Sources said that the commander of the Lebanese army, General Joseph Aoun, warned in France today, Wednesday, that the economic crisis has put the army on the brink of collapse, and that Paris has offered to provide urgent food and medical aid to the forces in the hope of preserving law and order.
France, which has led relief efforts to Lebanon, is seeking to put pressure on rival Lebanese politicians who have so far failed to agree to the formation of a new government and implement reforms that would provide foreign financial aid to their country.
Discontent is growing among the Lebanese security forces; Because of the collapse of the currency that erased most of their salaries.
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In unusual statements in March, Aoun said that his warnings to Lebanese officials that this could lead to an internal collapse had fallen on deaf ears.
According to three sources familiar with his visit to Paris, Aoun told senior French officials that the situation was fragile and unsustainable.
A source familiar with the meetings held today, including a meeting with President Emmanuel Macron, said, “We are concerned that the Lebanese army is the backbone of the country.”
Two sources said France would provide food and medical supplies to military personnel, whose salaries have fallen sharply in recent times, prompting many of them to take additional jobs.
A source said France was working to arrange a conference in June that would seek to garner support from the international community for the Lebanese army.
The Lebanese pound has depreciated 90 percent since late 2019 in a financial collapse that poses the greatest threat to Lebanon’s stability since the 1975-1990 civil war.
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The Lebanese Army has long been seen as an institution that represents a rare example of unity and national pride. The collapse of the army at the start of the civil war, when it split along sectarian lines, accelerated Lebanon’s slide to militia control.
Aoun said in a statement after his meeting with his counterpart, General Francois Le Quanter, Chief of Staff of the French Army: The Lebanese army is going through a severe crisis and it is getting worse.
Macron’s office said, in a statement, that France would continue to support the Lebanese army