Michel Aoun
Yasser Arafat
Bashar al-Assad
Hafez al-Assad
Rifaat al-Assad
Nabih Berri
Camille Chamoun
Dany Chamoun
Fouad Chehab
Raymond Edde
Mohammed Fadlallah
Suleiman Franjieh
Samir Geagea
Amine Gemayel
Bashir Gemayel
Pierre Gemayel
Saad Haddad
Rafic Hariri
Akl Hashem
Charles Helou
Elie Hobeika
Salim el-Hoss
Elias Hrawi
Issam Abou Jamra
Kamal Jumblatt
Walid Jumblatt
Rashid Karami
Ghazi Kanaan
Abd al-Halim Khaddam
Beshara el-Khouri
Antione Lahd
Emile Lahoud
Albert Mokheiber
Moussa el-Sader
Saeb Salam
Elias Sarkis
Patriarch Sfeir
Riad el-Solh


Aoun, Michel (1935- ), born in Harat Hurayk, was the prime minister of Lebanon (1988-1990) and the general who had commanded the Lebanese Army from the mid 1980s. Aoun was a highly respected officer and the men under his command were extremely loyal to him.
Aoun showed promise as a young officer and progressed quickly throughout the ranks. He trained as an artillery officer at Fort Sill in the United States and at the French military college of Chalons-sur-Marne, by the early 1980s Aoun began to get noticed and was forging a outstanding reputation.
During the 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon, as the Israeli Army approached the Presidential Palace, Aoun tried to halt their advance, he and his troops squared off against the Israelis. Only direct intervention from the president prevented the two forces from engaging each other.
In 1983 Aoun was commader of the Army's 8th Brigade and was responsible for the bitter defence of Souk el Gharb which was assualted by Syria and her allies.
By 1984 he had risen to the rank of Brigadier General.
In 1988 Aoun became prime minister of an interim government, he proceeded to crack down on the various militia groups in the country and waged a 'War of Liberation' against the Syrian Army in Lebanon. He also demand that the Israelis withdraw. The scale of  his public support and popularity across the board had never been experienced before in Lebanon. For a number of months tens of thousands of people would take to the streets in public shows of support, this became widely known as the 'Aoun Phenomenon'.
Between January and the end of May 1990 took on the Lebanese Forces. In the five months of intense and  savage fighting that followed both sides became so weak that they could no longer put up an effective fight against the Syrians.
In October 1990 after having rejected the Taif Accord, Aoun was removed from power by Syrian and pro-Syrian forces and exiled to France.
Aoun still has a very large following among the people of Lebanon and amongst large numbers of the Lebanese Army.

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Arafat, Yasser, Born Mohammed Abd al-Rahman Abd al-Raouf Arafat on August 24, 1929. He is also known under his nom de guerre 'Abu Ammar'.
He took part in Palestinian struggles in 1948 later taking refuge in Gaza and then returned to Cairo where he studied civil engineering. He was president of the Palestinian Student Union from 1952 to 1956, and served in the Egyptian army in 1956 as a second-lieutenant. Following several arrests for political activism in Egypt he moved to Kuwait where with others - notably Salah Khalaf (Abu Iyad), Khaliil al-Wazir (Abu Jihad), Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) and Faruq Qaddumi (Abu Lutof) - he founded Fatah in 1959. He trained as a fedayeen (commando) and led raids into Israeli territory. Because of the number of affluent Palestinians living in the Emirate and the freedom of press they enjoyed, Fatah rapidly became the first Palestinian political organization. After the Arab defeat in 1967 and the integration into the PLO of scattered Fedayn movements, Arafat became president of the Executive Committee appointed by the Palestine National Council (PNC) in February 1969 and, thus, chairman of the Organization. He then changed the direction of the PLO from being pan-Arabist to focussing on the Palestinian national cause. In 1973, he was appointed Commander-in-chief of the all-Palestinian/Arab guerilla forces.
Arafat commanded Palestinian forces in Lebanon throughout the war. The Lebanese attempt to expel the Palestinian forces from Lebanon led to the outbreak of war.
He addressed the UN General Assembly in New York in November 1974 calling for a peaceful solution for Palestine, admitting thereby implicitly the existence of Israel.
In 1983, in the turmoil of the Lebanese war, he was forced to flee from Beirut to Tunis where the headquarters of the PLO were then established. In the late 1980s Arafat tried to shed his terrorist image and severed his links to terrorist groups.
In November 1988, he proclaimed the independent Palestinian State and was elected by the PNC as the first President of the State of Palestine in April 1989. He lost considerable credibility on the international scene when he appeared to side with Saddam Hussein during the Gulf crisis in 1990. Arafat is now trying to negotiate peace with the Israelis.

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Assad, Bashar al-, Son of President Hafez Al-Assad of Syria, Bashar Al-Assad is pre-destined to succeed his father. He studied ophthalmology in England. After the accidental death of his brother Bassel (formerly designated as heir apparent to the regime) in 1994, he was called to take over his job as commander of the Syrian army's armoured division.

At the present time, the government is endeavouring, through a vast press campaign, to increase Bashar Al-Assad's popularity among the Syrian people so as to ensure, in the  future, his election. The Syrian Parliament for its part could, if necessary, amend the constitution which sets at 40 years-old the minimum age required to become president. This programmed succession to the Syrian presidency represents, according to sources close to the government, "the best guarantee for the pursuit of the President's policy and the maintenance of stability in Syria".

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Assad, Hafez al- (1928-2000), president of Syria (1971-2000), born in Qardahah, Syria. Assad is an Alowite, a minority religious group in Syria.  Joined the Baa'th party in 1952,  graduated Hims Military Academy 1955 as air force pilot; dismissed from armed forces as a political dissident 1961; became commander-in-chief of air force 1965 after Ba'ath party came to power; minister of defense 1966-71; president 1971; repressive regime considered responsible for Middle East terrorism.

In July 1945, Michel Aflaq and Salah al-Din Bitar applied for a license to form a political party, which was formed in 1947 as the Baa'th party, a socialist pan-Arab party. Assad, along with his younger borther Rifaat joined the party in 1952.

During Syria and Egypt's brief union 1958-61, Assad and other Baa'thist officers formed the secret Military Committee which aimed at eventually seizing power and in March 7-8, 1963, Assad and his fellow Baa'thist officers seized power. Following the coup, the Baa'th party underwent major changes in both leadership and ideology. The most important change being that socialism became the party's main orientation rather than Arab unity.

Between 1963 and 1966, an inter-Baa'th struggle ensued. The radical wing of the party emerged victorious in 1966, when Assad and others staged a bloody coup and purged the old guard. In 1970, Assad and his followers staged a military coup and Assad became prime minister and then president of Syria in 1971. He intervened in the war in Lebanon and then occupied the country where some 40,000 of his troops remain. He also supported Iran against Iraq during their 1980-1988 war. The target of several coup attempts in the early 1980s, Assad dealt brutally with his political opponents. Assad sent troops to Saudi Arabia to fight against Iraq in the Persian Gulf War (1991). Assad died of a heart attack on 10th June 2000 while on the phone to the President of Lebanon.

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Assad, Rifaat al- The younger brother of Hafez. Born in 1937 in Qardahah, Syria. Rifaat belongs to the Alowite minority religious group in Syria. Educated in Political Science and Economics at Damascus University, Rifaat entered the Soviet Academy of Sciences and earned a PhD in Politics. Career: Commander of Siraya al-Difaa (Defence regiment); he was elected to Baathist Regional Command in 1975; Head of Dept of Higher Educational and Scientific Studies, Damascus; Commander of Special Defence Council; 2nd Vice President of Syrian Arab Republic. Decorations: Medal for service in the field in 1973 war.

Rifaat Assad joined the Baath Party in1952 at the age of 15. He did military service in the period when Syria was part of the United Arab Republic from 1958 to 61. After the Baathist coup in March 1963 Assad was put through a crash course at the Homes Military Academy.

In 1965 during an internal party struggle between the military and civilian wings Rifaat became Commander of the Special Security Force loyal to the military committee. His unit participated in the February 1966 coup which resulted in the victory of the radicals. The unit was also active in the struggle against Salah Jadid, first in February 1969 and then in November 1970. By then Rifaat had established himself as a powerful man and an ally of his brother, Hafez al-Assad. His forces were responsible for maintaining internal security. In 1975 Rifaat became a member of the National High Command of the Baath party and took charge of youth affairs.

A massacre of Muslim Sunni opponents of the government detained in the Palmyra prison camp in 1980 was committed by his troops. Another massacre attributed to his forces was at Hama in 1982 when 5,000 to 10,000 people were killed after which the Muslim Brotherhood approached the Alowites and requested that they disassociate themselves from the Assads.

Rifaat headed a large network of business rackets ranging from legitimate trading and contract firms, casinos and night-clubs to the smuggling of hashish and luxury consumer goods in Lebanon. When he was assigned to lead a new anti-corruption drive by the Baath regional congress the first to be acked by Rifaat was Muhammad Halabi who was actually an anti-corruption campaigner. Rifaat also owned a considerable number of properties abroad.

When his brother Hafez’s health deteriorated in 1983 and early 1994, Rifaat's pictures and posters appeared all over Damascus and troops loyal to Rifaat, by 1983 numbering some 55,000,  took key positions and deployed tanks. A confrontation between rival army units ensued and several clashes were reported. Hafez's recovery and intervantion by other family members prevented a takeover.

In May 1984 Rifaat was sent on a working visit to Moscow along with other officers including his two chief rivals. However Rifaat did not return home afterwards and spent time in Switzerland and France. In November 1984 he was told to return to Syria and assume his duties as second Vice President in charge of security, but he was no longer in charge of his Defence regiment. In April of 1988 Rifaat resigned all his official positions and left Syria to spend most of his time abroad.

In November 1999 another coup was attempted by Rifaat but was put down by Hafez's forces.

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Berri, Nabih (1938- ), head of Amal, speaker of parliament. Born in Sierra Leone, he got his primary education in South Lebanon. He continued his secondary education in Makassed and Ecole de la Sagesse, in Beirut. Mr. Berri graduated from the Lebanese University with a degree in Law, and got his masters degree from the "Faculte de Droit" in Paris. He started his career as a lawyer in 1963, was also president of Lebanese Students Movement as well as Lebanese Universities Union. Mr. Berri favored Imam Moussa Al Sadr in his political activities. He is the head of Amal Movement since 1980. He was appointed Minister of State for the rebuilding of South Lebanon, in 1984. Then he was Minister of Justice, Electrical and Hydraulic resources. Mr. Berri was elected Speaker of the Lebanese parliament on Tuesday, November 20, 1992.

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Chamoun, Camille. President of Lebanon 1952-1958. Born in Deir el Kamar on the 3rd of April 1900. Camille championed Lebanese independence and so on November 11, 1943, he was arrested along with Bechara El-Khoury, Riad el-Solh, and others and held in Rashaïa castle. They were released on November 22 of the same year, after massive public unrest, and thus the date was marked down as the National Lebanese Independence Day. A French schooled lawer, Camille Chamoun held several positions of authority and represented his country at the United Nations and at the Court of St. James as the ambassador to the United Kingdom before becoming President in 1952. He was elected deputy in 1934, 1937, 1943, 1947, 1951, 1960, and 1968, and only lost one campaign, that of 1964. He Founded the Lebanese National Liberal Party, 1958 and was head of the Lebanese Front 1974-1978.
Highly nationalistic, Chamoun was viewed as a symbol of Lebanon's soveriengty and prevented a pan-Arab communist take over of Lebanon in 1958. At the outbreak of war in 1975, Chamoun led the effort to expel from Lebanon all non Lebanese armed forces that by then had become a serious threat.

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Chamoun, Dany. Son of the former president Camille Chamoun. Dany was the founder of the Ahrar Tiger militia and head of the Lebanese National Liberal Party after his father. He was born on 26th August 1934 in Dier el-Qamar. In 1975 he was appointed Secretary of Defence of the National Liberal Party. From 1983 to 1985 he was the General Secretary of the party and in 1988 President of the Lebanese Front. Dany Chamoun opposed Syria's presence in Lebanon and supported General Michel Aoun's War of Liberation. Dany was assassinated with his wife and two boys, aged 5 and 7, on Sunday 21st October, 1990.

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Chehab, Fouad, Born in Ghazir in 1902, He was the 3rd President of the republic of Lebanon from 1958-64. As a young man he joined  the French Army and later became head of the of the Lebanese army in 1953 (First head of the Lebanese Army after Independence). He was elected president in 1958 During his presidency period, he reformed the administrative departments in governmental institutions. He announced his resignation in 1960, and then withdrew from this decision due to a public and parliamentary unanimity. He founded the Secret Intelligence Service. (Al Maktab Al Thani).
He established firm relationships with many Arab countries namely the Republic of Egypt.

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Edde, Raymond, One the greatest men of Lebanese politics, he was born in March 1913 and is massively nationalistic constantly calling for the withdrawal of all foreign troops from Lebanon. He has a degree in law and has practised since 1934. Elected head of the National Assembly in 1949. Elected deputy for the first time in 1953 for the town of Jbeil, and repeatedly afterwards in 1958, 1960, 1968. He has occupied several posts in the ministry between 1958 and 1968, namely as Minister of Internal Affairs and Minister of Public Works. He is credited for having made great effort in getting the UN into the South of Lebanon.
He has received numerous awards, and has been decorated with the Order of the Republic from Egypt.
Raymond left for France early in  the Lebanese War after he was the target of several murder attempts.
He still resides in France in self imposed exile, yet is still considered a great political figure in the Lebanese Society.

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Fadlallah, Mohammed Hussein, Born in Najef in Iraq in 1935. He started his religious studies under his father’s supervision in Najef, and was later taught by Muslim mentors such as Muhssein Al Hakim and Abu Al Kassem Al Khouï.
He came to Lebanon in 1966. Today he is regarded him as Hizbullah’s Spiritual guide. He was subject to two assassination attempts, the first in 1981 and later in 1985.

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Franjieh, Suleiman, (1910-1992). Lebanese politician born June 15, 1910, Zgharta, Lebanon was  president of Lebanon (1970-76). He is considered to be in large part responsible for the country's descent into war in the mid-1970s.

Franjieh was educated in Tripoli and Beirut and operated an import-export firm in Beirut. In 1957 he was implicated in the murder of several members of a rival clan and fled to Syria, where he became friends with Hafez al-Assad who was later to become president of Syria (1971). Franjieh soon returned to Lebanon to succeed his elder brother, Hamid, as clan leader, and he held a succession of ministerial posts after being elected to his brother's former seat in parliament (1960).

On Aug. 17, 1970, parliament elected Franjieh president by one vote on the third ballot, after armed men loyal to him forced their way into Parliament and prevented another vote from taking place. Franjieh soon alienated the people of Lebanon by his autocratic rule and his promotion of inept and corrupt clansmen, notably his son Tony. During the war Franjieh maintained a militia called Marada or the Zgharta Liberation Army which was commanded by Tony. In June 1976, shortly before he left office, it is claimed by some, Franjieh reportedly invited Assad to send troops into Lebanon to intervene in the fighting. Leaders who opposed Syrian intervention allied themselves with Israel. In early 1978 arguments broke out between Franjieh and other members the Lebanese Front due to his pro Syrian leanings. In June 1978, members of the Phalange, murdered Tony along with his wife and daughter after which the power of the Franjiehs declined. Suleiman remained an ally of Syria up to his death on July 23, 1992.

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Geagea, Samir. Current head of the Lebanese Forces. Born on November 25, 1952 in Ain al-Rummaneh, Beirut. His ancestral home is in Bshari. He is one of three children of Farid Geagea, an adjutant in the Lebanese Army. Samir Geagea completed his primary and secondary level education in Ain al-Rummaneh. In youth he belonged to student branches of the Kataeb party. After high school, he was able to study medicine at the American University of Beirut (AUB) due partly to a Khalil Gibran Association scholarship.
With the out break of fighting in Beirut in 1975 and the division of the city, Samir Geagea had to leave AUB after five years of study. He then transferred to St. Joseph University, in East Beirut.
When the Palestinian-Muslim-leftist alliance attacked 1976 the Kura region in northern Lebanon, Samir Geagea interrupted his academic work to help defend the area. During the next few months, he reorganized the party militia in the north (Bshari, Kura, Zgharta). However, after the Syrian army entered the Kura at the end of the summer, he returned to his medical studies in Beirut.
In 1978, Samir Geagea again broke away from his studies. At the request of Bashir Gemayel, he agreed to return briefly to help the newly formed Lebanese Forces but he was wounded, moved to a hospital, and later transferred to France to recuperate.
When he returned to Lebanon, Geagea, now responsible for the Lebanese Forces and the Kataeb along northern front, moved to a convent in the upper mountains of Jubayl from where he opened training centers, and began the development of fortifications opposite Syrian positions. He established a headquarters at Qattara, an extremely isolated village high in the mountains, he remained in charge of this sector until early 1983.
In January 1983, the Lebanese Forces command council appointed Samir Geagea, who retained his responsibilities on the northern front, commander of its forces in the Shuf-Aley sector of Mt. Lebanon, an area from which the Lebanese Forces were forced to retreat in September 1983.
Geagea returned to his headquarters in Qattara, where he developed, organized, managed, and carried out a training program for regional leaders in the Lebanese Forces.
Over the next few years as public support for the Lebanese Forces started to decline so Samir Geagea, Karim Pakradouni, and Elie Hobeika (then the security chief of the Lebanese Forces) forced the resignation in 1985 of the then commander of the Lebanese Forces, Fouad Abu Nadir. Elie Hobeika was named head of its executive committee, Geagea chief of staff.
On January 15, 1986, Samir Geagea led a movement that removed Elie Hobeika and due to the improprieties of the latter and, above all, to his having signed the so-called "Tripartite Accord" with Syria. Every sector of Christian opinion was opposed to the accord.
Within months, he had reorganized the Lebanese Forces and established standardized bases of recruitment, selection, training, and promotion and founded the first formal Lebanese Forces military academy at Ghosta. At the same time, the Lebanese Forces became for the first time a political movement with clear-cut socio-economic objectives and programs and with friendly and cooperative ties to many foreign countries. The Lebanese Forces also began the most ambitious and systematic social welfare program ever undertaken in Lebanon and intended to help the disadvantaged and displaced.
In 1989, the Lebanese Forces agreed to adopt Taef Accord.
In 1991 the Lebanese Forces were disarmed and Geagea began to transform it into a purely political party. However, as a result of serious violations of the spirit and intent of Taef Accord, Samir Geagea became one of the accord's strongest critics and refused to accept government post and ministerial appointments.
In 1994 Geagea was imprisoned for "maintaining a militia in the guise of a political party, and for dealing with military weapons and explosives".
Samir Geagea has been in solitary confinement ever since.

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Gemayel, Amine (1942- ), president of Lebanon (1982-1988). He was born in Bikfaya, the oldest son of Pierre Gemayel.
In 1982, during Lebanon's war the National Assembly elected Bashir Gemayel, Amin's younger brother, president. Bashir was assassinated three weeks later, and Amin, a less controversial figure with broader support in the country, was elected president. During Gemayel's presidency, Lebanon continued to be torn by violence, and Syria and Israel occupied parts of Lebanon. Gemayel presided over many negotiations to end the war. When his term expired in September 1988 and the Lebanese parliament was unable to agree on a new leader, Gemayel named the commander of the Lebanese Army, General Michel Aoun as head of an interim government.

As president he set himself three main objectives:
- To work towards independence and sovereignty for Lebanon;
- To recreate the forum for a dialogue between Lebanon's different communities;
- To restore and modernise state institutions

Concerning Syria, in 1982, Amin Gemayel dissolved the Arab Dissuasion Force which legitimised Syrian military presence in Lebanon; then, despite heavy pressure, in December 1985 he refused to ratify the so-called Damascus treaty which was intent on breaking up all Lebanese institutions.
As for the PLO, in 1987 he annulled the Cairo Agreement, signed with the PLO in 1969, which authorised them to use Lebanon as a base for military operations against Israel.
On the domestic front, Amin Gemayel's activities are aimed at establishing strong foundations for inter-communal dialogue. He worked towards restoring the state's role by making its institutions credible, efficient and unified. Throughout his term of office he fought to preserve the unity of the administration, the armed forces and the legal system.

He is a critic of the Taef agreements which control the running of these institutions. He also condemns the Lebanese people's "consent" and their "collaboration mentality" towards Syrian occupation.

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Gemayel, Bashir (1947-1982), possibly the most controversial figure in Lebanese history. Bashir Gemayel consistently worked for a free, democratic, united, independent Lebanon. He believed that Lebanon needed to maintain good relations with the Western as well as the Arab World. He advocated the withdrawal of Syrian forces occupying Lebanon since 1976, the withdrawal of Israeli forces occupying Lebanon since June 1978 and the disarming of the Palestinians on Lebanese soil.

'I want Lebanon to be 10,452 km2 and not one kilometer less.' - Bashir Gemayel.

Bashir Gemayel was born on November 10, 1947 in Bikfaya, Lebanon, his family's ancestral home for 400 years. He was the youngest child, the second son, of Pierre Gemayel, founder of the Kataeb Social Democratic Party of Lebanon, The Phalange. Bashir graduated from St. Joseph University (Beirut) in 1971 with a Bachelors degree in Law and Political Science.
Bashir involved himself in both the academic world and in politics. He first visited the United States in 1972 to attend a seminar on International law at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. Upon completion of the seminar, he returned to Lebanon to pursue his required three years legal internship before being admitted to the bar. In the meantime, having been a member of the Kataeb Party since his youth, he was appointed the Political Director of the Ashrafieh district of Beirut in 1972. He was extremely patriotic and believed in the soveriegnty and unity of Lebanon at all costs.
After the Lebanese-PLO war broke out  in April 1975, Bashir joined his fellow militia members of the Kataeb party in fighting against the PLO, he had a direct role in the fighting and was involved in all of the major battles of the first two years.
At the outbreak of the war Bashir was young and very impulsive who was so busy fighting for his country that he did not fully consider the consequences of his actions or of some of the decisions he made. He was completely ruthless. He was so open that he allowed the press to follow the engagements from his battle lines without any form of control over them. He once was photographed after the battle of  Tal al-Zaatar drinking champagne with bodies of Palestinian guerrillas in the lying background. Such events did much harm to his early reputation.
When William Hawi, Commander-in-Chief of the Kataeb Military Council was killed at the siege of the PLO stronghold in Tal al-Zaatar in July 1976, Bashir was named to succeed him. By August 30, he was appointed head of the unified command of the Lebanese Forces, a coalition of the Christian militias of the Kataeb Party, National Liberal Party, the Tanzim and the Guardians of the Cedars.
Bashir married Solange Toutounji in 1977. His first child Maya, at the age of eighteen months, was killed in Beirut on February 23, 1980 in a car bomb explosion intended for Bashir. Their two other children are Youmna, born in 1981 and Nadim, born in 1982.
On July 7, 1980, the Christian militias were officially unified into one as the Lebanese Forces with Bashir Gemayel as their Commander-in-Chief. By January 1981, he also held positions as Chief of the Kataeb Security Council and member of the Kataeb Political Bureau.
As Commander-in-Chief, Bashir strengthened the military potential of the Lebanese Forces, instituting military training in schools and built up reserves. He also gave the Lebanese Forces a broader political dimension and popular basis. He organized public services in the unoccupied areas to substitute for the lack of government provided services. These included a public transportation system; a popular committee to provide the daily needs of the population such as water, electricity, road maintenance, garbage collection, sewage, social relief services, two radio stations, a television station and a small airport.
Bashir, contrary to the Arab world, wanted a lasting peace to exist between Lebanon and Israel and viewed Israel as a potential ally. Willing to take help from the Israelis he always suspicious about their intentions, Bashir once told AP journalist Robert Fisk:

'We'll take help from the Israelis, but you have to realise that the Israelis will only help you if are of use to them. They don't do anything for nothing.'

Bashir throughout the war stressed the importance of a unified Lebanon and set about trying to achieve this goal. He urged Lebanese Muslims to join him and the Lebanese Christians in rejecting foreign occupation.

"I extend my appeal to all our Lebanese Muslim brothers in the occupied areas to assure them and to remove from their hearts any doubts, fear, ambiguity or effects of Syrian and Palestinian brainwashing, and to emphasize to them that we are their natural and true allies as well as their original partners in our common Lebanese life."

"The Syrians and the Palestinians are imposing partition on us.... We cannot accept the disintegration of our country.... Partition is a myth propagated by Syria and the PLO."

"Let us march together: You have your own circumstances which we understand and respect. But let us be one people with a strong legitimate government."

"Do not bow to blackmail; do not believe the lies you are told. You must have confidence in your Lebanese brothers rather than in the occupying forces.... Let all the sons of Lebanon rally around the homeland.... there is no room for recriminations and trivial sensitivities. Let us take a unified decision to free our land."

"We assure the Lebanese Muslims that we will fight on their side.... We are one people and one country.... We will not exist without them."   (March 21, 1982).

Under President Elias Sarkis, a Council of National Salvation was formed in June 1982 which grouped the major militia and political leaders in an effort to draw up measures to end the seven years of war which had shaken Lebanon. Gemayel participated on the short-lived Council as the representative of the Lebanese Forces.
As a result the bitter fighting of the previous years and terrible attrocities commited on both sides, Bashir was worried about the consequences of his troops entering West Beirut and Muslim villages. He did not want it to be an excercise in revenge and retribution. He told his men:

"Those against whom you fought; those who demolished your houses, desecrated the tombs of our grandfathers... we must respect their dead without any feeling of vengeance. They destroyed our homes, but we shall protect their homes... We must secure freedom and protection for every Lebanese without discrimination."
(June 17, 1982).

Bashir was frank and direct in his dealings with people. His zeal for the Lebanese cause, an independent Lebanon free of all foreign occupation, inspired many. This goal took him around the world, meeting with Arab and Western leaders, in search for solutions and support. He was a bold man, charismatic, decisive. He maintained a clear political course, attracting young, dynamic and specialized individuals to the cause. He was forthright and realistic, was open to dialogue and not afraid of criticism.
Bashir officially announced his candidacy for President of the Republic of Lebanon on July 24, 1982. On August 23, 1982, Gemayel was elected President of the Republic in a second ballot by a vote of 57 for with 5 abstentions.
During the next few weeks, he held countless planning sessions and intensive meetings with Christian and Muslim leaders, drawing up plans for the new Lebanon he wanted reborn. Slowly his message was heard. He began rallying all of Lebanon, Muslims and Christians alike, around him as no other leader in Lebanon had been able to do since independence.
At 4:10 pm on September 14, 1982, nine days before he was to be inaugurated President, Bashir attended his usual discussion session at the Kataeb office in Ashrafieh. A powerful explosion on the second floor ripped through the building, collapsing it on itself and killing Bashir along with 26 others.
The perpetrator, Habib Shartouny, 26, a member of the Syrian Socialist Nationalist Party (SSNP), and a Syrian agent was apprehended. Mossad, the CIA, and Israeli military intelligence, pooling there resources with the Lebanese intelligence community established that Chartouny had installed a long range electronic detonator to a bomb made of Semtex-H which had been smuggled into the building where Chartouny's sister lived. Her apartment was directly above the Phalange offices. Chartouny's case officer was a captain in the Syrian intelligence service called Nassif, who reported directly to Lieutenant Colonel Mohammed G'anen who was in charge of Syrian intelligence operations in Lebanon. Both the Syrian Army and Air Force intelligence had knowledge of the bombing as did Hafez al-Assad's brother Rifaat al-Assad, head of Syria's security forces. President Assad would have probably given the order himself but there was no proof.

'You cannot say things will get worse now, or tomorrow, or next week. But one day there must be a resolution. Sooner or later we will have to fight a war of liberation.'   August 10, 1980.

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Gemayel, Pierre (1905-1984), founder and leader of the Lebanese Kataeb Party, the Phalanage, and the father of Amin and Bashir Gemayel..
He was born on November 6, 1905 in Bikfaya.  His family was forced to settle in Monsourah, Egypt from 1914 until the end of WWI as a result of a death sentence against his uncle and his father for being nationalists. He studied in Jesuit schools and graduated from the French Facility of Medicine in Beirut with a degree in Pharmacology. Pierre had a keen interest in sports and was an olympic athelete. He founded the Kataeb Party in 1936. He believed that Lebanon had a unique identity and culture and encouraged the coexistence of Muslims and Christians in one state. Throughtout his life he played a major role in Lebanese politics, patriotic to the point of obsession, he spent his life struggling for the independence and sovereignty of his country.

'If my death would bring peace to this land, then wrap me in the Lebanese flag and burn me beneath the cedars.'

Pierre Gemayel died on August 29, 1984 of a heart attack in his home in Bikfaya.

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Haddad, Saad (1936-1984), Lebanese Army officer trained in the United States. In 1975 he was comanding a battalion of the army in South Lebanon and at the outbreak of war he and his men broke away form the army and independently engaged the Palestinians in the south. In 1978 he showed himself to be a pro-Israeli commader and began to receive their support. Founder of the South Lebanon Army (SLA). He died of cancer on 15th January 1984.

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Hariri, Rafic al-, Lebanese politician born in Saïda in 1944. He started studies at Beirut university in 1965 but emigrated to Saudi Arabia one year later. He was employed by a Saudi company but set up his own constuction firm in 1970. In 1978 his company "Saudi Oger" became "Oger International". A few years later he became a Saudi citizen.
In 1989, Rafic Hariri played an important role in the organization of the conference which resulted in the Taïf agreement. In 1991 he financed a reconstruction plan for central Beirut. Although Lebanon was badly hit by an economic crisis, many Lebanese polticians were critical of Hariri's projects. He repeatedly voiced his disappointment about their obstruction. After the success of his sister Bahiya Hariri in the Saida constituency in the 1992 elections, president Hrawi appoints Hariri as Prime Minister on 22 October 1992. Although a businessman unrelated to the traditional political establishment, he had more power than his predecessors due to the implementation of the Taif Agreement.
After the election of Emile Lahoud as president of Lebanon, Hariri resigned as Prime Minister in December 1998.
As the owner of a vast media empire - comprising two television channels (a local and a satellite channel, Future-TV/Al-Mostaqbal), two radio stations (Izaat As-Sharq and Radio Orient, braodcasting from Paris), an influential weekly (Al-Mostaqbal) and a 38% participation in one of the major Lebanese newspaper (An-Nahar) - Hariri will certainly continue to play an important role in Lebanese politics.

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Hashem, Akl, (1952-2000). Hashem was the second most senior officer in SLA after its commander Antoine Lahd. His name was often mentioned as a likely successor to the Lahd. He had been a surgeon in the Lebanese army before defecting to the SLA and was sentenced to death by Lebanese authorities in absentia on charges of "dealing with the enemy." He was married and has young children. Hashem was a native of the security zone, a Maronite from the Christian village of Debel, was known to be fluent in Hebrew, and favoured by the senior military officials of Israel's northern command. It was rumoured in south Lebanon that Israel may have been preparing for replacing its troops with a local force lead by Hashem after their withdrawal. He was assassinated in January 2000 by a Hizballah remote detonated bomb.

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Helou, Charles, (1913-2001). Charles Helou was born on Sep. 25, 1913. He completed his high school studies at Saint Joseph’s University in Beirut and graduated with honors in 1929. He then obtained a degree from Beirut’s Law Faculty in 1934.

He was one of the five founders of the Phalange Party, but left the group after some disagreements and he thought that the affiliation could harm his political career. After independence, Helou occupied senior official positions and served in various Cabinets, and was education minister when elected by Parliament to succeed Fouad Chehab in 1964. Helou also held senior international posts after his presidency, and also turned to philanthropy, founding restaurants designed to provide hot meals to needy elderly individuals.

Although Helou began his term as a protege of Fouad Chehab, by the end of his term he had earned the ex-president’s ire. He coined the phrase “Lebanon’s strength lies in its weakness,” as he sought to insulate Lebanon from the Arab-Israeli conflict. Helou tried to control armed Palestinian elements  who had entered Lebanon from Syria in large numbers and he saw the country split over the issue of the Palestinians’ armed presence as some Lebanese Muslims sided politically with the armed Palestinian groups.

Violence broke out between the Lebanese army and the Palestinian guerrillas and the struggle culminated in the 1969 Cairo Agreement, which recognized Palestinian military rights in Lebanon, and allowed the PLO to launch attacks against Israel from South Lebanon. This agreement was a disaster as it gave the Palestinians a free hand in Lebanon and ultimately resulted in war. Helou turned over a divided country to his successor, Suleiman Franjieh, and Helou enjoyed a minimal political presence after his term ended.

Helou died on January 7, 2001 of a heart attack a the age of 87.

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Hobeika, Elias Joseph  (Elie Hobeika) Born in Kleiat in the Kessruan in 1956. He had stopped school at the age of 16. When the war broke out Hobeika joined a crack unit of the Phalange. In 1976 several members of his family as well as his fiancee were among the many hundreds butchered by Palestinians in the town of Damour. By 1977 Hobeika had become commander of the southern sector of Lebanon. In the early stages of the war he was known as Edward and then as H.K, after a machine gun called a 'Heckler and Koch' which he used in the battle of Beirut and the Karantina in 1978. During a lull in the fighting, he was placed briefly at the Banco Di Brazil in Beirut in 1978 as an office boy. As fighting erupted again he went back to the lines and was promoted to head of the third division of the Phalange incharge of special operations and in 1979 promoted to security chief of the Lebanese Forces as head of Intelligence.
Hobeika married Gina Raymond Nachaty in 1981. He had a baby girl Sabine in 81, and she died in tragic circumstances in 1982. He had a boy Joseph in 1983.
In 1982 he commanded the massacre of Sabra and Chatila.
Over the next few years as support for the Lebanese Forces started to decline Samir Geagea, Karim Pakradouni, and Elie Hobeika forced the resignation in 1985 of the then commander of the Lebanese Forces, Fouad Abu Nadir. Elie Hobeika was named head of its executive committee.
On January 15, 1986, Samir Geagea led a movement that removed Elie Hobeika from Lebanese Forces command due to his improprieties and, above all, to his having signed the 'Tripartite Accord' with Syria. It was strongly held that he had been actively courting Syria and betraying Lebanon. Hobieka fled to Syria and used his time there to strengthen his relationship with the Syrian leadership and to learn English and French as well as taking a computer course. His few armed followers were stationed in Zahle under Syrian protection. In september 1986, with Syrian and Druze support he ordered his men to attack Ashrafieh from West Beirut, and after an occupation of some streets that lasted a few hours he was totally defeated, those of his men that survived went back to Zahle and he remained in Syria.
In 1990 his men fought alongside the Syrians against General Aoun and so Hobeika was rewarded with a number of ministerial posts.
Hobeika has been implicated in a great number of murders and assasinations, including that of Dany Chamoun. Hobeika was himself assasinated on January 24 2002 in a huge car bomb explsion near his home. A car bomd was detonated as her drove by killing him and three bodyguards.

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Hoss, Salim el-, Born in Beirut, December 20, 1929. He has occupied many Diplomatic Posts of which:
Prime minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Emigrant Affairs (Dec. 4, 1998 - Present)
Education minister (1985-1987), Beirut MP (1992-Present)
Prime minister 1from 976-1980 and again in 1987-1990 when he formed a government West Beirut to rival that of General Michel Aoun.

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Hrawi, Elias (1926- ), president of Lebanon (1989-1998). Hrawi was born in Zahle, Lebanon.
In 1972 he was elected to the Lebanese parliament. From 1980 to 1982, he is Minister of Works.
In 1989 the parliament chose Hrawi, to succeed René Moawad as president. Moawad, was assassinated shortly after Lebanon adopted the Ta'if agreement.
Hrawi used the Syrian Army to remove General Aoun from power in 1990. Hrawi's presidential mandate expired on November 23th 1998. Emile Lahoud succeeded him.

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Abou Jamra, Issam (1937- ), Gen. Issam Abou Jamra was born in the town of al-Kfeir, south Lebanon, in 1937. He joined the Lebanese army in 1956 and graduated from its military academy as an artillery officer in 1959.He attended military courses in France and the United States (the last of which was a General Staff course in Kansas in 1980) and was awarded several military decorations. He received a university law degree in 1984. During the course of his military career, Abou Jamra attained high-ranking positions such as the Secretary of the Army Commander in Chief, Commander of the Second Artillery Battalion, Commander of the Second Brigade, Commander of the Seventh Brigade, Inspector General of the Defense Ministry, and member of the Military Council between 1984 and 1990. Abou Jamra served as Deputy Prime Minister in the interim military government headed by Gen. Michel Aoun from 1988-1990 and was in charge of six ministries. In 1990, he was promoted to Major General. After the Syrians invaded east Beirut in October 1990, Abou Jamra and Aoun stayed at the French embassy for ten months, along with Gen. Edgar Maalouf, before leaving for exile in Nice, France. Abou Jamra is an active leader in the Free Patriotic Movement (FPM), the main nationalist opposition group in Lebanon.

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Jumblatt, Kamal (1917-1977), Druze leader of the Progressive Socialist Party and leader of the leftist alliance, The Lebanese National Movement. Educated at the Sorbonne and later at the Jesuit University in Beirut, he was elected in 1946 to the Chamber of Deputies. A few years later he founded the Progressive Socialist Party. In 1958 Jumblatt led a Arab nationalist uprising and siezed control of the Chouf region but the revolt was quickly put down. In subsequent governments he was Minister of Education, then Minister of Public Works, and then Minister of Justice in which capacity he legalised the Communist Party. By 1975 he had become the leader of the National Movement whose members fought alongside Palestinian troops against Lebanon. Jumblatt was the greatest advocate for the Palestinians in Lebanon and proved to be the most intransigent of the war participants. He was assasinated by Syrian agents on March 16, 1977.

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Kanaan, Ghazi. Commander of Syrian intelligence in Lebanon. All high-ranking Lebanese officials report directly to Kanaan and he has the final word on all major political and security decisions made by the Lebanese government.

Kanaan was born in 1943 to a prominent Alawite family in the village of Bhamra near Kerdaha (Syrian President Hafez Assad's hometown) in the mountains overlooking the seaport city of Latakia. Contrary to many reports, Kanaan is not related to Assad, but their two families have had a long historical alliance. Like Assad and other senior Syrian officials, he joined the military early in his career, reportedly commanding an army unit facing Israeli forces in the Golan Heights during the 1970s. Kanaan rapidly advanced through the army officer corps. He attained the rank of Colonel and served as head of Syrian intelligence in Homs until 1982, when he was appointed to replace Gen. Mohammad Ghanem as the commander of the 'Mukhabarat' (Syrian Intelligence), in Lebanon.

During the Lebanese war, intelligence forces under Kanaan's command established their headquarters in Anjar, an Armenian village in the Bekaa Valley where, in the 18th century, Lebanese prince Fakhr al-Din defeated the Ottoman ruler of Damascus and imprisoned him in a cage. Additional bases and detention facilities have been established in West Beirut on Sadat Street and in the Ramlet al-Baida neighborhood near the Beau Rivage Hotel, in Tripoli, Chtoura and Hazmiyeh.

Kanaan is credited with gradually tightening Syria's grip over the Lebanese government during the 1980s by cultivating alliances with members of Lebanon's militia elite. In 1983, Kanaan ordered his militia allies to torpedo the May 17th Agreement between Lebanon and Israel that was brokered by former U.S. Secretary of State George Shultz. In 1984, Kanaan masterminded the February 6 mutiny in West Beirut that led to the breakdown of the Lebanese central government and the withdrawal of multinational peacekeeping forces, including U.S. Marines, from Lebanon.

By the late 1980's, Syrian influence pervaded throughout the country as militia leaders of all sectarian persuasions came under Kanaan's influence. Those who resisted Syrian influence were either assassinated like Hasan Khalid, the Mufti of Lebanon's Sunni Muslim community, in 1989 or abducted and imprisoned by Kanaan's forces like the leaders of the Sunni Tawhid al-Islami movement and the pro-Iraqi wing of the Ba'ath Party in the mid-1980's.

Kanaan's most significant achievement during the 1980's was his successful effort to lure collaborators within the predominantly Christian (and ostensibly anti Syrian) Lebanese Forces (LF) militia. This process began in 1985 with the defection to Syria of LF Commander Elie Hobeika and culminated with the decision of LF Commander Samir Geagea to collaborate with Damascus in October 1990, when Syrian forces invaded East Beirut and ousted the constitutional government of Lebanon headed by interim Prime Minister Michel Aoun.

After Aoun's removal from power, Syrian control of Lebanese politics became complete. Since 1990, Kanaan has literally become the "king maker" in Lebanese politics as the election of the president is strictly subject to his official approval. In October 1995, just weeks before the expiration of Lebanese President Elias Hrawi's term in office, Kanaan attended a party hosted by former prime minister Umar Karami and announced to the numerous MPs present that they were to amend article 49 of the constitution and extend Hrawi's tenure for three more years. According accounts of the evening, published by Mideast Mirror and al-Hayat newspaper on 2nd October 1995:

'Kanaan then raised his hand, saying that the vote would take place by a raising of hands and would not be secret . . . Everyone looked as if they had just been through a cold shower . . . The party broke up early. Presidential hopefuls departed with their wives, one complaining of tiredness, another saying he had a headache.'

Less than a month later, the parliamentarians obediently convened and extended Hrawi's term in office. More recently, Kanaan personally oversaw the formulation of a new law late in 1999, which strongly preordained the election of pro Syrian candidates in Lebanon's parliamentary elections in August 2000.

Kanaan's power extends far beyond his political capacity. Due to the extensive network of Syrian intelligence officers and local operatives under his command, little of importance happens in Lebanon without his knowledge. The commander of Lebanon's Sureté Générale, Maj. Gen. Jamil Sayyed, reports directly to Kanaan, often bypassing the civilian leadership of the Lebanese regime. Since Kanaan has the power to order the arrest and indefinite detention of anyone in the country, he is the most feared man in the Lebanon.

Kanaan, known to his associates as Abu Yo'roub, has used his influence for personal gain as well. His involvement in narcotics production and trafficking in the Bekaa Valley, counterfeiting and other illegal activities have made him a very wealthy man. With the shadow of Syrian power lurking behind him, few in Lebanon are willing to stand their ground in disputes with Kanaan. One who did is Yahya Shamas, a former member of parliament and long-time associate of Kanaan's who made the mistake of buying a piece of real estate from the Syrian general and then refusing to sell it back when its value started rapidly appreciating. Shamas was quickly jailed on drug trafficking charges in 1994 and imprisoned. Kanaan is even rumoured to have had affairs with the wives of numerous Syrian backed Lebanese politicians who could not object.

Kanaan's success in subduing Lebanon has earned him tremendous accolades in Damascus and he reportedly has a good chance of replacing Ali Douba as the overall head of intelligence in Syria. Assif Shawkat, the son-in-law of President Assad (married to his daughter Bushra) is said to be competing against Kanaan for the job. Kanaan's early support of Bashar Assad, the son and apparent successor of President Assad, considerably strengthened his chances. He also has good relations with several American officials, particularly in the intelligence community, and has visited Washington DC on at least one occasion (February 1992). As a result, his political future in Damascus is considered to be very bright.

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Karami, Rashid, born in Miriata, Tripoli, in 1921. He received his training as a lawyer at the Fuad I University in Cairo, Egypt.
He was several times Prime Minister of Lebanon in, 1955-56, 1958-60, 1961-64, and five times subsequently between 1965 and 1976. His final term of office began in 1984. Karami was a member of the predominantly Muslim, left wing, National Front, but tried to ensure stability for Lebanon by sharing power with representatives of the Maronite Christian community. To his end, he headed a coalition government formed by the president Amine Gemayel in 1984, which was hoped to end the country’s bitter war, yet he was assassinated three years later, in 1987, while he was traveling by helicopter with a number of other dignitaries.

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Khaddam, Abd al-Halim, Syrian politician, born in 1932 in Banias to a Sunni-Muslim family. After studying law, he worked as a lawyer in Damascus from 1954-64. He joined the Baath Party and from 1963, after the party assumed power, he engaged in politics full-time. In 1967 he was appointed Governor of Damascus. He joined the government in 1969 as Minister of Economy and Foreign Trade.
Khaddam sided with Hafez Al-Assad in the intra-factional struggle within the Baath Party and when the latter assumed power in November 1970, Khaddam became Minister for Foreign Affairs and Deputy Prime Minister. Since 1984, he has been one of the three Vice-Presidents, particularly responsible for Syria's policy towards Lebanon. He was the main force behind the conclusion of the Taif Agreement..
Constitutionally, Khaddam was a possible successor to President Assad. He lacked the military background that has become traditional with Syrian top leaders but, as a Sunni Muslim married to an Alawi woman, he might have beeen an acceptable compromise candidate, but it he did not succeed Hafez al Assad.

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Khouri, Beshara el-, He was born in 1890. He was a professional Lawyer and a member of the Cabinent, was the founder and the President of “Ad-Dustour” political party. He was elected President for the Republic of Lebanon on the 21rst of September 1943.
He was arrested on the 11th of November 1943, along with Riad El-Solh, Camille Chamoun and other activists, and they were kept in the Rashaya Tower for having opposed the French Mandate. They were released on the 22nd November 1943.
He was President for 9 years, and resigned on the 18th of September.
He died on January 1rst 1964.

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Lahd, Antoine. (1929- ). General and current commader of the South Lebanon Army (SLA). General Lahd is a native of the Chouf (Shuf) region Mount Lebanon.

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Lahoud, Emile. President of Lebanon, former head of the Lebanese armed forces.
He entered the Military Academy in 1956 and completed his formative years by training in Britain and the United States. He became naval officer in 1959 and was elevated Navy Commander in 1970. He also was high-ranking official at different grades in the Ministry of Defence until he became General and was appointed Commander of the Lebanese Army in November 1989 by Hrawi. Lahoud is credited with rebuilding the Lebanese Army and forging it more united out of the fragmented force left by years of war. Proposed by Syria and by President Hrawi, whose mandate expired on November 23th 1998, Lahoud was elected on October 15th 1998 President of the Lebanese Republic by the Parliament.

The following is his official resume:

Date & Place of Birth : 1936, Baabdate - Lebanon
Marital Status : Married to Andree Amadouni
3 Children : Kareen (1969) married to Elias Michel Murr
Emile Jr. (1975)
Ralph (1977)
Father : - General Jamil Lahoud
(one of the founding officers of the Lebanese Army)
- Member of Parliament (North Metn) in 1960 and 1964
- Minister of Labor & Social Affairs in 1960
Mother : Adrenee Bajakian
Brother : Nasri Lahoud
Studies : Primary : College de la Sagesse
Secondary: Brumana High School
Military service (ranks & dates):
Promoted to General, Commander of the Armed Forces on November 28, 1989
Joined the Military Academy as Cadet Officier 1956
Promoted to : Ensign 1959, Lieutenant Junior Grade 1962, Lieutenant 1968, Lieutenant Commander 1974, Commander 1976, Captain 1980, Rear Admiral 1985, General, Commander of the Armed Forces 1989.
Academic Background:
Naval Engineering in the United Kingdom from 1958 to 1960
N.B.C. course in the U.S.A. from 1967 to 1968
Naval Staff course in the U.S.A. (Rhode Island) from 1972 to 1973
Naval Command College in the U.S.A. (Rhode Island) from 1979 to 1980
Professional Assignments:
1959-1966 : Beirut Naval Base
1966-1968 : Commander of the 2nd Fleet
1968-1970 : Commander of the 1rst Fleet
1970-1972 : Staff of the Army 4th Bureau
Assigned as Chief of Personal Staff of the General, Commander of the
Armed Forces from 1973 to 1979.
Assigned as Director of Personnel in the Army Headquarters from 1980 to 1983.
Assigned as President of the Military Office in the Ministry od Defense from 1983 to 1989.
Assigned as General, Commander of the Armed Forces from November 28, 1989.
Decorations and Medals:
Campaign Ribbon (memorial), 1961.
Lebanese Medal of Merit (3rd degree), 1971.
Medal of Merit and Honor (high ranking officer) from Haiti, 1974.
Naval Medal (excellent degree), 1974.
Romanian Medal: Tudor Vladimirescu (4th degree), 1974.
Lebanese Medal of Merit (2nd degree), 1983.
Knight of the Order of the Cedar, 1983.
Lebanese Medal of Merit (General Officer rank), 1989.
War Medal, 1991.
War Medal, 1992.
Grand Cordon of the Order of the Cedar, 1993.
Dawn of the South Medal, 1993.
National Unity Medal, 1993.
Medal of Estime, 1994.
Commnadeur de la Legion d'Honneur (France), 1996.
Order of Merit of the Republic of Italy at Senior Officer Level, 1997.
Grand Cross of Argentina, 1998.

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Sader, Moussa el-, He was born in Kom, in Iran, in March 1928. He studied Law at the Tehran University. He is regarded as one of the most important founders of the “Islamic Shiite Council”, and was elected as its head in 1969 and in 1975. On the 21st of June 1975, he founded the Amal Movement.
He visited Libya on the 26 of August 1978, upon an invitation from the Libyan Government. On the 31rst of the same month, he was last seen in a hotel, and then completely disappeared along with Sheikh Mohammed Yacoub and journalist Abass Bader El-Dine. Their fate remains unknown.

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Salam, Saeb. Salam was born in 1905 to Salim Salam, a leading politician in Ottoman-governed and later French-ruled Beirut. In 1941, Salam married Tamima Reda Mardam-Beik. The couple had three sons ­ Tammam, a current Beirut MP; Faisal, who died in a car accident in 1996; and Amr, a businessman. They also had two daughters, Thurayya and Anbara. Also in 1941, Salam and then-Tripoli MP Abdel-Hamid Karami created an alliance that campaigned against French and British mandates in the Levant. A short time before independence was declared on Nov. 22, 1943, Salam was elected a Beirut MP for the first time. He played a key role in the election of Beshara Khoury, Lebanon’s first president after independence. During France’s 1943 imprisonment of Khoury, Solh, Karami, and three ministers over a constitutional dispute, Salam lobbied fellow MPs to continue the liberation process. The MPs could not meet in Parliament because it was besieged by French troops. They convened instead at Salam’s home in Moseitebeh and approved a national flag.

In 1945, Salam established Middle East Airlines and a year later was given his first Cabinet position as interior minister.
Appointed prime minister in 1952, his Cabinet lasted for just four days as Khoury felt the heat from the opposition, which accused the regime of corruption.
An advocate of Camille Chamoun’s election as president after Khoury’s resignation, Salam served as prime minister again before stepping down after a few months.

In 1956, he became a minister of state for oil affairs and negotiated separate deals with Aramco and Tapline, the two oil companies that established the Zahrani and Baddawi refineries and linked them to oil fields in Saudi Arabia and Iraq. Later that year, he and Premier Abdullah Yafi resigned in protest against Chamoun’s pro-Western affiliations after the 1956 attack by Britain, France and Israel on Egypt. He was wounded during clashes between protesters and the army over Chamoun’s policies and was placed under arrest in his hospital room. He staged a hunger strike for five days until he was released.

After losing their parliamentary seats in the elections of 1957, Salam, Yafi, Karami’s son Rashid, and Progressive Socialist Party leader Kamal Jumblatt formed an opposition bloc. When it was reported that Chamoun would join the pro-Western Baghdad Pact and run for another term as head of state, the four leaders led an armed rebellion that lasted for five months in 1958 until the election of army commander General Fouad Chehab as president. Salam announced the end of the rebellion with his famous slogan: “No winner, no loser.”

He formed two Cabinets under Chehab but later fell out with the president and his successor, Charles Helou, accusing them of setting up a police state. In 1968, Salam launched a scathing attack against “the ghosts,” a reference to the military intelligence and its interference in politics. Later that year, he formed an alliance with Zghorta MP Suleiman Franjieh and Marjayoun MP Kamel Asaad that managed to bring Franjieh to the presidency with a one-vote margin over Elias Sarkis, who was supported by the government. He formed the “Youth Cabinet” under Franjieh in 1970. After three Palestinian leaders in Beirut were killed by Israeli commandos in 1973 and Franjieh refused to dismiss army commander General Iskandar Ghanem for neglect, Salam quit, announcing that he “divorced” the prime ministry.

A moderate during the war and an advocate of national accord, Salam also focused on philanthropic activities. After heading the Makassed educational and healthcare association for 25 years, Salam handed over his position to his son Tammam in 1982. That same year, he brokered an agreement between US envoy Philip Habib and PLO leader Yasser Arafat that ended the Palestinian military presence in Lebanon three months after the Israeli invasion. Though he and many Muslim MPs boycotted Parliament’s election of Bashir Gemayel as president, Salam held talks with the president-elect over prospective governmental reforms. After Gemayel’s assassination, Salam drummed up Muslim support for the election of Gemayel’s brother Amin. After taking part in the Geneva and Lausanne talks between Lebanese leaders seeking an end to the war in 1983 and 1984, Salam moved to Geneva in 1985 after angering the Syrians and surviving two assassination attempts, he returned home in 1994. Salam played a key role in brokering the Taif Accord in 1990.

He died of a heart attack on 21st January 2000.

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Sarkis, Elias. Former President of the Lebanese Republic from 1976 till 1982. Born in Shabbaniah on the 20th of July 1924. He obtained a degree in Law from Saint Joseph University in 1948. He joined the judicial corps in 1953 and was assigned judge in the Accounting Department, a period during which he established a strong relationship with President Fouad Chehab. During Shehab’s regime, he was assigned as Judicial Manager at the Presidential Palace and later as a General Manager for Presidential Matters in 1962. He became Governor of the National Bank in 1968 following the “IntraBank” Crisis.
He became President on the 8th of May 1976.
He is credited for having made numerous efforts to put an end to the Lebanese War.

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Solh, Riad el-, Solh, a Sunni, was born in 1898 and was one of the Lebanese nationalists who opposed Turkish rule and thereafter the French Mandate. Solh was a rare visionary who succeeded in fusing Lebanon’s fractious communities toward a single goal, that of an independent, sovereign state. He became Prime Minister in 1943, and during his regime, the constitution was amended and all mandatory texts were taken out. As a result, on November 11, 1943, he was arrested along with Bechara El-Khoury, Camille Chamoun, and others and held in Rashaïa castle. They were released on 11 days later on November 22, 1943 and thus the date was marked down as the national Lebanese Independence Day. Solh played a major role in the withdrawal of Foreign Forces from Lebanon. Solh headed six cabinets from independence until his assassination on July 17 1951 while on a visit in Jordan, by gunmen of the Syrian Social Nationalist Party.

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Patriarch Nasrallah Boutros Sfeir. Cardinal Sfeir is the Patriarch and leader of the Maronite Order. Born 15 May 1920 in Raifoun-Kessrouane. Educated in Ghazir and Beirut, completing tertiary training in philosophy and theology in 1950. Ordained to the priesthood, 1950. Appointed Patriarch of Antioch and all the East, 27 April 1986. Speaks Arabic, French, Syriac, Italian and English. He has come to represent a de facto political leader of the Maronites. Holding a position of authority amongst his followers, respected by foreign leaders and able to dialogue with them, he is a natural focus for Lebanese dissatisfied with the present situation.

Cardinal Sfeir has publically called for the restitution of Lebanese sovereignty, the withdrawal of occupying forces (the Syrians, the Israelis in the south, and the Palestinian militias). Sfeir is opposed to the present puppet administration, controlled by Damascus, and believes the future of Lebanon is to be found through cooperation among the Lebanese, regardless of sect or politics, working in pursuit of national objectives, exclusive of supra-national concerns. He has been critical of the prosecution and imprisonment of Samir Geagea in the absence of reciprocal prosecution of military figures of other denominations.

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