The Ongoing Border Challenge: Lebanese-Syrian Smuggling Dilemma

News Bulletin Reports
2023-09-14 | 09:54
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The Ongoing Border Challenge: Lebanese-Syrian Smuggling Dilemma
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3min
The Ongoing Border Challenge: Lebanese-Syrian Smuggling Dilemma

In the decisions issued by the Cabinet last Monday, we witnessed a reiteration of the same joke from 2011 in a new version for the year 2023.

The joke involves closing the illegal crossing points on the border with Syria and intensifying intelligence and security efforts to control these borders! Indeed, it is a joke because closing the borders is not feasible. 

Stopping politically protected Lebanese smugglers is currently not an option, and no decision has been issued regarding this matter.

Closing the crossings and apprehending the Lebanese smugglers who operate these illegal routes is not feasible because, according to information obtained by LBCI, during the last Cabinet session, General Joseph Aoun, the Commander of the Army, stated that he would need to deploy 40,000 soldiers to close the border with Syria.

 However, the number of troops currently stationed on the border is 4,800, which means that the required resources are eight times the current deployment.

Halting the top Lebanese smugglers who operate illegal crossings is also not possible. Firstly, because they are politically protected, sometimes even by senior party officials or parliament members, as stated by judicial sources to LBCI. 
Secondly, their movements are precise and well-organized, and they are often located on the Syrian side more than within Lebanese territory. 

Thirdly, within the security and military agencies, individuals, including officers and soldiers, are complicit with them and benefit financially from their activities. This includes the army, general security, and customs; those exposed are usually referred to military courts for prosecution.

Moreover, arresting top Lebanese smugglers is not the only challenge. Stopping the smuggling of Syrians entering Lebanon through these illegal crossings is also impossible, partly due to the intricate terrain of the overlapping borders. The following explains the situation:

In 2023, until September 6th, the army stopped approximately 23,000 Syrians who entered Lebanon clandestinely. 

The Syrian side refused to accept them from the Lebanese army, and the Lebanese General Security accepted only a small number of them because their detention centers could not accommodate these numbers. Consequently, the military referred the larger group to the judiciary, which issued orders for their deportation back across the border.

In conclusion, neither will the land borders with Syria be closed, nor will top smugglers be apprehended. 

Smuggling will continue until a political and security decision is made at the highest levels.

 Alternatively, Lebanese authorities might consider the advice of one of the senior judges: If you cannot close the borders with Syria due to a lack of necessary resources, mine the illegal crossings and publicize the news. 

Let the smugglers and escapees bear the responsibility for their actions.
 

News Bulletin Reports

Ongoing

Border

Challenge:

Lebanese-Syrian

Smuggling

Dilemma

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