Posted by: sean | July 24, 2007

Suleiman threatens to resign

According to an-Nahar, Michel Suleiman, commander of the Lebanese Army, has said that if the Lebanese parliament failed to elect a president by November 24 (the date when Lahoud’s mandate expires), resulting in the forming of two rival governments, he would resign:

Lebanese army commander Gen. Michel Suleiman warned that he would resign if two competing governments emerged as a result of a presidential vacancy.

Suleiman said he would submit his resignation on Nov. 24, the day the term of President Emile Lahoud expires, if rival legislators failed to elect a new head of state.

The army commander said he would not tolerate a political divide that would threaten Lebanon’s unity and the military institution.

“If they create two governments, I will personally hand in my resignation to each of the two governments and I will go home,” Suleiman was quoted as telling ambassadors as well as political and spiritual leaders.

It’s hard to say if this is a genuine effort to pressure both sides to compromise or a genuine effort to pressure both sides to choose Suleiman as president, but my initial response is that both sides need to know that Lebanon will not tolerate another formation of rival governments. A similar split marked the end of the civil war last time but would probably mark the beginning of a new civil war this time.


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