Skip to main content

Lebanon army chief warns of 'threats of the Israeli enemy'

General Joseph Aoun calls for 'full readiness' on southern border to preserve stability and face 'agressive intentions' of Israel
An Israeli tank at an army position overlooking southern Lebanon on November 16 (Reuters)

Lebanon's army chief urged his soldiers on Tuesday to stand fully ready at the southern border to face the "threats of the Israeli enemy".

General Joseph Aoun also called on the troops to stay vigilant for the "good implementation" of UN resolution 1701 to "preserve stability" at the border with Israel.

Jospeh Aoun, Lebanon army chief (AFP)

'I call upon you for full readiness at the southern border to face the threats of the Israeli enemy'

"I call upon you for full readiness at the southern border to face the threats of the Israeli enemy and its violations, and what it is indicating in aggressive intentions towards Lebanon, its people and its army," the army's Twitter account quoted Aoun as saying.

The comments marked a rare acknowledgement by the military of the risk of a new conflict at a time of political crisis in Lebanon.

"The exceptional political situation that Lebanon is going through requires you to exercise the highest levels of awareness and vigilance," Aoun was quoted as saying.

The "cessation of hostilities" resolution ended a destructive war in 2006 between Israel and Lebanese Hezbollah, the Iran-backed military and political movement. The two sides have since avoided a major conflict.

Reuters quoted an anonymous senior Israeli official as saying General Aoun's comments were "nonsense".

Separately, the Israeli military said it had been holding a drill near Israel's border with Syria since Sunday.

The UN maintains a peacekeeping force on the border. Under the resolution, the Lebanese army is responsible for security on its side of the border in a zone from which any other armed force, including Shia Hezbollah, is banned.

Tensions rose earlier this year between Hezbollah and Israel, which has grown alarmed by Iran and its Lebanese ally's expanding influence in Syria and the region.

The shock resignation of Saad al-Hariri as prime minister this month, in a broadcast from Saudi Arabia, plunged Lebanon into a domestic crisis.

It has also thrust the country back onto the forefront of the regional rivalry between Sunni Saudi Arabia and Shia Iran. 

Stay informed with MEE's newsletters

Sign up to get the latest alerts, insights and analysis, starting with Turkey Unpacked

Middle East Eye delivers independent and unrivalled coverage and analysis of the Middle East, North Africa and beyond. To learn more about republishing this content and the associated fees, please fill out this form. More about MEE can be found here.