Speaker Nabih Berri highlighted on Monday the role the residents of the Bekaa region in eastern Lebanon have played in the country and the region over the years, saying that they have not harmed the state, but it has committed shortcomings against them.
He said before a delegation of Bekaa clans: “We discussed with political authorities, Hizbullah officials, and the army command the need for a security plan in the region even at the cost of withdrawing some soldiers in the South and deploying them in the Bekaa.”
The meeting was aimed at tackling the security chaos that has marred the region in recent months through the frequency of kidnappings and crimes.
The security plan is aimed at controlling the spread of outlaws, thieves, carjackers and kidnappers in the eastern region and seeks to gain the people's support in a bid to assist the Lebanese army's mission and make it a success.
Berri added: “You will soon witness the heavy deployment of soldiers throughout the Bekaa. They will demonstrate that you are not outlaws and that the state is concerned with the Bekaa.”
“We do not view the Bekaa as a lawless region, but as an area that needs development. The state is not simply an authority figure, but it also presents grants and projects,” he declared.
He then listed a number of cabinet proposals on development projects for the area.
“Should we deprive the Bekaa of development projects over the security instability that has marred the area?” he wondered.
Moreover, the speaker said that the residents of the Bekaa and the northern region of Akkar have served as the backbone of the army.
“The residents of the Bekaa provided the reserves for the Arab revolt. Do they still play that role?” he asked.
“The residents of the Bekaa have thwarted sectarian disputes over the years and stood against Lebanon's division. The residents have also served as the backbone of the resistance against Israel,” he stated.
“Given this history, why do we now only hear news about kidnappings and drug smuggling in the Bekaa?” he wondered.
“Since Lebanon's independence, the Bekaa has never rebelled against the state and it is a source for army and security forces recruits. Brital is the best example of this history. Is Brital the symbol of car robberies?” he asked the crowd.
An Nahar daily reported on Monday that the army will carry out a security plan to combat outlaws in the Bekaa.
The cabinet approved recently a 1.6-billion-dollar plan to provide the Lebanese army with the necessary equipment and arms. The payments will be made over a five-year period.
Increasing crime, thefts and abductions in the Bekaa have intensified in the past year, although the state institutions have launched a number of campaigns to combat the trend.
The army recently launched a crackdown on assailants in Beirut's southern suburbs and several other areas in an attempt to halt a kidnapping spree of several businessmen and numerous bank robberies.
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