Lebanon’s Cabinet has named a new Army Commander, ending a two-year impasse over the appointment of the country’s top security and military posts.
The government named Brigadier General Joseph Aoun to the post on Wednesday. It also named General Saadallah Muhieddine Hamad to the post of Secretary General of the Higher Defense Council, General Tony Fayez Saliba as Director General of State Security and General Samir Ahmad Sanan as Deputy Director General of State Security.
Brigadier General Joseph Aoun is replacing General Jean Kahwaji, who has held the top military post since 2008, and whose term was twice extended after political forces failed to agree on security and military portfolios.
Joseph Aoun led an army unit which served along the border with Israel and is now stationed in the volatile town of Arsal, bordering Syria, the Associated Press (AP) reported.
Violence from Syria’s civil war has frequently spilled over the border, inflaming Lebanon’s own political divisions.
For two years, Lebanon was without a President until political groups agreed last October to name President Michel Aoun, ending the deadlock.
Meanwhile, President of the Republic, General Michel Aoun, convened on Monday at Baabda Palace with France’s Minister of Defense and Veterans Affairs, Jean-Yves Le Drian, and thanked him for his country’s support for Lebanon in all fields, particularly support for the military; he hoped that this support continues so that the Lebanese Armed Forces can persist in carrying out its national responsibilities.
Michel Aoun hailed the historic ties between the two countries during the Minister’s visit, which was also attended by an accompanying delegation and the Ambassador of France in Lebanon, Emmanuel Bonne, Lebanon’s National News Agency (NNA) reported.
“Lebanon presses on in its march forward and in reinforcing Constitutional institutions,” said Aoun, noting that upcoming legislative elections would be an opportunity for the Lebanese to voice their choices freely under the reign of democracy.
The French Minister, in turn, confirmed his country’s commitment to aiding the Lebanese army, as per President François Hollande’s promise during his last visit to Lebanon.
“France stands by Lebanon in all fields, and provides the necessary support regionally and internationally,” said Le Drian.
Photo: Lebanese President Michel Aoun, right, meets with newly appointed Army Commander Brigadier General Joseph Aoun at the Presidential Palace in Baabda, east of Beirut, Lebanon.