Name of leader          Nabih Berri

 

Organization                      Amal

 

Conflict country                Lebanon

 

Gender                                Male   

    

Year of birth                       1938[1]        

 

Place of birth                     Bo, Sierra Leone[2]      

 

Year of death                     N/A  

 

 

Deceased

 

No; Berri is still alive.

 

Birth order

 

He was the first born.[3]

 

Age at start of rebel leadership

 

In 1980, so at age 41.[4]

 

Leader entry method

 

After al-Sadr’s assassination, Amal’s upper echelon turned into a power struggle. Berri had always headed Amal’s al-Maktab al-Siyasi (The Political Office) even during al-Husseini’s short tenure as leader of Amal following al-Sadr’s assassination. On April 3, 1980, after al-Husseini’s resignation, al-Maktab al-Siyasi appointed Berri the new leader (Norton 1987). Amal’s top echelon then formed a “leadership council,” which consisted of Berri and most of al-Maktab al-Siyasi plus Musa al-Sadr’s sister, Rbab al-Sadr. On April 25, 1980, Berri was elected by the leadership council (Norton 1987). In short, Berri appointed himself to the leadership position, but was very skillful in not making it look like a power grab.[5]

 

Powersharing

 

No, there is no evidence of powersharing.

 

Education (also name universities attended, if any); note any relevant experiences while a student

 

He completed his primary studies in Tebnin- South of Lebanon. He completed his intermediate studies in Bint Jbeil and Tyr- South of Lebanon. He completed his secondary studies in Beirut at the "Sagesse" &"Makassed" schools. He graduated top of his class with a Law Degree from the Lebanese University in 1963. He applied for a D.E.S. at the "Faculté de droit de la Sorbonne". He joined the Students' movement and the University's Federation movement. He later became President of the National Federation of Lebanese Students (UNUL). While a student, he participated in numerous university and political seminars. [6] As a young child, he also had a religious education.[7]

 

Ever married? If yes, age of first marriage

 

Yes,[8] he married subsequently after his first year of law school.[9] He divorced and married a second wife.[10]

 

Children

 

Yes, he had six children with his first wife.[11] He had three children with his second wife.[12]

 

Religious identification

 

He is Muslim.[13]

 

Elite family background

 

Yes,[14] “Nabih Berri's father was a merchant who had migrated to West Africa in order to escape the impoverishment and lack of economic opportunity in his native land. Nabih was born in 1939 in Sierra Leone, where his father had established a relatively successful business.”[15]

 

Political affiliations and intellectual circles; note any relevant social connections made

 

“He was active in student politics, and served as president of the student body at the Lebanese University. He was also active, by the early 1960s, in ideological politics and especially in the Arab Ba'ath (or Renaissance) Party.”[16] “In 1974 he joined the Deprived Movement established by Musa Sadr.”[17]

 

Physical and mental health

 

No, there is no evidence of poor physical or mental health.

 

Pre-militant leader occupation

 

“Often bios of Berri will say he worked as a lawyer for General Motors. In reality, he worked as a car salesman both in Beirut and Dearborn, Michigan. He always marketed himself as a “lawyer,” but sold cars to pay the bills. Berri’s career as an “appeals court lawyer” in the 1960s consisted of only a few cases. He did not have a solid job until al-Sadr appointed him Spokesman of Amal in 1975. I’ve had multiple people affiliated with Amal tell me this over the years (in both Lebanon and Michigan). A lot of Amal members and supporters actually admire Berri because of this. They brag that a car salesman outsmarted all of the “Ayatollahs” of Hezbollah.”[18]

 

Experience in a state military, and role; any relevant social ties

 

No, there is no evidence of experience in a state military.

 

Experience in a nonstate military, and role; any relevant social ties

 

No, there is no evidence of experience in a nonstate military.

 

Combat experience prior to assuming resistance organization leadership?

 

No, there is no evidence of combat experience.

 

Held government position prior to assuming leadership?

 

Yes, he was a lawyer at the court of appeals.[19]

 

Lived in exile?

 

No, there is no evidence he lived in exile.

 

Study abroad?

 

After graduating from Beirut Law School, he studied in France for a year at the Sorbonne.[20]

 

Did the leader receive military training abroad?

 

No, there is no evidence of military training abroad.

 

Did the leader have extensive work experience abroad?

 

No, there is no evidence he had extensive work experience abroad. However, Berri is said to visit Dearborn, Michigan regularly in part in order to maintain his U.S. green card (he also has many extended family members living there).[21]

 

Serve time in prison? Social connections during that time?

 

No, there is no evidence he served time in prison.

 

Was there an assassination attempt on the leader by the state?

 

There are some rumors, but there is no clear evidence of an attempted one.[22]

 

Cause of Death?

 

N/A

 

Primary language, and other languages spoken as adult

 

His primary language is Arabic.[23] He also speaks English.[24]

 

Image Credit: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/8/80/Nabih_Berri.jpg/440px-Nabih_Berri.jpg

[1] Omri Nir, Nabih Berri And Lebanese Politics (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011), 17.

[2] Augustus Richard Norton, Amal and the Shi’a: Struggle for the Soul of Lebanon (University of Texas, 1987).

[3] Omri Nir, Nabih Berri And Lebanese Politics (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011), 18.

[4] “Nabih Berri Facts,” YOUR DICTIONARY, Accessed March 31, 2018, http://biography.yourdictionary.com/nabih-berri.

[5] Augustus Richard Norton, Amal and the Shi’a: Struggle for the Soul of Lebanon (University of Texas, 1987).

[6] “President Berry Biography,” Lebanese Republic National Assembly, Accessed April 7, 2018, https://web.archive.org/web/20150518190757/https://lp.gov.lb/admin/uploads/files/CV%20President%20Berry%20En.pdf.

[7] Omri Nir, Nabih Berri And Lebanese Politics (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011), 17.

[8] Elaine Sciolino, “MAN IN THE NEWS; PIVOTAL FIGURE IN THE BEIRUT CRISIS: NABIH BERRI,” The New York Times, 1985, Accessed March 31, 2018, https://www.nytimes.com/1985/06/18/world/man-in-the-news-pivotal-figure-in-the-beirut-crisis-nabih-berri.html.

[9] Omri Nir, Nabih Berri And Lebanese Politics (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011), 21.

[10] Omri Nir, Nabih Berri And Lebanese Politics (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011), 24.

[11] Elaine Sciolino, “MAN IN THE NEWS; PIVOTAL FIGURE IN THE BEIRUT CRISIS: NABIH BERRI,” The New York Times, 1985, Accessed March 31, 2018, https://www.nytimes.com/1985/06/18/world/man-in-the-news-pivotal-figure-in-the-beirut-crisis-nabih-berri.html.

[12] Omri Nir, Nabih Berri And Lebanese Politics (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011), 24.

[13] Omri Nir, Nabih Berri And Lebanese Politics (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011), 18.

[14] Nora Boustany, “Nabih Berri: Voice of Amal,” The Washington Post, July 1, 1985, Accessed March 31, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/politics/1985/07/01/nabih-berri-voice-of-amal/2cf2c5f0-38a1-4f11-8791-6dce290486e3/?utm_term=.cf02d5b472c3.

[15] Omri Nir, Nabih Berri And Lebanese Politics (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011), 18.

[16] Omri Nir, Nabih Berri And Lebanese Politics (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011), 18.

[17] Omri Nir, Nabih Berri And Lebanese Politics (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011), 21.

[18] Dr. Benjamin Acosta, email message, 7/25/2018.

[19] “President Berry Biography,” Lebanese Republic National Assembly, Accessed April 7, 2018, https://web.archive.org/web/20150518190757/https://lp.gov.lb/admin/uploads/files/CV%20President%20Berry%20En.pdf.

[20] Omri Nir, Nabih Berri And Lebanese Politics (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011), 18.

[21] https://www.csmonitor.com/1984/0216/021646.html

[22] “DE FREIJ: ASSASSINATION ATTEMPTS TO TARGET MARCH 14, BERR,” NNA, June 20, 2014, Accessed March 31, 2018, http://www.nna-leb.gov.lb/en/show-news/28560/De-Freij-Assassination-attempts-to-target-March-14-Berri.

[23] Omri Nir, Nabih Berri And Lebanese Politics (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011), 18.

[24] “Lebanon’s Berri: Peace first, then talks on economy,” EURACTIV, Apr 15, 2008, Accessed April 7, 2018, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W0qX438Qj1A.

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