Lebanese Army Blasts Israeli Defense Chief for Saying It's Being Run by Hezbollah

Sources in Lebanon's military rebuke claims, citing U.S. support: 'Does Lieberman think America and Britain fund Hezbollah?'

Lebanese soldiers sit on top of an armored personnel carrier during a media trip organized by the Lebanese army, on the outskirts of Ras Baalbek, northeast Lebanon, Monday, Aug. 28, 2017. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)
Hassan Ammar/AP

Lebanon's army responded with anger Wednesday after Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said it has lost control to Hezbollah and was no longer independent, but rather a part of the terrorist group's armed forces.

“The Lebanese army has become an integral part of the Hezbollah force and under its command. The Lebanese army has lost its independence and become an inseparable part of the Hezbollah force,” Lieberman said Tuesday.

A senior Lebanese military official who spoke with the Al Joumhouria newspaper said that Lieberman's comments were full of contradictions and could not be taken seriously.

According to the official, Lebanon's army receives generous support from the United States and Britain in what he described as a testimony to the trust these nations place in Lebanon's armed forces.

"Are America and the Britain then, according to Lieberman, funding Hezbollah?" the official asked rhetorically. "Does Lieberman have some information that the world powers do not know?" he quipped.

He said that army was completely independent and beholden only to the country's political leadership. He vowed that army was ready and prepared to battle terror from Syria as well as threats to its border from the south from Israel, should it threaten to attack.

Speaking to soldiers at the Israeli army's headquarters in Tel Aviv as he hosted them for an event for the Jewish holiday of Sukkot, Lieberman said that Israel's next war will be fought on two fronts, with Hezbollah along Israel's northern border and Gaza in the south, regardless of where the initial conflict begins or what causes it. 

“There are no more one-front wars. That is our basic assumption. That is what we are preparing the military for,” Lieberman said regarding the importance of preparing for various scenarios, warning the next conflict with Lebanon would also involve Syria.

"If once we talked about the Lebanon front then there is no longer such a front it will be one front of Syria and Lebanon together, Hezbollah, the Assad regime and all the collaborators of the Assad regime,” said Lieberman.