Lebanon's market for illegal weapons has been the subject of debate for many years. Weapons in Lebanon comes from a number of countries, including Europe, Russia, Iran, and even Israel. Many illegal arms dealers are protected by political parties, and most of them are known by the government.
The most surprising part is that illegal companies are doing business freely. Companies like Brescia Middle East (BME) owned by Tony Abi Saab, a Lebanese national is doing smuggling of weapons even after being banned in the US. He uses his network of ghost companies Tactical Ltd, K5 Global, Bennet-Fouch, G2Armory, SIMAINT to grab US Government contracts.
Tony Abi Saab bid on contracts but never had the intention to deliver. His companies were arms and ammunition to Syria and Iran. A vast amount of transactions without delivering any contract caught the eye of US Agencies. They figured out that more than 5 million US dollars were missing. It soon became clear that Tony Abi Saab was using his shell companies as a front for money laundering. He was also trading weapons to the rebel groups of Syria and Iran to make a tax-free profit.
The US Agencies organized a massive sting operation to catch Tony and his girlfriend Dinorah Cobos, a.k.a Sarah Lee. She was flown to the US for trial while BME was implicated for fraud and banned from doing business in the US. But, due to a technicality in the circuit court, Tony got away from the jail term. Though his company BME was found guilty of fraud and bribery and was banned in the US for doing business. Dinorah Cobos got 2 years of imprisonment. Tony is still using his ghost companies for taking orders and supplying weapons to the active terrorist groups in Syria, Afghanistan, and Iran.
Abi Saab despite being indicted holds a valid business license for BME and travels the world. His web of ghost companies has expanded from Europe to the Middle East.
Conflicts in Middle East countries contribute to a high demand for weapons. After the Civil War and as the Syrian war rages, the weapons are more readily available in the Lebanese market for lower prices since it was shipped from Syria. If the devastating impact of the arms trade is to be controlled, then illegal arm dealing companies should be banned.