Lebanon.. The economic situation forces soldiers to work in other professions

Lebanon.. The economic situation forces soldiers to work in other professions
Lebanon.. The economic situation forces soldiers to work in other professions

Some of the military in Lebanon have resorted to practicing other professions that secure what the bankrupt state is unable to provide, especially after the economic collapse in the country, and the lira’s loss of nearly 98% of its value, according to a report by “Agence France Presse”.

Rateb Samer, a soldier in the Lebanese army, is one of them, as he works as a mechanic to meet the basic needs of his home and secure a better life for his young family.

Samer is one of the thousands of members of the army and security forces in Lebanon who are now practicing a second profession, to compensate for the low value of their salaries after the deterioration of the value of the national currency, although the military regulations prohibit this and those who violate it are subject to penalties.

Samer, 28, told AFP, “The military establishment knows that we are working, but it turns a blind eye, because the military can no longer bear it. If we had not done that, everyone would have fled and not a single soldier would remain in the army.”

He added, “My salary was equal to 800 dollars before the crisis. Today, I get only 100 dollars with the temporary increases and the measures approved to support salaries.”

The poverty line

80% of the population in Lebanon lives below the poverty line, as the economic collapse has put all sectors, including the army and security forces, facing several challenges, most notably continuing to secure basic needs such as food, medicine, fuel, and equipment maintenance.

Since the beginning of the crisis, the army command has relied on austerity in its budget. For example, it has reduced meat from military meals, and then in 2021 launched tourist flights by helicopters for civilians, in exchange for a financial allowance.

The fields in which the soldiers work vary, such as restaurants, bakeries, agriculture, hairdressing, taxi driving, construction, and even as private security agents, according to “Agence France Presse.”


The same suffering applies to the security forces, whose situation appears to be more difficult than the military institution, which receives aid from several countries, most notably the United States, to confront the economic crisis.


With the authorities unable to contain the crisis and the repercussions of the collapse of the lira, Qatar began in the summer of 2022 to provide financial support to the army, in the form of financial assistance of $100 to its members for a period of 6 months. The United States took the same step, as it started last month, in coordination with the United Nations Development Program, to provide financial assistance of $100 per month over a period of 6 months to members of the Internal Security Forces, provided that this applies to the army as well.

But in a country where inflation is huge, and the exchange rate of the lira changes daily, aid makes no difference.

“no solutions”

A security source told “Agence France Presse”: “The Internal Security Forces turn a blind eye to the members’ work in jobs besides their basic tasks, because there are no other solutions. The state is unable to improve their salaries, and all burdens, even school fees, are now in dollars.”

He added, “We are trying to help them as much as possible, but even the $100 provided by the United States is not enough in light of the current situation.”

The budget allocated for the treatment of security personnel is no longer sufficient, with the high cost of treatment and the hospitals receiving reimbursement in dollars.

The economic crisis, according to Dina Araqji, a researcher at the Control Risks Center, affected “the ability of the security services to work appropriately, and the morale of their personnel.”

And with overlooking the practice of security personnel and the army in other professions, the ability of the agencies to respond to the needs of internal security in the country has become “threatened”, in a country witnessing political division and stagnation affecting the work of all institutions.

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