The Lebanese Phalanges Party, better known in English as the Phalange, is a Christian Democratic political party in Lebanon. Despite being secular, it is supported by Maronite Catholics; the party played a major role in the Lebanese Civil War. In decline in the late 1980s and 1990s, the party re-emerged in the early 2000s, it is now part of the March 14 Alliance. The Lebanese Phalanges Party is known as Phalanges Libanaises in French and either Kataeb or Phalangist Party in Arabic. Kataeb is the plural of Katiba, a translation into Arabic of the Greek word phalanx, the origin of the Spanish term Falange; the Kataeb party was formed in 1936 as a Maronite paramilitary youth organization by Pierre Gemayel who modeled the party after Spanish Falange and Italian Fascist parties he had observed as an Olympic athlete during the 1936 Summer Olympics held in Berlin Nazi Germany. The movement's uniforms included brown shirts and members used the Roman salute. In an interview by Robert Fisk, Gemayel stated about the Berlin Olympics: I was the captain of the Lebanese football team and the president of the Lebanese Football federation.
We went to the Olympic Games of 1936 in Berlin. And I saw this discipline and order, and I said to myself: "Why can't we do the same thing in Lebanon?" So when we came back to Lebanon, we created this youth movement. When I was in Berlin Nazism did not have the reputation which it has now. Nazism? In every system in the world, you can find something good, but Nazism was not Nazism at all. The word came afterwards. In their system, I saw discipline, and we in the Middle East, we need discipline more than anything else. He founded the party along with four other young Lebanese: Charles Helou, Chafic Nassif, Emile Yared and Georges Naccache. Pierre was chosen to lead the organization, in part because he was not a political figure at that time. During the first years of the Kataeb Party, the Party was opposed to having anyone dominate Lebanon, they opposed the pan-Arabists who tried to take over Lebanon and the French, whom they saw as trying to infiltrate their culture and impose themselves within Lebanon.
Pierre and the Kataeb Party have always believed in an independent and sovereign Lebanon free of all foreign influence. It took part in the struggle against the French Mandate, until Lebanese independence was proclaimed in November 1943, its motto was "God and Family." The influence of the Phalangists was limited in the early years of Lebanon's independence, but came to prominence as a strong ally of the government in the 1958 crisis. In the aftermath of the crisis, Pierre Gemayel was appointed to the cabinet, two years was elected to the National Assembly. In 1968, the party joined the Helf Alliance formed with the two other big Christian parties in Lebanon: the National Liberal Party of former President Camille Chamoun, National Bloc of Raymond Eddé, won 9 seats in the parliamentary elections held that year, making it one of the largest groupings in Lebanon's notoriously fractured political system. By the end of the decade, the party created its own militia, the Kataeb Regulatory Forces and soon clashes began with the rising Palestinian militant guerrillas.
By the 1970s, the party had become a political giant in Lebanon, with an estimated membership of 60,000 to 70,000. The vast majority of members were Maronites, but some were members of minority Christian communities, Shiites and Jews; the primacy of preserving the Lebanese nation, but with a "Phoenician" identity, distinct from its Arab, Muslim neighbors. Party policies have been uniformly anticommunist and anti-Palestinian and have allowed no place for pan-Arab ideals. A nationalistic ideology that considers the Lebanese people Maronites, to be a unique nation independent from the Arab nation, it considers Lebanese as a Phoenician people. Independent and pluralistic Lebanon that safeguards basic human rights and fundamental freedoms for all its constituents. Lebanon a liberal outlet where Eastern Christianity Eastern Catholicism, can politically, economically flourish at peace with its surroundings. Developing the political system along decentralized lines in order to genuinely guarantee basic rights and freedoms to all constituencies and thereafter constructively manage Lebanon's cultural pluralism.
Ending the military presence of several Lebanese and non-Lebanese groups such as Hezbollah, Palestinian armed militias and other Islamists, call for their immediate decommissioning. As a founding member of the United Nations, commit to all relevant UN Security Council Resolutions 1559, 1680, 1701 and 1757. In line with the Lebanese constitution and the broad Lebanese consensus on the issue, reject any form of permanent settlement of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon at the expense of their right of return. Safeguarding the Lebanese Christian community in Lebanon as a free and secure entity enjoying complete mastery over its destiny and future; the Kataeb is in stark disagreement with Hezbollah over many of its domestic and regional policies. The Party believes that Hezbollah is trying to impose its culture and will on the Lebanese society by means of its illegitimate arms, thus undermining Lebanon's sovereignty and pluralistic nature, and by being ideologically and strategically beholden to Iran and Syria, Hezbollah is unilaterally subverting the wishes of a considerable number of Lebanese who wish t
Excellency is an honorific style given to certain high-level officers of a sovereign state, officials of an international organization, or members of an aristocracy. Once entitled to the title "Excellency", the holder retains the right to that courtesy throughout their lifetime, although in some cases the title is attached to a particular office, is held only for the duration of that office. People addressed as Excellency are heads of state, heads of government, ambassadors, certain ecclesiastics and others holding equivalent rank, it is sometimes misinterpreted as a title of office in itself, but in fact is an honorific that precedes various titles, both in speech and in writing. In reference to such an official, it takes the form Her Excellency; the abbreviation HE is used instead of His/Her Excellency. In most republican nation states, the head of state is formally addressed as Her Excellency. If a republic has a separate head of government, that official is always addressed as Excellency as well.
If the nation is a monarchy, the customs may vary. For example, in the case of Australia, all ambassadors, high commissioners, state governors and the governor-general and their spouses are entitled to the use of Excellency. Governors of colonies in the British Empire were entitled to be addressed as Excellency and this remains the position for the governors of what are now known as British Overseas Territories. In various international organizations, notably the UN and its agencies, Excellency is used as a generic form of address for all republican heads of state and heads of government, it is granted to the organization's head as well, to those chiefs of UN diplomatic missions, such as Resident Coordinators, who are accredited at the Head of State level, or at the lower Head of Government level. In recent years, some international organizations, such as the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, or the European Union, have designated their Permanent Representatives in third countries as Ambassadors, although they do not represent sovereign entities.
This is now accepted, because these Ambassadors rank after the UN representative in the orders of precedence of representatives of international organizations, the UN coming first as pre-eminent, the UN Resident Coordinators are now commonly but informally referred to in diplomatic circles as ambassadors, although the UN itself does not refer to them in this way. Judges of the International Court of Justice are called Your Excellency. In some monarchies the husbands, wives, or children, of a royal prince or princess, who do not possess a princely title themselves, may be entitled to the style. For example, in Spain spouses or children of a born infante or infanta are addressed as Excellency, if not accorded a higher style. Former members of a royal house or family, who did have a royal title but forfeited it, may be awarded the style afterwards. Examples are former husbands or wives of a royal prince or princess, including Alexandra, Countess of Frederiksborg, following her divorce from Prince Joachim of Denmark.
Count Carl Johan Bernadotte of Wisborg, who lost his succession rights to the Swedish throne and discontinued use of his royal titles in 1946 when he married the commoner Elin Kerstin Margaretha Wijkmark, was accorded the style. In some emirates, only the Emir, heir apparent and prime minister are called His Highness, their children are styled with the lower treatment of His/Her Excellency. In Spain members of the high nobility, holding the dignity of grandee, are addressed as The Most Excellent Lord/Lady. In Denmark, some counts those related by blood or marriage to the monarch, who have entered a morganatic marriage or otherwise left the Royal Family have the right to be styled as Your Excellency, e.g. the Counts of Danneskiold-Samsøe, some of the counts of Rosenborg and the Countess of Frederiksborg. Excellency can attach to a prestigious quality, notably in an order of knighthood. For example, in the Empire of Brazil, it was attached to the highest classes, each time called Grand Cross, of all three imperial orders: Imperial Order of Pedro I, Imperial Order of the Southern Cross and Order of the Rose.
In modern days, Knights Collar and Knights Grand Cross of the Spanish Orders of Chivalry, like the Order of Charles III, Order of Isabella the Catholic, Order of Civil Merit, Order of Alfonso X the Wise, Royal Order of Sports Merit, Civil Order of Health, as well as recipients of the Grand Cross of Military and Aeronautical Merit are addressed as such. Furthermore, Knights Grand Cross of the Order of Saint Gregory the Great and the Order of St. Sylvester of the Holy See, Knights of the Order of the Golden Fleece, Knights Grand Cross of several other orders of high prestige, are addressed as Excellency. By a decree of the Sacred Congregation of Ceremonial of 31 December 1930 the Holy See granted bishops of the Roman Catholic Church the title of Most Reverend Excellency. In the years following the First World War, the ambassadorial title of Excellency given to nuncios, had begun to be used by other Catholic bishops; the adjective Most Reverend was intended to distinguish the religious title from that of Excellency given to civil officials.
Gebran Gerge Bassil is a Lebanese politician, as of 20 September 2015, the leader of the Free Patriotic Movement. Bassil was an activist for the Free Patriotic Movement from 1998 to 2005. In 2009, he served as the Minister of Telecommunications as the Minister of Water and Energy in 2011 and is the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Emigrants. In September 2015, he became the leader of the Free Patriotic Movement taking over the position, occupied by his father-in-law, founder of the FPM and Lebanese President, Michel Aoun. Bassil was born in a Maronite Christian family. Bassil received a bachelor's degree and a master's degree in civil engineering from the American University of Beirut in 1992 and 1993 respectively, he was a member of a number of associations: the Lebanese Red Cross and Rotary Club of Batroun, Lebanon. Between the years of 1998 and 2005, Gebran Bassil was an activist for various positions in the Free Patriotic Movement in Lebanon. In 2005, he became a candidate in the general elections in the district of Batroun.
He didn't succeed at getting elected. From 2005 to 2008, Bassil became the head of the Free Patriotic Movement, he served as the Minister of telecommunications in the Lebanese cabinet led by Fouad Siniora from May 2008 to June 2009, as the minister of energy in the cabinet headed by Saad Hariri Bassil lost the general elections held in 2009. He has been serving as the Minister of Energy and Water in the cabinet headed by Najib Mikati since June 2011, assumed the role of Minister of Foreign Affairs and Emigrants as of February 2014. In the general election of 2018, Bassil was elected as a Member of Parliament for the Batroun-Koura-Zgharta-Bsharri electoral district. On 12 January 2011, the government collapsed after Bassil announced that all ten opposition ministers had resigned following months of warnings by Hezbollah that it would not remain inactive should there be indictments against the group; the New York Times suggested the resignations came after the collapse of talks between Syria and Saudi Arabia to ease tensions in Lebanon.
Lebanon's president Aoun and some Lebanese officials including Bassil believed that the abrupt resignation of Prime Minister Saad Hariri was made under coercion by Saudis and have claimed that the Saudis have kept him hostage. This led Bassil to visit multiple European countries and meet with senior EU leaders to rally diplomatic support for Lebanon and its stability. During his European tour, he met with High Representative/Vice-President of the European Union Federica Mogherini in Brussels, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Minister of Foreign Affairs Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, German FM Sigmar Gabriel, Russian FM Sergei Lavrov and French President Emmanuel Macron. Bassil and his wife Chantal Michel Aoun have three children, his father in law is the current Lebanese president and the former leader and the founder of the Free Patriotic Movement, Michel Aoun. In a meeting with FPM supporters in Batroun district, Bassil accused Speaker of the Parliament Nabih Berri of seeking to derail a diaspora conference organized by the Foreign Ministry in Abidjan by forcing Shiite businessmen to boycott the gathering.
Bassil accused Berri of threatening to have Shiite businessmen participating in the conference fired from their jobs and the bank funding the diaspora gathering closed. Bassil's comments were revealed in a leaked video, broadcast by Al Jadeed local TV station; the video sparked an outcry on social media with Finance Minister Ali Hassan Khalil, Berri's top political aide, blasting Bassil for crossing a red line and describing him as a "political dwarf" with sectarian motives. The leaked video triggered a wave of street protests by the Berri's supporters, who responded by blocking a number of Beirut’s major roads and vital arteries with burning tires. Bassil’s “thug” remark was the tip of the iceberg of long-simmering tension between the FPM and the Amal Movement that started with a decree that sought to promote a number of Army officers who has served under Aoun in the late 1980s when he was Army commander. Bassil was criticized by many Lebanese politicians after an interview in December 2017 with Al-Mayadeen in which he stated that Lebanon does not have an ideological problem with Israel.
He said in that interview that he was not against Israel "living in security". In March 2018 Bassil proposed amending Lebanese naturalization laws to allow citizenship to be passed from mothers onto their children; the bill drew criticism for not applying to women in marriages with men from neighbouring countries which activists argue is a violation of their rights. List of foreign ministers in 2017 List of current foreign ministers Free Patriotic Movement Michel Aoun
2018 Lebanese general election
General elections were held in Lebanon on 6 May 2018. Although scheduled for 2013, the election was postponed three times in 2013, 2014 and 2017 under various pretexts, including the security situation, the failure of the Parliament to elect a new President, the technical requirements of holding an election. A new electoral law adopted in 2017 provides a proportional representation system for the first time in the history of the country. Hezbollah and its allies performed well in the elections, while the Future Movement of Prime Minister Saad Hariri saw its bloc shrink by 40%, from 33 to 20 MPs; the parliamentary bloc of the Lebanese Forces doubled from eight MPs to 15 MPs, but it was the Free Patriotic Movement who emerged as the largest bloc with 29 MPs, including 18 party members, six pro-FPM independents, five allies. FPM leader Gebran Bassil stated that FPM has won the elections in Lebanon by getting the largest bloc. Following the last parliamentary election of 2009, it took several months to form a new government.
Saad Hariri became prime minister in a March 14 Alliance government formed in November 2009. About a year Walid Jumblatt's PSP broke away from the March 14 alliance and withdrew its ministers. Jumblatt traveled to Syria for the first time in decades and met President Bashar al-Assad. After the government fell over the issue of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, a new government was formed by Najib Mikati that consisted of March 8 Alliance parties, as well as the PSP. Over the course of the Syrian Civil War, fissures started to grow in Lebanon as March 14 parties supported the opposition in Syria while March 8 parties were ostensibly supportive of the Syrian government in the early stages; the March 8 parties therefore faced accusation from the opposition and its affiliated media of kowtowing to the Syrian government. As the conflict started to spill over into Lebanon, both via refugees and Lebanon's own diverse demographics that are broadly reflective of Syria's own diversity, tensions started to grow.
A spate of sectarian kidnappings and threats followed. On 22 March 2013, Mikati resigned citing a negative climate over the appointment of a committee to oversee the election and the extension of Internal Security Forces head Ashraf Rifi, expected to retire in April. On 5 April, a new March 14-backed consensus candidate for prime minister was announced, Tammam Salam. A new President should have been elected by Parliament. However, there was a deadlock which resulted in fourteen fruitless attempts to choose a head of state. Therefore, Parliament decided on November 2014 to extend its term by 2 years and 7 months; the deadlock was perceived to arise from failure to reach quorum due to the voluntary absence of members from the ex- March 8 alliance. In June 2017 a new electoral law was passed, replacing the previous system under which the 128 members of parliament were elected from 26 multi-member constituencies in which voters cast as many votes as there were seats in their constituency and the candidates with the highest number of votes within each religious community were elected with a new electoral law instituting proportional representation in 15 multi-member constituencies while still maintaining the confessional distribution.
However, the 7 out of the 15 of the electoral districts are divided into 2 or more'minor districts'. Where applicable, preference vote is counted on the'minor district' level. Individuals could submit their candidacy for parliament until midnight of March 6, 2018. 976 candidates were registered, including 111 women. Candidates were obliged to join lists, which had to be finalized by March 26, 2018; the Shia electorate constituted the majority of registered voters in Bekaa III, South II and South III, together accounting for 79% of the total Shia electorate. The Sunni electorate constituted the majority of registered voters in three electoral districts. 97% of the Druze voters were registered in districts from which Druze parliamentarians were elected.96% of Alawite voters were registered in either the North I or North II electoral districts, which elected one Alawite parliamentarian each. Maronite Christians constituted the majority of voters in Mount Lebanon I and North III. North III hosted the largest concentration of Greek Orthodox Christian voters, representing around a fifth of all Greek Orthodox voters throughout the country.
According to 2017 data, the Greek Orthodox constituted 58% of the voters in the Koura minor district of North III. Bekaa I hosted the largest concentration of Greek Catholic voters, about a fifth of the nationwide Greek Catholic vote. Beirut I hosted the largest concentrations of Armenians, both Armenian Orthodox and Armenian Catholic voters, who elected 4 out of the 6 Armenian parliamentarians; the Minorities seat was now in Beirut I. Jewish voters were found in Beirut II, where they constituted 1.31% of the electorate. However, in the 2009 election only five Jews cast their votes in the Beirut III electoral district. Below is a summary of the demographics of the Lebanese electorate with data from 2017, divided by the qada administrative districts (or
Free Patriotic Movement
The Free Patriotic Movement known as the Aounist party, is a Lebanese political party, led by Gebran Bassil. It is the largest party in the Lebanese parliament, its parliamentary coalition, the Strong Lebanon Bloc has 29 out of the 128 seats in parliament. The FPM party promotes the rights of Lebanese expatriates and a high minimum wage; the party's support base is overwhelmingly from Lebanon's Christian community, but includes a small number of Shia Muslims. The Free Patrioitic movement follows a civic nationalist ideology. For many years, while Aoun was exiled in Paris, he led the FPM from abroad, he returned to Lebanon on 7 May 2005 after the Cedar Revolution forced the withdrawal of the Syrian forces, contested the legislative elections held in late May in early June although it placed him on the head of the largest Christian group of deputies. Therefore, the Free Patriotic Movement was established in 2005. Aoun contested the Cedar Revolution which itself gave him the opportunity to come back to Lebanon.
At the time of the 2005 elections, the FPM came up with a detailed political program which contained economic and political reform plans and gained the support of many Lebanese Christians. The FPM won 21 seats in the parliament, formed the second biggest bloc in the Lebanese Parliament. Being the leading Christian bloc after the election, it joined the March 8 Alliance. In 2006, 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 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. On 1 December 2006, Free Patriotic Movement leader 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.
Hundred of thousands of supporters of this party, Amal Movement, Hezbollah, according to the Internal Security Forces, gathered at Downtown Beirut trying to force Fouad Siniora to abdicate. On 11 July 2008, FPM members, Issam Abu Jamra as deputy-prime minister, Gebran Bassil as minister of telecommunications, Mario Aoun as minister of social affairs were appointed to the cabinet, it was the Movement's first participation in the Lebanese Government. Despite the strong media and political war against the Free Patriotic Movement, the results of the 2009 Elections granted the FPM 27 parliamentary seats; the FPM's bloc is the second largest in the Lebanese parliament. The FPM gained 7 more seats than in the 2005 elections, earning at least triple the number of deputies of any other Christian-based bloc in the parliament due to geographical distribution; the total seats won were 57 out of 128, which led to a defeat for the FPM. In November 2009, the Free Patriotic Movement nominated five ministers to join the first government headed by Saad Hariri.
The five ministers included: Gebran Bassil as Minister of Energy and Water Charbel Nahas as Minister of Telecommunications Youssef Saade as Minister of State Abraham Dadayan as Minister of Industry Fadi Abboud as Minister of Tourism The Free Patriotic Movement launched its own broadcasting channel on 20 July 2007, their own radio station called Sawt Al Mada on 1 June 2009. In June 2011, the Change and Reform bloc led by Aoun nominated eleven ministers to join the second government headed by Najib Mikati, gaining more than double the share they had in the former government The eleven ministers are: Ministers with Portfolios: Shakib Qortbawi as Minister of Justice Fayez Ghosn as Minister of Defense Gebran Bassil as Minister of Energy Nicolas Sehnaoui as Minister of Telecommunications Vrej Sabounjian as Minister of Industry Fadi Aboud as Minister of Tourism Charbel Nahas as Minister of Labour Gaby Layoun as Minister of Culture Marwan Charbel as Minister of Interior and Municipalities Ministers without Portfolios: Salim Karam Panos Manjian In February 2014, the Change and Reform bloc led by Michel Aoun nominated four ministers to join the national unity government headed by Prime Minister Tammam Salam.
The Free Patriotic Movement had two ministers: Gebran Bassil as Minister of Foreign and Expatriates Elias Bou Saab as Minister of Education Arthur Nazarian as Minister of Energy Ronnie Arayji as Minister of Culture On 17 August 2015, Minister Gebran Bassil was chosen by General Michel Aoun as the new leader for the Free Patriotic Movement. No elections were done because it could have led to fracturing the party, so Alain Aoun stepped down from candidacy in order for Bassil to be assigned as the new leader. On February 28, the party elected his political bureau members: Mireille Aoun, Naji Hayek, Jimmy Jabbour, Rindala Jabbour, Naaman Mrad, Ziad Najjar. Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea and Free Patriotic Movement Founder MP Michel Aoun turned a historic page in intra-Christian relations when the former March 14 presidential nominee endorsed on Monday Aoun's candidacy for the presidency. "I announce after long consideration and deliberations between members of the executive body of the Lebanese Forces, our endorsement of the candidacy of General Michel Aoun for th
Bechara El Khoury
Bechara El Khoury was the first post-independence President of Lebanon, holding office from 21 September 1943 to 18 September 1952, apart from an 11-day interruption in 1943. He had served two brief terms as Prime Minister, from 5 May 1927 to 10 August 1928 and from 9 May to 11 October 1929. Khoury was born in Rechmaya, to Lebanese Maronite Christian parents in a town in the Aley district, Mount Lebanon governorate on 10 August 1890, he studied law. Khoury founded the Constitutional Bloc and served as a Cabinet minister prior to his election as President on 21 September 1943, he was a strong nationalist who opposed the French Mandate, on 11 November 1943, he was arrested by Free French troops and imprisoned in the Rashaya Tower for eleven days, along with Riad Al Solh, Pierre Gemayel, Camille Chamoun, numerous other personalities who were to dominate politics in the generation following independence. Massive demonstrations forced the Free French forces to release the prisoners, including Khoury, on 22 November 1943, a date now celebrated as Lebanon's national independence day.
Khoury is remembered for his part in drawing up the National Pact, an agreement between Lebanon's Christian and Muslim leaders which forms the basis of the country's constitutional structure today, although it was not codified in the Constitution until the Taif Agreement of 1989. In the Pact, Christians accepted Lebanon's affiliation with the Arab League and agreed not to seek French protection, which Muslims agreed to accept the Lebanese state in its present boundaries and promised not to seek unification with neighbouring Syria; the Pact distributed seats in the National Assembly in a ratio of six Christians to five Muslims, based on the 1932 census. Most the three main constitutional offices were assigned to a Maronite Christian, Sunni Muslim, Shi'a Muslim, Lebanon's three largest confessions, respectively. Khoury's years in office were marked by great economic growth, but the 1948 Arab-Israeli War strained the Lebanese economy with its financial cost and with the influx of some 100,000 Palestinian refugees.
These factors, along with suspicions of corruption in Khoury's administration, provoked massive demonstrations which forced him to resign on 18 September 1952. He was succeeded by Camille Chamoun, although technically Fuad Chehab succeeded him temporarily as acting president. List of Presidents of Lebanon
Lebanese Armed Forces
The Lebanese Armed Forces or Forces Armées Libanaises in French known as the Lebanese Army, is the military of the Lebanese Republic. It consists of three branches, the army, the air force, the navy; the motto of the Lebanese Armed Forces is "Honor, Loyalty". The Lebanese Armed Forces symbol consists of a Lebanon cedar tree surrounded by two laurel leaves, positioned above the symbols of the three branches: the ground forces represented by the two bayonets, the navy represented by an anchor, the air force represented by two wings; the Lebanese Armed Forces' primary missions include defending Lebanon and its citizens against external aggression, maintaining internal stability and security, confronting threats against the country's vital interests, engaging in social development activities and undertaking relief operations in coordination with public and humanitarian institutions. The armed forces consist of 72,000 active personnel with the ground force consisting of 65,000 troops, the air force 2,000 personnel and 5,000 in the naval force.
The remaining personnel are commanders, advisors and members of the special forces. All three branches are coordinated by the LAF Commander; the current commander in chief of the Lebanese Armed Forces is General Joseph Aoun. The LAF is ranked sixth in the world in terms of growth, with the number of military personnel doubling over the period between 1985 and 2000; the country has six military schools. Lebanese officers are sent to other countries such as the US, Russia or other parts of Europe to receive additional training; the equipment of the LAF is outdated due to lack of funds, political bickering and until the 2000s, the presence of foreign forces. The Lebanese government is working with its partners to improve the armed forces' capabilities. After the conclusion of the Lebanese Civil War, the LAF decided to repair as much of its equipment as it could, while being aided by modest donations from other nations; the United States remains a key partner for Lebanon in this improvement process.
About 85% of the LAF's equipment is American-made, with the remaining being British and Soviet-made. Being the crossroads of the ancient world and the modern world, Lebanon have been inhabited and defended by various different empires and nations be it natives or invaders. Notably, the Phoenicians who were the natives of Lebanon, constituted the first notion of defenders of Lebanon, as recorded by various historical sources, the Phoenicians brutally rebelled and fought different empires such as the Egyptians and Assyrians and Greeks... After, Lebanon became a part of the Roman empire for 5 centuries, the veterans of two Roman legions under Augustus were established in the city of Beirut. However, The Lebanese Army finds its original local roots in the armed forces that were first formed under Prince Fakher el-Din II the Great in the early 17th-century during the Principality of Lebanon; the first major victory came on October 31, 1622 against the Ottoman Empire Army under the lead of the Pasha of Damascus in the Battle of Majdel Anjar.
Outnumbered, Fakher el-Din was victorious and was able to capture the Pasha of Damascus himself and take over Syria and parts of Transjordan. During the period of the semi-autonomous province period of Mount Lebanon between 1861 and 1914, no Turkish troops were allowed to station within its boundary. Lebanon established its own army made up of volunteer militias; the beginnings of the modern Lebanese Army arose during 1916, when the French government established the "Legion of the Orient", which included Lebanese soldiers. After a post World War I League of Nations mandate was established over Lebanon in April 1920, France formed the Army of the Levant, reorganized into the "Troupes Spéciales du Levant"; these troops were composed of Lebanese and Syrian enlisted personnel, but were commanded predominantly by French officers. In 1926, the Lebanese First Sharp Shooters Unit was created out of the Special Troops of the Levant. During World War II, Lebanese troops fought in Lebanon with the Vichy French forces against Free French and British forces.
After the Vichy forces in the Middle East surrendered in July 1941, volunteers from the Troupes Spéciales du Levant enlisted in the Free French forces and participated in combat in Italy, North Africa, southern France. In 1943, prior to the declaration of Lebanese independence, all the military units were combined in one brigade, the Fifth Brigade, under the command of General Fouad Chehab. On the day Lebanon declared independence, the Lebanese Third Sharp Shooters Regiment was placed at the disposal of the Lebanese government in order to maintain security. In June of the same year, the French reconstituted units of the Troupes Spéciales du Levant, which were attached to the British forces in the Middle East; the majori