INTRODUCTION: France has resumed arms supplies to the Lebanese Army after a long break.
GV Tank lifting from ship
SV Two men in uniform incorporating CU "France" insignia on sleeve
GV Tank being lifted off ship and onto wharf
GV Tanks moving along wharf
GV More tanks moving all together (3 shots)
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Background: INTRODUCTION: France has resumed arms supplies to the Lebanese Army after a long break. Some 15 tanks were landed in Beirut on Wednesday (16 September) in the first recent shipment of arms which comes just three weeks after the assassination in Lebanon of the French ambassador, Luis Delamare.
SYNOPSIS: The tanks were promised when French External Relations Minister, Claude Cheysson, visited Beirut last month. This consignment is part of a French program to build up the Lebanese Army.
The army disintegrated in 1975-76 during the civil war. It now has only twenty-five thousand men and is in no position to enforce government rule. It's out-manned and out-gunned by a host of Moslem and Christian militias across the country. Private armies, thriving on cash injections from Middle East states with a stake in the Lebanon conflict present a mounting impediment to a political solution. To help stabilize this situation, France has offered to strengthen the Lebanese central government and its army.
Renewed factional fighting together with a series of Israeli ground, naval and air strikes on Lebanon, emphasis the ease with which a flare-up in one part of the country could led to a regional confrontation. Western military analysts say Middle East states are sending increasingly sophisticated weapons into Lebanon to fight out their disputes. The Arab Foreign Ministers are now discussing a Lebanese government working paper which includes a one-year program for rebuilding entente in the war-shattered country and curbing the power of the militias.