Lebanese Army troops patrol a street of the northern city of Tripoli. (AFP PHOTO)
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When Speaker Nabih Berri said he would prod the government this week into recruiting 3,000 Army members and 1,000 General Security and Internal Security Forces personnel, he did so conscious of the fact that he had been the target of at least two planned assassination attempts in the past four months. His call was welcomed by Interior Minister Nouhad Machnouk, who said deployment levels for both the Army and the security forces have reached unprecedented levels, requiring more manpower along the border. Military manpower, including the navy and air force, has already seen expansion in the last four years, from a force of 59,000 in 2010 to some 65,000 this year.The armed forces include 11 infantry brigades, five intervention regiments and three elite special operation units, and according to Nerguizian, its principle combat units are undermanned and overstretched.To that end, the Army in particular has been stealthily building its position on the ground by establishing two border regiments along the Syrian frontier totaling some 1,300 men and, according to Nerguizian, hopes to set up two more, funding and manpower permitting.
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