Lebanese President Michel Suleiman gave a speech emphasising the strength and security of the country’s army on Wednesday, the anniversary of the founding of the Lebanese army.
Speaking from inside the Shukri Ghanem-Fayadieh army barracks, Suleiman, former commander of the armed forces, said the Lebanese army will not accept any compromises over “security, sovereignty, and power,” and that there will be no “mini-states” in the country, as reported by the Lebanese state-run National News Agency (NNA).
But Lebanese Member of Parliament Mouin al-Merhebi does not think the army is operating independently. The Future bloc MP said earlier this week that the Lebanese army is under the control of the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah and the Free Patriotic Movement, stating that the army “does their dirty work,” according to the independent Lebanese news service, NOW Lebanon.
In response to al-Merhebi’s statements, the Lebanese army released a statement on its website, describing them as “false accusations,” and adding that an MP should not use his parliamentary immunity to attack institutions of the state.
Al-Merhebi’s description of the army’s statement as “very silly and full of lies as usual,” was widely reported in the Lebanese media.
In its most recent statement, the army announced it will no longer comment on the statements and reserves the right to bring Al-Merhebi to court.
Al-Merhebi’s party, the Future bloc, is part of the March 14 Alliance, which won the most seats in the 2009 parliamentary elections.
During his speech, President Suleiman also discussed the many conflicts boiling in the region stating that Lebanon has to figure out a way to avoid importing regional conflicts and to deal with the “Israeli enemy’s plans,” said the NNA.
On the same day of Suleiman’s speech, Israeli warplanes violated Lebanese airspace and performed “mock raids” at low altitude, said the NNA. This comes after airplanes violated Lebanese airspace last Monday continuing a history of violation of Lebanese airspace in breach of UN Resolution 1701.
According to the Resolution, passed on 11 August 2006, there should be “no foreign forces in Lebanon without the consent of its Government.”
Last month, Israeli officials were quoted as saying that they plan to wage a war against Lebanon more violent than the previous one which was in 2006 and fought largely between the IDF and the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah.