Sunday 21 Jul 2024 - 12:00

06:20 am


MIBIL commander to the Lebanese: Place your trust in the LAF, which consistently demonstrates a high level of professionalism

NNA - 

By Nayla Assaf

Italy's dedication to Lebanon has deep roots, spanning nearly four decades back to the early 1980s. During this time, Italy deployed its troops to South Lebanon, joining UNIFIL forces in peacekeeping endeavors.

In 2015, the Italian bilateral military mission in Lebanon (MIBIL) was established as part of the broader initiatives supported by the "International Support Group" (ISG). The ISG includes not only the member countries of the permanent council of the United Nations but also Germany, Italy, and the EU. 

The mission, operating within this framework, has been unwavering in its efforts to assist both the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) and the civilian population. Its primary task is to organize and conduct training and consultancy activities for the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF).

In this context, the National News Agency (NNA) conducted an exclusive interview with Colonel Sandro Iervolino, the commander of MIBIL. He highlighted that "MIBIL's activities in cooperation with the LAF primarily focus on supporting education and training for the armed forces." The aim is to identify potential gaps in training and address critical issues through the organization of specialized courses by MIBIL.

When discussing potential training gaps, Colonel Iervolino outlined strategies to overcome these challenges. He explained, "Our mission involves organizing specific courses, particularly in the areas of CBRN, healthcare, personal defense, sniping, and the execution of operations in urban, mountain, and maritime environments."

Moreover, Iervolino affirmed that "MIBIL's main goal is to offer support to the Lebanese armed forces, which we see as a credible and resilient institution capable of providing effective assistance in Lebanon, especially during the current crisis."

When asked about the activities carried out to date, the MIBIL commander disclosed that "since 2015, MIBIL has organized over 300 courses, benefiting more than 7,000 participants. Additionally, since 2023, MIBIL has engaged in civil-military cooperation, concluding 44 projects in the fields of education, healthcare, and agriculture in the past year." 

He emphasized that, amidst challenging circumstances, "the mission delivers healthcare aided by the deployment of two medical teams at the military hospital in Beirut."

Reflecting on his experience in Lebanon, Iervolino stated, "Six months into my role as the head of MIBIL, I can confidently say that our cooperation with the LAF is excellent on all fronts. Relations are genuinely friendly and collaborative, marked by a profound respect for the Italian staff." He expressed gratitude to his predecessors for their outstanding work and the credibility they established over the years.

Iervolino then delved into the MIBIL work process. He explained, "After each training activity, our teams, working alongside Lebanese units, identify the necessary materials to enhance the operational and logistical capabilities of the LAF." He clarified that "this information is shared with the Italian Ministry of Defense, allowing it to be incorporated into projects funded by Italy to enhance the capabilities of partner countries' armed forces."

Iervolino emphasized that "the donations primarily involve specialized equipment, vehicles, and projects of great importance for the LAF."

In terms of cooperation with UNIFIL, he clarified, "MIBIL primarily operates in the central area of the country, thus its role differs from that of UNIFIL's responsibility."

He affirmed that "currently, there is no evaluated option for collaboration with forces deployed south of the Litani under UN jurisdiction."

When asked about his assessment of the current situation of the LAF, the MIBIL commander acknowledged the challenges and resilience in line with Lebanon's economic situation. 

He expressed optimism, stating, "Despite the difficulties, we are all impressed by the LAF's high level of professionalism and anticipate further improvements in the near future."

Regarding future activities, especially in the near future, Iervolino emphasized the ongoing commitment of the Italian armed forces and MIBIL, even after October 7. He assured that this commitment will persist with the same intensity in the coming months. Looking ahead to 2024, he disclosed, "The training provided by MIBIL will increase by 15%, and we are already working on the training plan for 2025."

In delivering a message to the Lebanese people and LAF elements, Iervolino expressed, “I would like to send a message of hope to the Lebanese despite the serious crisis that the entire Middle East region is going through. I want to tell them that they can continue to place the utmost trust in the LAF.” Additionally, he reiterated support to his friends and the elements of the FAL, emphasizing the pride they feel in cooperating alongside them. He concluded by confirming their ongoing closeness and collaboration.




تابعوا أخبار الوكالة الوطنية للاعلام عبر أثير إذاعة لبنان على الموجات 98.5 و98.1 و96.2 FM

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