France provides first weapons to Lebanon for IS fight
19 April 2015, Nirapad News: The first French weapons from a US$3 billion Saudi-funded program will arrive in Lebanon on Monday as allies seek to bolster the country’s defenses against the Islamic State (IS) in Iraq and Syria and other militants pressing along its Syrian border.
Anti-tank guided missiles are set to arrive at an air force base in Beirut, overseen by French defense minister Jean-Yves Le Drian and his Lebanese counterpart, Samir Mokbel.
France is expected to deliver 250 combat and transport vehicles, seven Cougar helicopters, three small corvette warships and a range of surveillance and communications equipment over four years as part of the US$3 billion modernization program.
It is being entirely funded by Saudi Arabia, which is keen to see Lebanon’s army defend its borders against militant groups, particularly the IS and Al-Qaeda-linked Al-Nusra, instead of leaving the job to Hezbollah militants, who are backed by its regional rival, Iran.