Lebanon army chief’s term extended for 2 years


kahwaji jean 4Lebanon Caretaker Defense Minister Fayez Ghosn approved the decision to postpone for two years the retirement of the army commander and chief of staff Jean Kahwaji , LBCI reported on Wednesday.

This comes on the eve of Lebanon’s 68th Army Day when a ceremony is usually held at the Shukri Ghanem barracks in Fayyadiyeh in the presence of the country’s top three leaders to mark Lebanese army’s anniversary.

Both rival camps , The Hezbollah led March 8 and March 4 supported Kahwaji’s term extension with the exception of Free Patriotic Movement leader MP Michel Aoun who attacked yesterday the Lebanese president and the Defense Minister accusing them of tampering with the constitution and vowed to fight” the higher authorities to preserve the constitution”.

“The ruler must be a role model for respecting the laws and must be the guardian of the constitution and laws and must abide by them. Gradual extension has become a rule for those who have lust for power and we don’t know when will this rule come to an end. ” He said after his weekly meeting of Change and Reform bloc in a possible reference to the extension of Parliament mandate .

Aoun threatened to fight the decision all the way :

“We have decided to form a national front for defending the constitution, which would consist of individuals who are representative of their society, with the aim of preserving our state and preventing its disintegration.”

Aoun has been opposed to the extension of Kahwaji’s term ever since the issue was raised. Kahwaji reaches the retirement age of 60 at the end of September.

Aoun wants one of his closest relatives to take over the post. He 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.

Lebanese president Michel Suleiman, caretaker PM Najib Mikati and Caretaker Defense Minister Fayez Ghosn decided initially to postpone the retirement of the Lebanese army chief Jean Kahwaji for one year, but Kahwaji reportedly insisted on two .