Lebanon appoints new army chief

Brigadier-General Jean Kahwaji has led the army infantry brigade since 2002.

    Kahwaji, a Maronite Christian, has undergone training in the US, Germany and Italy [AFP]

    He has undergone specialised military training abroad, including in the United States, Germany and Italy.

    Differences between the US-backed parliamentary majority and an alliance of opposition groups led by Hezbollah, a Shia organisation, had delayed the appointment of a new army commander.

    General Shawki al-Masri, the army's chief of staff, has been acting as head of the army since Sleiman was elected president on May 25.

    Observers say the 60,000-strong army has become more of a peacekeeping unit than an offensive force.

    Strengthening the army has been part of US policy towards Lebanon.

    Since 2006, Washington says it has committed more than $410 million in security assistance to the army, including training, vehicles and ammunition.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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