Global Security Watch--Lebanon: A Reference Handbook

By David S. Sorenson | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 6
Lebanon’s Military Forces

Unlike most of the militaries in the eastern Mediterranean, Lebanon’s military did not participate in the numerous wars that have marked the history of the area since World War II. Thus Lebanon’s small army has neither the honor that comes from victory nor the shame that accompanies defeat. There are few statues of military heroes in Lebanon as there are in places such as Syria, Jordan, and Egypt, where most public squares have a bronze image of a great general astride a horse. There are no large military cemeteries in Lebanon, though the civilian graveyards are swollen with casualties from Lebanon’s numerous civil conflicts. Indeed, most of the wars involving Lebanon have been fought by private militias, with the professional Lebanese military standing on the sidelines.

Lebanon’s military does have a political tradition, though. In May 2008, General Michel Suleiman became Lebanon’s president after a long delay, and General Michel Aoun remained a powerful figure in Lebanese politics. Both had previously served as the commander of the Lebanese Army. Other presidents also have served in the Lebanese military, including Fouad Chehab, and Émile LaHood, who both also served as chief of staff of the army.


THE ORIGINS OF THE LEBANESE MILITARY

Like many other postcolonial countries, Lebanon’s armed forces are a legacy of its colonial past. Thus in 1916 the French created the units that ultimately became the Lebanese armed forces, romantically calling the unit “The Legion of the Orient.” After France received the League of Nations mandate to govern Lebanon, it created the Troupes Spéciales du Levant, a military commanded by

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Global Security Watch--Lebanon: A Reference Handbook
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • Introduction 1
  • Chapter 1 - The Modern History of Lebanon 7
  • Chapter 2 - The Demographics of Lebanon 49
  • Chapter 3 - Political and Economic Development in Lebanon 69
  • Chapter 4 - Hezbollah in Lebanon 103
  • Chapter 5 - The Lebanese Regional Neighborhood 121
  • Chapter 6 - Lebanon’s Military Forces 135
  • Chapter 7 - The United States and Lebanon 145
  • Epilogue 157
  • Appendix A - Biographies 161
  • Appendix B - Chronology 169
  • Appendix C - Documents 171
  • Appendix D - Presidents and Prime Ministers of Lebanon 187
  • Glossary 191
  • Index 193
  • About the Author 197
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