New Lebanese proposal to postpone retirement of army officers
The retirement delay would keep Commando Regiment Chief Brig. Gen. Chamel Roukoz in his post. (AFP/File)
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A new proposal has been made to resolve the controversial promotions in the Lebanese army by postponing the retirement of several officers, a move that would keep the commando regiment chief in his post and would not contradict with the law.
A ministerial source told An Nahar daily on Thursday that such a proposal has been approved by the ministers representing former President Michel Suleiman and most likely the Kataeb party.
The retirement of the officers would be postponed for a year through a decree proposed by the defense minister based upon a recommendation made by the military chief in accordance to article 55 of the defense law, said the source.
Such a move would keep Commando Regiment Chief Brig. Gen. Chamel Roukoz, who is Change and Reform bloc leader MP Michel Aoun's son-in-law, in his post.
The proposal comes amid a settlement that the country's top officials were on the verge of reaching to appease Aoun and activate the work of the cabinet and the parliament.
The deal lied in the promotion of three senior army officers, among them Roukoz, to the rank of major general.
Roukoz' promotion would keep him in the army and make him eligible to lead the military, Aoun's long-sought ambition.
The agreement was not struck after reports that it included the appointment of a new Internal Security Forces chief and an ISF command council.
But several officials, including Speaker Nabih Berri and Progressive Socialist Party chief MP Walid Jumblat, are now exerting efforts to appease Aoun by stressing that the deal on the military promotions did not include an item on ISF appointments.
The ministers of the Kataeb Party and those representing Suleiman have not been in favor of such a deal.
A Kataeb source told An Nahar that Roukoz' promotion is no longer achievable. He is set to retire this month.
Asked what Aoun's reaction would be if his son-in-law went into retirement, the source said: “He can paralyze the cabinet and the (national) dialogue session.”
“Let him do so and let the government become a caretaker,” he said.
“His ministers could be replaced by acting ministers if they decided to resign” from the cabinet, the source added.
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