Spectre of a coup hangs over Lebanon

As Army officers gather the intelligence that may anticipate a Hezbollah attempt to seize power, the possibility of an army coup d’état cannot be ruled out.

In November 2011, various reports alluded that Hezbollah planned to “seize parts of Beirut” should the Syrian regime of President Bashar Al Assad fall, allegedly as a patriotic step to prevent foreign intervention in Lebanon. At the time, the discussion hovered around a military coup, although on a far larger scale than the May 7, 2008, manoeuvres that terrorised Beirut and cost the lives of more than 100 Lebanese citizens.

Given the government’s failure to extend the terms of the six-member Military Council, and because Army commander General Jean Qahwaji, who heads the council, reaches a mandatory retirement age in September, the country may well be exposed to a security vacuum. Coincidentally, the Army’s chief-of-staff, Major General Walid Salman, is scheduled to retire in August, while three other council members are now serving through emergency extensions. Continue reading