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Elie Hobeika


Elie Hobeika (22 September 1956 – 24 January 2002) (Arabic: إيلي حبيقة) was a Phalangist and Lebanese Forces militia commander during the Lebanese Civil War, and former Lebanese MP. Hobeika gained notoriety when, as the leader of the Phalangist forces, he oversaw a massacre in the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps on the outskirts of Beirutmarker.

Personal life

Hobeika was born in Kleiat, Lebanon. According to the Guardian, he was said to have been deeply influenced by the massacre of much of his family and of his fiancée by Palestinian militiamen at Damourmarker in 1976. In 1978 after leaving school he joined the Banco do Brasil. At that time was already involved with the Phalanges movement. He went to Damascusmarker to continue his studies. He married Gina Raymond Nachaty in 1981. They had a son, Joseph.

The Tripartite Agreement

The Tripartite Agreement was an agreement intended to end the Lebanese conflict. In December 1985, the various Christian militias, the Shiite Amal Movement and the Druze Progressive Socialist Party met in Damascusmarker reaching agreement on political reforms as well as special relations with Syriamarker.A few months later however, President Amine Gemayel and Samir Geagea organised a coup against Hobeika thus rendering the agreement null and void.

Lebanese Civil War

Over the next few years as support for the Lebanese Forces declined, and in 1984, Samir Geagea, Karim Pakradouni, and Elie Hobeika forced the resignation of the then commander of the Lebanese Forces, Fuad Abu Nader. Fouad Abu Nader was considered too close to Amine Gemayel (Gemayel's nephew). Amine, unlike his brother Bachir was disliked by all the LF leaders. Elie Hobeika was named head of the LF after Abou Nader's removal.

Hobeika was besieged in his Qarantina headquarters by Geagea's men (Elias el Murr was trapped with Hobeika in the same building) and was evacuated by Michel Aoun after strong American pressures. He and his supporters fled to Paris. They returned to Lebanon as a pro-Laic LF faction and were stationed in Zahlemarker. In 1990 Hobeika supported the parliamentary faction against Syria in the war initiated by Michel Aoun.

After the civil war ended in 1990 Hobeika became Minister for the Displaced. In October 1992 he was appointed Minister for Social Affairs and the Handicapped. He was reassigned to the Ministry of Electricity and Water in 1996, a period which saw massive power projects in Baddawi and Zahrani, Zouk and Baalbeckmarker, and massive electrical grid installation and distribution throughout Lebanon, including the outlying areas still in turmoil with Israeli Forces in the south, hence the progress was too slow compared to the massive increase in the Megawatts needed, since little electricity projects were accomplished over 18 years of civil unrest, mainly because of the Israeli Operation Grapes of Wrath. In 1998, General Emile Lahoud became president of Lebanon and appointed Selim Hoss Prime Minister. In 2000 Hobeika lost his parliament seat, due to Syrian active interference in the Polls against Hobeika.

In 1983, an Israel state inquiry named Hobeika as the man who personally directed the massacre at Sabra and Shatila. In June 2001, Chibli Mallat, a left-wing Maronite lawyer, filed a case against Ariel Sharon in Belgium under a law that allowed foreigners to be sued for crimes against humanity. Just before his death, Elie Hobeika publicly declared his intention to testify against Ariel Sharon about his involvement in the Sabra and Shatila massacre in a Belgian court's trial for crimes against humanity. Josy Dubié, a Belgian senator, was quoted as saying that Hobeika had told him several days before his death that he had "revelations" to disclose about the massacres and felt "threatened". When Dubie had asked him why he did not reveal all the facts he knew immediately, Hobeika is reported to have said: "I am saving them for the trial". At a news conference, he said, "I am very interested that the [Belgium] trial starts because my innocence is a core issue."

Assassination

Elie Hobeika was killed on 24 January 2002 at the age of 45 in a huge car bomb attack at his house in the Beirut suburb of Hazmiyehmarker.

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References




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