After the start of the Syrian war, international donors stepped in to help form and finance specialized Land Border Regiments. (The Daily Star/Nicholas Blanford)
A version of this article appeared in The Daily Star on May 13, 2017. This article was amended to clarify the ICMPD's work in Lebanon.
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Despite the millions of dollars being thrown at the Lebanese Army, the international community's refusal to publicly engage with Hezbollah's role in securing the country's border leaves numerous unanswered questions. Following Hezbollah Secretary-General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah's statement Thursday that the party was withdrawing from Lebanon's "safe" eastern borders and claims by U.K. Ambassador to Lebanon Hugo Shorter that "over 70 percent" of the frontier was now secure, experts weighed in on the current state of the region.Nerguizian said until recently, the Army had not maintained a specific border deployment plan. Hezbollah, on the other hand, had been the principal actor along the frontier.Nerguizian added that while the three LBRs cover 70-75 percent of the Syrian-Lebanese border, it remains a work in progress.While there may be public misconceptions that the Army and Hezbollah were fighting for posts along the border, Nerguizian said this was not the case.Nonetheless, a Lebanese military expert who spoke to The Daily Star on condition of anonymity, said separately that working with Hezbollah was simply an inevitable reality for the Army, despite the issues it may pose.
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