06 September 2008

* Brigadier-General Jean Kahwaji

Brief Professional Career:

  • 30 AUG 08   The Lebanese government has appointed Brigadier-General Jean Kahwaji to be chief of the Lebanese military, replacing Michel Sleiman, who in May became the country's president.

  • The decision on 29 AUG 08 was taken during a government session at the presidential palace.Tareq Mitri, the Lebanese information minister, speaking at the end of the cabinet meeting, said: "The Council of Ministers decided to appoint General Jean Kahwaji to the post of chief of the Lebanese army."

  • Kahwaji, married with three children and a Maronite Christian, has headed the army's 12th Infantry Brigade since 2002.

  • Kahwaji joined in the army in 1973, he was trained abroad especially in the USA and Italy, to that he also underwent a training to fight against terrorism in Germany in 2006, and Italy. 

    Differences between the US-backed parliamentary majority and an alliance of opposition groups led by Hezbollah, a Shia organisation, had delayed the appointment of a new army commander. General Shawki al-Masri, the army's chief of staff, has been acting as head of the army since Sleiman was elected president on May 25.

    Deatiled Official Profile
    General Information:
    - Date and place of birth: 23/9/1953 – Ayn Ebel – Qada of Bint Jbeil.
    - Place of Residence: Sarba – Qada of Kesrwan.
    - Foreign Languages: English – French – Italian.
    - Married with Mrs. Marlene Sfeir and father of three children.

    - Enrolled in the Army as a cadet officer and joined the Military Academy starting 1/10/1973.
    - Promoted to the rank of Lieutenant starting 1/7/1976.
    - He was gradually promoted to the rank of Brigadier General of staff starting 1/7/2002 and benefited from seniority due to his exceptional martial exploits.
    - He was promoted to the rank of General and was appointed as the Armed Forces Commander on 29/8/2008.

    - Transferred to the Military Police battalion starting 21/2/1977.
    - Appointed as senior officer of the Military Police company in the region of Mount Lebanon starting 7/12/1982.
    - Transferred to the forth Infantry brigade as senior officer of company 422 starting 28/9/1983.
    - Transferred to the Military Academy, as a trainer, starting 4/3/1984.
    - Transferred to the tenth Airborne brigade, as senior officer of company 103, starting 1/11/1987.
    - Appointed as commander of the Airborne regiment starting 12/10/1992.
    - Appointed as commander of the third Intervention regiment starting 22/1/1996.
    - Appointed as Chief of Staff of the eleventh Infantry brigade starting 31/7/1999.
    - Appointed as assistant commander of the seventh Infantry brigade starting 22/8/2001.
    - Appointed as commander of the second infantry brigade starting 29/7/2002.

    Educational and training courses:
    He followed many courses inside and outside the country, mainly:
    - Military course in the United States of America in 1980.
    - Military course in Sweden in 1995.
    - Military course in Italy in 1999.
    - A course in the field of diplomacy of defense in Great Britain in 2003.
    - Anti terrorism course in Germany in 2006.

    Medals, awards and honors:
    - Medal of the Wounded.
    - Lebanese War Medal (three times).
    - Lebanese Order of Merit in first, second and third class.
    - Order of the National Unity.
    - Medal of the South Dawn.
    - National Order of the Cedar in grade of a Knight and in grade of an Officer.
    - Military Medal of Competence.
    - Military Medal of Honor.
    - Commendation of the Armed Forces Commander (eight times).
    - Felicitations of the Armed Forces Commander (twenty six times).

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    Lebanon Time-Line

    Introducing Lebanon

    Coolly combining the ancient with the ultramodern, Lebanon is one of the most captivating countries in the Middle East. From the Phoenician findings of Tyre (Sour) and Roman Baalbek's tremendous temple to Beirut's BO18 and Bernard Khoury's modern movement, the span of Lebanon's history leaves many visitors spinning. Tripoli (Trablous) is considered to have the best souk in the country and is famous for its Mamluk architecture. It's well equipped with a taste of modernity as well; Jounieh, formerly a sleepy fishing village, is a town alive with nightclubs and glitz on summer weekends.

    With all of the Middle East's best bits - warm and welcoming people, mind-blowing history and considerable culture, Lebanon is also the antithesis of many people's imaginings of the Middle East: mostly mountainous with skiing to boot, it's also laid-back, liberal and fun. While Beirut is fast becoming the region's party place, Lebanon is working hard to recapture its crown as the 'Paris of the Orient'.

    The rejuvenation of the Beirut Central District is one of the largest, most ambitious urban redevelopment projects ever undertaken. Travellers will find the excitement surrounding this and other developments and designs palpable - and very infectious.

    Finally, Lebanon's cuisine is considered the richest of the region. From hummus to hommard (lobster), you'll dine like a king. With legendary sights, hospitality, food and nightlife, what more could a traveller want?

    Introducing Beirut

    What Beirut is depends entirely on where you are. If you’re gazing at the beautifully reconstructed colonial relics and mosques of central Beirut’s Downtown, the city is a triumph of rejuvenation over disaster.

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    Throw in maniacal drivers, air pollution from old, smoking Mercedes taxis, world-class universities, bars to rival Soho and coffee thicker than mud, political demonstrations, and swimming pools awash with more silicone than Miami. Add people so friendly you’ll swear it can’t be true, a political situation existing on a knife-edge, internationally renowned museums and gallery openings that continue in the face of explosions, assassinations and power cuts, and you’ll find that you’ve never experienced a capital city quite so alive and kicking – despite its frequent volatility.