Lebanon has avoided the spill over from the conflict in Syria, but currently faces rising regional tensions which some fear could lead to conflict in Lebanon. At the same time, military expenditure has risen to 5% of the country’s share of GDP, and close to 14% of government spending; one of the highest shares of the government’s spending. While the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) benefit from support which generally transcends sectarian lines, the institution faces high risks of corruption due to limited parliamentary oversight and access to information, amplified by the lack of transparency to citizens and accountability beyond the armed forces. Strengthening the integrity of Lebanese defence institutions is crucial to guaranteeing an armed forces that can effectively respond to threats and is accountable to the Lebanese people.
Lebanon’s security situation remains fragile, and corruption a systemic weakness. The LAF have been keen to engage, and exhibit some regional best practices. Transparency International strives to capitalise on these best practices and the ongoing movement towards reform to encourage strengthening integrity within the armed forces.
We have therefore been working in partnership with the Lebanese Transparency Association (LTA), Transparency International’s chapter in Lebanon, since 2018. The primary aim of our Lebanon country programme is to promote transparency and the enhancement of integrity mechanisms within the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF). Our approach is to collaborate, pursue dialogue, and engage with the LAF, as the Lebanese government seeks to demonstrate its broader commitment to reform and to countering corruption.
We are refining plans to achieve policy and institutional changes following the launch of the Government Defence Integrity Index (GDI), including strengthening anti-corruption reforms and promoting transparency and accountability within the LAF. Alongside this, we will collaborate to build the capacity of civil society to engage with the government, military and international community on defence corruption issues. We believe that raising stakeholder capacity is crucial to tangible progress within Lebanese defence institutions and, in turn, to strengthen the government’s ability to respond to its own national security threats.