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World Council for the Cedars Revolution

Sep 22nd
Home arrow News Content arrow Blog arrow Blog Items arrow Analysis arrow Pro-Syrian, Hezbollah-friendly General to become Lebanese President
Pro-Syrian, Hezbollah-friendly General to become Lebanese President PDF Print E-mail
Written by W. Thomas Smith, Jr.   
Sunday, 25 May 2008

Michel Sleiman
Michel Sleiman

Barring some catastrophic series of events in Lebanon (in that country, one never knows), in a few hours, the commander-in-chief of the Lebanese armed forces, Gen. Michel Sleiman — also spelled, “Suleiman” – will become president of Lebanon.

There’s so much here regarding his ascendancy from the highest post in the Lebanese Ministry of Defense (MoD) to the Presidential Palace that it would take a book to detail. And I won’t go into his military career, because there are multiple English-language versions of his bio presently being published worldwide.

What I will say is that I have had personal interaction with the general: I met with him for over two hours one-on-one in his office at the MoD in Beirut, last fall. I was personally invited by the general to attend two special functions. I met and was personally briefed by many of his generals and his chief of intelligence. Sleiman granted me complete access – though reluctantly in the beginning – to Lebanese Army infantry units on the Israeli border, and those in the north (Tripoli), as well as Lebanese special forces. And I have learned from sources closely connected to Sleiman, that he made two international phone calls to Washington (after I had returned to the U.S.) in an attempt to determine why I was not always writing favorable things about him (We will touch on some of those unfavorable things in a moment.).

I have no way of independently confirming the context of those phone calls. But the information comes to us from very reliable, high-ranking sources within the Lebanese leadership.

But let’s first take a look at one or two of the more serious problems associated with Sleiman’s becoming president of Lebanon, which he probably will be by the time this is published.

When I was in Lebanon back in September and October — weeks before it was assumed he was in fact destined for the presidency — several of my sources (some within the Cedars Revolution, some within the Army) predicted that Sleiman would indeed become president. But, they said, there would first have to be a constitutional amendment before a sitting Army commander could become head of state. Those sources also told me, “Watch and see, Gen. Sleiman will either maneuver around the constitution, or there will be an amendment. Either way, he will become president.”

What they told me eight months ago is now coming to pass. Sleiman’s ascension to the presidency is part of the recent Arab League deal that was cut between a frightened Lebanese government (which has been unable to elect a president in multiple attempts) and a bullying, threatening, murdering, Iranian-proxy terrorist-army (supported by Syria), Hezbollah.

After launching a campaign of terror against the Lebanese state this month, Hezbollah was granted all sorts of concessions, including the authority to continue to operate its extensive telecommunications system in Lebanon (which the government wanted to shut down), and the terrorists were granted new veto powers in government decisions. And as previously mentioned, Sleiman will become president as part of the deal.

But here’s one of the problems: Sleiman has apparently skirted an amendment of the constitution.

In this regard, the World Council for the Cedars Revolution issued a statement, a portion of which reads:

“… It is important that the sole candidate, General Michel Sleiman, refuses the current process before the Lebanese Cabinet of Fuad Siniora initiates it. For the election could be deemed unconstitutional by future parties. If that is the case, the Parliamentary election of the next President could be taken to courts, both internal and international. …”

[Read statement in its entirety here.]

So what does this mean? Well, several things, not the least of which a non-constitutionally appointed president of Lebanon will be a president who, if he ever makes a decision Hezbollah doesn’t like, the terrorist group (which – along with their allies – also holds seats in the cabinet and parliament) can make the claim that Sleiman is “an illegitimate head of state,” thus (in their minds) any unfavorable decision he makes about Hezbollah won’t constitutionally hold water.

Or Hezbollah can simply veto the decision. The terrorist group now has that power.

Or Hezbollah can do what it has always done: Murder people, blow up things, and burn property, like they did this month, which is the terrorist group’s political action of choice.

So what about the aforementioned unsavoriness surrounding Sleiman, the man?

First, Sleiman is a pro-Syrian commander of the Lebanese Army, and I can tell you from my personal conversation with him, he is also pro-Hezbollah, believing that Hezbollah’s Taliban-like kingdom within the sovereign state of Lebanon is acceptable because, as he told me, they “resist foreign aggression” and “they were here before the army.”

Well, guess what, Gen. Sleiman: Hezbollah also attacked the Lebanese people – including women, children, and the elderly – and you all but refused to repel the attack, which ultimately gave Hezbollah the upper hand. And, yes, the post-attack decision-making is now awarding you the presidency.

Then there are Sleiman’s Syrian connections: First, Sleiman was appointed army commander when the Syrians’ had overt control over Lebanon (I say overt, because Syria certainly has a covert operational hand in Lebanon today). Second, Sleiman has reportedly trained with Syrian military forces in Syria. Third, Sleiman’s brother-in-law, Gebran Kuriyyeh, was press spokesman for the late Syrian President Hafez al-Assad (and a couple sources tell us Kuriyyeh is also a former press officer for Assad’s son, current Syrian Pres. Bashar Assad.).

There is so much more to this story, and more to come.

— Visit W. Thomas Smith Jr. at uswriter.com.      


NOTE: The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author, and do not represent the opinions of World Defense Review and its affiliates. WDR accepts no responsibility whatsoever for the accuracy or inaccuracy of the content of this or any other story published on this website. Copyright and all rights for this story (and all other stories by the author) are held by the author.


Last Updated ( Sunday, 25 May 2008 )
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