Suleiman calls for not holding army
accountable for "minor mistakes”

Lebanese President Michel Suleiman on Thursday said that it was unacceptable to hold the army accountable for minor mistakes.


“It is unacceptable to place the blame on the army for the great mistakes committed by others and to hold it accountable for its minor mistakes. We [cannot] erase political mistakes by holding the army accountable for them,” Suleiman said in his speech during the Army Day ceremony held in Beirut’s Fayadieh barracks.


Suleiman also said that the army needs political cover in order facilitate its missions.


“The army’s mission will be more difficult if it is left alone and politically exposed. The army cannot fill the governmental and political vacuum, and it cannot solve any religious or sectarian drift,” Suleiman said.


“What is required in these delicate circumstances is a campaign in support of the army, not against it.”


He also condemned the attacks against the army, which led to several deaths among the rows of the military institution.


“It is unacceptable to move the army from a position where it defends citizens to a position where it has to defend itself, especially [when] its officers and soldiers [are being] backstabbed,” Suleiman said.


One army soldier was killed and another was injured when unknown gunmen opened fire on Wednesday on an army patrol in the Beqaa town of Majdel Anjar.


Suleiman also pointed out that the army’s mission would become more difficult amid the presence of non-state weapons.


“It is impossible for the army’s mission to be achieved if the duality of legitimate weapons and the non-state weapons lingered.”


He also called for reconsidering the national defense strategy, “especially after the weapons of the resistance [Hezbollah] crossed the Lebanese border.”


“It is about time the Lebanese state became the main regulator and decision maker of the use of force,” he added.


“The time when the army was prohibited from defending Lebanon is over.”


He also said that the army will never engage in battles between Lebanese parties.


“The army will never be a separation force between Lebanese ‘armies’ and militias, it is the permanent example of unity among the Lebanese,” he said.


Geagea reiterated his call for holding parliamentary elections as soon as possible.


“No one has the right to monopolize the people’s opinion under the pretext of exceptional circumstances,” he said.


Lebanon is still waiting for the formation of a new government by designate-PM Tammam Salam after the resignation of the government of now caretaker Prime Minister Najib Miqati. The PM-designate’s latest proposal is based on giving a third share to the opposing political blocks – March 14 and March 8, and a third share to centrists.


Meanwhile, the parliament had extended at the end of May its mandate until November 2014 with a bill that was signed by 97 lawmakers in an attempt to postpone the country’s parliamentary elections.

It is impossible for the army’s mission to be achieved if the duality of legitimate weapons and the non-state weapons lingered.