warsofLEBANON1968 | 2000


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Aoun, Michel
Berri, Nabih
Chamoun, Camille
Chamoun, Dany
Chamoun, Dory
Franjiyah, Suleyman
Geagea, Samir
Gemayel, Amin
Gemayel, Bashir
Gemayel, Pierre


Hobeika, Elie
Jumblatt, Kamal
Jumblatt, Walid
Rachid Karami
Nasrallah, Hassan
Pakradouni, Karim
Saadeh, Antoun
Sadr, Moussa
Sakr, Etienne
Sarkis Elias


Aoun, a Maronite Christian, was born in 1935 to a poor family in Haret Hraik, a mixed Muslim-Christian suburb south of Beirut. He is remembered by many as an intelligent, hardworking child who transcended the difficult conditions of his youth. At age six, British and Australian allied forces evicted his family and occupied their house. As a child, he was forced to withdraw from school for an entire year for economic reasons and take a free apprenticeship in industrial drawing (he completed two years of coursework when he went back to school the following year so as not to fall behind).
Although his family was deeply religious and he attended Catholic schools, Aoun established close friendships with many Muslims during his early years. "We never distinguished between Ali and Peter, or between Hasan and Michel," he later recalled. "We ate together and slept at each other's homes. Their holidays were ours and our holidays were theirs." 2
Aoun finished his secondary education in 1955 and enrolled in the Military Academy as a cadet officer. Three years later, he graduated as an artillery officer in the Lebanese Army. He later received additional training at Chalons-sur-Marnes, France (1958-59), Fort Seale, Oklahoma in the U.S. (1966) and the Ecole Superieure de Guerre, France (1978-80).
During the course of his military career, Aoun earned a reputation for honesty, integrity, and sectarian impartiality that was unrivaled at that time. In 1961, when two Army officers affiliated with the Syrian Social Nationalist Party (SSNP) were arrested for attempting to launch a coup, Aoun personally intervened to stop Army Intelligence from torturing the two men, a practice he felt to be inhumane and immoral. Later, after returning from an assignment and finding that the two men had been tortured while he was away, Aoun condemned the intelligence apparatus for practicing "unacceptable Nazism."
As Lebanon slipped into civil war in the mid-1970's and the army fractured along sectarian lines, Aoun devotion to the central government remained unshaken. In the early 1980's Aoun was head of the "Defense Brigade" of the Lebanese army, a unit stationed along the "Green Line" separating East and West Beirut which engaged in sporadic fighting with Syrian military forces. During the 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon, Aoun commanded his troops to block Israeli forces advancing on the presidential palace and was prepared to open fire until President Elias Sarkis personally ordered him to stand down. No other Christian officer attempted to confront the invading army. In late 1982, Aoun was assigned the task of forming and commanding a new multiconfessional unit, the 8th Brigade.
In 1983, Aoun's 8th Brigade defeated Syrian-backed militia forces attempting to overrun the strategic Souk al-Gharb pass overlooking the capital, a battle which one scholar called "the closest thing to real combat the Lebanese Army had ever experienced." 3In recognition of his heroic defense of the capital, Aoun was appointed Brigadier-General.
In June 1984, following the Luzanne reconciliation conference in Switzerland, Lebanon's new "national unity" government fired the commander of the Lebanese Army, Gen. Ibrahim Tannous, who was considered to have sectarian biases. Aoun was handpicked with strong consensus to replace him.
Aoun concentrated his efforts on preserving the strength and unity of the army, which remained in its barracks for the next four years amid the chaos of Lebanon's civil war, laying in wait for the day when it would be called upon to enforce a peace settlement. He intentionally stayed out of the public spotlight--aside from the armed forces' magazine, Aoun gave no interviews to the media between 1984 and 1988.
spite his continuing popular support within Lebanon, however, outside developments doomed Aoun's "revolution" to failure. After the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in August 1990, the American government desperately sought Syria's participation in the U.S.-led coalition against Baghdad. In return for Syrian support, the Bush administration gave Syria a green light to complete its conquest of Lebanon. 8On the morning of October 13, 1990, Syrian air and ground forces launched an all-out invasion of East Beirut and the surrounding areas controlled by Aoun's government. Realizing that further resistance would only lead to needless loss of life, Aoun went to the French embassy to negotiate a cease-fire under French auspices. As the scale of massacres and mayhem escalated and the presidential palace fell into the hands of the Syrians, Aoun accepted the French ambassador's offer of political asylum. Declaring that Aoun's safety was a "matter of honor," French President Francois Mitterand negotiated the beleaguered general's departure for exile in France ten months later.
Since his departure for exile in France, Aoun's predictions about what would become of Lebanon under Syrian tutelage have proven to be hauntingly accurate. Rather than withdrawing as promised, Syrian military forces have become more entrenched over the last ten years. Rather than restoring Lebanese sovereignty, Syrian officials asserted direct control over the Lebanese political system. Rather than experiencing a respite from the "disappearances" of the civil war, Lebanese have endured arbitrary arrests and detention by Syrian intelligence.
Despite his continuing exile in France, Aoun has remained the country's most prominent opposition figure. Although support for Aoun is most visible within the Christian community, where criticism of the Syrian occupation is less taboo, he has also retained considerable popularity among Lebanese Muslims in the decade following his ouster. According to a 1996 study by Judith Palmer Harik of the American University of Beirut, Aoun ranked third among Shi'ite respondents asked to name their most preferred Lebanese leader in an open-ended survey. In light of the high religiosity of the Shi'ite community, it is not surprising that two prominent and influential clerical leaders ranked above Aoun. What is surprising is that Aoun ranked above Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri , the country's leading Shi'ite politician. 9
As public opposition to Syrian hegemony has intensified since the spring of 1999, Lebanese politicians across the ideological and ethnic spectrum have begun pandering to the public by openly calling for Aoun's return. Most recently, on January 2, Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri pledged on state television to "guarantee that he will not be arrested" if he returns to the country. However, Damascus quickly stepped in to thwart the initiative. In early 2004, Aoun was formally charged and wanted by the law.

Michel Aoun,
born 1935


Nabih berri was born on January 28, 1938 into a Shi'i Muslim family living in Freetown, Sierra Leone. IN the 1940's his family moves back to Lebanon, and settles in the town Tibnin in southern 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. Despite his political ambitions, Berri was sidelined by the traditional Shi'ite establishment, headed by then-parliament speaker Kamel al-Asa'ad, who refused to let Berri run on his electoral list in the 1968 and 1972 elections. Berri developed an acute hatred of Asa'ad that would reemerge during the war. In the early 1970's, Berri worked as a lawyer for General Motors (in Beirut). Berri lived in Detroit from 1976-1978 along with his first wife. Berri also served as Attorney for Musa al-Sadr's Amal movement during the 1970's. After Sadr's disappearance in 1978 while on a trip to Libya, he returned to Lebanon to stake his claim for leadership of Amal. After Hussein al-Husseini's brief tenure as leader of Amal, Berri took over in April 1980. Between 1979 and 1982, the Amal movement was involved in fierce fighting with the PLO groups.
In 1982 June: Berri urges Shi'i militia into strong opposition against the Israeli occupation of southern Lebanon. In May 1983, President Amin Gemayel strikes a peace treaty with Israel, something Berri strongly opposes.
In February 1986, Berri calls out to Muslim troops in the Lebanese army to defy president Gemayel. This was a reaction to Gemayel's order of razing Shi'i quarters of Beirut. Berri's manifestation of power had as the result that Gemayel now started to deal with Berri directly on Shi'i questions. i's quest to join the political establishment received a boost on February 6, 1984, when his militia participated in driving the Lebanese army out of West Beirut.
ater that year, Berri was appointed Minister of State for the Rebuilding of South Lebanon. He was later appointed Minister of Justice, Electrical and Hydraulic resources.
In the mid-1980's Damascus relied heavily on Berri to counter the remilitarization of Palestinian refugee camps by Arafat's Fatah movement. In May 1985, Amal fought a two-year bloody war with the pro-Arafat Palestinian camps in Beirut and south Lebanon, indiscriminately killing thousands of people. In September 1985, Berri and two other pro-Assad militia leaders (Walid Jumblatt and Elie Hobeiqa) signed the Syrian-brokered Tripartite agreement that contained lengthy and detailed provisions calling for "complete and firm coordination" between Syria and Lebanon on "all issues--Arab, regional, and international." The Lebanese Army was to be "rehabilitated with Syrian assistance" and instilled with the capability of "distinguishing the real enemy from the real friend." The public outcry among Lebanese Christians (and the equally fierce, if less public, opposition of Sunni Muslims) led President Gemayel to reject the accord.
Berri's increasingly autocratic tendencies and subservience to Damascus led to a dramatic decline in support for Amal within the Shi'ite community. Hasan Hashim, a charismatic, popular figure who served as Berri's deputy, resigned in 1986 to protest his "undemocratic" behavior. Top military commanders such as Mustafa al-Dirani, Aql Hamiyyah, and Zakariyya Hamza also abandoned the militia. Meanwhile, the rival Shi'ite Hezbollah militia proved to be more adept than Berri in recruiting new members. The net result was to make Berri even more dependent upon the Syrian regime. In fact, fearing for his own safety following skirmishes with other groups, Berri left the country and took refuge in Damascus.
In early 1987, Berri made a stupendous blunder by ordering his militia forces into action against Druze and other pro-PLO militia forces entrenched in West Beirut. The tide quickly turned against him. Within five days, the headquarters of Amal in the Murr Tower were overrun, the PSP captured the Hamra district, and two detachments of Amal militiamen were cut off and surrounded. On February 22, 1987, Syrian forces stormed into West Beirut to prevent Amal's complete defeat, closely followed by Berri, who had spent nine months in exile in the Syrian capital. Berri soon turned his attention to Hezbollah, which over the course of the next several months proceeded to drive Amal forces out of several positions in the southwestern suburbs of Beirut. Again, Syria intervened to save its militia proxy, calling on both sides to withdraw from the contested areas. Hezbollah, which had lost twenty-three fighters in clashes with Syrian forces in West Beirut earlier in the year, wisely complied with the order and Syrian forces occupied the area.
In the late 1980's, Berri supported the efforts of Syria to oust the constitutional government headed by Interim Prime Minister Michel Aoun. Berri endorsed Syria against Aoun despite the strong support that Aoun enjoyed in the Shi'ite community. In 1992, Berri is elected Speaker of the parliament.

Nabih Berri,
born 1938


Camille Nimer Chamoun was born at Deir el-Qamar on 3 April 1900 , into a prominent Maronite family. He was educated in France and became a lawyer. He was first elected to the Lebanese parliament in 1934 , and was reelected in 1937 and 1943 . A champion of independence from France, he was arrested on 11 November 1943 , and was imprisoned in [Rashaïa castle]], where he was held for eleven days, along with Bechara El-Khoury and Riad el-Solh , who were to become the first President and Prime Minister, respectively, of the new republic. Massive public protests led to their release on 22 November , which has since been celebrated as National Lebanese Independence Day .
Chamoun was reelected to parliament, now called the National Assembly, in 1947 and 1951 . He was frequently absent, however, as he served as ambassador to the United Kingdom from 1944 to 1946, and as ambassor to the United Nations thereafter. When President Bechara El-Khoury was forced to resign amid corruption allegations in 1952 , Chamoun was elected to replace him. Near the end of his term, Pan-Arabists allied to Egypt's President Nasser, with evident Soviet backing and considerable support in Lebanon's Moslem community, attempted to overthrow Chamoun's government in June 1958 . Chamoun appealed to the United States for help, and American marines landed in Beirut . The revolt was squashed, but to appease Moslem anger, the moderate Christian General Fuad Chehab, who enjoyed considerable popularity in the Moslem community, was elected to succeed Chamoun.
On his retirement from the presidency, Chamoun founded the National Liberal Party ( Ahrar, )to oppose Pan-Arabism. As the leader of this party, Chamoun was elected to the National Assembly again in 1960 , much to the consternation of President Chehab. He was defeated in 1964 , due to changes to the boundaries of his electoral district, which he and his supporters protested as deliberate gerrymander. He was reelected to the National Assembly, however, in 1968 , and reelected in 1972 - Lebanon's last parliamentary election held in his lifetime. Following the election of 1968, the National Liberal Party held 11 seats out of 99, becoming the largest single party in the notoriously fractured National Assembly. It was the only political party to elect representatives from all of Lebanon's major religious confessions.
In the 1970s and 1980s, Chamoun served in a variety of portfolios in the Cabinet. In 1984 , he agreed to join the National Unity government as Deputy Prime Minister, a post he held until his death in Beirut on 7 August 1987, at the age of 87. He was survived by his two sons, Dany and Dory, both of whom followed in his footsteps as respected politicians in their own right.

Camille Chamoun,

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.
Chamoun was a strong ally of General Aoun in the past year's fighting, an outspoken critic of the Taif agreement which divides political power equally between Lebanon's Christians and Muslims, and an ardent opponent of the Syrian presence in Lebanon. He was known for contacts with Israel, and the Chamoun clan were patrons of the security arrangements in southern Lebanon. Dany Chamoun and Druze leader Walid Jumblatt were said to be cooperating quietly to revive the Druze Maronite understandings, which once regulated competition between rival clans in Mount Lebanon, to rescue the area from foreign rule.
In late 1990, Chamoun, along with his German-born wife Ingrid, and his two sons aged 7 and 5, was assassinated. The pro-Syrian regime arrested Samir Geagea , a rival Christian militia leader, who was subsequently tried and convicted of the murder. The verdict was controversial, however; the fairness of the trial was challenged by Amnesty International and Chamoun's brother, Dory has said that he has serious doubts about it. Other suspects included Syrian intelligence forces. He has two surviving daughters, one of whom ( Tracy ) is a prominent human rights activist.

Dany Chamoun, 1934-1990

Lebanese politician born June 15, 1910, Zgharta. He 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, 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.

Suleiman Franjiyah, 1910-1992

Samir Geagea wa 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 Mount 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 months 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 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 "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.

Samir Geagea,
born 1952


Amin Gemayel 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

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 and Israeli occupation.
Concerning Syria, in 1982, presided by Amine Gemayel, the Lebanese government dissolved the Arab Dissuasion Force which legitimised Syrian military presence in Lebanon and in September 1983, he addressed a letter to the Syrian President
Hafez El Assad requesting the withdrawal of his forces from the country.
As for the PLO in 1987 he annulled the Treaty of Cairo signed with the PLO in 1969,which authorized them to use Lebanon as a base for military operations against Israel. His position on the Israeli issue, is the implementation of the SC/UN resolution 425 - 426, and that he is opposed to any measures which would work against restoring Lebanon's sovereignty.
Paradoxically, although the major criticisms of Amine Gemayel during his presidency were his desire to appear as the President of all Lebanon and the pre-eminence of the state, today, these are the factors which give him credibility in the eyes of the Lebanese people.
Currently, he is continuing his battle to restore Lebanon's independence and sovereignty,and endow it with democratic institutions.
Apart from his political activities, in 1976, Amine Gemayel created the INMA Foundation,a non-profit organization, which brings together a number of institutions dealing with social, political, and economic issues concerning Lebanon and the Middle East. One of these is Beit-al-Mustakbal, (the house of the future), which is a combination of think-tankand research center, publishing a quarterly journal in three languages called: Haliyyat (Panorama of Events).


1986: Peace and Unity ( Colin and Smythe ).
1988: L'Offence et le Pardon ( Gallimard ), reflections on the events in Lebanon.
1990: Mediation d'espoir ( JC. Lattes ), a collection of lectures delivered in the   United States in 1989.
1992: Rebuilding Lebanon's Future, published by Harvard University ( C.F.I.A. ).

Amin Gemayel, born 1942

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.
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.
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.
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.
Gemayel consistently worked for free, democratic, independent Lebanon, pluralist in nature and strong, secure state. he believed that Moslem and Christian could live together in peace and that Lebanon need to maintain good relations with the Western World as well as the Arab World. He advocated the withdrawal of Syrian forces occupying Lebanon since 1975, the withdrawal of Israeli forces occupying Lebanon since June 1982 and disarming of the Palestinians while on Lebanese soil.

Bashir Gemayel, 1947-1982

Sheikh Pierre Gemayel was born in Bikfaiya on November 6, 1905. Since his family openly expressed hostility to Ottoman rule in Lebanon, his father and uncle were sentenced to death by the Ottoman authorities. To escape, the family was forced to settle in Mansourah, Egypt from 1914 until the end of World War I.
Sheikh Pierre studied at Jesuit schools and graduated from the French Faculty of Medicine in Beirut with a degree in Pharmacology. He founded the Kataeb Party in 1936 with four other young Lebanese: Charles Helou ( who later became a President of Lebanon ), Shafic Nassif, Emile Yared and Georges Naccache. Sheikh Pierre was chosen to head the organization because he was not a political figure
In the early days of the Kataeb Party, the Party opposed both the attempts by the pan-Arabists to dominate Lebanon and the French efforts to dominate Lebanon under the mandate. Sheikh Pierre and the Kataeb Party have always believed in an independent and sovereign Lebanon free of all foreign influence. During their first year, 300 persons joined the Kataeb Party. In a 1937 demonstration, defying a French order to disband their party, the Kataeb clashed with the Senegalese French colonial police near Gemayel's Pharmacy. Sheikh Pierre was wounded and arrested only to be released shortly afterwards.
Sheikh Pierre and his Kataeb followers clashed again with the French Police in November 1943 following a joint demonstration with the Najjadah Party to protest the arrest of the Lebanese President and other Lebanese leaders by French authorities. By 1943, the Kataeb membership reached 35,000 due to their increasing popularity and a change of rules which allowed women to join the party.
Several times a Cabinet Minister and a member of Parliament since 1960, Sheikh Pierre has been an active leader in Lebanese politics. He was Minister of Post and Telecommunications and Minister of Health and Social Affairs. On October 11, 1978 after the 100-day war between the Lebanese resistance and the Syrian Army, he strongly denounced the Syrian occupation of Lebanon. He participated in the Geneva and Lausanne conferences for national unity in November 1983 and March 1984
Sheikh Pierre played an outstanding role as a leader of the Lebanese Christian community. In 1976, he formed the Lebanese Front, a political alliance of mainly Christian parties, with former President Camille Chamoun and other Christian leaders. He has survived several assassination attempts, one in 1962 and one on June 5, 1979
Sheikh Pierre was a loyal nationalist of an independent Lebanon. His life was dedicated to this goal. He represented the belief in a multi-confessional, democratic Lebanon. The wisdom and statemanship he demonstrated throughout his life will certainly be remembered with pride and distinction

Pierre Gemayel,

Elie Hobeika was 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 and by 1977 he was 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.
As  support for the Lebanese Forces started to decline in 1983 Samir Geagea, Karim Pakradouni, and Elie Hobeika forced the resignation 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 and due to the 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 where he learned English and French and took a Computer course. His few followers were stationed in Zahle. 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 assisnations, including that of Dany Chamoun. In the post-war era, he became member of the parliament and remained pro-syrian. He was assassinated on January 24, 2002.

Elie Hobeika, 1956-2002

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 in 1958 and was head of the Lebanese Front 1974-1978.
A Maronite Christian, Chamoun was opposed by Muslim leaders who disliked his pro-Western policies. The Muslim groups openly rebelled against Chamoun's government in 1958, and, in response to Chamoun's request for help, U.S. marines were sent to support the government.
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.

Kamal Jumblatt,


Born in 1949 and educated at the American University of Beirut and in France, Jumblatt was not politically active in his youth. He had earned a reputation as a playboy, commonly wore jeans and a leather jacket, rode a motorcycle, and broke with tradition by marrying a non-Druze Jordanian woman.
At the end of the traditional 40-day mourning period, Jumblatt was summoned to Damascus to meet with Syrian President Hafez Assad. "How you resemble your father!" Jumblatt later recalled Assad saying upon his arrival, a not-so-subtle hint that the young Druze leader would share his father's fate if he did not come to terms with Syrian control of Lebanon. During a subsequent meeting, Assad reportedly pointed to an empty chair and remarked: "Your father, Allah have mercy on him, used to sit in that chair over there." The fate that befell Kamal Jumblatt would prove to be a powerful incentive for the young Druze leader.
Jumblatt's political inheritance was shaky from the start, as he lacked the political stature, experience, and charisma of his late father. Between 1977 and 1982, opposition to his leadership within the Druze community emanated both from the rival Arslan clan and the Druze religious establishment.
In June 1982, Israeli forces invaded Lebanon and quickly occupied the Shouf region. For a few months, Jumblatt remained at his home in Mukhtara and maintained contact with occupying Israeli forces, hoping to broker a deal whereby Israel would keep the Palestinians out of the Shouf and recognize Druze autonomy. To his consternation, however, Israel facilitated the entry of the Christian Lebanese Forces (LF) units commanded by Samir Geagea into the area. Frustrated, Jumblatt left his home and moved to Damascus to secure support against the LF. Since the new Lebanese regime of President Amine Gemayel had forged political ties with the Arslan clan, Jumblatt was more than willing to join the National Salvation Front, a pro-Syrian alliance of militias opposed to the central government and the May 1983 non-belligerency agreement it signed with Israel.

Armed with massive amounts of Syrian-supplied Soviet weaponry, Jumblatt's militia began driving LF forces out of the Shouf in the fall of 1983. When Israeli forces pulled out of the area in August-September 1983, Jumblatt's forces overran sixty Maronite villages, slaughtering around 1,000 people and driving 50,000 out of their homes. in the mountainous areas east and west of Beirut. When Jumblatt's militia overstepped itself and attempted to overrun the Souq al-Gharb pass protecting the capital, Lebanese army troops commanded by Michel Aoun brought the offensive to a halt. Nevertheless, Jumblatt's victory made him the undisputed leader of the Druze community, a position which has not been seriously contested to this day.
The PSP scored a major strategic victory by obtaining an outlet to the sea in the Iqlim al-Kharoub region. This, however proved to be a double-edged sword, as it obstructed Shi'ite aspirations to build an autonomous enclave in southern Lebanon contiguous with Shi'ite neighborhoods in the southwestern portion of Beirut. Periodic fighting between the PSP and the Amal militia of Nabih Berri persisted in West Beirut and surrounding areas throughout the remainder of the civil war despite their mutual alliance with Syria, engendering a deep-rooted animosity between the two leaders that continues to this day.
Throughout the war-torn 1980's, Jumblatt remained within the Syrian fold, supporting the Assad regime's efforts to torpedo any reconciliation agreement that did not explicitly grant Damascus political and military control over Lebanon. However, unlike Berri, Jumblatt maintained good relations with other external actors, most notably Libya and the Soviet Union, and even resumed back-channel contacts with the Israelis, in order to keep his options open.

During the late 1990's, the son and heir apparent of the Syrian president, Bashar Assad, began methodically undermining potential opposition to his succession. In 1998, he assumed control of the "Lebanon file" from Syrian Vice-President Abdul Halim Khaddam and brought about the ouster of Syrian Military Chief-of-Staff Hikmat Shihabi, fearing that they would use their political connections in Lebanon to undermine his authority. Both were key allies of Jumblatt and then-Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri, and so Syria's domestic political purge naturally had ramifications in Lebanon. In the fall of 1998, Bashar backed the election of Gen. Emile Lahoud as president of Lebanon, engineered Hariri's ouster as prime minister, and took away Jumblatt's cabinet portfolio.

In order to secure votes from Christian residents of the Shouf, he forged electoral alliances with the Christian Kata'ib and National Bloc parties and negotiated a "political charter" with Amin Gemayel, who had returned to the country in July. Moreover, he began calling for a "correction" of Syrian-Lebanese ties and condemning Syrian interference in the political process. As a result, Jumblatt and his political allies scored landslide victories and obtained three cabinet positions (though Jumblatt himself declined to join the government). Jumblatt, however, was unwilling to dispense with the newfound popularity among the population at large that came with his public criticism of Syria. In November, when Christian members of parliament criticized the Syrian occupation during a televised debate, Jumblatt could not resist the opportunity to reiterate his objections to Syrian interference in Lebanese politics. "I do understand the importance of stationing some Syrian troops (in Lebanon) for strategic purposes and the requirements of Syrian national security in the context of the Arab-Israeli conflict," Jumblatt told the parliament, "but I do hope the Syrian leadership will review some of the points which have nothing to do with strategic requirements." He added that Prime Minister Hariri's claim that the Syrian occupation as "necessary, legitimate and temporary" was too vague. "If the presence is necessary, let us decide its timetable."

Walid Joumblat, born 1949

Born 30th of Dec 1920 in Tripoli, Lebanon to Abdul-Hamid Karami leader of national resistance against French occupation from 1918 till Lebanon's Independence.
Graduated as a lawyer from Cairo University in 1942. Entered Lebanese Parliament for the first time in 1951. Stayed on as M.P of Tripoli uninterruptedly till his assassination June 1987.
Became Minister of Justice 1951 and held other ministerial posts till 1955. Became Prime Minister  1955 and was thus the youngest Prime Minister of Lebanon ever. Served again as Prime Minister 1959, 1965, 1966, 1968, 1969, 1975 and 1984 was thus the longest serving Lebanese Prime Minister ever.
Was assassinated June 1st 1987 while still serving as Prime Minister of  Lebanon, he was considered by all Lebanese as symbol for martyrdom towards Lebanese National Unity and Reconciliation.

Rachid Karami,

Hassan Nasrallah was born in 1960 in the Bourj Hammoud neighborhood of East Beirut, but his family was originally from Bassouriyeh, a village near the city of Tyre in south Lebanon. Although his family was not particularly religious by Lebanese standards, Nasrallah, the eldest of nine children, became obsessed with Islam and began reading fundamentalist literature at an age when most of his peers were playing soccer.
In 1975, the outbreak of civil war in the heart of the Lebanese capital forced his family to return to Bassouriyeh. Nasrallah's move to south Lebanon brought him into contact with the Amal movement of Musa Sadr, a widely revered religious figure who campaigned against the feudalistic Shiite political elite, and he quickly became a member. While attending a public school in Tyre, Nasrallah frequented the city's main mosque and caught the attention of its most influential cleric, Muhammad al-Gharawi. Impressed by the youngster's intelligence and interest in higher theological learning, Gharawi wrote a letter of recommendation on his behalf to Muhammad Baqir al-Sadr, one of the leading clerics in the Shiite seminary ( hawza ) of Najaf in Iraq. The following year, after finishing his secondary education, Nasrallah traveled there to begin his studies.
Upon his arrival in Najaf, Nasrallah met with Baqir, who placed him under the supervision of one of his disciples, Abbas al-Musawi, a Lebanese cleric from the Beqaa Valley. The sixteen-year-old formed a lasting personal bond with his mentor and formulated much of his worldview under his tutelage. Whereas Musa al-Sadr viewed the Lebanese state as a legitimate entity in need of reform and had developed close ties with reform-minded Christian politicians, Musawi and other radical Lebanese seminarians in Najaf refused to accept the state of Lebanon, its current borders, or its consociational power-sharing formula as unassailable facts. Their acknowledged leader was Muhammad Hussein Fadlallah, a mujtahid (authority in religious law) who returned to Lebanon from Najaf in 1966. Spurned by Sadr and the Lebanese Shiite clerical establishment, Fadlallah formed the Lebanese Islamic Da'wa Party and ran an independent network of clinics, schools, and charitable associations.
In 1978, hundreds of radical Lebanese clerics and students, including Musawi and Nasrallah, were forced to leave Iraq. Their return to Lebanon coincided with the mysterious disappearance of Sadr during a visit to Libya, whereupon leadership of Amal passed to Nabih Berri , a secular lawyer with close ties to Syria.
Nasrallah distinguished himself as a military commander. In 1987, Hezbollah forces under his command succeeded in driving the Amal militia out of several positions in the southwestern suburbs of Beirut. After Syria stepped in and forced the rival militias to stop fighting, Nasrallah traveled to Iran and resumed his theological studies at the seminary of Qom. This was partly an act of protest against Syria's move into Beirut, but it also stemmed from his recognition that proper (i.e. Iranian) religious credentials were as important as military prowess in assuming a greater leadership role within Hezbollah. In 1989, when fighting between Hezbollah and Amal reignited, Nasrallah again interrupted his religious studies and returned to his homeland, where he led Hezbollah forces in a successful drive against Amal in the Iqlim al-Toufah region of south Lebanon and was lightly wounded in battle. By the end of the decade, he had become head of the group's Central Military Command and a member of its politburo.

Hassan Nasrallah,
born 1960

Karim pakradouni was born on 18 august 1944 in Beirut. He comes from an amrenian-orthodoxe family that migrated to Lebanon in 1920. He completed his secondary studies in the Notre Dame de Jamhour, then pursued studies in history and political science at the Saint Joseph university.
Since he was a teenager, he fought for the Phalange and was elected president of the students organization of the Kataeb in 1968. He was considered since then as the spokesman of the “arabist” faction of the party. Accordingly, the political and cultural interests of the Christian community will be better preserved through the Arab nationalism.
Since 1969, Pakradouni develop links with the PLO. In 1972, he lead a dialogue with Syria and prepared Pierre Gemayel’s trip to Damascus. He became close to Hafez al-Assad of whom he’s writing the biography. Nevertheless, he was tempted by a pure Lebanese nationalism when Bashir Gemayel unified the different Christian militias under the flag on the Lebanese Forces. After the assassination of Bashir, he grew close to Samir Geagea and Elie Hobeika. Throughout that period, he returned to his initial Arabism and worked on bringing the PLO and the LF together.
He separated from Geagea in 1989 when Geagea decided to support Michel Aoun. Although the two leaders grew apart when Geagea allowed the Syrians to enter East Beirut. Accepting the taef agreement, Pakradouni supported the pro-syrian positions and joined the successors of Pierre Gemayel, George Saade and Mounir el-Hajj, on the head of the Party. With Mounir el-Hajj he prepared his campaign to take over the leadership of the party. He was elected president on 4 october 2001.

Karim Pakradouni,
born 1944

Antoun Saadeh was born on the 1st of March 1904 in Al-Shouwayr in the El-Metn province of Mount Lebanon.
He finished primary school in his hometown, had some further studies at "The Brother School" in Cairo-Egypt and then back in Lebanon at "Broumana High School", Broumana, Mount Lebanon.
He left Lebanon end of 1919 to the USA and in February 1921 moved to Brazil where he joined his father Dr. Khalil Saadeh to edit "Al-Jaridah and Al-Majallah, a newspaper and a magazine which were published in Arabic there.
In 1924 he established a secret association for the purpose of liberating and unifying the whole natural Syria but resolved it in 1925. He studied German and Russian languages while in Brazil.
He returned to Lebanon on July 1930. Moved to Damascus in 1931 to edit Al-Ayam newspaper, then went back to Beirut where he taught the German language course at the American University of Beirut. He republished "Al-Majallah" in Beirut which was to cease publication after four issues only.
On 16 November 1932 he secretly established the Syrian Social Nationalist Party (SSNP). Its existence and activities unfolded in 1935. This lead to the arrest of Saadeh with some of his top aids. He spent six months in prison where he wrote "The Genealogy of Nations".
He was arrested again end of June 1936 until early November the same year where he wrote "Explanation of the Principles", only to return to prison early March 1937. There he wrote "The Genealogy of the Syrian Nation" whose manifest was confiscated by the French mandate authorities who refused to give it back to Saadeh at his release and later it was lost completely.
He got out of Prison end of May 1937 and established "Al-Nahda" newspaper in November 1937 and led the SSNP until he left the country in 1938 to organise the SNSP's branches overseas. In the same year he established "Souria Al-Jadidah" newspaper in Brazil. He was arrested as a result of Syrians who were British agents turning him into the Brazilian authorities but proved innocent and released after two months.
He moved to Argentina where he was caught unable to travel further, because the French consulate there confiscated his passport, as he was convicted to 20 years in prison and 20 years in exile by French authorities back at home. World War II erupted during this time, and he had to stay there until 1947. While in Argentina he established "Al-Zawbaa" and wrote "The Intellectual Struggle in the Syrian Literature", which was published in Buenos Aires.
He got married to Juliet Al-Meer in 1943 and had three daughters, Elissar, Saphya and Raghida.
He returned to Beirut 2 nd of March 1947, where he delivered a very strong worded speech to the mass of people who welcomed him at the airport, thus scaring the Lebanese authorities who issued a warrant for his arrest, but withdrew it after seven months.
He established "Al-Jeal Al-Jadid" newspaper in Beirut, where its printing offices were lit with fire by some members of the Lebanese Phalange Party who were protected and guided by the Lebanese authorities who in turn retaliated against the SSNP, which also led Saadeh to declare the 1st Revolution against the Lebanese government on July 4, 1949.
While Saadeh was busy planning and leading the revolution from Damascus, he was unaware that Mr. Husni Al-Zaeem, the head of the Syrian military government who had just assured him full support, had changed his mind. Under pressure from some Arab and foreign regimes, he decided to give Saadeh up to the Lebanese authorities who received Saadeh at the Lebanese-Syrian border. They court martialled and sentenced him to death in less than 24 hours and executed the death penalty in front of a firing squad at a deserted beach at the outskirts of Beirut at 3:20 am, dawn of July 8, 1949 .

Antoun Saadeh,

Sayyed Moussa as-Sadr was born on the 15th of May 1928 in the famous Iranian city of Qum. He attended his primary school in his hometown and then moved to the Iranian capital Tehran where he got in 1956 a degree in Islamic Jurisprudence. He went back to Qum where he started to give religious lectures in the various religious institutes of the city. He also published a magazine called "Maktabi Islam".
In 1960, he came to Lebanon to hold the position of the Islamic Shiite religious leader in the southern city of Tyre following the death of Sayyed Abdelhussein Sharafeddine. He began to be interested, in addition to the religious field, in the social and living conditions of the Islamic Shiite sect. In 1969 the Higher Islamic Shiite Council was founded and Sayyed as-Sadr was elected as its president for a duration of 6 years, and he became to be known as Imam. In the beginning of 1975 he was reelected for a period that was to end when he became 65 (i.e. on March 15, 1993).
Imam Moussa as-Sadr founded many social institutions, vocational schools, health clinics and illiteracy obliteration centers. His activity gains an important national dimension as he warned of the dangers of Israeli aggressions against South Lebanon - whose majority happens to be Islamic Shiites. However, as the Imam took care that his struggle should not acquire a restricted sectarian outlook, he established in 1971 a committee that included all the Southern Lebanese spiritual leaders (both Muslim and Christian) to follow-up the political and social activities.
On the 18th of March 1974, and following a series of demonstrations he led to protest against the government's negligence of the rural areas, the Imam founded the "Movement of the Deprived" that adopted the slogan of "continuous struggle until there are no deprived people left in Lebanon." During the civil war he founded the Amal Movement the "Brigades of the Lebanese Resistance", the military wing of the movement of the Deprived" which fought alongside the Lebanese National Movement and the Palestinian Resistance against the projects of partition and settling the Palestinians in Lebanon.
Imam as-Sadr was distinguished among all of his contemporary spiritual and political leaders for his openness especially towards Christians. He co-founded the Social Movement with the Catholic archbishop Grigoire Haddad (1960), participated in the Islamic-Christian dialogue in 1962, and lectured in a Capuchin Christian church during the Easter fast (1964). He mastered many languages and was a prominent intellectual. Imam as-Sadr played an all-important role in the Lebanese political life. Towards the end of August 1978 he mysteriously disappeared during a visit to Libya.

Moussa Sadr,
born 1928

Etienne Sakr was born in 1937 in the southern Lebanese village of Ain Ebel, one of eleven children reared by Caesar Sakr, a school principal. He was weaned on the memory of an infamous massacre of Christian villagers by local Shi'ite Muslims in May 1920, which claimed the life of his grandmother. Sakr acquired a French education typical of Maronite families in Lebanon, passing the years of his youth at schools in Tripoli and Beirut. After the death of his father in 1944 left his family without financial resources, Sakr was forced to forgo a university education. Instead, at the age of seventeen, he went to work for the Sureté Générale (General Security Directorate). This apprenticeship in national security, which saw him officiating at various posts along the Syrian border, influenced his thinking about the fragility of Lebanese sovereignty. During the early 1960s, he took part in the crackdown against the Syrian Social National Party (SSNP), a group favoring unity with Syria, which had carried out a failed coup attempt in 1961.
In 1962, Sakr moved from the geographical and political periphery of the country to the capital city and assumed a position in the presidential palace. The next eight years allowed him to study the presidencies of Fouad Shihab and Charles Helou and reflect upon the problems of weak leadership. During this period, Etienne married his wife, Alexandra, from Zahle and together they bore two daughters, Pascal and Carole, and a son, Arz.
In 1969, exasperated by the government's inability to confront this growing threat to Lebanese security, Sakr left the Sureté Générale and went into private business, giving him the freedom to become politically active. He soon established a rapport with intellectual personalities who shared his anxiety about the impending calamity, such as the poet Said Aql (who he would later call his mentor).
In 1974, he went to Baalbek to buy weapons and recruited a small group of nationalist-minded Lebanese to prepare for the Palestinian threat. The following year, the group was formally established as the Guardians of the Cedars ( Hiras Al-Arz ).
On the issue of the Palestinians, Sakr advocated unyielding confrontation and made clear the Guardians ultimate wartime objective - that "no Palestinian shall be left on the soil of Lebanon." Asked how he would achieve this in a July 1982 interview, Sakr replied, "Very simple. We shall drive them to the borders of brotherly Syria." The Jerusalem Post , 23 July 1982.
Throughout the war, Sakr's forces closely coordinated with the key Christian militias - Pierre Gemayel's Phalange militia, commanded by his son, Bashir; Camille Chamoun's Tigers militia, commanded by his son, Dany; and the Marada Brigades of then-President Suleiman Frangieh, commanded by his son, Tony.
Realizing that his Christian allies lacked the strength of will to fight the Syrian presence (or even to stop fighting each other), in 1982 Sakr openly welcomed invading Israeli forces. Since the mid-1970s, Sakr had developed a public and amicable relationship with Israel that was unique in the politics of Beirut. Whereas Chamoun and Gemayel had sought and received Israeli military aid due to short-term strategic considerations and avoided public discussion of their ties to Israel, Sakr believed there to be a common destiny binding the Jewish and Lebanese peoples in the Arab-dominated Middle East and never wavered from expressing this view openly.
Abu Arz continued to maintain neutrality with regard to the internecine quarrelling which continued to plague the Christian community in the 1980s, particularly the rivalry within the LF between Samir Geagea and Elie Hobeika . While Sakr opposed Hobeika's attempt to lead the LF toward accommodation with Syria (which culminated in the Tripartite Agreement of September 1985), he was greatly disturbed by the fighting which broke out between pro-Geagea and pro-Hobeika forces in late December and persuaded Army Commander Michel Aoun to intervene and prevent the slaughter of Hobeika's men. In part because of his efforts to stop the bloodshed, Sakr was invited by Camille Chamoun to join the newly reestablished Lebanese Front, the political body parallel to the LF.
While he had been instrumental in the founding of the LF in 1976, he disagreed with the narrow Christian ethos that came to prevail within it and sympathized with Aoun, who enjoyed broad support from all sectarian communities. Seeking to bring an end to the bloodshed, he mediated between the two sides when Geagea's fighters were defeated by army units in Monteverde and Beit Mery in the Metn region. At the time, Abu Arz was present daily at the presidential palace at Baabda with Aoun.
Abu Arz firmly supported Aoun's declaration of a war of liberation to oust the Syrians in March 1989, though he questioned the lack of political strategy to assure success. Syria by that time had received firm American support for its occupation of Lebanon, which was further legitimized by the October 1989 Taif Accord. Abu Arz implored Aoun to seek Israel's assistance, but the general refused and persisted in condemning the Israelis nearly as loudly as he condemned the Syrians. Nevertheless, Abu Arz formed the Broad Front for Liberation and Change as a political cover for Aoun's military struggle. After the LF accepted the Taif Accord in 1990, he and his family were placed under house arrest by LF forces. He was later forced to leave Beirut and went to live in southern Lebanon.
Rather than joining Amine Gemayel and other notable Maronite exiles in Paris, Sakr decided to relocate to the southern border region under the control of Israel and the SLA. Over the years, Etienne secretly visited his family and party members twice in Beirut, avoiding the eyes of the ubiquitous Syrian mukhabarat (intelligence services).
Although Abu Arz conducted political activities from Sabbah, near Jezzine, during the next decade, he was not allowed to play a military role. In February 1998, he wrote a four-page proposal calling for the transformation of the security zone into a launch pad for the liberation of all Lebanon, but Israeli military commanders and their SLA counterparts would entertain no thoughts of offensive action. As Israeli public support for a unilateral withdrawal from Lebanon increased rapidly toward the end of the 1990s, Sakr vigorously lobbied the Israeli government to allow the transformation of the SLA into an autonomous force capable of fending off Hezbollah attacks after the departure of Israeli forces, but to no avail. Taking his appeal to the United States, Sakr addressed a Lebanese-American conference in Washington in June 1998 and testified at a congressional committee hearing in February 2000.
In May 2000, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak ordered a precipitous IDF military withdrawal from south Lebanon, without warning SLA commanders, leading to the collapse of the militia and the flight of around 7,000 Lebanese, including Sakr himself, into Israel. Addressing a group of Israeli parliamentarians in the Knesset a few days later, Etienne rebuked his host country, charging that Israel had "made heroes out of Hezbollah."
Since the Syrians completed their conquest of Lebanon in 1990, the authorities in Beirut have constantly cracked down on the Guardians of the Cedars. Sakr himself has been sentenced in absentia to death by a Lebanese court on charges of "collaborating with the Zionist enemy." Those members of the Guardians in Lebanon who have openly identified themselves as such have been indicted on similar charges. Indeed, the authorities have assaulted and jailed many Lebanese purely on the basis of having met with Sakr. In 1996, a journalist for the daily Al-Nahar , Pierre Atallah, was brutally beaten by plainclothes security agents after meeting with him and forced to flee abroad. In August 2001, Lebanese security forces arrested Habib Younis, the former Beirut bureau chief of the London-based daily Al-Hayat, and Claude Hajjar, a prominent human rights activist, on charges of plotting with Sakr to organize opposition to the Syrians.
Despite the enormous personal sacrifice he has been forced to make, Sakr remains defiantly opposed to the Syrian presence in Lebanon and continues to insist that he will "bend only to God."

Etienne Sakr,
born 1935

Elias Sarkis was born on June 20, 1924 into a Maronite Christian family in Chebanyeh.
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.
In 1970, he runs for presidency against Suleiman Franjieh , but loses by only one vote in the parliament. In 11975, with the start of the Lebanese Civil War , Sarkis represents a moderate Maronite group. With the support of president Hafez al-Assad of Syria, Sarkis is the only candidate for presidency and is appointed president on May 8, 1976. Sarkis appoints Selim al-Hoss as prime minister. in the late 1970's, while Sarkis replaces top officials with pro-Syrian people, he still tries to limit Syrian power, but in vain. The relationship with prime minister Selim al-Hoss is tense, as al-Hoss considered Sarkis to be too pro-Syrian.
In March 5, 1980, Sarkis formulates his policy, as part of trying to create national accord: unity, independence, parliamentarian democracy, rejection of the Camp David Accords between Egypt and Israel, support for a future Palestinian state and cooperation with Syria. In June of that year, Selim al-Hoss resigns in protest against the president's inability to create peace in Lebanon.
After much difficulties, Sarkis is able to appoint a new government with Chafic al-Wazzan as prime minister. In September, his presidency comes to the official end. Sarkis retires from Lebanese politics. Elias Sarkis passed away in 1985.

Elias Srakis,