As more United Nations forces arrive in South Lebanon to maintain peace, efforts continue to rebuild the country's own army.
As more United Nations forces arrive in South Lebanon to maintain peace, efforts continue to rebuild the country's own army. After 19 months of civil war, the Lebanese forces were left fragmented and weak, and the job of supervising security in most of Lebanon fell to a 30,000 strong Arab League Deterrent Froce (ADF). This force remains in control of the North while supervision of the South is gradually being undertaken by the United Nations as Israeli troops withdraw.
SYNOPSIS: The Lebanon's own army is gradually being strengthened-as shown last Thursday when a new group of commandos graduated and was welcomed into the Force. Held and Yarze, the ceremony was attended by several foreign military attaches. Already a unit of Lebanese gendarmerie is on patrol duties on the main highway between the ports of Sidon and Tyre in South Lebanon-the first time in two years that Lebanon security men have gone south of Sidon. Until the Israeli invasion, the area south of Tyre was almost all under palestinian guerrilla control.
The Lebanese Government is anxious to extend its authority in South Lebanon, in co-operation with United Nations forces. Plans are in hand to send some 4,000 troops, the nucleus of the new army, to the South.
Lebanese General Victor Khoury addressed the troops at the latest ceremony on the role the country hopes its soldiers will eventually play. During the recent formation of a new Cabinet of National Unity, Lebanese President Elias Sarkis placed the main emphasis on rebuilding the Army and re-establishing Government sovereignty throughout the country.
An American military team has been in beirut for talks on strengthening the Army and the U.S. Government has promised to provide arms and other military equipment worth 100 million U.S. dollars. Meanwhile the Security Council has voted to raise troop numbers in the south from 4,000 to 6,000.