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Assem Qanso

Assem Qanso
عاصم قانصوه
Qanso (left) with Romanian communist leader Nicolae Ceaușescu (right) in 1974
Member of Parliament
for Baalbek-Hermel
Assumed office
In office
Minister of Labour
In office
Prime Minister Omar Karami
Preceded by Assaad Hardan
Succeeded by Trad Hamadeh
Secretary of the Lebanese (Ba'ath) Regional Command of the Ba'ath Party
In office
National Secretary Abdullah al-Ahmar
Preceded by Sayf al-Din Ghazi
Succeeded by Sayf al-Din Ghazi
In office
National Secretary Hafez al-Assad
Preceded by Magali Nasrawin
Succeeded by Abdullah Al-Amin
Personal details
Born 1937
Baalbek, French Lebanon
Political party Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party (1953–1966)
Syria-based Ba'ath Party (Lebanon branch: 1966–present)
Alma mater University of Zagreb
Religion Shia Islam[1]

Muhammad Assem Qanso (Arabic: عاصم قانصوه‎, born 1937 in Baalbek) is a Lebanese politician. He is a former leader of the Lebanese Ba'ath Party.


  • Political career 1
  • 2009 election and parliamentarian 2
    • Syrian Civil War 2.1
  • References 3

Political career

Qanso joined the Lebanese Ba'ath in 1953. During the Lebanese war, the Lebanese Ba'ath was divided into two hostile groups: a pro-Iraqi group and a pro-Syrian group. Qanso is staunchly pro-Syrian.

Relations between the Kataeb Party and the Ba'ath Party improved, when on the orders of Karim Pakradouni (the leader of the Kataeb Party) and Qanso agreed to establish a committee between the two parties to discuss Lebanese and Arab politics. Relations improved further when the Syrian Ba'athist government increased its contacts with the Kataeb Party.[2] During the Lebanese civil war, the Lebanese parliament formed the National Dialogue Committee in 1975; Qanso was a National Dialogue Committee representative. Qanso opposed the notion that the resignation of Suleiman Frangieh, the President of Lebanon, would end the conflict.[3]

Following the death of Hafez al-Assad in 2000, notable figures such as Abdul Halim Khaddam and Ghazi Kanaan, supported Rafic Hariri against Émile Lahoud, the then sitting President of Lebanon, during the 2000 general election.[4] Qanso supported Khaddam and Kanaan's position, and declared during a parliamentary session "there is no zaim [leader] but Rafik Hariri."[5] On a later occasion, he stated "It was a message to Lahoud that, if he tried to break Hariri, Kanaan would break Lahoud."[5] He later changed his position, and supported to extend Lahoud's mandate, and Qanso began criticising the opposition. Qanso warned Walid Jumblat that "you are not out of reach of our militants".[6] Jumblat replied by stating it was the Ba'ath Party which had ordered the assassination of his father, Kamal Jumblatt.[6]

2009 election and parliamentarian

There were discussions within the Ba'ath Party if Qanso was to give up his candidacy in the Baalbek-Hermel electoral district to Fayez Shukr, the leader of the Ba'ath Party.[7] Qanso announced his candidacy for a seat in the Baalbek-Hermel electoral district in April 2009.[8] In the 2009 parliamentary election, the Ba'ath Party won two seats as part of the March 8 Alliance; Qanso and Qassem Hashem.[9] Qanso was elected to parliament in the Baalbek-Hermel district.[10] The United States Government led by Barack Obama announced an extension of its travel ban and asset freeze against those seeking “to undermine Lebanon’s legitimate and democratically elected government.” Qanso was amongst those effected by the extension of sanctions.[11] The Ba'ath Party which supports Najib Mikati, the current Prime Minister of Lebanon, claimed, through Qanso, that it "should have been represented in the [Mikati] government, just like the Syrian Social Nationalist Party”.[10]

Syrian Civil War

Qanso supports the position of the United Nations Security Council which condemned the use of violence by the Ba'athist government, but which also called for ending the violence and holding those of fomenting the violence accountable.[12] The decision to expel Syria from the Arab League was, according Qanso, an American plot against Syria.[13] Qanso condemned the Arab League sanctions towards Syria, and compared them to "complementary to the US plot against Syria, which targets its oil wealth."[14] In an interview with MTV Lebanon Qanso accused a conspiracy centered around Lebanon First bloc MP Okab Sakr, Hani Hammoud, and Saad Hariri, former Prime Minister of Lebanon, of fomenting the uprising in Syria. He further claimed that there was no good reason for the Assad government to resign.[15]

Qanso tried to persuade Mikati to expel [17] Qanso further claimed that "If Syria falls, the last resistance bastion will turn into a state similar to that of Egypt or Libya and will become a breeding ground for Salafis and [the Muslim Brotherhood].[17] On 30 January Qanso stated his believes that "The vast majority of [Syrian] people are with the Ba'ath Party that is tasked with protecting Syrian President Bashar Assad.”[18] At the same time he announced that the Lebanese Ba'ath Party would hold a conference on 7–8 February 2012 in Syria to discuss and approve the reform package which is planned to be introduced by Bashar al-Assad's government.[18]


  1. ^ El-Khazen, Farid (2000). The Breakdown of the State in Lebanon, 1967–1976.  
  2. ^ El-Khazen, Farid (2000). The Breakdown of the State in Lebanon, 1967–1976.  
  3. ^ El-Khazen, Farid (2000). The Breakdown of the State in Lebanon, 1967–1976.  
  4. ^ Blanford, Nicholas (2006). Killing Mr Lebanon: The Assassination of Rafik Hariri and Its Impact on the Middle East.  
  5. ^ a b Blanford, Nicholas (2006). Killing Mr Lebanon: The Assassination of Rafik Hariri and Its Impact on the Middle East.  
  6. ^ a b Blanford, Nicholas (2006). Killing Mr Lebanon: The Assassination of Rafik Hariri and Its Impact on the Middle East.  
  7. ^  
  8. ^  
  9. ^  
  10. ^ a b  
  11. ^  
  12. ^ Staff writer (7 August 2011). "Qanso questions Lebanon’s safety if Syria is harmed".  
  13. ^  
  14. ^ "Qanso condemns Arab League’s role in Syrian crisis". NOW Lebanon. 26 November 2011. Retrieved 16 February 2012. 
  15. ^ "Qanso: Sakr, Hammoud and Hariri behind Syrian protests". NOW Lebanon. 3 December 2011. Retrieved 16 February 2012. 
  16. ^ Lakiss, Hasan (6 October 2011). "MP Qanso asks Mikati to expel U.S. ambassador".  
  17. ^ a b  
  18. ^ a b  
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