Man Behind Syria’s Decades-Long Occupation of Lebanon Just Died

Syrian Observer

Exiled in Paris, Syrian politician Abdul Halim Khaddam died at 88 years old on Tuesday, March 31st, 2020.

As Minister of Foreign Affairs and Deputy Prime Minister, and then later as Vice President, Khaddam was instrumental in implementing Syrian influence in Lebanon during the civil war and even after it ended.

He was unpopular with the Lebanese people who “detested [him] because he represented the Syrian occupation and all its tragic consequences,” says Arab News, who called him the “godfather of the Assad regime”.

Remembering his serving days, a former Lebanese lieutenant colonel said to The961, “Khaddam was notorious. Everything terrible that happened to the Lebanese was by his order. He was the game player and everyone was his pawns,” he continued, “Lebanese politicians had no control and anyone who stood in his way or disobeyed his order was assassinated.”

According to Asharq Al Awsat, Khaddam had such influence over Lebanese politics that he “was known in popular circles as “Lebanon’s ruler” from Damascus.”

Gulf News details that he became so powerful in post-war Lebanon that the Lebanese nicknamed him the “wali,” or governor.

When Hafez Al-Assad shifted the Lebanese portfolio from Khaddam’s hands to his son’s Bashar, tension rose among Khaddam’s Lebanese allies.

Khaddam was a long time handler of the “Lebanese file” and reportedly developed a strong relationship with late Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, and blamed the Syrian regime for Hariri’s assassination.

He chose to exile himself in France, where he continued trying to build ties – this time anti-Syrian-Regime ones, from which he became “accused of high treason and his properties were seized by Damascus,” reports Asharq Al Awsat.