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Pr Dany Chamoun

Dany Chamoun (Arabic: داني شمعون)

(August 26, 1934 – October 21, 1990)

was a prominent Lebanese politician. A Maronite Christian and the younger son of former President Camille Chamoun, Dany Chamoun was also a politician in his own right, and was known for his opposition to the occupation of Lebanese territory by foreign forces, whether Syrian or Israeli.

Dany Chamoun was born at Deir el-Qamar. In 1975, he was made Secretary of Defense of the National Liberal Party, which was led by his father, and founded the Tigers Militia(Noumour el Ahrar in Arabic, because the middle name of his father was Nemr, which means tiger), which played a major role in the early years of the Lebanese Civil War before being eliminated as a military force in 1980 by a rival Christian militia, the Lebanese Forces, led by Bachir Gemayel. For a time, Chamoun and Gemayel became bitter rivals, and Chamoun moved his office to Muslim-dominated West Beirut. He temporarily quit politics.

Chamoun was a supporter of the nationalist Christian cause at heart, however, and he soon returned to the cause to which he, like his father, had dedicated his life. He served as General Secretary of the National Liberal Party from 1983 to 1985, when he replaced his father as the party leader. In 1988, he became President of the Lebanese Front - a coalition of nationalist and mainly Christian parties and politicians that his father had helped to found. The same year, he announced his candidacy for the Presidency of Lebanon to succeed Amine Gemayel (Bachir's brother), but Syria (which by this time occupied some 70 percent of Lebanese territory) vetoed his candidacy.

Gemayel's term expired on 23 September 1988, without the election of a successor. Chamoun declared his strong support for General Michel Aoun, who had been appointed by the outgoing President to lead an interim administration and went on to lead one of two rival governments that contended for power over the next two years. He strongly opposed the Taif Agreement, which not only gave a greater share of power to the Muslim community than they had enjoyed previously, but more seriously, in Chamoun's opinion, formalized what he saw as the master-servant relationship between Syria and Lebanon, and refused to recognize the new government of President Elias Hrawi, who was elected under the Taif Agreement.

On 21 October 1990, Chamoun, along with his German-born second wife Ingrid, and his two sons, Tarek (7) and Julian (5), was assassinated. The pro-Syrian regime arrested Samir Geagea, a rival Christian militia leader, who was subsequently tried for the murder. The verdict was controversial, however; the fairness of the trial was challenged by Amnesty International and Chamoun's brother, Dory (who replaced him as leader of the National Liberal Party) declared publicly on 25 April 2005 that he believed Geagea to be innocent and demanded a new investigation to uncover the real assassins, whom he suspected of being Syrian agents.

Dany Chamoun has two surviving daughters, one of whom (Tracy) is a prominent human rights activist.

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