Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea declared Friday that his party would support the creation of a popular brigade to defend border towns in the Bekaa area against any jihadist attack, while stressing that such a paramilitary force should only operate under the supervision of the Lebanese army.
In a speech in Maarab during a Lebanese Forces ceremony, Geagea called for “preventing the movement of arms and gunmen convoys across the border and halting some parties’ continued involvement in the Syrian conflict.”
Geagea was apparently referring to Hezbollah, which has dispatched fighters into neighboring Syria to bolster Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime against an Islamist-led uprising.
He suggested that the Lebanese state “exert strenuous efforts with the relevant regional and international sides in order to deploy international observers along our eastern border to help the army in the mission of controlling and defending the border.”
Geagea said he supports vigilante groups that have been created in some eastern border towns to fend off any attack by Syria-based extremist groups “if it is making the residents feel reassured and safe, ” but he stressed that such groups must operate under the army’s supervision, and “not for the benefit of political parties that brought the Syrian war to Lebanon’s gates.” In another reference to Hezbollah .
Geagea proposed the formation of “a brigade from the Lebanese army supporters, comprised of the sons of the Bekaa border towns who are seeking to guards their towns and villages .”
In reference to the presidential vacuum he underlined that “the fate of four million Lebanese and their political and economic life” should not remain suspended over “the equations in the region and Iran’s share in them.”
“Impeding the presidential vote has not brought a strong president but rather vacuum,” Geagea pointed out, warning that the protracting presidential void might “undermine the political, security and monetary stability.”
“The only way to restore the regularity of the work of institutions … is the immediate election of a president, a president representative who also has the ability to reassure all Lebanese,” he added.