November 27, 1989

Associated Press

BEIRUT, Lebanon (AP) - Christian army commander Michel Aoun today rejected a 48-hour ultimatum by the new president to resign and said he would "die fighting for Lebanon's honor. "

Military sources denied reports that Gen. Aoun's force and President Elias Hrawi's backers were massing troops.

"There is absolutely no move on the ground to suggest that a collision is imminent. The fronts are as they have been since the (Sept. 22) cease-fire," one ranking officer said on condition of anonymity.

Aoun, in an interview on French television, said, "I shall defend myself and the free (Christian) areas to the last man. I shall be in the forward lines of my troops and shall die fighting for Lebanon's honor. "

"I do not recognize Mr. Hrawi. His election under Syrian occupation is unconstitutional," Aoun said. The interview are also broadcast by Christian radio stations.

Hrawi, elected by Parliament Friday to replace assassinated leader Rene Mouawad, told reporters Sunday he would not permit the existence of two rival governments in Lebanon and said he would replace Aoun as army commander within 48 hours.

"If he stays ...... I must say with much regret that he will have to bear the consequences," Hrawi said at his temporary headquarters in east Lebanon's Syrian controlled Bekaa valley town of Chtoura.

Hrawi, 64, sacked Aoun as head of an interim military Cabinet on Saturday. But the measure was a mere formality because Aoun still controls the military and has ignored the order.

"He still is general of the army, perhaps for no more than 48-hours, after which, if he stays, he will become an officer of this army, " Hrawi said.

Hrawi pledged to rule from thc traditional seat of Lebanon's Maronite heads of state in suburban Baabda east of Beirut, where Aoun has set up his command in the bunker of the shell-battered presidential palace. Hrawi and Aoun are both Maronites.


"Maronites" are "Maronite Roman Catholics," [in full communion with the Roman pontiff] who the mass media routinely labels as generic "Christians."

BTW- General Aoun's officers were eventually executed by the Syrians. His officers, six-hundred or so, blindfolded, hands tied behind their backs, on their knees, got a Syrian bullet in the back of the head.

General "I'll die fighting" Aoun prudently retreated to France.