Lebanon Army chief’s term to be extended for one year


kahwaji warnsLebanon Caretaker Defense Minister Ghosn told MTV on Monday that a decision has been made to postpone the retirement of the Lebanese army chief Jean Kahwaji for one year and this will be officially announced on Wednesday.

The Parliament was supposed to tackle the issue of extending Kahwaji’s term today but for the third time in a row Lebanon Speaker Nabih Berri adjourned the parliament session due to lack of quorum after most blocs boycotted it and postponed the 3 day session until till August 20 and 21, but kept the same controversial agenda.

In a move aimed at bypassing the parliament over the decision to extend Kahwaji’s term , a meeting of the higher defense council was held today. The conferees were reportedly briefed on a recommendation by Caretaker Defense Minister Ghosn for the extension of Kahwaji’s term after President Michel Suleiman and PM Najib Mikati approved it during talks they held ahead of the council meeting at the Baabda palace.

According to the reports the delay in Kahwaji’s retirement by one year was made through a decree in accordance to articles 55 and 56 of the defense law. But Ghosn told MTV on Monday a decree will not be needed for one year term extension.

The alleged move was taken to avoid a vacuum in the army leadership after the parliament failed on Monday to vote on the extension over lack of quorum caused by the boycott of several blocs.

According to the reports , another meeting was held after the Higher Defense Council meeting ended at Baabda palace between Suleiman, Mikati and Ghosn and this time Kahwaji was invited to attend.

Aoun against extension

FPM leader MP Michel Aoun is opposed to the extension of Kahwaji’s term . Kahwaji’s term ends in September when he turns 60.

Aoun proposed on June 30 appointing his son-in-law General Chamel Roukoz who is currently the commander of Lebanese Commando Regiment ( Maghaweer) as the new army chief.