Last week, Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov solemnly met servicemen of the 100th separate bridge-laying battalion of the Armed Forces of Russia. They returned from Lebanon where they restored bridges destroyed by attacks of Israeli military aviation last summer. They worked in Lebanon on the basis of bilateral agreements between Moscow and Beirut and outside of the framework of the peacekeeping operation of the UN.
Initially, the Lebanese party chose six bridges to be restored. Afterwards the quantity of objects was increased to eight according to request of Beirut. The restored bridges are from 100 to 400 meters long, have capacity of up to 60 tons and service life of not less than 20 years. The overall length of the eight bridges built in two years of presence in Lebanon by Russian combat engineers amounted to 454 meters. They also built 1.5 kilometer of roads. Russian specialists trained engineers of the Lebanese army who assembled one automotive bridge under supervision of Russian instructors. Last Saturday, an act was signed in Beirut on handing of a part of property and equipment of the 100th separate bridge-laying battalion over to the Lebanese army. The Lebanese party will also receive the basic camp in Zahrani with all infrastructure and logistic facilities. This camp will become a center for training Lebanese soldiers and officers.
Russia seemingly fulfilled its mission. It helped the Lebanese government in restoration of the road infrastructure. Meanwhile, Russian servicemen acted outside the framework of the peacekeeping process emphasizing that they had nothing to do with the Lebanese-Israeli war and were not going to participate in long-term measures on the line separating the warring parties.
However, labor of Russian combat engineers remained unnoticed by the majority of Lebanese society busy with protest rallies. The Lebanese government with which Russia has signed an agreement on construction of bridges does not enjoy support of the population.
Hence, there are questions. Was it necessary for Russia to take part in construction of bridges in Lebanon at all? And aid of 500 million roubles is a big sum. Moscow evidently wants to defend its interests in the Middle East but it is difficult to understand which ones.
A similar situation appears with regard to Afghanistan. Russia has supplied weapons worth $200 million to this country but refuses to take part in regulation of the conflict inside the country. Moscow reproaches NATO for inability to combat drug production in Afghanistan. However, it dared to leave the border between Tajikistan and Afghanistan creating an opportunity of easier drug trafficking to the CIS.
Thus, sometimes it is impossible to see clear logic in the stance of Russian authorities towards these or those international conflicts. This absence of logic leads to significant expenditures for the country, which has little to do with defending geopolitical interests of Russia in the world.