High Lebanese intel chief, mediator with Syria steps down

High Lebanese intel chief, mediator with Syria steps down

High Lebanese intel chief, mediator with Syria steps down

BEIRUT (AP) — A Lebanese intelligence chief who has mediated the discharge of Westerners held in Syria and in addition acted as a mediator inside Lebanon stepped down Wednesday after makes an attempt to increase his time period failed.

Maj. Gen. Abbas Ibrahim’s time period as a head of the Basic Safety Directorate ends Thursday, when he reaches retirement age of 64 in Lebanon. On Wednesday afternoon, he left his workplace and was changed by Brig. Gen. Elias Baisary as appearing head of the company.

“We’ll proceed the march in numerous fields to serve Lebanon,” Ibrahim stated earlier than leaving.

Ibrahim, who headed Basic Safety Directorate since 2011, is understood for vast connections with completely different native, regional and worldwide figures, together with the Iran-backed militant Hezbollah group, the Syrian authorities and Western nations.

A Shiite Muslim, he was tipped to finally substitute longtime Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri who turned 85 in January. When requested by native media whether or not he meant to switch the speaker, Ibrahim stated: “Might God grant Speaker Berri a protracted life.”

Underneath Lebanon’s power-sharing settlement, the nation’s president needs to be a Maronite Christian, the prime minister a Sunni and the parliament speaker a Shiite. Ibrahim stated if provided a ministerial job, he wish to turn into overseas minister.

Ibrahim’s time period ends at a time when Lebanon has no president since Michel Aoun’s time period resulted in late October, with a deeply divided parliament unable to elect a successor. The nation can also be with no fully-functional authorities, with Prime Minister Najib Mikati heading a caretaker Cupboard.

Mikati indicated final week that Ibrahim’s time period could also be prolonged however no parliament session was held to do that nor has Berri scheduled one.

A rarity in Lebanon, Ibrahim had good ties with Hezbollah, the USA and the worldwide group, making him a key political mediator. At instances, he additionally acted as a diplomatic consultant for Lebanon overseas, roles often outdoors a high safety official’s mandate.

Certainly one of his greatest circumstances was that of American journalist Austin Tice, lacking in Syria since August 2012. The U.S. says Tice is being held by the Syrian authorities whereas Damascus denies holding him. Final 12 months, Ibrahim met with U.S. officers in Washington as a part of his mediation efforts for Tice’s launch and later went to the Syrian capital of Damascus however didn’t attain a breakthrough.

In 2019, Ibrahim’s mediation led to the discharge of American Samuel Goodwin, who was held for 2 months in Syria. That very same 12 months, Ibrahim mediated the discharge of Kristian Lee Baxter, a Canadian citizen held in Syrian prisons for nearly a 12 months.

Ibrahim was amongst eight Lebanese officers charged in January by the decide investigating the large August 2020 port blast in Beirut that killed almost 220 individuals. The fees have been by no means specified.

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