Hikmat al-Shihabi

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Hikmat Shihabi
(Arabic: حكمت الشهابي‎)
Member of the Regional Command of the Syrian Regional Branch
In office
7 January 1980 – 1 July 1998
Personal details
Born(1931-07-01)1 July 1931
Al-Bab, Aleppo Governorate, Syria
Died5 March 2013(2013-03-05) (aged 82)
Political partySyrian Regional Branch of the Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party
AwardsHero of the Republic
Military service
Allegiance Syria
Branch/serviceSyrian Arab Army
Years of service1952-1998
RankSyria-Feriq Awal.jpg Colonel General
Unit10th Armoured Division
CommandsSyrian Arab Army
10th Armoured Division
Battles/warsSix-Day War
Yom Kippur War

Hikmat Shihabi (Arabic: حكمت الشهابي‎‎ 8 January 1931 – 5 March 2013) was a Syrian career military officer, who served as the chief of staff of the Syrian Army between 1974 and 1998.[1]

Early life and education[edit]

Shihabi was born into a Sunni family in 1931 in Al-Bab, Aleppo province.[2][3][4] He attended Homs military academy and then had advanced military training in the United States.[4]


Shihabi began his career in aviation, training in the Soviet Union and the United States.[2] From 1968 to 1971 he served as deputy head of the military security department.[5] In 1970, he earned a Soviet degree in intelligence services. In April 1971, he was named head of intelligence services of the (military intelligence), assisted by Colonel Ali Duba. He was promoted to a general the following year, and supervised the department of military security. After the 1973 Yom Kippur War, he led the Syrian delegation to the United States in April 1974, negotiating the conditions of the Syrian–Israeli disengagement. On 12 August 1974, he was appointed chief of staff of the Syrian Army, replacing Youssef Chakkour, who was promoted to deputy defense minister. In December 1983, while President Hafez Assad was ill, Shihabi was part, along with General Mustafa Tlass and Ali Duba, of the committee in charge of running the country.[1] From 1994 to 1995 he was part of a delegation that traveled to the United States to discuss peace negotiations with Israel.[1] His term as chief of staff lasted until 1998.[5]

Shihabii was also one of Ba'ath Party's four-member “old guard” members of the Regional Command.[6]


On 8 July 1998, after 24 years as army chief of staff, Shihabi resigned his post prior to Hafez Assad's death and was succeeded by Ali Aslan.[7][8] Shihabi cited health reasons and a heart condition when asked about his resignation by president Assad who wanted to extend his service. [9] In 2000, rumors surfaced in Syrian newspapers, which proved false, claiming that Shihabi would soon be indicted on corruption charges.[10]


Shihabi was one of the senior Syrian officials who were close to late Rafik Hariri, former prime minister of Lebanon,[11][12] and Lebanon's Druze leader Walid Jumblatt.[13]


Shihabi died on 5 March 2013.[2]


  1. ^ a b c Faure, Claude (2002). Dictionary of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: Culture, History, and Politics. Macmillan Reference USA. p. 432. ISBN 978-0-02-865977-0.
  2. ^ a b c "Syrian army mourns death of former chief of staff". China. 5 March 2013. Retrieved 5 March 2013.
  3. ^ "Assad retires chief of staff, sacks intelligence chief". Hurriyet Daily News. Cairo. AP. 4 July 1998. Retrieved 8 March 2013.
  4. ^ a b Sami M. Moubayed (2006). Steel and Silk. Cune Press. p. 83. ISBN 978-1-885942-40-1. Retrieved 3 April 2013.
  5. ^ a b Eyal Ziser (2001). Asad's Legacy: Syria in Transition. C. Hurst, Publishers, Limited. p. 34. ISBN 978-1-85065-450-6. Retrieved 3 April 2013.
  6. ^ Bar, Shmuel (2006). "Bashar's Syria: The Regime and its Strategic Worldview" (PDF). IPS. Archived from the original (PDF) on 23 July 2011. Retrieved 12 March 2013. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  7. ^ Political Chronology of the Middle East. Routledge. 12 October 2012. p. 2038. ISBN 978-1-135-35673-6. Retrieved 10 February 2013.
  8. ^ Zisser, Eyal (September 2000). "Will Bashshar al-Asad Rule?". The Middle East Quarterly: 3–12. Retrieved 14 August 2013.
  9. ^ http://www.aljazeera.net/programs/the-interview/2017/2/28/عبد-الحليم-خدام-ج2
  10. ^ Ghadbian, Najib (Autumn 2001). "The New Asad: Dynamics of Continuity and Change in Syria" (PDF). Middle East Journal. 55 (4): 624–641. Retrieved 9 March 2013.
  11. ^ William Harris (19 July 2012). Lebanon: A History, 600-2011. Oxford University Press. p. 262. ISBN 978-0-19-518111-1. Retrieved 10 March 2013.
  12. ^ Mugraby, Muhamad (July 2008). "The syndrome of one-time exceptions and the drive to establish the proposed Hariri court". Mediterranean Politics. 13 (2): 171–194. doi:10.1080/13629390802127513. Pdf. Archived 12 October 2013 at the Wayback Machine
  13. ^ Glass, Charles (1 March 2007). "The lord of no man's land: A guided tour through Lebanon's ceaseless war". Harper's Magazine. Archived from the original on 8 February 2013. Retrieved 9 April 2013. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)