INTRODUCTION: In divided Lebanon, attempts to re-establish the strength of the central government are continuing.
GV ZOOM Ship in Beirut harbour unloading personnel carriers (2 shots)
GV & TV Personnel carrier towed across dock by truck (2 shots)
GV & SV Personnel carrier unloaded (3 shots)
GV Personnel carrier driven onto storage park (2 shots)
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: INTRODUCTION: In divided Lebanon, attempts to re-establish the strength of the central government are continuing. Following a recent spate of bombing attacks, troops loyal to the Lebanese government took up positions in and around the capital, Beirut. Recently, the army began receiving new equipment from the United States.
SYNOPSIS: The first consignment to arrive was a batch of armoured personnel carriers. They were delivered to Beirut port and unloaded under careful supervision by heavily armed troops. The carriers from the U.S. are badly needed if Lebanon's army is to go into action with some degree of safety during Beirut's frequent periods of murderous sniper fire.
Forty-four of the carriers were delivered. At a cost of nearly five million U.S. dollars they represent a significant level of expenditure by the central military authorities. By the time the re-equipment programme is complete, Lebanon will have spent more than 100 million dollars -- all on American arms.
During the Lebanese civil war, sectarian strife led most soldiers to join the militia of their own religious community. But over the past two years the army has been rebuilt -- to 25,000 men. However, at least 10,000 still have sectarian affiliations. meanwhile, 80 separate private armies are at war in Lebanon. The two largest -- the Palestinians and the Christian Falangists -- have at least 20,000 men each.