• Beirut

  • Sunday, December 17, 2023 at 4:16 AM
    Last Update : Sunday, December 17, 2023 at 4:16 AM

Row Over Extended Tenure for Lebanese Army Commander Dominates Parliamentary Debates

(AWP) - Extreme differences over the future of Lebanese army commander Joseph Aoun marked a parliamentary session on Thursday. General Aoun’s term will expire on January 10, and Lebanon’s political parties are divided as to whether to extend his tenure or name a new commander.

The session was attended by several parliamentary blocs representing the Lebanese parties, including the Lebanese Forces, National Liberal Party, Amal Movement, Hezbollah, Progressive Socialist Party (PSP), National Moderation Bloc, and a large number of independent lawmakers.

Paula Yacoubian, an independent member of Lebanon’s Chamber of Deputies, said that the session was not serious, and was merely an attempt to force opinions and legislation, because the issue of the army command has forced them to do so.

“This is not the way institutions are run, and only indicates that the country is being run in the same manner. Who would ever expect different results?”, she wondered.

“We are for the extension of tenure, as proposed in the draft we have submitted with the other blocs that have offered legal proposals to extend Jospeh Aoun’s tenure for one year,”  said Marwan Hamadeh, a Member of Parliament from the Democratic Gathering bloc.

Members believe that extending Aoun’s tenure is a pressing security need, given the current state of affairs, with Lebanon facing threats due to escalating exchanges between Hezbollah and Israel.

“Our stance is clear. Today, the country is going through a huge crisis and a very serious security situation. We are standing on a volcanic crater in the region, and we cannot just manipulate the issue of the army command,” said Ziad Hawwat, a Member of Parliament from the Strong Republic bloc.

“We proposed a bill earlier on the extension of the tenure of the army general position for a year, pending the election of a president and the regularization of the authority’s work once again, and then a new army commander may be named for a new period,” he added.

Ibrahim al-Musawi, who represents the Loyalty to Resistance bloc, agreed with Hawwat, saying, “enhancing the position of the military establishment is of top priority. The Lebanese army today is a guarantee of safety for all Lebanese people, and everything has to be done to ensure that.”

As controversy and division continues inside the Chamber of Deputies, Lebanese citizens expect a government meeting on Friday to discuss the army commander's tenure, to avoid yet another constitutional vacuum to add to the ongoing vacuum in the presidency, vacant for more than 14 months.