| 13 July 2024, Saturday |

Will international and Arab pressure towards extending the Army Commander’s term succeed?

The file of the army leadership continues to interact, and in recent hours a development has been recorded on this level, as it has taken new trends that have reached the limits of political conflict, between the parties demanding an extension for the army commander, Joseph Aoun, on the one hand, and the parties that reject this option, especially between the “Lebanese Forces” party and the “Free Patriotic Movement,” so that the disagreement over this file goes beyond the presidential and political crisis as a whole that has been hitting the country for more than a year.

Also, the issue of extending the army commander’s term has become a priority for the political class in comparison to the absence of other files. In this context, it is expected that the Maronite Patriarch Mar Bechara Boutros Al-Rahi will address in his sermon today the issue of extending the term of General Joseph Aoun, as he is one of the most enthusiastic about this option, rejected all talk about making any appointments, whether in the military leadership or in other vacant Maronite positions in light of the presidential vacuum and thus the absence of the head of the Lebanese state.

In this context, the sources of the “Free Patriotic Movement” answer “Sawt Beirut International” about the reason for its adherence to its position opposing the extension of the army commander, in contrast to the positions of most political parties. They say: “If some parties are approaching the extension file in a way that we consider to be in violation of the laws, can we keep up with them and follow their example?” Pointing out that if the political forces have the possibility to extend the extension of the army commander in a legal manner without being challenged, then we have no objection to that, considering that “their position is principled on the issue of extension and has nothing to do with the army commander.”

In response to a question about the severity of the current exceptional circumstances necessitating this, the sources say: “There is no such thing as different circumstances, and the laws are not a point of view that changes according to the circumstances, so we will maintain our position, and no party can influence our decision, or pressure us to take any step that contradicts our convictions.”

On the other hand, prominent parliamentary sources believe that the army leadership file has not yet been decided on the direction it can take, indicating that all options are still possible, knowing that there is Arab and international pressure being exerted on Lebanon towards extending the term of the army commander, but we may once again be faced with the scenario that happened with the former Director General of General Security, Abbas Ibrahim, as the extension was not approved for him despite all the promises that were given to him, according to what the sources say, which did not rule out Hezbollah taking its decision in the last quarter of an hour to agree to the extension in exchange for receiving a price for it.

Regarding General Aoun’s position rejecting the extension, the sources say: “Unfortunately, Gebran Bassil still believes that his father-in-law is still President of the Republic, the rule is in his hands, and he demands a country according to his own standards and interests.”

On the other hand, the sources consider that the course of the Lebanese security situation is linked to developments in Gaza, and while they did not rule out that matters would move from the military track to the political track, which will be long. The sources also expected that we would be facing a new Middle East, as well as reaching a two-state solution, pointing out that the international fleets in the region are not only related to what is happening in Gaza and Palestine, but rather to the changes that the region will witness.

Regarding the presidential file, the sources ruled out resuming research into it now, pending the outcome of the situation in Gaza, and said: “This file was about to be resolved before the outbreak of the “Al-Aqsa Flood” battle, as a result of the movement that the State of Qatar was taking, and it now adhered to it through its diligent work to get out of the crisis in a certain way, but the outbreak of war postponed that.”

Finally, the sources pointed out that Iran has not and will never be interested in Arab issues, especially the Palestinian issue, because what matters to it is its influence in the region, but it is currently trying to express its interest in the Palestinian issue by mobilizing “Hezbollah” in Lebanon, which is like a small military force for it.


  • Sawt Beirut International