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Suleiman announces landmark
Saudi military grant

The military assistance comes as French President Francois Hollande is scheduled to meet with Saad Hariri in Riyadh.

President Michel Suleiman. (AFP/Dalati & Nohra)

BEIRUT - President Michel Suleiman on Sunday evening announced that Saudi Arabia made a landmark $3 billion military grant to Lebanon to purchase weapons from France. 

 

“I am pleased to announce to the Lebanese people that Saudi King [Abdullah bin Abdel Aziz] has decided to offer Lebanon a generous grant of $3 billion to help the Lebanese Armed Forces receive new weapons,” the president said in a televised address to the nation.

 

“The King has specified that the weapons will be bought from France… and I hope Paris responds to this initiative quickly.”

 

Suleiman also called for forming a new cabinet “as soon as possible, which is what I sought during my visits and phone calls.”

 

“However, I never discussed this issue or the issue of extending my term with Saudi Arabia or US President [Barack Obama] or anyone else,” he added.

 

President Suleiman called for more consciousness, calm, and cooperation with the state’s legal institutions and the LAF.

 

The Saudi military assistance comes as French President Francois Hollande is scheduled to meet soon with Future Movement leader MP Saad Hariri in Riyadh.

 

In an interview published Sunday in pan-Arab daily Al-Hayat, Hollande called for the respect of "constitutional deadlines" in Lebanon, starting with "holding presidential elections.

 

Lebanon has been gripped by a fierce political deadlock which has seen the country’s legislature extend its term in May after a failure to agree on a parliamentary electoral law, while PM-designate Tammam Salam has been unable to form a new government almost nine months after his appointment.


However, recent reports have indicated that Suleiman has been moving toward green-lighting a neutral cabinet against the wishes of the March 8 coalition that rivals March 14 for power in the country.

Lebanon’s constitution stipulates that the president and premier-designate can sign decrees approving a government, but the parliament holds final sway on its activation with a vote of confidence.

Even if a new cabinet did not receive a vote of confidence, it would replace Najib Miqati’s current resigned government as the caretaker cabinet.

Hezbollah has warned that the formation of a fait accompli cabinet could cause strife in the country, which is already suffering from a worsening security situation that has seen a series of car bombs in recent months.

The Shiite party’s deputy chief, Naim Qassem, earlier in the week called on Suleiman to “remain unbiased” and warned that a fait accompli cabinet would obstruct the upcoming presidential elections scheduled for May 2014.

President Michel Suleiman. (AFP/Dalati & Nohra)

The grant offered by the kingdom is part of a Saudi contribution toward allowing the LAF to sign an arms deal with the French state.

  • Fenrir | No God but (...)

    Hanibaal has it completel and totally right! Lebanon, the supposed bastion of secularism is making a deal with the devil who degrades women, and bashes those not in their takfiri mold. What a disgrace that Lebanese politicians have their hands out to these bribes. Good.job Lebanon! Now you can add a new suspect to your string of bombings.

    December 29, 2013

  • Hanibaal-Atheos

    In essence, the Saudis are buying up the Lebanese political and military establishments for the purpose of fighting the Shiites and Hezbollah. Since the Americans, prompted by their Israeli bosses, have always refused to help the Lebanese army, the Saudis, now upset at the Americans for not intervening in Syria, are taking matters in their own hand and funding the sectarian war in Lebanon. Two problems: 1- The Lebanese Army is controlled by Hezbollah, so the money and the weapons may ultimately fall into the "wrong" hands, unless the Lebanese Army splits along sectarian lines like it did back in the 1970s and 1980s. 2- This is exactly the kind of transaction-influence that foreign and regional powers have always exercised in Lebanon, supporting their own ponies in the Lebanese macabre pony show, which will lead to fueling sectarian civil strife. In other words, this Saudi grant = civil warfare and further degradation of the Lebanese theater. The only solution to all these problems: Split up Lebanon into self-governing Christian, Sunni and Shiite cantons, establish Beirut as a joint federal capital that belongs to no one and to everyone. After all, the megalomaniacal Lebanese always claim Lebanon to be the Switzerland of the Middle East, when in fact Lebanon is centuries away from even beginning to resemble Switzerland, what with the garbage, the pollution, the corruption, the disfigured environment, the dysfunctional government, the endless warfare, and its fundamentally uncivilized people. By cantonizing the country, the Lebanese would at least begin to have a justification to claim their country as the Switzerland of the Middle East.

    December 29, 2013