BEIRUT — A shipment of 100 armored patrol vehicles sailed from the U.K. on Tuesday as a donation from the British government to the Lebanese Armed Forces to secure the northern and eastern borders.
The Land Rover RWMIK — or Revised Weapons Mounted Installation Kit — vehicle package is worth £1.5 million (U.S. $2 million) and “will further reinforce the stability on the Lebanese border with Syria and help the LAF to counter efforts by terrorists and smugglers to cross into the country,” according to the news release issued by the U.K. Embassy in Lebanon.
The U.K. previously supported Lebanon’s military by deploying four land border regiments, constructing more than 75 border towers, providing 350 Land Rovers, and training more than 11,000 LAF personnel to counter extremists and smugglers seeking to infiltrating Lebanon from Syria, which has been a problem for years.
“I am delighted that the U.K. has been able to help with this donation. These vehicles will make a real difference to the work of the land border regiments, whose efforts make life safer for all communities in Lebanon,” said Martin Longden, Britain’s special envoy to Syria. “It’s a great practical example of the friendship and collaboration between the armed forces of our two countries, and the U.K.’s genuine commitment to a strong and stable Lebanon.”
Lebanese expert and retired security forces brigadier Naji Mlaeb stressed the necessity of such vehicles to support the country’s border security mission.
“These vehicles will facilitate the transportation of armed forces in the rugged terrain of the borders, whether northern or eastern ones, where most roads between the towers are not even paved but are dirt roads opened by the Lebanese Army to move between towers,” Mlaeb told Defense News.
“As the borders with Syria are very long, there is an impossibility to monitor them through personnel or even mines to prevent sneaking or smuggling. That’s why the Land Rover RWMIK will facilitate the four regiments’ mission in border security.”
Agnes Helou is a Middle East correspondent for Defense News. Her interests include missile defense, cybersecurity, the interoperability of weapons systems and strategic issues in the Middle East and Gulf region.