Michel Aoun/Archive1 - Timeline


1935: Born in the Beirut suburb of Haret Hreik, as the son of poor Maronite parents. His father was a butcher.

1941: His family has to move out of their house, as British/Australian forces occupy it.

1955: He finishes his secondary education, and becomes a cadet officer at the Military Academy.

1958: Graduates as an artillery officer in the army. — Goes to France, to receive further military training at Châlons-sur-Marne. He graduates the following year. — 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.

1983: Aoun's 8th Brigade, against superior odds, successfully 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 take control of the harbour of Beirut, which came to involve military actions against the "Lebanese force". On 14 February 1989, Aoun and his family escape an assassination attempt by the "Lebanese force". 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 of 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 the Syrian army withdrawal 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 refused 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 did not recognize the new elected president Elias Hrawi. Hrawi responded by dismissing Aoun. Aoun ignored the dismissal, insisting that him and not Hrawi holds the legal constitutional powers. Aoun's argument remained that having dissolved parliament, the election of Hrawi (and Muawad before him) by that parliament is therefore null and void.

January 1990: Aoun's forces stationed in Amshit and Sarba, were attacked by Christian "Lebanese Forces" militia. The forces loyal to Aoun were forced to retreat, with four officers of the Lebanese army executed by Lebanese Forces squads. The push was then halted when commander François al-Hajj deployed MILAN anti-tank missiles against advancing LF tanks. Later military positions belonging to the Lebanese Forces in Dbayeh, Ain El Remmaneh, Jounieh, and Beirut were attacked by the Lebanese Army loyal to Aoun. In the war that ensued, the Lebanese Army claimed multiple key positions of the Lebanese Forces, including Ain el Remmaneh, Dbayeh, and parts of a key mountain redoubt in Qlaiat allowing Aoun to control 40% of the Christian parts of Beirut, together with surrounding areas, about 900 km², but lost many military barracks, territories, key ports, and towns including but not limited to the Halat airport, Armored division and barracks in Sarba, Jounieh (Sea port and city), Amshit, Dora and Dekwaneh, and most of the northern Christian areas of Lebanon.

October 1990: Following an air and ground campaign authorized by the United States which in return received Syrian support in the Gulf War, Syrian troops and air forces are able to occupy all areas controlled by the Lebanese Army.

August 1991: Under siege and militaristic pressure by the Syrian army and the Lebanese Forces, Aoun now holed up in the presidential palace of Baabda, was requested to go to the French Embassy to declare a surrender. There, he surrendered to the Syrians via a radio address, however bad communications due to heavy bombardment prevented some divisions from receiving an official order to surrender, and kept on fighting, with a particularly bloody battle happening in the town of Dahr al-Wahsh where 200 Lebanese troops managed to inflict 500 casualties on the Syrian army (the troops and many local civilians were subsequently massacred after surrendering). Aoun left for France after the Lebanese government had granted him conditional amnesty, and the French president, asylum.

January 1999: Prime Minister Rafik Hariri said that Aoun could return to Lebanon with the guarantee that he will not be arrested. He was uncertain of how Syria would act, and stayed abroad.

7 May 2005: Aoun returned to Lebanon . In late May, he participated in the parliamentary elections. He is elected to the National Assembly, and his party, the Free Patriotic Movement, won 21 seats.

2008: Participated for the first time in the Lebanese government with 5 ministers.

7 May 2009: The Free Patriotic Movement won 19 seats, 5 more seats than the last elections In November, he took part in the new Government with 5 ministers.

August 2010: General Fayez Karam was arrested by Lebanese security forces for treason and collaboration with Israel. The arrested General was appointed by Aoun as Head of Anti-Terrorism Unit in 1988. Having served in the army under Aoun, accompanying him in his 15 years of exile in Paris, and returning with him in 2005, Fayez Karam was one of Aoun's close companions. After his return in 2005, General Aoun unsuccessfully nominated Fayez Karam to the post of Head of Internal Security Forces, and twice as a Member of the Parliament of Lebanon. Aoun commented at first that he would not defend Karam and hoped that the maximum punishment be imposed on him, after he and his family had received letters of confession from Fayez Karam that he was collaborating with Israel.

In 2011: The 14-month-old government collapsed after FPM ministers declared their resignation, followed by the rest of the opposition. According to Aoun, the priorities of the new government would be to break all ties with the tribunal, and to stamp out the 20-year long corruption plaguing the country. The new Government was 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 5 non-FPM ministers of this bloc seemed 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.

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