Appointments at the Head of the Lebanese Army: Towards a Scenario of Appeasement?

On the occasion of the Lebanese Army Festival on August 1st, President Michel Sleiman will announce the reappointment of the Army Commander and Chief of Staff today.

The resignation of the Army Commander in Chief General Jean Kahwagi and the Chief of Staff General Walid Salmane has been postponed for two years. In this way, fears of a vacuum at the military institution level are definitively dispelled.
The maintenance of General Kahwagi and his Chief of Staff in their respective offices is interesting in that the unofficial announcement of the ministerial decree signed by the Minister of Defense will allow an end to a controversy that is increasing tensions in the local political scene.
In addition, Defense Minister Ghosn told the press that this expansion did not in any way call into question the skills of officers capable of holding high office within the army. It should be noted that Lebanon has been the victim of several attempts to provoke local conflict and torpedo security, so the focus is on the need to protect the military institution.
Of course, the Lebanese have different views, but they remain attached to the army as it is the guarantor of security and the state. In addition, given the current challenges, it is essential to support the army.
In this context, with the exception of Aounist’s current CPL (Courant Patriotique Libre), all the various Lebanese political circles have supported the postponement of the retirement of Generals Kahwagi and Salman.
For the CPL, an ally of Hezbollah, the measure is “unconstitutional” and a loss to the foundations of state building.
In the Hezbollah camp, however, emphasis was placed on the army’s role in confronting “the Zionist enemy”. But the slogan “If you love the army, hand in your weapons” has been heavily denounced.
By distancing itself from Hezbollah, the Aounist current has broken the surrounding polarization. An internal debate is currently taking place within the CPL on the political line and alliances of the present according to an aounistic framework. The CPL would then establish an independent line in day-to-day affairs while maintaining its strategic alliance with Hezbollah in relation to the fight against Israel …

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