Intelligence exchange enhances Lebanon's security, experts say

By Junaid Salman in Beirut

Lebanese soldiers take part in an operation to expel the 'Islamic State of Iraq and Syria' from the mountainous areas along the border with Syria. [Al-Mashareq]

Lebanese soldiers take part in an operation to expel the 'Islamic State of Iraq and Syria' from the mountainous areas along the border with Syria. [Al-Mashareq]

As a member of the international coalition fighting the "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria" (ISIS), Lebanon has been receiving intelligence information that has helped it in its own battle against the group, experts tell Al-Mashareq.

The Lebanese army’s success in expelling ISIS from along its eastern border with Syria has led to increased co-operation between its intelligence agencies and their foreign counterparts, which will help it in the days ahead, they said.

Though the group has been ousted from Lebanon, the threat of retaliation remains, they added, stressing the need for security co-operation and vigilance.

During a September 15th ceremony to honour units that took part in Operation Fajr al-Juroud (Al-Juroud Dawn), Lebanese army chief Gen. Joseph Aoun said the pre-emptive war against terror groups will continue.

Lebanon's army and security agencies face new challenges, he stressed.

Lebanese intelligence agencies routinely exchange information with their counterparts in other countries, and have done so increasingly in recent years, said political analyst George Shaheen.

This exchange of information has been taken more seriously since Lebanese intelligence warned its European counterparts of planned attacks, including the Charlie Hebdo attack in Paris and an incident in Brussels, he told Al-Mashareq.

"Lebanon made an impression with those agencies by taking the initiative and furnishing them with information on planned terrorist operations in their capitals that did actually take place," he said.

Terrorism has become globalised and the exchange of information and warnings between security agencies is becoming a standard procedure, he added.

Pre-emptive military operations

As a member of the international coalition, Lebanon has been receiving and exchanging intelligence information with security agencies around the world, said military expert Brig. Gen. Khalil Helou, a retired Lebanese army officer.

"The army and security agencies in Lebanon have the capability to confront terrorism and have succeeded over the past three years in carrying out a large number of pre-emptive security operations," he told Al-Mashareq.

Security forces apprehended a number of terror cells before they could execute their plans, and sometimes even before the planning stage, he said.

The army is controlling the northern border well and is taking measures to further secure the north-eastern border, he added.

When they were routed from the border areas, "terrorists in Lebanon lost a fulcrum that used to help them carry out their operations", said military expert and retired Lebanese military officer Brig. Gen. Charles Abi Nader.

"The quality of the work performed by security agencies has not changed, and they continue to perform to their utmost capabilities," he told Al-Mashareq.

These agencies are capable, and have proven their effectiveness by succeeding in protecting Lebanon, he said, noting that military assistance provided to the army by a number of allies has contributed to the success of its battle.

"The army has an essential role on the border, and is preparing to take control of the entire border," he said. "The security of neighbouring villages is firmly in place, especially since the terrorists have withdrawn."

The Lebanese army has three border control regiments deployed in the north, north-east and east of the country.

The surveillance towers can hold a large number of soldiers and are equipped with day/night cameras and electronic monitoring devices that detect individuals and vehicles and transmit the information to the Army Command’s operations room.

Do you like this article?

0 Comment(s)

Comment Policy * Denotes Required Field 1500 / 1500