Appointments Hit Brick Wall as Mashnouq Reserves Right to Name ISF Chief

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Interior Minister Nouhad al-Mashnouq stressed Saturday that the appointment of a new Internal Security Forces chief is one of his jurisdictions as Defense Minister Samir Moqbel refused to be threatened over the appointment of top-ranking security officials in state institutions.

“Next week's cabinet session will not tackle the appointments'" dilemma, Mashnouq said in comments published in An Nahar newspaper.

He pointed out that all parties will assume their responsibilities and matters will take their natural course, saying: “There will not be any dramatic developments.”

Sources close to Mashnouq told al-Mustaqbal newspaper that the minister is holding onto his stance.

“Any decision to appoint a new ISF chief or extend the term of the current head goes back to the minister,” the sources quoted Mashnouq as saying.

The sources revealed that Mashnouq will insist on his position during Monday's cabinet session.

Internal Security Forces chief Ibrahim Basbous is also set to retire on June 4.

Moqbel, who has been previously at loggerheads with Free Patriotic Movement leader MP Michel Aoun, rejected threats over the appointments crisis.

“Every deadline has a timeframe and matters will not be discussed ahead of their deadline... the appointment of Army personnel will not be linked to the ISF,” the minister told al-Mustaqbal daily.

The minister said that the tenure of Army Chief General Jean Qahwaji ends in September “and when we reach that date we decide on what we are supposed to do.”

Moqbel had been locked in a dispute with Aoun after he decided to withdraw confidence from the minister over the extension of the term of the head of the Higher Defense Council, Maj. Gen. Mohammed Khair in February.

The military posts in Lebanon are suffering as the result of the months-long presidential vacuum in light of the parliament's failure to elect a successor for Michel Suleiman whose tenure ended in May last year.

The FPM chief has previously rejected any attempts to extend the terms of high-ranking security officials, threatening to resign from cabinet.

Media reports had said that Aoun's main objective is to receive political consensus on the appointment of Commando Regiment chief Brig. Gen. Chamel Roukoz, who is Aoun's son-in-law, as army chief as part of a package for the appointment of other top security officers.

Roukoz's tenure ends in October.

Despite the reports about his insistence to have his son-in-law as army chief, Aoun denied that he had made such a proposal.



Comments 1
Thumb freedomarch 31 May 2015, 00:27

The big question: When The General Michael Aoun will retire?