On the occasion of the 73rd anniversary of the Lebanese Army’s establishment, the commander of the armed forces, General Joseph Aoun, stated that despite its success in defeating terrorists, including preemptive operations, the military should remain vigilant to defy “the Israeli enemy.”
“The doctrine of the Lebanese Armed Forces is steadier than ever and its compass will remain stable and firmly aimed at defying the Israeli enemy and the threat of terrorism that only serves the Israeli interests and objectives,” Aoun said.
The commander further stressed that the Arab region was engulfed in crises and conflicts that would “undoubtedly have their repercussions” on Lebanon.
“Lebanon has achieved a sweeping victory over terrorism. Nevertheless, this does not mean that it is now safe, for the Israeli enemy is the main party to benefit from terrorism in the region, due to its greed for our land and natural resources. It will take advantage of every chance possible to reach its objectives and avidities,” he said.
Lebanese authorities slammed the Israeli move as a “direct threat to stability” and urged to halt construction, with General Aoun issuing a stark warning that the country’s military would use every possible means to confront potential “Israeli aggression,” no matter what the cost may be.
In March 2017, Beirut released a tender for exploring natural reserves in the eastern Mediterranean, which sparked a row with the Jewish state over its own territorial claims to the area. The tensions have escalated, with both nations claiming the rights to the oil reserves and reached a new height when the Lebanon-based Hezbollah movement threatened to attack Israel if it attempted to extract oil or natural gas in the offshore waters.
In 2006, the Israeli armed forces invaded Lebanon in response to a cross-border raid by Hezbollah, which led to the killing of several Israeli soldiers and the abduction of two others. The subsequent conflict lasted 34 days, claiming the lives of some 1,200 Lebanese and about 160 Israelis, and ended with a UN-brokered ceasefire.