Biography: Michel Suleiman is the president of Lebanon. Prior to being sworn into office in May 2008, he served as commander-in-chief of the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF), mirroring the career path taken by his predecessor Emile Lahoud.
Born in 1948 in the town of Amsheet, Suleiman joined the LAF in 1967, graduating as an officer from the Military Academy in 1970. He also holds a bachelor’s degree in politics and administrative sciences from the Lebanese University. Suleiman is regarded by the country’s rival political factions as a relatively neutral figure.
He refused to let the army crush the anti-Syrian protests that gripped Beirut during the spring of 2005, helping to force the Syrian military out of Lebanon. In 2007, he rose to national prominence as the LAF defeated Al-Qaeda-inspired militants in a Palestinian refugee camp in the north of the country. Suleiman is a Maronite Christian.