Berri for Appointment of Shiite as Army Leader Over Bickering on General Security Chief
Speaker Nabih Berri has reportedly suggested giving the leadership of the General Security Department to a Maronite in return for appointing a Shiite as Army chief.
Al-Liwaa daily said Tuesday that Berri’s proposal came after the Free Patriotic Movement expressed the desire to return the seat of the General Security’s presidency to the Maronite sect rather than keeping it with Shiites.
The speaker told FPM leader Michel Aoun that if the Sunni sect is holding onto the post of the Internal Security Forces head then the Shiite sect could drop its demand for the General Security chief in return for getting the post of Army leader which is currently filled by Maronite Gen. Jean Qahwaji.
Hizbullah and Amal are backing Maj. Gen. Abbas Ibrahim for the General Security leadership post. Al-Liwaa said that Berri was proposed to appoint Ibrahim as director of Army Intelligence but the speaker refused.
The bickering between the FPM on one side and Hizbullah and Berri’s Amal movement on the other will likely postpone the appointment of the General Security leader.
President Michel Suleiman’s visitors told al-Mustaqbal daily that the appointment will not be made at Thursday’s cabinet session which is expected to witness a series of appointments to other top posts.
According to pan-Arab daily al-Hayat, Aoun hasn’t yet made a public announcement on the issue because he is hesitating into engaging in a political battle with the Shiite sect.
Political sources told the newspaper that Shiites which gave up a minister from their share to facilitate the formation of the cabinet are not ready to make more concessions by giving up their demand for the leadership of the General Security Department.
Informed political sources said, however, that the differences on the issue could be solved through intensified contacts between Hizbullah and Aoun.