Report: Vacancies Emerge in Military Council as Qahwaji May Request to Assume its Duties

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Vacancies emerged in the six-member Military Council with the retirement of three of its members, reported al-Akhbar newspaper Friday.

It reported that the development “may prompt Army Commander General Jean Qahwaji to request assuming its duties and responsibilities.”

The retirement of Michel Mnayyar, Nicolas Mezher, and Abdul Rahman al-Shehaitli will lead to the loss of the legal quorum at the Military Council, reported al-Akhbar.

Qahwaji, Chief of Staff Wali Salman, and General Secretary of the Higher Defense Council Mohammed Kheir are its remaining three members, it added.

The council needs five members for it be held and it will lose its decision-making authorities starting May 2.

“The army will be completely paralyzed without the legal quorum,” said the daily.

This paralysis will affect its mobilization and efforts to supply it with arms and equipment, it added.

Qahwaji had sent a memorandum, on behalf of the Higher Defense Council, to caretaker Defense Minister Fayez Ghosn explaining the situation at the Military Council.

The minister has since referred the letter to cabinet.

Discussions have since emerged over Qahwaji's “implicit” demand to assume the duties of the Military Council and request to appoint new members to the vacant positions, reported al-Akhbar.

This will mark a precedent since the formation of the Military Council in 1978, which was established in the first place to ensure a balance in the representation of sects and prevent the army commander from taking unilateral military decisions, noted the daily.

The one exception took place in 1982 during the Civil War when then Army Commander Ibrahim Tannous assumed the role of the Military Council for a few months, revealed the newspaper.

Qahwaji did not openly demand to be granted the responsibilities of the Council, but he noted that the government's caretaking role prevents it from convening to fill the three vacancies.

He requested that the concerned authorities reach the appropriate solution to allow the Council to hold its meetings.

Media reports said in April that the fate of the military institution was the subject of serious discussions by caretaker Premier Najib Miqati's cabinet before its resignation late March.

Miqati's decision to resign froze the appointments in military posts.

Comments 2
Thumb benzona 10 May 2013, 14:40

General kahwaji never hid in France nor asked for French protection.

Avez-vous compris mes allusions voilées? ;-)

Thumb primesuspect 11 May 2013, 01:23

Today is may day, may day we're going down!