LEBANON: Druze leader Jumblatt says Iran can supply nation's weapons
The leader of Lebanon's Druze community says the country should buy weapons from Iran, among others, to use to defend itself against the Israeli "enemy," Iran's English-language Press TV is reporting on its website.
The U.S. has given Lebanese security forces millions of dollars in aid, equipment and training.
But Washington refuses to give Lebanon any weapon that could harm Israel, a staunch American ally.
That's OK, says Walid Jumblatt. If the United States fails to provide Lebanon with such weapons, it could turn to the Islamic Republic, which already is believed to supply weapons to Hezbollah, the Lebanese Shiite political organization and militia.
"Until now all the weapons delivered to the Lebanese army were American weapons or weapons from the Arab world," Jumblatt said. "We need anti-tank weapons and anti-aircraft weapons... I think we can find such weapons in Iran or in Russia or in China."
Just a little while ago, Jumblatt was the darling of American conservatives, feted during visits to Washington during the Bush years, when he was a staunch member of Lebanon's U.S.-backed March 14 alliance of political parties..
But the colorful mop-haired politician has since bolted from the pro-American team and cozied up to the Iranian-backed Shiite militia Hezbollah.
Jumblatt acknowledged increased jitters about another Israeli military offensive into Lebanon. The Israelis "are not hiding that," Jumblatt told Press TV, which published the full text of the interview on its website.
"They are saying we will attack or we will one day come to Lebanon again," he said.
Lebanese officials have constantly asked Washington for heavy weapons, but have gotten the cold shoulder.
"They will tell you these weapons will be used against Israelis," Jumblatt said. "OK, but my enemy is Israel."
-- Borzou Daragahi in Beirut
Photo: Walid Jumblatt meets with then-Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice at Saad Hariri's headquarters in Beirut after the Doha Accord ended fighting in Lebanon. Photo credit: Dalati&Nohra / NNA