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Michel Aoun

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Michel Aoun

ميشال نعيم عون
Secretary Tillerson Meets With Lebanese President Aoun (25411846517) (cropped).jpg
President of Lebanon
Assumed office
31 October 2016
Prime MinisterTammam Salam
Saad Hariri
Hassan Diab
Preceded byMichel Sleiman
Tammam Salam (Acting)
In office
22 September 1988 – 13 October 1990*
Acting, disputed
Prime MinisterHimself
Preceded byAmine Gemayel
Succeeded byElias Hrawi
28th Prime Minister of Lebanon
In office
22 September 1988 – 13 October 1990*
Preceded bySelim Hoss
Succeeded bySelim Hoss
Member of Parliament
In office
20 April 2005 – 31 October 2016
Succeeded byChamel Roukoz
ConstituencyKeserwan District
Personal details
Michel Naim Aoun

(1935-02-18) 18 February 1935 (age 85)
Haret Hreik, Greater Lebanon
Political partyFree Patriotic Movement
Other political
March 8 Alliance
Spouse(s)Nadia El-Chami
Military service
Allegiance Lebanon
Branch/serviceLebanese Army
Years of service1958–1991
Battles/warsLebanese Civil War
*Aoun's presidency was disputed by Selim Hoss, René Moawad and Elias Hrawi.
**Aoun's premiership was disputed by Selim Hoss.

Michel Naim Aoun (Arabic: ميشال نعيم عون‎, romanizedMīšāl Naʿīm ʿAwn, Arabic pronunciation: [miːʃeːl ʕo.uːn]; born 18 February 1935)[1][2] is the current President of Lebanon. He was elected president on 31 October 2016 on the 46th electoral session of the Lebanese parliament, breaking a 29-month deadlock. He is a Maronite Christian and the founder of the Free Patriotic Movement.

Michel Aoun was appointed as Lebanese Army General (Head of the Lebanese Army) in 1984. From 22 September 1988 to 13 October 1990, Aoun served as Prime Minister after being appointed by the then departing Lebanese President Amine Gemayel as head of the Lebanese government and interim prime minister. The controversial decision saw the rise of two rival governments contending for power at that time, one by General Aoun and the other by prime minister Selim Hoss.

Aoun declared a "War of Liberation" against Syrian army forces on 14 March 1989. On 13 October 1990, the Syrian forces invaded Aoun strongholds including the presidential palace in Baabda, killing hundreds of Lebanese soldiers and civilians. Aoun fled to the French Embassy in Beirut, and was later granted asylum in France where he lived in exile for 15 years from 1990 to 2005.

Aoun returned to Lebanon on 7 May 2005, eleven days after the withdrawal of Syrian troops from the country. In 2006, as head of the Free Patriotic Movement (FPM), he signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Hezbollah, starting a major alliance that has remained ever since. Despite the bloody history with the regime of Hafez al-Assad, father of Bashar al-Assad, Aoun visited Syria in 2008.[3][4]

Aoun was elected a Member of Parliament where he headed the Free Patriotic Movement and the broader parliamentary coalition called Reform and Change Bloc, which had 27 representatives making it the second biggest bloc in the Lebanese parliament. He presented his candidacy for presidential election with main rival candidates being Samir Geagea, Suleiman Frangieh and Henri Helou. After his election, he was sworn in as President of Lebanon in succession to President Michel Suleiman.

Early years

A Maronite Christian, Michel Aoun, with family origins from Haret el Maknouniye Jezzine, was born in the mixed Christian-Shiite suburb of Haret Hreik, to the south of Beirut.

He finished his secondary education at the College Des Frères Furn Al Chebbak in 1955 and enrolled in the Military Academy as a cadet officer.[5] Three years later, he graduated as an artillery officer in the Lebanese Army. Michel Aoun is married to Nadia Al Chami. They have three daughters: Mireille, Claudine and Chantal.[6]

Military career

Lebanese Civil War: 1975–1990

In September 1983, during the Lebanese Civil War, Aoun was a brigadier general (Ameed) who led a predominantly but not exclusively Christian 8th Mechanized Infantry Brigade that fought against the pro-Syrian Druze and Palestinian militias at the battle of Souq el Gharb.[7] He was Appointed General (Imad) and Commander of the Armed Forces on 23 June 1984.[8]

Rival governments: 1988

On 22 September 1988, the outgoing President Amine Gemayel, dismissed the civilian administration of Prime Minister Selim Hoss and appointed the six-member court-martial committee as interim military government (a step vaguely prescribed by the Lebanese Constitution should there be no election of a President, as was the case at the time), composed of three Christians and three Muslims. The Muslims refused to serve (or were pressured not to serve). Backed by Syria and its local allies, Al-Hoss declared his dismissal invalid. Two governments emerged (one civilian and mainly Muslim in West Beirut, headed by Al-Hoss, the other, military and Christian, in East Beirut, led by Michel Aoun acting as Prime Minister).[9]

Gemayel's move was of questionable validity, as it violated the unwritten National Pact of 1943, which reserved the position of prime minister for a Sunni Muslim. Gemayel argued, however, that as the National Pact also reserved the presidency for a Maronite Christian, and as the Prime Minister assumes the powers and duties of the President in the event of a vacancy, it would be proper to fill that office temporarily with a Maronite. Gemayel referenced the historical precedent of 1952, when General Fouad Chehab, a Christian Maronite, was appointed as prime minister of a transition government following the resignation of President Bechara El Khoury.[citation needed]

Liberation war against Syria: 1989

On 14 March 1989, Syria retaliated against Aoun's attempt to regain state sovereign control of the Lebanese coast line and bring back within its jurisdiction the illegal ports that had sprouted during the civil war, giving rise to weapons and goods smuggling. Syrian artillery shelled the Baabda presidential palace and the Lebanese Ministry of Defense in Yarze. Sensing a pivotal moment in the civil war that had raged on-off in Lebanon since 1975, Aoun declared a liberation war against the Syrian Army. The latter were more numerous and enjoyed a deeper strategic reserve than the Lebanese Armed forces (some 40,000 Syrian troops were in Lebanon at the time). The Lebanese Armed forces however were better equipped and trained and were ably led. They also controlled key strategic positions and could count on local population and allied militia (Lebanese Forces) support. Over the next few months Aoun's army and the Syrians exchanged artillery fire in Beirut and other areas.[10] During this period Aoun became critical of American support for Syria and moved closer to Iraq, accepting arms supplies from Saddam Hussein.[citation needed]. The Syrians eventually gained tacit support by the US government led by George H. W. Bush in exchange for their participation in the coalition against Iraq in the First Gulf War.[citation needed]

In October 1989, Lebanese National Assembly members met to draw up the Taif Accord in an attempt to settle the Lebanese conflict. This accord was later revealed to have been prepared two years earlier by Rafic Hariri. Aoun refused to attend, denounced the politicians who did so as traitors and issued a decree dissolving the assembly. After the Taif accord was signed over his opposition, Aoun further denounced it for not appointing a date for the withdrawal of the Syrian army from Lebanon.[11] After it signed the Taif Accord (in Taif, Saudi Arabia), the assembly met to elect René Moawad as President in November. Despite heavy-handed pressure from Syria to dismiss Aoun, Moawad relented; his presidency ended 17 days later when he was assassinated.[12] Elias Hrawi was elected in his place. After assuming office as president, Hrawi appointed General Émile Lahoud as commander of the army and ordered Aoun out of the Presidential Palace. Aoun rejected his dismissal.[citation needed]

Exile: 1990–2005

The Gulf War had its repercussions on Aoun's government. Aoun had asked for help and the only unconditional help he received was from Saddam Hussein, who until 1989 was an ally of the West.[citation needed] On 2 August 1990, Hussein launched his invasion of Kuwait and the US made a coalition against Iraq to liberate Kuwait. President Hafez al-Assad of Syria suddenly sided with the coalition, a choice rewarded with support of Syria's interests in Lebanon.[citation needed] On the evening of 12 October, while giving a public speech, Aoun survived an assassination attempt by a lone gunman in the crowd. On 13 October Syrian forces attacked the presidential palace in Baabda, where Aoun was preparing for his defense.[citation needed] Not very long after the attacks, sensing the hopeless strategic endpoint, Aoun took refuge at the French Embassy, where he radioed his units to surrender to Lebanese Army Units under General Lahoud, (Hrawi government allegiance). Ten months later Aoun went into exile in France, where he led a political party, the Free Patriotic Movement. In 2003, an avowed Aounist candidate, Hikmat Dib, came surprisingly close to winning a key by-election in the BaabdaAley constituency against the state-sponsored candidate, Henri Helou.[citation needed]

Return to Lebanon: 2005

Aoun ended 15 years of self-imposed exile when he returned to Lebanon on 7 May 2005, following the withdrawal of the Syrian Army from Lebanon after the assassination of Rafic Hariri on 14 February 2005.[13] Hariri's killing was a catalyst for dramatic political change in Lebanon. The massive protests of the Cedar Revolution helped achieve the withdrawal of Syrian troops and security forces from Lebanon, and a change in governments, paving the way for return of Aoun to Lebanon. Aoun held a short press conference at Beirut International Airport before heading with a convoy of loyalists and journalists to the "Grave of the Un-named Soldiers and Martyrs". After praying and expressing his gratitude and blessing to the people, he went on to the grave site of former Prime Minister Rafic Hariri. Then, he visited Samir Geagea who was in the 11th year of a lifetime jail sentence, condemned for alleged and disputed responsibility for politically-motivated assassinations during the 15-year civil war. His journey continued to Martyr's Square where he was greeted by supporters of the Cedar Revolution.[14]

After his arrival, Aoun moved into a home in Lebanon's Rabieh district, where he was visited on 8 May by a large delegation from the disbanded Lebanese Front (LF), who were among Aoun's former enemies. Aoun and Sitrida Geagea, wife of the imprisoned LF leader Samir Geagea (since given amnesty), publicly reconciled. Other prominent visitors included National Liberal Party leader Dory Chamoun, Solange Gemayel, Nayla Moawad (widow of assassinated President René Moawad), and opposition MP Boutros Harb. Patriarch Nasrallah Boutros Sfeir of the Maronite community sent a delegation to welcome him, and even the Shiite Muslim Hezbollah Party sent a delegation.

Political career

2005 elections

In the parliamentary election at the end of May 2005, the political leaders of the Syrian occupation imposed to run the elections with the 2000 electoral law... a law that Critics argue was implemented by Syrian intelligence chief Ghazi Kanaan and Rafik Hariri, that does not provide for a real popular representation and marginalizes many communities especially the Christian one throughout the country.[citation needed] Aoun opposed this electoral law choice and was fought by a quadruple alliance grouping Anti-Syrian (the Future Movement, the Progressive Socialist Party, the Lebanese Forces and some other parties) and Pro-Syrian (Amal and Hezbollah) main political parties against the Free Patriotic Movement headed by General Michel Aoun. In this context, Aoun surprised many observers by entering into electoral alliances with a number of former opponents, including some pro-Syrian politicians like Michel Murr and Suleiman Frangieh, Jr.

Aoun's party, the Free Patriotic Movement, made a strong showing, winning 21 of the 58 seats contested in that round, including almost all of the seats in the Christian heartland of Mount Lebanon. Aoun also won major Christian districts such as Zahle and Metn.[3][15] Aoun himself was elected to the National Assembly. The FPM failed however to win any seats in Northern Lebanon due mainly to the 2000 electoral law that gave the pro Hariri Muslim community of Tripoli an easy veto over any Christian candidate in its electoral district, thus falling short of its objective of holding the balance of power between the main "anti-Syrian" opposition coalition (formerly known to be Syria's strong allies) led by Sa'ad Hariri (which won an absolute majority) and the Shiite-dominated Amal-Hezbollah alliance.

The FPM won 21 seats in the parliament, and formed the largest Christian bloc in Lebanon, and second biggest bloc in the Lebanese Parliament.

Memorandum of understanding between the FPM and Hezbollah

In 2006, Michel Aoun and Hassan Nasrallah met in Mar Mikhayel Church, Chiyah, a venue that symbolizes Christian-Muslim coexistence as the Church, located in the heart of the mainly Muslim Beirut southern suburb, was preserved throughout the wars. The FPM signed a memorandum of understanding with Hezbollah organizing their relation and discussing Hezbollah's disarmament given some conditions. The second and third conditions for disarmament were the return of Lebanese prisoners from Israeli jails and the elaboration of a defense strategy to protect Lebanon from the Israeli threat. The agreement also discussed the importance of having normal diplomatic relations with Syria and the request for information about the Lebanese political prisoners in Syria and the return of all political prisoners and diaspora in Israel. After this event, Aoun and his party became part of the March 8 Alliance.[16]

Lebanese anti-government protests: 2006–2008

On 1 December 2006, Michel Aoun declared to a crowd of protesters that the current government of Lebanon was unconstitutional claiming that the government had "made corruption a daily affair" and called for the resignation on the government.[17] Hundreds of thousands of supporters of this party, the Amal Movement and Hezbollah, according to the Internal Security Forces (ISF),[citation needed] gathered at Downtown Beirut trying to force Fouad Siniora to abdicate.

2008 government formation

On 11 July 2008, Aoun's party entered the Lebanese government. FPM members, Issam Abu Jamra as Deputy-Prime Minister, Gebran Bassil as Minister of Telecommunications, and Mario Aoun as Minister of Social Affairs were elected into government. It is the Movement's first participation in any Lebanese Government.

2009 elections and government formation

The results of the 2009 Elections granted the FPM 27 parliamentary seats. One of them was won by Aoun from Keserwan.[18]

In November 2009, and after 6 months of strong political pressure by General Michel Aoun himself, by refusing any participation in the government that was inferior to the 2008 participation, Prime Minister Saad Hariri eventually gave in. The Free Patriotic Movement nominated three ministers to join the first government headed by Saad Hariri, who would receive the ministry of telecommunications, the ministry of energy and water, and the ministry of tourism.

Aoun and his allies got one third of the government, but were one minister short of having veto power. On 12 January 2011, in a move orchestrated from Aoun's house in Rabieh, the Hariri government was toppled through the resignation of the FPM ministers and their allies. On 13 June 2011, a new government headed by Prime Minister Najib Mikati saw light where Aoun's parliamentary Reform and Change Bloc assumed 10 ministries.

Presidency (2016–present)

2016 presidential candidacy

Lebanese Forces (LF) leader Samir Geagea and Michel Aoun turned a historic page in intra-Christian relations when the former March 14 presidential nominee officially endorsed on Monday Aoun's candidacy for the presidency. "I announce after long consideration, discussions and deliberations between members of the executive body of the Lebanese Forces, our endorsement of the candidacy of [former] General Michel Aoun for the presidency," Geagea said in joint news conference with his March 8 rival. Speaking from the LF's headquarters in Maarab where he had met with Aoun shortly before the news conference, Geagea read a 10-point understanding that summarized the key points of the Declaration of Intent struck between the LF and FPM in June.

The commitment to the implementation of the Taif Accord, the need to stop the flow of arms and militants across the Lebanese-Syrian border in both directions, the ratification of a new electoral law and compliance with international resolutions were among the key points agreed upon between the LF and FPM, Geagea said. As he read the key points of his understanding with Aoun, Geagea paused for a moment to tell a joke. With humor, the LF leader asked Aoun to urge his son-in-law Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil to act in accordance with the sixth point of their agreement. Geagea was referring to his understanding with the former general over "the need to adopt an independent foreign policy that guarantees Lebanon's interests and complies with international law." For his part, Aoun thanked Geagea for his support and said he would extend his hands to all political parties.

Geagea's official endorsement of Aoun's nomination would provide a significant boost for the former general's presidential bid but it remains unclear how the Future Movement would react to this initiative. Before his arrival to the LF's headquarters, Aoun met with Maronite Patriarch Bechara Boutros al-Rahi, who has repeatedly voiced his support for initiatives aimed at breaking the presidential deadlock. "We came to inform the patriarch of the agreement", Aoun said from the seat of the Maronite church.

Earlier in the day, Rai had met with former Prime Minister and head of the Future Movement parliamentary bloc Fouad Siniora. Following his meeting with the patriarch, Siniora stressed the need to elect a president who enjoys the support of all Lebanese factions. "We have to work hard to elect a person who can unite all Lebanese people from all political affiliations and promote coexistence among them," said Siniora. Geagea's endorsement of Aoun is the first time the country's two leading Christian parties have come together on such a pivotal issue after decades of animosity.

Geagea, the former March 14 presidential candidate, was caught by surprise when his ally Future Movement leader and former Prime Minister Saad Hariri reportedly nominated Marada Movement Chief Suleiman Frangieh, Jr. for the presidency. Geagea has staunchly opposed the deal, which stirred up controversy both within the March 8 and 14 camps.

Aoun, on the other hand, had shown no signs of giving up his presidential ambitions in favor of Franjieh, a longtime ally of Hezbollah and a member of Aoun's reform and Change parliamentary bloc. For weeks Hezbollah remained silent over Hariri's proposed settlement, as Franjieh sought to win the support of its allies. Hezbollah finally broke its media silence on 29 December 2015, and reaffirmed its support for Aoun's presidential bid.

In the first official statement since Hariri's initiative emerged, Hezbollah's Politburo Chief Sayyed Ibrahim Amin al-Sayyed announced from the seat of the Maronite patriarchate that his party is committed to supporting the presidential bid of its ally Aoun. Aoun and Geagea kicked off talks a year ago. The talks culminated in a Declaration of Intent that paved the way for a surprise visit by Geagea to Aoun's residence in Rabieh in June. The Declaration of Intent has since brought Aoun and Geagea closer together, putting an end to the bitter rivalry between the Christian leaders who fought a devastating war in 1990. Lebanon's top post has been vacant since May 2014 as Lebanese politicians failed to agree on a consensus president.

On 20 October 2016, Saad Hariri declared publicly his support and that of his parliamentary block to voting Michel Aoun for president. This support increased his chances tremendously of getting elected president during the parliamentary session scheduled for 31 October.

Election as president

On 31 October 2016, Aoun was elected the president of Lebanon, ending a 29-month vacuum at the head of the state.[19] After 45 failed attempts to achieve a parliamentary quorum for presidential elections by the Lebanese Parliament, the 127-seat chamber convened for a 46th time on 31 October under the leadership of house speaker Nabih Berri.

The first round of voting required a two-thirds majority of the house, meaning 85 votes of the 127 member chamber, but Aoun closely failed to secure the necessary votes for the round winning just 83 votes, two less than required, while there were 36 blank ballots, 6 cancelled ballots and one ballot for MP Gilberte Zouein.

The second round of voting had to be repeated three times before ballots were read out loud after the parliament's secretariat counted 128 envelopes instead of 127, which is the number of MPs who participated in the presidential election. In the second round, an absolute (50 percent plus one) majority of the quorum was needed, meaning 64 votes required for election. Eventually Aoun received 83 votes and was elected. There were 36 blank ballots in the second round, 7 ballots cancelled and 1 vote for MP Sethrida Tawk Geagea.

Forty-sixth parliamentary electoral session
First round Second round* Third round* Fourth round
Candidates Votes % Candidates Votes %
Michel Aoun 84 66.14 Michel Aoun 83 65.35
Gilberte Zouein 1 0.78 Sethrida Tawk 1 0.78
Invalid/blank votes 42 33.06 Invalid/blank votes 43 33.85
Total 127 100 128 100.78 128 100.78 Total 127 100
Eligible voters 127 100 127 100 127 100 Eligible voters 127 100

*The second and third rounds were cancelled because there were more votes than present MPs.

Aoun was quickly sworn in as president, pledging political and economic reform and urging a "real partnership" among notoriously divided Lebanese political factions. Following the parliament session, Aoun was driven to the presidential palace in the southeastern Beirut suburb of Baabda, returning exactly 26 years after he was forced out of it as army commander and interim premier by Syrian forces.

Michel Aoun and Nabih Berri meeting the newly appointed Prime Minister Mustapha Adib

The incumbent Lebanese prime minister Tammam Salam is expected to present the resignation of his government almost immediately. President Aoun is expected to designate Future Movement leader Saad Hariri as prime minister after binding parliamentary consultations.[20] This comes as a result of the consensus that led to the election of Aoun. Hariri said his support for Aoun was the only way to end the political crisis that brought state institutions perilously close to collapse. Prior to his endorsement by Hariri, Aoun had secured the backing of Hezbollah, of his former Christian rival, Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea and the mostly Druze Progressive Socialist Party leader Walid Jumblatt, but the former general failed to garner the support of Amal Movement and its leader Nabih Berri.

Achievements as president

Animal welfare

In August 2017, Aoun signed the country's first animal protection bill into law, guaranteeing that domestic and wild animals will be legally protected from abuse.[21]

Political strategy

In an unprecedented move, Aoun signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Hezbollah on 6 February 2006.[22] His present strategy was an alleged "war against corruption".

Since the end of the Syrian occupation of Lebanon, General Aoun has been seeking to improve his country's relationship with Syria. He has treated all Lebanese parties as potential partners in the process of change and reform of the country. The Memorandum of Understanding with Hezbollah enters in this context.

In September 2015, Aoun sponsored the candidacy of his son-in law, Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil, to the FPM leadership post. Bassil was elected by acclamation after his main contender, MP Alain Aoun (Michel's nephew), was convinced to quit the race.[23]

Political views

The West

Aoun explained why he turned back on the West and forged an alliance with the Axis of Resistance in a speech on May 2008 by saying:

"We chose this long-term political option, because we knew that the interests of the West do not lie with us. Its interests lie with Israel, on one hand, and with the oil, on the other hand. We are not included among its interests at present. The only thing it cares about is resolving the problem of Israel at our expense, through the naturalization of the Palestinians in Lebanon, and pleasing the oil-producing countries, because its material interests lie there. Therefore, we had to choose a policy of coordination with all elements of Lebanese society, and with our neighboring countries, in order to build strong, solid, and mutual relations. Lebanese society in general, and the Christians in particular, are not used to this, and therefore, it has aroused fear and concern. However, our confidence in ourselves, in the choice we made, and in our views have made it possible for us to stand before you, and to ask you to give the efforts we are undertaking a chance. A short while ago, in Doha, we saw the results. All the Christians in the Middle East, all the Christians in the Middle East are fleeing, while the Christians of Lebanon are returning. The forecasts of the entire world. For 25-35 years, we have been reading that the Christians in the Middle East are becoming extinct. Western policies have led the Christians in the Middle East towards extinction. Western policies have not left a single Christian in Palestine and the holy places. Western policies have not left a single Christian in Iraq. They intended to get rid of us by marginalizing us, and by treating us as a superfluous element in society." [24]

United States

In a December 1995 interview with Middle East Quarterly journal, Aoun replied when asked if he disliked the United States:

"Here I must defend myself. My grandfather and cousins fought in the American army. My mother was born in the United States (in Jaffrey, New Hampshire), my sister and her family live in the United States, including my nephews. I studied in the United States. I have never been against the United States and have always respected Americans, a democratic people who forward their values and peace, as we do. I cannot be against the United States; besides, politically, I am linked to American politics. How could anyone say I am anti-American? But I regret the American position on Lebanon. I pray for the day when the United States will correctly see Lebanon.

I know the power of the United States, its influence in the world. I know that it can crush anyone who resists its wishes. At the same time, I will defend myself against the United States even if it crushes me, I will only engage in self-defense.


It's not just a matter of convincing the American people, but of convincing those who make policy in the United States. They should know that Lebanon is an antidote to much that is wrong with the Middle East. Fundamentalist Islam is creating a fundamentalist Judaism, for action always leads to reaction. If Lebanon fails, how can tolerant societies be built in the Middle East? No land of tolerance will emerge without Lebanon. Remove Lebanon and that hope is gone."[25]


  • 1935: Born in the Beirut suburb of Haret Hreik, as the son of poor Maronite parents. His father is a butcher.
  • 1941: His family must move out of their house, as British and Australian forces are occupying it.
  • 1955: He finishes his secondary education, and becomes a cadet officer at the Military Academy.
  • In 1958, he graduates as an artillery officer in the army. He goes to France to receive further military training at Châlons-sur-Marne. He graduates the following year. He is promoted to Second Lieutenant on 30 September.
  • 1966: Gets military training at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, USA.
  • 1978: Goes to France for more military training at École Supérieure de Guerre.
  • 1980: Returns to Lebanon, where he soon is appointed head of the Defence Brigade, which is stationed along the Green Line that separated West and East Beirut.
  • 1982: Aoun is promoted to brigadier-general and gets command over the new 8th Brigade, a multi-confessional army unit. The 8th Brigade was instrumental in protecting the Palestinian refugee camp of Borj Al Barajneh from the sinister fate of Sabra and Chatila. In the meantime, he had his office at the Museum Crossing during the Israeli invasion.[26]
  • 1983: Aoun's 8th Brigade, against superior odds, fends off an attack by Syrian-aligned militias in Suq-al-Gharb, firmly establishing his military credentials.
  • 1984: Is promoted to Lieutenant-general (3 star General), and military chief of staff.
  • 1988 September 22: Is appointed by outgoing president Amine Gemayel (15 minutes before the expiration of his term) to head a military government to be formed by members of the Martial Court, which Aoun as Armed Forces Commander chairs. The Muslim members of the Martial Court, it later transpired, are pressured by the Syrian occupant to decline their appointments. The area under Aoun's control at this point is very small: East Beirut and surrounding suburbs. Amine Gemayel appointed officers to take over after briefly considering judges or a caretaker government formed of politicians. Having failed to form a political caretaker government and feeling that judges "can't defend themselves" he opted for a military cabinet. Indeed, Amine Gemayel had recognized that his own nemesis throughout his presidency, the militia his slain brother Bashir Gemayel had founded, the Lebanese Forces, would also attempt to undermine the authority of a caretaker government.
  • 1989: In February 1989: The Lebanese army takes control of the harbour of Beirut, which came to involve military actions against the Lebanese Forces. On 14 February 1989, Aoun and his family escape an assassination attempt by the Lebanese Forces. in March, as part of his strategy to reestablish the government's control over illegal ports, Aoun established a Maritime Control Center to stifle traffic from illegal ports operated by Syrian-aligned militias. These militias respond by shelling the sector under Aoun's control, including the presidential palace, the seat of Aoun's government. In light of Syrian participation in these acts of sedition, Aoun declares a "war of liberation" against Syria. In September, Aoun agreed to an Arab League brokered cease-fire. In October 1989, even though the National Reconciliation Charter got support from most Muslim and Christian parliamentarians, Aoun rejected it, because it did not propose a clear schedule for withdrawal of the Syrian army from Lebanon, because "the Charter was passed under duress, with Parliamentarians on foreign soil under Saudi and Syrian foreign influence." Aoun, using his constitutional powers as acting president, dissolved the parliament.
  • 5 November 1989: Aoun refuses to recognize the president, Rene Muawad, newly elected by a parliament that he had dissolved. On 24 November, as had been the case with Muawad (assassinated on 22 November), Aoun does not recognize the new elected president, Elias Hrawi. Hrawi responds by dismissing Aoun. Aoun ignores the dismissal, insisting that he and not Hrawi holds the legal constitutional power. Aoun's argument remains that having dissolved parliament, the election of Hrawi (and Muawad before him) by that parliament is therefore null and void.
  • December 1989: a group of army commanders visit Michel Aoun on Christmas holiday. Aoun orders his commanders to prepare for a big battle to take place in one month later in order to "sweep the broken pottery" (i.e. the Lebanese Forces). For this reason the battle between Aoun's Army and the Lebanese Forces is called "cancellation war" (حرب الالغاء).
  • January 1990: Aoun's forces attack a school in Ain El Remmeneh that belongs to the Lebanese Forces and controlled it, this incident comes after Aoun's press conference stating that "The only rifle allowed is for the Lebanese Army." Michel Aoun doesn't know that Samir Geagea is prepared for this war, so he does not anticipate that the war will last six months, and the war weakens both sides and divides and weakens Christians.
  • October 1990: Following an air and ground campaign, Syrian troops and air forces occupy all areas controlled by the Lebanese Army. Under siege and military pressure by the Syrian army and the Lebanese Forces, Aoun is now holed up in the presidential palace of Baabda, and is requested to go to the French Embassy to declare a surrender. There, he surrenders to the Syrians via a radio address, however bad communications due to heavy bombardment prevents some divisions from receiving an official order to surrender, who thus continue fighting, resulting in a particularly bloody battle in the town of Dahr al-Wahsh where two hundred Lebanese troops manage to inflict five-hundred casualties on the Syrian army (the troops and many local civilians subsequently massacre after surrendering)
  • August 1991: Aoun leaves for France after the Lebanese government has granted him conditional amnesty, and the French president, asylum.
  • January 1999: Prime Minister Rafik Hariri says that Aoun could return to Lebanon with the guarantee that he will not be arrested. He is uncertain as to how Syria will react, and remains abroad
  • 7 May 2005: Aoun returns to Lebanon. In late May, he participates in the parliamentary elections. He is elected to the National Assembly, and his party, the Free Patriotic Movement, wins 21 seats
  • 2008: Participates for the first time in the Lebanese government with five ministers.
  • December 2008: Aoun visited Damascus and Aleppo in Syria.[27]
  • 7 May 2009: The Free Patriotic Movement wins 19 seats, 5 more seats than in the previous elections.[28] In November, he takes part in the new government with five ministers.
  • 2010: Aoun visited Barad, Syria to commemorate the 1600th anniversary of St. Maron death.[29]
  • 2011: The 14-month-old government collapsed after FPM ministers declare their resignation, followed by the rest of the opposition.[30] According to Aoun, the priorities of the new government would now be to break all ties with the tribunal, and to stamp out the 20-year-long corruption plaguing the country. The new Government is formed on 13 June 2011, with 6 ministers for the Free Patriotic Movement, up from 3 in the last government, and a total of 11 ministers for Aoun's C&R bloc. However, the loyalties of the five non-FPM ministers of this bloc seem to shift very easily to Mikati depending on their own interests, as did the rest of the 8 March coalition, leaving Aoun's ministers as a minority in the government without even veto powers, as they were in Saad Hariri's government.
  • April 2013: General Aoun's parliamentary bloc manage to conclude a consensus around a new electoral law based on proportionality. This consensus is however broken by one of the parties (the Lebanese Forces) and the next parliamentary elections will be held with the amended 1960's electoral law
  • May 2013: Parliamentary elections are reported for September 2014. General Aoun's parliamentary bloc are the only deputies to oppose the decision of the current political class to renew the term of the parliament for one year.
  • November 2014: Parliamentary elections are reported up to June 2017. General Aoun's parliamentary bloc deputies oppose again the decision of the current political class to renew the term of the parliament for three years.
  • 8 July 2015: Hundreds of FPM supporters rally in Beirut to denounce the decision of the Sunni prime minister Tammam Salam to impose the modification of the decision's mechanism inside the government in absence of a Christian president.
  • 12 August 2015: Thousands of FPM supporters rally in Beirut to denounce the lack of balance in the government's decisions mechanism between Christians and Muslims as well as the garbage crisis and the boycott of a part of the political class for the election of a strong president.
  • 4 September 2015: Dozens of thousands of FPM supporters rally in Beirut in support for general Michel Aoun's demands: a new electoral law based on proportionality and the election of a strong president.
  • 11 October 2015: Dozens of thousands of FPM supporters rally to renew their support to General Michel Aoun.
  • 31 October 2016: After a vote by the parliament, Michel Aoun is elected "President of Lebanese Republic".
  • March 2017: Aoun attended the 2017 Arab League summit.
  • 17 October 2019: The country descended into chaos with a popular uprising, bringing millions of Lebanese in Lebanon and abroad to take to the streets.

See also


  1. ^العماد-ميشال-عون؟?amp=1
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 4 November 2016. Retrieved 1 November 2016.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ a b "Profile: Michel Aoun". BBC News. 13 June 2005. Retrieved 18 May 2008.
  4. ^ Gambill, Gary C. (13 May 2003). "The Syrian Occupation of Lebanon". The Middle East Forum. Retrieved 18 May 2008.
  5. ^ "Commander". Archived from the original on 22 February 2014.
  6. ^ "Biography". Tayyar. Archived from the original on 18 September 2009.
  7. ^ " - Connecting People Through News". Retrieved 26 December 2017.
  8. ^ "Michel Aoun". الموقع الرسمي للجيش اللبناني.
  9. ^ "Timeline: Lebanon". BBC News. 9 May 2008. Retrieved 18 May 2008. Lebanon now has two governments - one mainly Muslim in West Beirut, headed by Al Huss, the other, exclusively Christian, in East Beirut, led by the Maronite Commander-in-Chief of the Army, Gen Michel Aoun.
  10. ^ "Aoun calls majority cowards for not waging war on Syria". Ya Libnan. 25 April 2008. Archived from the original on 26 April 2008. Retrieved 18 May 2008. During this period Aoun became critical of American support for Syria and moved closer to Iraq, accepting arms supplies from Saddam Hussein.
  11. ^ "Here are some facts about Lebanon's new president and Michel Aoun". Business Insider. Retrieved 26 December 2017.
  12. ^ Jaber, Ali; Times, Special to The New York (23 November 1989). "Lebanon's President Killed as Bomb Rips His Motorcade; Peace Efforts Are Set Back". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 26 December 2017.
  13. ^ "Chronology Of Events: 2005". Mediterranean Politics. 11 (2): 279–308. 2006. doi:10.1080/13629390600683048.
  14. ^ Sami Moubayed (12 May 2005). "Lebanon's Aoun Comes Home to Roost".
  15. ^ "Official Election Results - Bekaa & Mount Lebanon". yalibnan. 14 June 2005. Retrieved 18 May 2008.
  16. ^ William Harris (19 July 2012). Lebanon: A History, 600-2011. Oxford University Press. p. 274. ISBN 978-0-19-518111-1. Retrieved 7 April 2013.
  17. ^ Huge Beirut rally demands change, BBC, 1 December 2006
  18. ^ "New parliament composition" (PDF). Lebanese Information Center. Retrieved 21 January 2013.
  19. ^ "Lebanon's Aoun Elected President, Ending 29-Month Vacuum - Newsweek Middle East". 31 October 2016.
  20. ^ Cambanis, Thanassis (31 October 2016). "Michel Aoun Rises to Lebanese Presidency, Ending Power Vacuum". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 26 December 2017.
  21. ^ "Aoun signs first animal protection bill". The Daily Star. Lebabon. 29 August 2017. Retrieved 8 January 2019.
  22. ^ Sophie McNeill (7 December 2006). "Why Hezbollah's Al-Manar Television is broadcasting Sunday Mass". zmag. Archived from the original on 16 April 2013. Retrieved 18 May 2008. "They're not the majority of Christians", scorns 26-year-old Hammad as he watches the crowds march past. "They might have used to be with Aoun, but not now he's with Hezbollah." A pro-government supporter, Hammad describes the coalition between Michel Aoun's Free Patriotic Movement and Hezbollah as just 'a marriage of convenience.'
  23. ^ "Aoun transfers FPM leadership to Bassil, urges unity". The Daily Star Newspaper - Lebanon. Retrieved 4 November 2015.
  24. ^ "Former Lebanese Prime Minister Michel Aoun Explains Why He Has Turned His Back on the West and Forged an Alliance with Hizbullah, Syria, and Iran".
  25. ^ Pipes, Daniel. "Interview with Michel Aoun: "If Lebanon Fails, So Does the Middle East"".
  26. ^ Colin Campbell (24 September 1982). "Lebanon's premier defends his army's role". The New York Times.
  27. ^ "عون يعلن نهاية "خصومته" التاريخية مع دمشق". BBC (in Arabic). 3 December 2008.
  28. ^ " 2009 General Elections Results".
  29. ^ "عون يزور سوريا ممثلا عن موارنة العالم". (in Arabic). 2 February 2010.
  30. ^ "Lebanese Government Collapses After Hezbollah Ministers Resign". Fox News. 12 January 2011.


  • Jean-Marc Aractingi (2006). "Lebanon". La Politique à mes trousses (Politics at my heels). Paris: Editions l'Harmattan. ISBN 978-2-296-00469-6.
  • Mahé, H., Liban 1989-1991, Michel Aoun : "Je reviendrai": L'impossible liberté, L'Harmattan, 2015.
  • Eibner, J., The Future of Religious Minorities in the Middle East, Lexington Books, 2018.
Military offices
Preceded by
Ibrahim Tannous
Commander of the Armed Forces
Succeeded by
Émile Lahoud
Political offices
Preceded by
Amine Gemayel
President of Lebanon
Disputed, Acting

Succeeded by
René Moawad
Preceded by
Selim Hoss
Prime Minister of Lebanon

Succeeded by
Selim Hoss
Preceded by
Tammam Salam
President of Lebanon
Party political offices
New office Leader of Free Patriotic Movement
Succeeded by
Gebran Bassil