Bassel Fleihan

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Bassel Fleihan (also Basil Fuleihan; Arabic باسل فليحان, DMG Bāsil Fulayḥān ; * September 10, 1963 in Ain Zhalta ; † April 18, 2005 in Clamart near Paris ) was a Lebanese MP and Minister for Economy and Trade . He died of injuries sustained in a serious attack on the convoy of vehicles on the Corniche Beirut in Beirut on 14 February 2005 on ex-Prime Minister Rafiq al-Hariri . Another 20 people were killed in the attack, including Hariri. Although he was sitting right next to Hariri, Fleihan initially survived the attack; however, he suffered burns of over 95 percent of his skin surface. He was taken by plane to the Percy Military Hospital near Paris, where he succumbed to his injuries 63 days later.


Fleihan reached a Bachelor in Economics ( cum laude ) at the American University of Beirut (AUB) in 1984, a Masters in International and Development Economics at the University of Yale in 1985 and a Ph. D. in economics from Columbia University in 1990.

Professional career

From 1988 to 1993 Fleihan worked at the International Monetary Fund in Washington, DC In 1993 he left the post and a bright future in the United States and returned to Lebanon, where he was to assist in the renewal of the Treasury Department after the Lebanese Civil War . From 1993 to 1999 Fleihan also taught economics at his old alma mater , the American University of Beirut.

Political career

Fleihan was first elected to the Lebanese National Assembly in 2000 . He won the Protestant seat in Beirut's first constituency . He was on the list of Hariri's followers. He was appointed Minister of Economy and Trade in October and remained in that position until the government resigned in 2003.

Fleihan played an important role in the development of the Lebanese economic reform program, which was presented by Hariri's international donors at a conference in Paris in November 2002. The donors promised loans amounting to 4.3 billion US dollars ; although the plan was not fully implemented, Lebanon ultimately received $ 2.39 billion.

February 14, 2005

The day before the explosion, Fleihan was in Geneva , Switzerland . Although his wife tried to persuade him to extend his stay in Europe , Fleihan insisted on returning to Lebanon to attend an extraordinary parliamentary session scheduled for February 14th.

After the session, Fleihan and Hariri drove to Hariri's mansion in his car. About halfway there, a one-tonne bomb hidden in a truck exploded as they were driving along the promenade. At least a dozen people, including Hariri and several of his bodyguards, were killed on the spot; the number of deaths eventually grew to 21. An investigation into the incident carried out by German prosecutor Detlev Mehlis on behalf of the United Nations was published in October 2005. This so-called Mehlis report indicated the involvement of Syrian and Lebanese officials in the act.

The bombing caused a stir among the Lebanese population and sparked the protest movement that ultimately led to the Cedar Revolution .

Personal life

Fleihan was a devout Protestant and a member of the National Evangelical Church of Beirut. He left behind his wife, Jasma, and their two children, Rena and Rayan.

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