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Geagea, Samir (Al-Hakim, "The Doctor," in Arabic)

GEAGEA, SAMIR (al-Hakim, "the Doctor," in Arabic)

Lebanese political figure, Christian Maronite, born in October 1952 at Bsharri in Lebanon into a family of farmers. In 1969, Samir Geagea enrolled in the Youth of the Kataʾib Party of Pierre Jumayyil. From 1972 to 1976, he undertook studies in medicine, interrupted by the civil war that began in Lebanon. Between 1977 and 1982, as the head of an armed militia of Kataʾib, Geagea took part in numerous battles against the Palestinian fidaʾiyyun and Syrian troops, as well as in actions meant to reestablish the authority of the Lebanese Forces (LF)—an integration of various Lebanese Christian militias with a joint command council that was formed to achieve political independence from the traditional Maronite Catholic (Christian) leaders—in areas where it was challenged by others in the Christian camp.

On 12 March 1985, Geagea was dismissed from his post in the Kataʾib organization for insubordination. With the backing of Elie Hobeika, Geagea became head of the military leadership of the LF, whose chief was the president of the Lebanese state, Amin Jumayyil. A year later, on 15 January 1986, having supplanted Elie Hobeika, Geagea took over the military command of the LF as chairman of its executive committee, thereby becoming one of the principal Christian leaders. At the beginning of October 1988, he obliged Jumayyil to leave Lebanon for France. In March 1989, Geagea backed General Michel Aoun, who had launched a "war of liberation against the Syrian invader." Aoun then rebelled against Geagea. In November 1990, Geagea was named a minister of state, without portfolio, in the government of Omar Karame, but he resigned a few days later. In February 1982, he traveled to the United States, where he met with many influential figures in the Lebanese community. A few weeks later, having returned to Lebanon, Geagea attempted to remove Georges Saade from the presidency of the Kataʾib Party in order to take his place. On the following 1 July, Karim Pakradouni was elected secretary general of the party, putting an end to the hopes of Geagea. After being arrested in February 1994, Geagea was indicted for political assassinations on 21 April. In June 1999, he was sentenced to life imprisonment for the assassination of Lebanese Prime Minister Rashid Karame. This was his fourth life sentence, after those following the assassinations of Elias Zayek and Dany Chamoun, as well as the attempted assassination of the defense minister, Michel Murr.

SEE ALSO Aoun, Michel; Hobeika, Elie; Karame, Rashid; Kataʾib; Lebanese Forces.

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