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Lebanon’s army suffers with currency collapse as desertions mount

The drastic devaluation of wages threatens soldiers’ performance in the tumultuous period Lebanon is going through.
LEBANON-VOTE A Lebanese army soldier mans the turret of a humvee (HMMWV) while on patrol in the southern city of Nabatiyeh, on May 15, 2022 during the national parliamentary elections. (Photo by Mahmoud ZAYYAT / AFP) (Photo by MAHMOUD ZAYYAT/AFP via Getty Images)

BEIRUT — The deepening economic crisis in Lebanon and its currency collapse are hitting hard its most critical security institution — the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) and security forces — as soldiers skip duty, seek part-time jobs or even desert their ranks. 

Omar, a 35-year-old Lebanese soldier, doesn’t go out much these days. Using a pseudonym because he was not authorized to speak to the press and could face repercussions, he said he can no longer afford the lifestyle he had become accustomed to. 

Due to the drastic devaluation of the Lebanese pound, Omar’s monthly salary has dropped from what it was worth three years ago — $1,300 — to a mere $75. “Look at the difference,” he told Al-Monitor. “Now it is nothing.” 

Lebanon’s state coffers are drained, and the majority of the population is in poverty as the country suffers from one of the world's worst economic crises since the mid-1800s.

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