Lebanese army mutineers have seized tow more garrisons in the south of the country -- one at Rashaya and one at Khiam, only five kilometres (three miles) from the Israeli border.
GV Fort Maurice Granger of Rashaya.(2 shots)
SV Soldier guarding entrance.
GV Troops and guns in fort.(2 shots)
SCU Major Ibrahim Chahine speaking in French.
GV Troops at entrance of Khiam barracks.(2 shots)
GV Troops in barracks (with tanks and armoured personnel carriers)(3 shots)
On the slopes of Mount Herman this fort in the town of Rashaya represents one of the latest victories of the self-proclaimed Lebanese Arab Army. The soldiers are mutineers of the regular army and their desertion has deepened the country's political and military crisis. On Friday a state of emergency was declared by military command in Beirut.
Outpost commander Major Ibrahim Chahine is a follower of Lieutenant Ahmed Al-Khatib, the rebel who left the army in January with a few hundred supporters to form his own fighting force. Major Chahine says he will remain in the fort --- which is well-equipped --- until he receives further orders. Like other commanders and soldiers he has ignored a plea by the military high command to surrender and the offer of an amnesty. Only hours after the latest amnesty offer the rebels took over three more garrisons. The situation has led to despair in the capital. Prime Minister Rashid Karami apparently intends to resign again. But President Suleiman Franjieh is resisting calls for his resignation.
While the rebel soldiers are holding firm, there have been splits within the government and the military. The Beirut District Commander General Abdel-Aziz Al-Ahdab declared a state of emergency and called for the Lebanese Government to resign within 24 hours. But President Franjieh is refusing to give in to the demands and said he will reject all illegitimate methods of government.
Meanwhile, the situation near the Israeli border appears tense. This is the garrison of Khiam, a mere five kilometres from the border. It was taken over on Wednesday by the rebels. The soldiers have said their aim is purely defensive. For the moment, their aim appears to fight the government rather than the Israelis.
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Background: Lebanese army mutineers have seized tow more garrisons in the south of the country -- one at Rashaya and one at Khiam, only five kilometres (three miles) from the Israeli border.
The mutineers are following the example of Lieutenant Ahmed Al-Khatib who rebelled with supporters in January and set up what he calls the Lebanese Arab Army.
The mutinies have deepened Lebanon's military and political crisis and Prime Minister Rashid Karami said on Thursday (11 March) he intended to resign in despair.
And on Friday (12 March) the Beirut District Commander, General Abdel-Aziz Al-Ahdab declared a state of emergency and called on the Lebanese Government to resign within 24 hours. He proclaimed himself "temporary military governor" and demanded that president Suleiman Franjieh should step down so that parliament could elect a new head of state within a week.
But President Franjieh, broadcasting on a rival channel, told the nation he would reject all illegitimate methods of government.
The Lebanese army rebels scorned the High Command's offer of an amnesty and continue to seize yet more barracks. The military commander for North Lebanon, Colonel Abdel Maid Shehab, was shot dead by unidentified assailants on his way to the northern city of Tripoli, scene of one of the latest rebellions.
Meanwhile in Rashaya and Khiam, the mutineers continue to hold their ground and wait for further orders.
The commander of Rashaya - on the slopes of Mount Herman - Major Ibrahim Chahine said the army of rebels was formed to create opposition to the government in order to find a progressive solution to the civil war.