In the Syrian conflict there is a new player who doesn’t want the laurels of the winners got only Russia and Iran. On Tuesday about his ambitions, Vladimir Putin has declared the Prime Minister of Lebanon Saad al-Hariri. According to him, the Lebanese army is ready to step up the fight against terrorists on the border with Syria, but it needed modern Russian weapons. Preferably at a discount.
Photo: United States Department of State.
Until recently Lebanon, despite the proximity to Syria, is not directly intervene in the conflict – it was not before. For 2.5 years the country was in a state of protracted political crisis: the new President has been elected only with the 46th (!) attempts at the end of 2016. But since under the Constitution, Lebanon is a parliamentary Republic, to restore shaken during anarchy bridges, and most importantly – to discuss the prospects of participation of the Lebanese army in the final, as already believe many, the defeat of the terrorists in Russia came to the Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri.
First, Beirut wants more intensive cooperation with Moscow in the field of trade and investment. In particular, we expect that Russian companies will participate in tenders to develop gas fields in the Levantine basin, where, according to geological exploration, may contain up to 3.5 trillion cubic meters of gas and 220 million tons of oil. “Russian companies have a great chance to win the license. The current situation is very good,” he assured Hariri, noting that the tender results will be announced in December and will be a perfect “Christmas gift.” In addition, the Prime Minister hopes to negotiate the purchase of a large batch of Russian weapons, which, according to him, will go to the fight against ISIL (is Russian terrorist group) and internal “challenges.”
– Our political relations are at an excellent level. I would like to bring to this state and our relations in military-technical cooperation, – said Putin Hariri.
Recall that until recently, the Lebanese have adhered to the “policy of noninterference”, in every corner declaring that the situation in Syria is none of their business, and climb back under any circumstances they’re not going. However, the apparent progress in the fight against terrorists, who, with the support of Russia and Iran has made the Syrian army, made official in Beirut for a change of rhetoric.
The new government understands that the contribution to the common victory that will allow them to actively defend their interests, when “clearing” will be stripped and connect to business politicians and diplomats. In late July, Lebanon has announced a large military operation near the border with Syria, and in less than two months has managed to achieve considerable success. However, to completely rid themselves and neighbors of the terrorists and stop the violence, military units battling ISIS, we need better weapons. Including the Russian production.
– We already have Russian equipment. We now look to replace outdated equipment with more modern designs and new technologies, – said Hariri.
The Lebanese do not hide that want to buy in Russia: the list includes a whole Arsenal, including Kalashnikovs, sniper rifles, grenade launchers, anti-tank missile complexes “cornet” and T-72 tanks.
However, there is a very significant problem is money. Lebanon still has not paid for previous contracts (including referring to the sanctions imposed against Russian banks), and is not able to pay for a new one. Closed to the press mode Hariri was going to discuss with Vladimir Putin the financial details of a future transaction. The Lebanese hope that the common goal of combating terrorism Russia will agree to reduce the price or give credit for payment of deliveries.
As for the possible negative reaction of the United States, which until recently was a major seller of military equipment to Lebanon, but now at the urging of Israel stopped deliveries, it is apparently not too worried about the Prime Minister.
– It is unlikely that the US will gain against the military might of Lebanon, which will benefit in the fight against ISIS and other terrorist organizations – blithely said Hariri – as for the disagreements between Moscow and Washington, let them sort out between themselves.
After the end of hostilities, Lebanon was expected, looked forward to playing not the last violin in the orchestra of the middle East. However, unlike Russia, the local authorities hope that in honor of Bashar al-Assad will sound not “Ode to Joy” and at least “Requiem”. Furthermore, Saad Hariri has plans to turn his country into a “hub”, which will flock to foreign investments and donations earmarked for the restoration and development of Syria. As they say – no harm in dreaming. However, Vladimir Putin did not immediately pull the Lebanese Prime Minister from heaven to earth.
For me it is very important to know the position of leaders of all countries of the region,
friendly assured the Russian President, knowing full well that decide the fate of Syria and the Assad government are definitely not in Beirut.