- Parliament approved delaying the retirement of senior officers at the head of the military and security services for one year
- Army chief Joseph Aoun was set to retire on January 10, 2024
BEIRUT (Agencies): Lebanese lawmakers on Friday extended the army chief’s mandate, averting a military power vacuum as the country faces spill over of the Israel-Hamas war without a president or a fully functioning government.
Parliament approved delaying the retirement of senior officers at the head of the military and security services for one year, Lebanon’s official National News Agency said.
Army chief Joseph Aoun was set to retire on January 10, 2024, while the second most senior military position is already vacant.
Lebanon has been without a president for more than a year and its government is operating in a caretaker capacity as political deadlock paralyzes decision-making.
No group in parliament holds an outright majority that would allow the election of a new head of state.
Around 80,000 Lebanese serve in the army, which is seen as a key pillar of the country’s stability.
The force is also deployed in the country’s south, which has seen deadly exchanges of fire, mainly between the Israeli army and the Iran-backed Hezbollah movement, since the Israel-Hamas war began in October.
Lebanon is navigating a devastating economic crisis that has plunged most of the population into poverty, according to the United Nations, and the cash-strapped military struggles to even maintain its own equipment.
The head of one of Lebanon’s top security agencies retired in March without a replacement, while the central bank governor’s mandate expired in July, without a clear successor.