Sayyid Hussein El-Husseini (Arabic: حسين الحسيني) (born 15 April 1937) is a Lebanese statesman and former speaker of the Lebanese parliament, whose efforts in brokering and fathering the Taif Agreement led to the end of the Lebanese Civil War in 1990. El-Husseini, as co-founder of the Amal Movement, is regarded as one of the founders of the Lebanese resistance. He succeeded Musa al-Sadr as leader of the Amal Movement, but resigned from his position in 1980 as he was opposed to Amal becoming increasingly more involved in the civil war.
Early life and political career
Born on 15 April 1937 in Zahlé into a prominent Shia family, Hussein El-Husseini is one of the founders of the Movement of the Deprived that later gave birth to Amal, of which he, along with Imam Musa al-Sadr, is the co-founder. He was the closest collaborator and backer of al-Sadr at the head of Amal, serving at first as head of Amal's political wing, as well as in the Supreme Shiite Council, of which he became a founding member in 1972.
El-Husseini was elected member of parliament in 1972, at the age of 35, after being mayor of his hometown Shmustar at 18. From 1972 to 1974, he headed the parliamentary commission of public works and hydroelectric resources. He became, since 1972, member of the parliamentary financial and budgetary commission.
In 1978, he became Amal's Secretary General. He resigned from this post on 17 June 1980, as he refused to drench Amal in blood and fight alongside the PLO or any other faction. His resignation was followed by Amal's entry in the Lebanese Civil War.
In 1984, he was elected Speaker by members of parliament and remained in this post until 1992, after serving 4 consecutive two-year terms. In 1989, while in office, el-Husseini orchestrated and presided over the Taif Agreement, held in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which led to the end of the Lebanese Civil War (1975–1990). He is considered to be the father of the agreement. Husseini is also credited with revoking both the Cairo Agreement and the May 17 Agreement.
In 1992, Nabih Berri was backed by the Syrians during their military presence in Lebanon to replace Husseini as Speaker, as Husseini had refused, despite enormous pressure, to pass a law that would allow Rafik Hariri (and later Solidere) to expropriate land and property in the Beirut Central District and compensate owners with shares in the company worth as little as 15% of the property's value.
On 12 August 2008, in a speech during the vote of confidence for the new government, Husseini announced his resignation from parliament, expressing his fury at how the constitution was being torn.
He remains a strong advocate of democracy, civil society and transparency in his community. Husseini's Civil Center for National Initiative succeeded in persuading the Ministry of Interior to allow Lebanese citizens to remove mentions of their sectarian affiliation from civil records.
- El-Husseini's 2008 resignation speech (Arabic)
- El-Husseini: Resistance Is the Right and Duty of Every Lebanese (Arabic)
- William Harris, Faces of Lebanon: Sects, Wars, and Global Extensions (Princeton Series on the Middle East), Markus Wiener Pub (March 1997) ISBN 978-1558761155
- "Former Speaker MP Hussein Husseini resigns from parliament". Now Lebanon. Retrieved 13 August 2008.
- "Saniora Cabinet Wins Confidence, Husseini Resigns, Harb Attacks Police Oppression of the House". Naharnet. Retrieved 13 August 2008.
- "Divided Parliament approves new unity Cabinet, Veteran politician Husseini shocks nation by announcing resignation". Daily Star. Retrieved 13 August 2008.
- The Civil Center for National Initiative A Civilized Step Towards Citizenship