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Factional Politics Limit Effectiveness of Lebanon Army

The Lebanese Armed Forces are well trained and armed, but handicapped by Lebanese politics.
Relatives of car bomb victims inspect the damaged cars at the bomb explosion site in front of al-Salam mosque in the port city of Tripoli in northern Lebanon August 24, 2013. Bombs hit two mosques in the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli on Friday, killing at least 42 people and wounding hundreds, intensifying sectarian strife that has spilled over from the civil war in neighbouring Syria. REUTERS/Jamal Saidi (LEBANON - Tags: CIVIL UNREST POLITICS) - RTX12UWT
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"This damn army …" Those are the first words pronounced by Nader Kabbara when asked about the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF). A 19-year-old student from Tripoli, he is standing next to Al-Salam mosque ready to clean the visible damage along with a dozen volunteers. Just 24 hours before, on Aug. 23 and right after the end of the Friday prayer, a car bomb exploded a few meters away from the mosque. A few minutes after, a second one blew up at another mosque a couple of kilometers from Al-Salam. The death toll has risen to 47, exceeding the previous week's attack in the Hezbollah stronghold of Dahiyeh, in the southern suburbs of Beirut, and making the double blast the deadliest attack since the end of the civil war in 1990.

"The problem is that the army works for only one part of the country," continues Nader, "everybody knows for who and we don't want them here."

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