BEIRUT: Tripoli MP Mohammad Kabbara Friday hailed Saudi Arabia’s $1 billion grant, which he said opened the door for Lebanese to enlist in the Army and security forces to help defend their country through the legitimate institutions as opposed to militia enrollment, in clear reference to Hezbollah’s armed wing.
“Defending the nation against all types of terrorism can only be through enlisting in the security and military forces that represent the state, whereas claims about supporting the Army through sectarian and factional militias can only lead to weakening the state and the Army,” Kabbara said in a statement.
The lawmaker from Future Bloc urged the people hailing from the mainly Sunni northern city, Lebanon’s second largest, to seize the occasion of the government’s decision to recruit 12,000 new members in the Army and security apparatuses to demonstrate their true wish to protect the nation from terrorism.
“Those who really want to protect the country from terrorism, are those who enlist in the security apparatuses and the military institution, not those who run militias and sectarian groups,” Kabbara said.
“The Saudi grant, once again, demonstrates the Saudi kingdom’s support to the Lebanese state, and its opposition to the creation of militias, unlike Iran and the [Syrian President Bashar] Assad regime, which only back militias,” he added.
The Future MP also called upon the government to request the expansion of the scope of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1701 to allow the deployment of the U.N. peacekeeping force on Lebanon’s border with Syria.
“The international community bears responsibility with the Lebanese Army in combating terrorism, which they say is threatening world’s capitals,” Kabbara said.
The Saudi grant was made as the Army battled takfiri militants from Syria’s Nusra Front and the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in the town of Arsal on Lebanon’s eastern border with Syria.
The five-day fighting in Arsal, which was overrun by the jihadists, claimed the lives of at least 17 troops, 60 militants and 42 civilians. Also, 19 soldiers are still missing along with an unknown number of policemen, believed to be held by the militants.