Roukoz at 'Solidarity' Rally: I Have Been Promoted to Rank of 'Citizen'

Brig. Gen. Chamel Roukoz took part Thursday in a rally organized in “solidarity” with him at Beirut's Martyrs Square, only hours after he retired from the military institution.

“I'm Chamel Roukoz, an army commando officer who was promoted hours ago to the rank of 'citizen',” the outgoing Commando Regiment chief said in a speech he delivered at the square.

“I will remain in the heart of the military institution through my commitment. I remember the martyrs and their families in these moments and I tell them that they are the cause and the foundations and that our army will always be the army of the people,” he added.

“I will not retire, because struggle and love for one's country are not confined to a suit, a post or a job. I will always be the man you know and we will have further meetings,” Roukoz concluded, addressing frenzied supporters.

A week ago, Colonel Maroun al-Qobayati was appointed as chief of the Commando Regiment to replace Roukoz.

Efforts had been exerted to reach a settlement on the promotion of several officers ahead of Roukoz's October 15 retirement.

Change and Reform bloc chief MP Michel Aoun had been hoping that the promotion of Roukoz, his son-in-law, would keep him in the military and make him eligible to lead the institution.

The thorny issue of military appointments is one of the main points of contention paralyzing the cabinet's work.


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