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INDEPENDENCE DAY

'We will not allow any breach of civil peace' in Lebanon, army chief says

On the eve of the 79th anniversary of Lebanon's Independence, Gen. Joseph Aoun calls on the State to "protect and follow up" the agreement reached on the maritime border with Israel.

'We will not allow any breach of civil peace' in Lebanon, army chief says

Lebanese Army chief Joseph Aoun on March 8, 2021. (Credit: Lebanese Army/File photo)

BEIRUT — The head of the Lebanese Army, Gen. Joseph Aoun, warned on Monday, on the eve of the 79th anniversary of Lebanon's Independence, that his soldiers "will not allow any breach of civil peace," as the country continues to confront an unprecedented economic crisis coupled with an executive power vacuum in both the presidency and the cabinet. 

Since Nov. 1, Lebanon has been experiencing a total power vacuum at the level of the government and presidency amid fears of security incidents. Security forces have been hit hard by the economic crisis, seeing the value of their salaries plummeting as the Lebanese lira depreciates.

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Can Joseph Aoun walk the line?

Gen. Aoun also recalled the "success" of the agreement recently reached with Israel under the auspices of the United States regarding the maritime border between the two countries. He urged the authorities to ensure "the protection and followup" of  the agreement, the result of long negotiations.

Security situation and political temptations

"With the country entering a presidential vacuum and the rise of political tensions, protecting security and stability remains our priority," Aoun said in a speech to his troops. Quoted by the National News Agency, the army chief went on to say he "will not allow any breach of civil peace, nor any disruption, whatever the objectives are. Our mission was to protect Lebanon, its people and its land, and will remain so."

In early November, Gen. Aoun, who has been mentioned as a potential candidate for the presidency, had already warned against the risk of security disturbances in Lebanon in the context of the executive power vacuum. This situation "could lead to attempts to exploit the situation to undermine security," he said.

Maritime border

The army's commander-in-chief also spoke about the issue of the maritime border between Lebanon and Israel, a historic agreement having been reached on this subject on Oct. 27. "The success of the border dossier represents a message of hope for our country, and an important step on the way out of the crisis through investment in the natural resources," Aoun said. "This success requires the protection and followup by the institutions of the state, in a way that serves the interest of the nation and the Lebanese," he added.

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Maritime border: What is at stake for Lebanon in the deal with Israel?

The maritime border agreement allows for the exploitation of offshore gas and oil by Lebanon; however, it will take years before the country benefits from the exploitation of any such reserves. Israel has already started to drill and exploit its resources.


BEIRUT — The head of the Lebanese Army, Gen. Joseph Aoun, warned on Monday, on the eve of the 79th anniversary of Lebanon's Independence, that his soldiers "will not allow any breach of civil peace," as the country continues to confront an unprecedented economic crisis coupled with an executive power vacuum in both the presidency and the cabinet. Since Nov. 1, Lebanon has been...