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Rashid Karami

Rashid Karami.
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Rashid Karami. Photo courtesy of Rami El-Zein.

(1921-1987) Lebanese politician and prime minister 8 times (1955-56; 1958-60; 1961-64; 1965-66; 1966-68; 1969-70; 1975-76; 1984-87).
His politics were relatively radical compared to many other prominent Muslim politicians. He supported the pan-Arab idea as defined by Gamal Abdel Nasser. He was known as a Syrian ally, as well as strongly observant on Muslim rights in Lebanon.

1921: Born in Tripoli, into a religious Sunni Muslim family.
1940's Receives a degree in law from Cairo University, and sets up a legal practice in Tripoli.
1950: Following the death of his father, Karami becomes the leader of the local Muslims, and takes his seat in the parliament.
1951: Becomes Minister of Justice in Hussein al Quwaini's government.
1953: Is appointed Minister of Economy and Social Affairs in Abdallah al Yafi's government.
1955 September 19: Becomes prime minister under president Camille Chamoun.
1958 May: Karami takes the side against president Chamoun under the 2 month long civil war.
September: Karami forms a national unity government.
1970 April: Karami's government has to resign after clashes between Palestinian commandos and the Lebanese army escalated. Karami returns however to office after an accord had been signed between PLO and Lebanon.
August: With the new president Suleiman Franjieh taking office, Karami has to resign and is succeeded by Saeb Salam.
1975 May: After the start of the Lebanese Civil War in April, prime minister Rashid Solh is asked to resign by president Franjieh, and Karami forms a government. Franjieh hoped this would bring stability and an end to the civil war.
1976 December: New president Elias Sarkis appoints Salim al-Hoss as new prime minister, and Karami resigns.
1982 June: Following the Israeli invasion, Karami joins in on the anti-Israeli side.
1984 April: Karami heads the national reconciliation government, following conferences in Switzerland.
1986: Karami rejects the National Agreement to Solve the Lebanese Crisis, which had been drafted with minimal Sunni Muslim cooperation. This creates a difficult relationship with president Amin Gemayel.
1987 May 4: Karami's government announces its resign. President Gemayel rejects this, as there were no other realistic prime minister candidates.
1987 June 1: While still being prime minister, Karami is killed by a bomb exploding in his helicopter.

By Tore Kjeilen