Michel Suleiman ( ميشال سليمان) is the current President of Lebanon. Before assuming office as a President, he held the position of commander of the Lebanese Armed Forces. After LAF commander Emile Lahoud took office as president in November of 1998, Suleiman succeeded him, taking his place in December. Suleiman was later elected President and was sworn into office on May 25, 2008.
Early life, education and family
Suleiman was born in Amsheet. He joined the Lebanese Armed Forces in 1967 and went on to graduate from the Military Academy as 2nd Lieutenant in 1970. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Politics and Administrative Sciences from the Lebanese University. He is married to Wafaa Suleiman and has three children. His mother tongue is Arabic and he is also fluent in both French and English.
During his military service, he progressed from an infantry platoon leader to a Battalion Commander, and then assumed the position of a trainer in the Military Academy and in the non-commissioned officer school. From December 4, 1990 until August 24, 1991 he was appointed as the Chief of the Intelligence Branch of Mount Lebanon. On August 25, 1991 he was reassigned to the post of the Army Staff Secretary-General until June 10, 1993. He was Commander of the 11th Infantry Brigade from June 6, 1993 to January 15, 1996, a period that witnessed violent confrontations with the Israeli forces in the West Beqaa Valley and South Lebanon regions. On January 15, 1996 he was appointed as Commander of the 6th Infantry Brigade and remained in this position until December 21, 1998, when he was appointed as the Commander of the Armed Forces.
On May 28, 2008, President Suleiman reappointed Fouad Siniora as Prime Minister. Siniora was the parliamentary majority's candidate for the position, and Suleiman appointed him in accordance with the country's Constitution and with a majority of 68 MPs who named him.
Shortly after assuming the Presidency, Suleiman departed from tradition when he asked that posters bearing his likeness be removed from public display despite the fact that he thanked "citizens, institutions, municipalities and cultural organizations for the outpouring of support and affection".
The priorities of President Suleiman's presidential term were set out clearly, notably: national reconciliation; affirming Lebanon's active role as a message of dialogue and conviviality; protecting the country's independence, unity and territorial integrity; providing security and favorable conditions for economic and social growth; reinforcing constitutional institutions; fighting terrorism; implementing international resolutions related to Lebanon; opposing any form of settlement for Palestinian refugees on the Lebanese territories.
President Suleiman launched the table of national dialogue at the Presidential Palace in Baabda on September 16, 2008, in pursuance of the Doha Agreement's articles, and in view of consolidating National Reconciliation and Entente.
In parallel to local issues, he exchanged visits with heads of friendly countries, and took part in the work of regional and international organizations, especially the United Nations, in order to consecrate Lebanon's rights and defend its supreme interests.
Decorations, medals, awards and honors
- National Order of the Cedar, knight grade and grand cordon grade
- Lebanese Order of Merit, 3rd, 2nd and 1st grades
- Decoration of Military Pride, silver grade
- Medal of War
- Decoration of Military Valor, silver grade
- Decoration of the National Unity
- Decoration of the Dawn of the South
- Syrian Order of Merit, grade of excellence
- Certificate of Honor of the Arab Union
- Decoration of Arab Union for Military Sports, 2nd degree (commander)
- Medal from the President of the Ukrainian Republic
- Medal from the Defense Ministry of the Republic of Russian Federation in 2007
- Military Medal
- Internal Security forces’ Medal
- General Security Medal
- State security Medal
- Commemorative Medal of Conferences for the year 2002
- Citations of the Armed Forces Commander, 4 times - Felicitations of the Armed Forces Commander, 18 times - Felicitations of the Brigade Commander, once
Military training courses
- A training course in Belgium from 7/1/1971 to 4/7/1971
- A training in Staff techniques in France from 9/2/1981 to 17/7/1981
- A Staff training at the Command and Staff College starting 6/6/1988 for 52 weeks
- An International Defense Management course in the United States of America from 22/6/1995 to 25/7/1995
- Fighting terrorism and extremism, notably through the following operations:
- Discovering and fighting terrorist organizations in the high and barren mountains of North Lebanon in 2000, eliminating most of their members, dismantling their cells in all Lebanese regions and arresting their members.
- Separating anti-Syrian protests and pro-Syrian counter protests in 2005.
- Completing the Army redeployment operation all over the Lebanese territories following the withdrawal of the Syrian Armed Forces on April 26th 2005 in addition to the disturbances and security violations during the year 2007.
- Restructuring the Lebanese Army after the amendment of the military service law.
- Discovering an Israeli spying network in operation "Surprise at Dawn" on June 6, 2006
- Confronting the Israeli Army and supporting the resistance until the liberation of the south in the year 2000.
- Offering a plan to end the 2006 Lebanon War, with a compromise solution for all parties. This plan included the planning and the preparation for the deployment of Lebanese Army in the south and on the land and sea crossover, this operation carried out accurately and faithfully and at the conclusion of the operation on the second of October, the Lebanese flag was hoisted on the hill of Labbouni adjacent to the southern border indicating the return of the Lebanese sovereignty to the south
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