Antoine Lahad

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Antoine Lahad (born 1927) was a Lebanese general and leader of the South Lebanon Army (SLA) from 1984 until 2000, when Israel withdrew from Southern Lebanon and the SLA was dissolved.

Early life[edit]

Born into a Maronite Catholic family in 1927 in the village of Al Qattara. He graduated from the Lebanese Military Academy in 1952.

Military career[edit]

Lahad took control of the SLA in 1984, following the death of Saad Haddad, the founder of the SLA. Lahad was a Lebanese Army (reserve officer) who carried a major general rank. He was close to Lebanese president, Camille Chamoun, a Maronite.

Trouble with Hezbollah[edit]

Lahad was condemned to death by Hezbollah following Israel’s occupation of southern Lebanon. Men were required to sign written pledges not to visit with Lahad or his people if they were traveling into southern Lebanon. His headquarters was known as Marja’uyun, which flew an Israeli flag flanked by two flags of Lebanon. Also in the compound was the Pat Robertson CBN broadcast center.

Assassination attempted[edit]

In 1988, a Lebanese woman, Souha Bechara, tried to assassinate Lahad. She had been raised in the Eastern Orthodox Church and had become a member of the Communist party. She was tasked with assassinating Lahad. Bechara disguised herself as an aerobics instructor to visit with Lahad’s family. On November 17, 1988 while she was having tea with Lahad’s wife, he returned home. Bechara shot him twice in the chest. She was detained by his security team. Lahad spent eight weeks in the hospital and suffered health complications leaving his left arm paralyzed.

Ally's withdrawal[edit]

When Israel withdrew from southern Lebanon in 2000, Lahad was determined to carry on against Hezbollah. He pleaded for support from Israel,

"I need three things: 1 - I need Israel not to stop the money, keep the flow of money coming so I can keep paying my soldiers; 2- I need logistical support so the SLA will have adequate ammunition; 3- I need the border to remain open because I don't have sophisticated hospitals in the South, and in this instance all my wounded should be transported to northern Israel to be treated. When I'll have those three things, I can hold for 200 years. That's all I need."

SLA collapse[edit]

Lahad never received the support, and the SLA collapsed following Israel's withdrawal. At the time, Lahad was in Paris with his family. He came to Israel after the remainder of the SLA disintegrated. In Lebanon, Lahad was sentenced to death for treason in absentia in case he ever returned. In a meeting with the Israeli Government Coordinator, Uri Lubrani, in May 2000, Lahad expressed deep concern surrounding the appropriate treatment of SLA members who ended up in Israel following the withdrawal. Contrary to contemporary media reports, Lahad stated that Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Barak, had not tricked him. He highlighted the importance of his country’s cooperation with Israel and cited the United Nations Security Council resolution 425 as a legitimate reason for Barak’s withdrawal of Israeli armed forces. Lubrani assured Lahad that SLA members would receive appropriate treatment and thanked him and his men for their "long struggle for peace". Soon afterwards Lahad went to France to meet up with his family. Despite his family members living in France, the French authorities denied him permission to live in the country.

Retirement to Israel[edit]

After being refused the right to settle in France, Lahad moved to Israel, and opened a Lebanese restaurant in Haifa. He was therefore nicknamed “General Hummus” by journalists.[citation needed] He released a Hebrew language autobiography in 2004, entitled, In the Midst of a Storm: An Autobiography.

In November 2006, Lahad had an interview with Ynet. He asserted his opinion that Syria was behind the assassination of Lebanese Industry Minister Pierre Amine Gemayel,

“I have no doubt about who assassinated Lebanese Minister Pierre Gemayel last week. It was the Syrians, there’s no question. It could be that one of their proxies in Lebanon carried out the actual assassination, but the order came from Damascus.”

In May 2014 a Lebanese court sentenced him to death in absentia for High Treason, Intelligence with the Enemy and Accessory to Kidnapping, Violence and Murder.

References[edit]

  • Lahad, Antoine. In the Midst of a Storm: an Autobiography (Tel Aviv: Yedioth Ahronoth Publ. 2004), ed. Estelle Golan. In Hebrew. [1]
  • Ynetnews, Interview with Antoine Lahad, 26 November 2006. [2]
  • Harald List: Antoine Lahad. in: ORIENT 2/88 p. 179-187. Biography in German.
  • Hussein Assi: LF Seeks to Pass "Amnesty" for Antoine Lahd and Company!. in: Al-Manar TV 19 March 2009 [3]
  • Augustus Richard Norton: Hizballah and the Israeli Withdrawal from Southern Lebanon. in: Journal of Palestine Studies, Vol. 30, No. 1 (Autumn, 2000), pp. 22–35 [4]
  • Professor M. Kahl: Baraq's Betrayal of Israel and Israel's Lebanese Allies. in: LFP 2001 [5]
  • David Hirst: South Lebanon: The War that Never Ends?. in: Journal of Palestine Studies. Vol. 28, No. 3 (Spring, 1999), pp. 5–18. [6]
  • "Le Crépuscule de l'ALS", interview by Michel Zlotowski in Politique internationale. In French. [7]
  • "ISRAEL: LEBANON COORDINATOR LUBRANI MEETS GENERAL LAHAD." IPR Strategic Business Information Database (May 28, 2000): NA. General OneFile. Gale. University of Michigan - Ann Arbor. 7 Apr. 2009
  • ITOF.
  • BBC report.

External links[edit]