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Fuad Chehab
Arabic: fū'ād shahāb

Fuad Chehab

Fuad Chehab.

Lebanese military leader, and president (1958-64).
Chehab is generally deeply respected for honesty and integrity. He took over after the Civil War of 1958, when the tensions that would result in the long civil war 17 years later were exposed. He, nevertheless, managed to bring stability and progress to Lebanon.
Chehab's presidency was a balancing act. He cooperated with different religious groups, and with both secular and religious forces. He was able to work closely with the government, still keeping direct control of the ministeries of defence and the interior.
He also started reforms to create a modern administration in Lebanon. Prior to this, the country had been dominated by feudal values and differences in religious and clan membership.

1902: Born into a Maronite Christian family.
1920's: Serves the French forces in Syria.
1945: Chehab becomes commander of the Lebanese army. He starts a modernizing process.
1952: Chehab refuses to use the army to quell the violent opposition directed at president Bishara Khouri. This results in the resignation of Khouri, and Camille Chamoun becomes president.
1958 May: Once again there is a rebellion directed at the president, this time Chamoun, and once again Chehab refuses to help him.
July 31: Chehab is elected president. He immediately asks Rashid Karami to form a new government.
1960: Chehab declares that he wants to resign, since he sees that Lebanon has returned to normal conditions after the war of 1958. But he had become very popular by then, and gives in to popular pressure to remain in office.
1961: Suppresses an attempted coup by the Syrian Social Nationalist Party.
1964 September: Even if important forces are willing to amend the constitution to let him continue in office, Chehab decides to resign from the presidency as his period comes to the end.
1973 April 25: Dies in Beirut.

By Tore Kjeilen