INTRODUCTION: In Lebanon the Arab peacekeeping force -- made up mainly of Syrian troops -- has started to take over ports that were used for smuggling by both right and left-wing factions during the civil war.
INTRODUCTION: In Lebanon the Arab peacekeeping force -- made up mainly of Syrian troops -- has started to take over ports that were used for smuggling by both right and left-wing factions during the civil war. Last week the docks at Jounieh and Jiyeh were closed and the Arab League forces also moved in on smaller harbours.
SYNOPSIS: These are scattered along the Lebanese coastline and about 32 of them were private Christian ports in small coves, which were built with looted cranes and handled contraband ranging from scotch whisky to Sherman tanks. According to reports from Beirut private airstrips will be shut down next, followed by party radio stations. A statement from the arab League headquarters said that any vessel not headed for an official Lebanese port would be seized -- the official ports are Tripoli, Beirut and Sidon.
These moves are seen as part of an overall plan to bring to whole of Lebanon under a strengthened central government, headed by President Elias Sarkis, who took office during the final spasms of the civil war. Mr. Sarkis is shortly expected to announce key appointments in his government--new heads of security, police and the army and observers in Beirut say that his strength will be judged by his ability to impose his own candidates.
But for some time to come Syrian troops will be staying in Lebanon -- the bulk of them made up of former illegal labourers who were ordered out of Lebanon during the fighting.