General Michel Sleiman (Arabic: ميشال سليمان) (born 21 November 1948 in Amchit) is the current president of Lebanon. Before assuming office as president, he held the position of commander of the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF). He was appointed as commander on December 21, 1998, and was indirectly elected as the President of Lebanon by a majority of over 90% of the Lebanese Parliament on May 25, 2008. He graduated from the Military Academy as 2nd Lieutenant in 1970. General Sleiman holds a Bachelor of Arts in Politics and Administrative Sciences from the Lebanese University. He is married to Wafaa Sleiman and has three children.
Military Career During his military service, he progressed from an infantry platoon leader to a Battalion Commander, and then assumed the position of a trainer in the Military Academy and in the Noncommissioned Officers' School. From December 4, 1990 until August 24, 1991 he was appointed as the Chief of the Intelligence Branch of Mount Lebanon. On August 25, 1991 he was reassigned to the post of the Army Staff Secretary-General until June 10, 1993. He was Commander of the 11th Infantry Brigade from June 6, 1993 to January 15, 1996, a period that witnessed violent confrontations with the Israeli forces in the West Beqaa Valley and South Lebanon regions. On January 15, 1996 he was appointed as Commander of the 6th Infantry Brigade and remained in this position until December 21, 1998 when he was nominated as the Commander of the Armed Forces.
On May 19, 2007, the Lebanese Army entered into a prolonged conflict with Fatah al-Islam, a terrorist organisation that was based in the Nahr al-Bared Refugee Camp in northern Lebanon. The conflict lasted until September 2, 2007 and ended with the Lebanese Army taking complete control of the Camp and the complete defeat of Fatah al-Islam. 170 Lebanese soldiers, 226 members of Fatah al-Islam, and 64 civilians (mostly Palestinian refugees) were killed in the fighting. As a result of a number of factors, including balancing the interests of Lebanese citizens, concerns for the safety of Palestinian refugees, and respecting the delicate political balance that existed in Lebanon at the time, Michel Sleiman was forced to proceed in the conflict with extreme caution.
On May 7, 2008, a political crisis that had begun between government loyalists and the opposition spiraled quickly out of control when Hizbollah announced that the government's decision to shut down the group's telecommunications network was a "declaration of war". Fighting immediately broke out throughout the country, including in West Beirut, with members of Hizbollah, and its allies in the Amal Movement, and the Syrian Social Nationalist Party quickly bearing down on their enemies in the Future Movement and the Progressive Socialist Party. The fighting lasted until May 14, 2008, when the Lebanese government announced that it would revoke its two decisions. During the week of fighting, the Lebanese Army did not intervene other than to prevent any attacks against State institutions and against senior Lebanese politicians. As civilians noted that armed militias were roaming the streets of the capital unopposed, Michel Sleiman was the subject of criticism for being incapable of intervening to act in any way to reduce violence in the country.
The Path to the Presidency On November 23, 2007, the term of Emile Lahoud, the 14th President of Lebanon, came to an end. At the time, the Lebanese political spectrum was deeply polarised, with virtually all parties being divided either in the government loyalists (known as the March 14 camp), or the opposition (known as the March 8 camp). The two camps could not come to an agreement as to who should become the country's 15th President, and so, as a result of a provision in the country's Constitution, the powers of the Presidency transferred to the Government in the expectation that an agreement would be reached shortly afterwards.
Several names were advanced as potential candidates for the presidency, including Michel Aoun, Nassib Lahoud, Boutros Harb, amongst others. Shortly afterwards, it became apparent that the only candidate that would be acceptable to both sides would be an independent candidate. Michel Sleiman was generally accepted as being the only possible candidate. Most Lebanese commentators and policy makers agreed that Sleiman had successfully won the trust of both the government and opposition camp, and that of most countries in the Arab region, as well as most Western countries. However, his election could not take place until a number of fundamental disagreements between the March 14 and March 8, including whether a new government should be formed, and what specific electoral law should be passed in preparation for the parliamentary elections that were to take place in 2009. These difficulties were eventually resolved during the negotiations that took place in Doha, Qatar from May 17 to May 20, 2008. The negotiations were attended by senior representatives from all of Lebanon's major political parties, and the agreement that was entered into confirmed that Michel Sleiman would be the preferred candidate in the presidential elections, and that said elections would take place on May 25, 2008.
Decorations, medals, awards and honors National Order of the Cedar, knight grade and grand cordon grade
Lebanese Order of Merit, 3rd, 2nd and 1st grades
Decoration of Military Pride, silver grade
Medal of War
Decoration of Military Valor, silver grade
Decoration of the National Unity
Decoration of the Dawn of the South
Syrian Order of Merit, grade of excellence
Certificate of Honor of the Arab Union
Decoration of Arab Union for Military Sports, 2nd degree (commander)
Medal from the President of the Ukrainian Republic
Medal from the Defense Ministry of the Republic of Russian Federation in 2007 Military Medal Internal Security forces' Medal General Security Medal State security Medal Commemorative Medal of Conferences for the year 2002 Citations of the Armed Forces Commander, 4 times - Felicitations of the Armed Forces Commander, 18 times - Felicitations of the Brigade Commander, once
Military training courses A training course in Belgium from 7/1/1971 to 4/7/1971.
A training in Staff techniques in France from 9/2/1981 to 17/7/1981.
A Staff training at the Command and Staff College starting 6/6/1988 for 52 weeks.
An International Defense Management course in the United States of America from 22/6/1995 to 25/7/1995.
Achievements Fighting terrorist organization Takfir wa al Hijra in North Lebanon in 2000. Fighting the organization of Fatah al-Islam in the camp of Nahr al Bared for over three months. The structure of this terrorist organization inside and outside the camp was mostly destroyed, but their leader Shaker al-Abssi and a number of other terrorists probably managed to escape. During and after the fighting popular support for the role of the army among the Lebanese generally grew, but some people wondered if Sleiman allowed a number of terrorists to escape.  Discovering Israeli spying and terrorist networks, most lately the network discovered during the Operation Dawn Surprise, which was carried out on June 6th 2006. Protected anti-Syrian protests and pro-Syrian counter protests in 2005. Passively supporting Hezbollah against the Israeli Army until the Israeli Withdrawal from southern Lebanon in May 2000. Completing the Army redeployment operation all over the Lebanese territories following the withdrawal of the Syrian Armed Forces on April 26th, 2005 in addition to the disturbances and security violations during the year 2007. Restructuring the Lebanese Army after the amendment of the military service law. Dedicating the Army to protect democracy and not as to be the Army of the Authority repressing its political opponents, but rather an Army that preserves the security of the citizen and his rights. The Army clearly assumed its national role of maintaining the security of the protestors, public and private institutions and liberty of expression all through the year 2005 following the assassination of the Prime Minister Rafik Hariri and during the year 2006 till now. Offering a plan to end the Israel-Lebanon 2006 War. This included the planning and the preparation for the deployment of Lebanese Army in the south and on the land and sea crossover. At the conclusion of this operation on 2 October, the Lebanese flag was hoisted on the hill of Labbouni adjacent to the southern border indicating the return of the Lebanese sovereignty to the south. General Sleiman, after being a potential consensus candidate for the presidency in order to end the political crisis in the country, is appointed as the new president of the Republic of Lebanon on May 21, 2008, following the Doha Lebanese Dialogue agreement. He is to be elected on Sunday May 25, 2008 at 5:00PM. He was elected on Sunday May 25th 2008 by 118 ballots out of 127 deputees present in the election session. There was 6 blank ballots.