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mile Lahoud
mile Lahoud

General mile Geamil Lahoud (Arabic:اميل لحود) (born January 12, 1936) is the current President of Lebanon. He is the son of General Jamil Lahoud, a leader in the independence movement.

Lahoud served under General Michel Aoun during the final years of the Lebanese Civil War (1975-90). After an Arab League-brokered cease-fire took effect, Lahoud crossed over into Syrian-controlled west Beirut. A Maronite military officer was needed to assume the position of army commander for the West Beirut based Lebanese government endorsed by the 1989 Taif Agreement. Lahoud was offered the position. According to one source, Lahoud had connections to an influential Syria army officer, Ali Hammoud, who recommended him for the job. He quickly accepted. He served in various posts in the military, including commander-in-chief of the army from 1989 to 1998, and then ran for the presidency in 1998, after having the constitution amended to allow the army commander-in-chief to run for office within three years of holding that post.

Under the Lebanese constitution, the President's term was limited to one six-year term. However, under pressure from Syria, in 2004 the parliament voted to extend his term for an additional three years, to 2007. Lebanese opposition figures and international critics claim that the extension was illegal inasmuch as the constitution was amended under foreign duress.

Lahoud's popularity has been low recently, especially among Christians, Druze, and Sunnis. Lebanese Catholic Cardinal Nasrallah Sfeir and Druze leader Walid Jumblatt have been vocal critics. Assassinated Sunni former prime minister Rafik Hariri, who had worked under Syrian support for many years, clashed with Damascus over the extension of Lahoud's term, and resigned in protest. These figures view him as a puppet controlled by the Syrians.

In August 2004, Jumblatt alleged that Hariri told him that he had been threatened by Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, who told Hariri, "Lahoud is me. ... If you and Chirac want me out of Lebanon, I will break Lebanon." [italics added] "When I heard him telling us those words, I knew that it was his condemnation of death," Mr. Jumblatt said [1] (

Lahoud has a reputation amongst some Lebanese for lounging through most afternoons by the pool at the Yarze country club, reading Paris Match magazine and holding a tanning mirror. News accounts that he was swimming during Mr. Hariri's funeral reached such a crescendo that he felt compelled to deny them. "I swim every day—it's my workout—but on that specific day, I did not swim," he told a gathering of the Journalists' Union Council.

Some critics are convinced that one key reason Mr. Lahoud was extended was that his family had developed close business ties with the al-Assad clan in Damascus.

Lahoud has been accused of being a lightweight and a Syrian pawn who was undermining Lebanese institutions by backing the encroachment of secret police agencies that mirrored the ones running Syria: the role of the intelligence was no longer to keep up security, but to plant agents, generalize wiretapping, distribute newspaper articles, threaten judges, bind ministers and besiege members of Parliament. He strongly denies these accusations.

Lahoud and about 18 pro-Syrian ministers have reportedly opposed several Hariri projects, from small items like buying land for new schools to economic reforms. At a 2002 meeting of international donors in Paris, the French president Chirac and Hariri managed to secure more than $4 billion in aid to Lebanon, which was heavily in debt, in exchange for economic reforms. Lahoud has been accused of blocking reforms.

See also

External links

Preceded by:
Elias Hrawi
President of Lebanon
Succeeded by:

Template:End boxar:إميل لحود de:mile Lahoud fr:mile Lahoud gl:mile Lahoud ja:エミール・ラフード nl:mile Lahoud pl:mile Lahoud


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