A few weeks ago, the Lebanese Army received a couple of thousand rockets at the airport. The Army had signed a contract with a company that operates in Russia and Serbia back in 2017 to buy these BM-21 Grad rockets. But upon inspection, they were revealed to be impossible to launch because of the danger they pose to their users, as well as the risk of storing them.
According to Al-Akhbar, when the deal was made with the company, the army stipulated that the 2,000 rockets not be older than the year they were bought in (2017).
However, when the rockets were received weeks ago and transferred to their designated storages, the officer in charge noticed something that caused him to deduce that the rockets in question were not made in 2017 or later, but are actually much older than what the army had requested and signed for.
What the officer noticed was the fact that the missiles appeared to have been painted more than once, and have certain signs on them that, in his knowledge, mean the rockets probably date back to 1982.
Upon being informed, the Minister of Defense and the Commander of the Armed Forces accordingly started investigations to find out what happened.
Al-Akhbar said that, as per the contract, the rockets were supposed to be received by the Lebanese Army on Russian land. But when the Army sent 4 officers to inspect and supervise a test of a supposed sample of the rockets, they were sent to Serbia instead; the agreed-upon location was suddenly changed for ambiguous reasons.
On the other hand, a Lebanese Army source denied the latter claim and assured LBCI that the contract did not stipulate that the rockets would be received in Russia.
Some analysts believe that the Serbian company, Yugoimport–SDPR, might have “tricked” the Army with the agreement that delivery would be taking place in Russia in order to close the deal.
On the same note, the Lebanese Army had strictly requested, through the contract, that the “Grad” rockets must be manufactured in Russia. Therefore, if delivery took place in Serbia without Russia’s involvement, there would be no way to confirm whether or not the arms were, in fact, Russian-made.
It is also worth mentioning that, when asked about the responsibility of the Lebanese agent of Yugoimport–SDPR in the botched deal, army sources implied to LBCI that “the military police cannot investigate civilians.”
The strange thing is, as reported by Lebanon Files, military police can, and frequently does, investigate civilians when they’re involved in cases that concern the military – even cases as mild as a civilian car getting into an accident with a military vehicle.
A civilian being involved in a failed arms deal that involves the Lebanese Army is surely a matter of military police, then. In any case, a military source told Al-Akhbar that the Army command is likely to return the rockets, which cost $3,300,000, to the seller soon.