The government is planning to equip the army with 1.6 Billion $ that will be paid over five years. 1.6 Billion $ looks like a big number. Divide this number on 60000, then divide it on five. You’ll get a bit more than 5333 $/soldier/Year, or 445$/Soldier/Month. That’s not a big number anymore.
Let’s start with the basics. A well-equipped soldier needs a good protecting uniform. He needs good weapons, and he needs enough ammunitions. He has a salary. He needs to eat, too. Is 445$ per month enough to give a soldier what he needs?
A well-equipped army doesn’t only mean a well equipped soldier. It means well-equipped artillery, well-equipped air forces, and well-equipped tanks. A proper tank costs 6 Million $. Let’s say we want to give the army 150 tanks, we’re already hitting a number of 900 million $. An F16 costs 16 Million $. Buying 25 of them means we’ve spent 400 million $. And we didn’t count the ammunition cost. A missile can cost from 20000$ up to 100000$. The ammunitions can reach the cost of million of dollars, especially if you want good ones. When you’re fighting with good equipment, you’re not only fighting to fight. You’re fighting to keep your good equipment working. One cannot afford to lose a 25 Million $ Leclerc tank just because he went to the battlefield without enough ammunition making him lose the battle. Buying a thousand 20000$ missile means we are spending 20 Million $. Air-To-Air missiles can cost 100000$ each, and if you want to counter the israeli air forces, you need a good number of them. That’s another 20 million $. And there’s the maintenance cost which will grow by the year.
In other words, the number which seems huge can barely get us to buy 100 tanks and 25 fighters with a low amount of ammunition. But you need to give the soldiers the basic equipment first, so the numbers will probably drop from 100 to 10 and from 25 to 2. And that’s if the Israelis don’t use their usual vetoes to stop the process of handing equipment to the army.
The government gave us a big number to impress us. They didn’t specify what kind of equipment we will have in exchange of the money. Because it’s a bit sad and annoying for the people to know that we’ll probably end up with few helicopters and tanks for all this amount of money.
The Lebanese Army should be well equipped. But if we’re paying 1.6 Billion $ to get uniforms, Boots, Sunglasses, AK47, and some cars, it’s a waste of money that can be used instead to reduce the public debt. The money which will be saved from lowering the interest of the debt can then be used to equip the Army on the long run.