BEIRUT (Agencies): The Lebanese army command has announced it is taking part in psychological warfare training and exercises in cooperation with an American team.
The operation is being held “as part of expertise exchange and joint training with specialized teams,” it said.
Lebanese Marine Commandos, as well as a Jordanian special forces team, carried out joint maritime patrols and training on beach occupation as part of “ResoluteUnion2022,” it added.
The military activity comes at a time of political stalemate in Lebanon. There has been conflict between Prime Minister-designate Najib Mikati and President Michel Aoun over mutual accusations of hindering the formation of a new government.
However, Mikati is expected to visit Aoun next week after tensions between the two sides showed signs of easing.
A statement issued by the president’s press office on Thursday night said that “the president has never closed the doors of the presidential palace to anyone, let alone the prime minister-designate.”
It added: “What truly happened is that the president was expecting a new approach from the prime minister-designate in light of the remarks he (the president) made on the suggested cabinet lineup in an attempt to protect it, given the challenges and the critical and dangerous circumstances facing the country and that cannot sustain any miscalculations.”
Aoun’s office denied “any offense to the position of prime minister.”
Meanwhile, strikes in the Lebanese public sector have now reached the state-run National News Agency, leaving media outlets without an official news source.
The protesters are mostly seeking a wage increase as they say their current pay is insufficient to cover even their transport costs.
The strikes are happening against the backdrop of the central bank’s decision to allow judges to withdraw their salaries at an exchange rate of 8,000 Lebanese pounds to the US dollar, rather than the official rate of 1,507 pounds to the dollar.
MP Ayoub Hmayed said: “The citizens’ situation is tragic, affecting public authorities, the public sector, security and military agencies, contractors and retirees.”
He added that “with the ongoing absence of government reforms to regulate the work of public institutions, and paralysis affecting all facilities, we are heading toward the unknown.”
Meanwhile, Lebanese troops have been positioned to the east of the southern town of Houla, facing the Israeli site of Abad across the border, in response to the deployment of Israeli forces in the area.
The move came after two shots were fired into the air from the Israeli side to intimidate a number of young Lebanese approaching the border fence from the Lebanese side.
It also comes less than 48 hours after an inflammatory speech by Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah regarding the maritime border demarcation with Israel and five days after Israeli army spokesperson Avichay Adraee said a Lebanese suspect had been arrested after moving from Lebanon into the Misgav Am area in Israeli territory.
Israeli forces “will keep working to prevent any attempt to cross the border and violate Israel’s sovereignty,” Adraee said.
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