Why Iran Equips the Lebanese Army?

05 October 2014 | 15:08 Code : 1939264 Review General category
An essay by Mas’ood Edrisi, Iran’s former ambassador to Lebanon
Why Iran Equips the Lebanese Army?

The visit made by Ali Shamkhani, the Secretary of Iran’s High Council of National Security, to Lebanon, which lasted only one day, was widely analyzed in regional and international media. Perhaps the most important subject which attracted the attention of politicians and the media more than the visit itself was the issue of the military gift about which the Secretary of Iran’s High Council of National Security talked about in Beirut and in his meetings with the Lebanese officials. Iran’s military aid which is given to the Lebanese army this time during the regional unrests caused by the ISIL terrorist group has led to different interpretations and analyses. Considering Saudi Arabia’s closeness to the government of Lebanon and Riyadh’s military aids to the army of this country, some claim that the Islamic Republic of Iran is entering a competition in this regard with Riyadh in Beirut. Nonetheless, the interesting point is that the Islamic Republic of Iran has, several times, stated its readiness with regard to military equipments and this is not a new issue and it cannot be interpreted that, since Saudi Arabia looks to equip the Lebanese army, Iran intended to take the first step by sending this gift.

A look at the history of relations between Iran and Lebanon indicates that Iran has always sought to equip the Lebanese army so that this country would have a solid and strong army. Since Lebanon is threatened by Israel and in order for it to act with discipline and help its people, it needs these equipments. Therefore, Iran has stated its readiness to equip the army of this country. In some cases, Lebanon has welcomed this help and in some cases it has not. Hence, helping the Lebanese army is not a new issue and the Islamic Republic of Iran has always looked to equip the army of Lebanon as a strong army to support its domestic security and be able to help its people in its fight against foreign aggressions especially against Israel.

On one hand, perhaps some propose this view that Iran and Saudi Arabia have reached an understanding on the issue of Lebanon. But it must be said that it seems that there is still some distance until Iran and Saudi Arabia reach an understanding so that coordination would be established in Lebanon.  If this coordination had been formed between these two countries, now the conditions should have been prepared for the election of the president. Thus, what Mr. Shamkhani proposed as Iran’s gift to Lebanon was not a huge aid and of course it cannot be defined along the line of Tehran’s coordination with Riyadh. The first cooperation between Iran and Saudi Arabia in Lebanon should be seen in the election of the president which has not, hitherto, happened. This election must also be reached with the understanding of the Lebanese and regional forces. Of course, this issue must not be ignored that right now there are signs of attempts to resolve regional differences between Iran and Saudi Arabia and Tehran and Riyadh are taking steps in this regard.  Of course, these steps are not strong, but they are being taken. It is natural that one of the issues of difference between Iran and Saudi Arabia is Lebanon. Nevertheless, although the first steps are being taken for the resolution of differences between the two countries, it is too early to expect the success of these steps in a short period of time.

tags: iran lebanon saudi arabia

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