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    Violence Erupts as Islamic State Rises (1881)
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    According to the Stop the War Coalition, British support of the Lebanese Army in its fight against IS militants is more likely to intensify the conflict rather than stop it.

    EDINBURGH, December 1 (Sputnik), Mark Hirst – A multi-million dollar British aid package to Lebanon, that includes the installation of a series of border watchtowers on the Lebanese-Syrian border, will only exacerbate the violence and unrest in the region, Chris Nineham of the Stop the War Coalition told Sputnik News on Monday.

    “Such involvement by the British in that part of the world will inevitably exacerbate problems in that part of the world,” Nineham told Sputnik.

    “I think the time has come for Britain and the West to say the solutions in the Middle East have to be taken by the people themselves. It is a very unpleasant legacy that has been created by the West but I don’t believe that having created those problems the West has any role in solving them, and certainly not by supplying more arms, military advisers and military intervention,” he said.

    Nineham’s comments came after The Telegraph newspaper revealed earlier in the day that Britain had played a previous “secret” role in the construction of 12 watchtowers along the Lebanese-Syrian border, part of a $273 million support package which, a spokesman for the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) told Sputnik, would help bring “political stability” to the region.

    “We are now delivering a $273 million support package, building the Army’s capacity, helping Lebanon host over 1.2 million refugees from Syria, supporting vulnerable host communities and working for political stability,” Neil Hulbert of the FCO said.

    “Since 2012, the UK has been delivering a $31 million program to ‘train and equip’ the Land Border Regiments of the Lebanese Army,” Hulbert added.

    The Telegraph reported that one of the British-made watchtowers installed in July had played a pivotal role in repelling an attack by Islamic State fighters near Ras Baalbek, a small town in northern Lebanon. The installation of the military defensive positions was being supervised by British military advisers, the report stated.

    “It is not unusual to have ‘British Training and Advisory Teams’ in country like this,” retired Lieutenant Colonel Stuart Crawford, now a defense analyst, told Sputnik.

    “There are British training and advisory teams all over the place,” he stated.

    “What is interesting is that Lebanon would have previously been seen an area of French influence. Clearly there is some machinations going on to prevent the spread from Islamic State into the Lebanon and that is what they are trying to do, they are trying to contain it,” Crawford added.

    But Stop the War’s Chris Nineham warned that rather than contain the threat from Islamic State, British military support would only make the situation in the region more “dangerous and volatile”.

    “We have to understand the days of Western intervention – whether it is direct intervention or arming particular states and providing military support and advice – are not the solution and those days are over,” Nineham told Sputnik.

    “I think British people understand that in general further military intervention, after the record of the past 13 years, will only exacerbate what is already a very dangerous and volatile and unpleasant situation,” Nineham added.

    In a statement issued Monday the UK Government said that in addition to the installation of border watchtowers in Lebanon, the British had also supplied 164 military Land Rovers, 1,500 sets of body armor, installed a secure radio communication network, built a series of border watchtowers. In November, the UK Parliament also approved an additional supply of military equipment worth $5.6 million.

    The Foreign and Commonwealth Office also confirmed 3,500 Lebanese troops had received training at the UK-funded “training village” at Hamat, Lebanon.

    Violence Erupts as Islamic State Rises (1881)


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