 being on the verge of being implemented. Said resolution was key in establishing a cessation of hostilities between Hezbollah and Israel during the bloody one-month war in mid 2006. 

Lebanese media made the claim that Israel had set a March 15 deadline for Lebanon with regards to reaching a political settlement. Such a claim has been dismissed by the Israeli army. 

The United States, who are no strangers in poking their noses in Middle Eastern affairs, have been pushing for a ceasefire in Gaza as well as between Lebanon and Israel the latter of which would include fully demarcating the two countries’ land boundaries, deploying more Lebanese forces in the south, and pushing Hezbollah fighters several kilometres away from the border. 

READ: Lebanon ill-prepared for war with Israel

Israeli premier Benjamin Netanyahu has previously stated that should militant group Hezbollah, a notable ally of Hamas, refuse to retreat to the Litani River, Israel would turn the country “into Gaza”, an unapologetic nod to him and his government bringing chaos to the besieged Palestinian enclave where 31,000 people have been murdered since October 7. 

Efforts to reach a ceasefire in Gaza in addition to between Lebanon and Israel have been ramped up prior to the start of Ramadan (which began on March 10). 

President Biden recently said that a lack of a ceasefire before the Muslim holy month could result in tensions on a regional scale becoming “very dangerous”. 

The cross-border skirmishes, which erupted at the start of October, have killed 233 Lebanese militant fighters and 30 civilians. 

Nidaa Al-Watan

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