- History of Lebanon
The history of
Lebanonis almost as old as the earliest evidence of humankind. Its geographic position as a crossroads linking the Mediterranean Basinwith the great Asian hinterland has conferred on it a cosmopolitan character and a multicultural legacy.Text used in this cited section originally came from: [http://lcweb2.loc.gov/frd/cs/lbtoc.html Lebanon Country Study (1987)] from the Library of Congress Country Studiesproject.]
At different periods of its history, Lebanon has come under the domination of foreign rulers, including
Assyrians, Babylonians, Armenians, Persians, Greeks, Romans, Arabs, Ottomans, and French. Although often conquered, the Lebanese take pride in their rebellions against despotic and repressive rulers. Moreover, despite foreign domination, Lebanon's mountainous terrain has provided it with a certain protective isolation, enabling it to survive with an identity all its own.
Its proximity to the sea has ensured that throughout its history Lebanon has held an important position as a trading center. This tradition of commerce began with the
Phoeniciansand continued through many centuries, remaining almost unaffected by foreign rule and the worst periods of internal strife.
Ancient history of Lebanon
History of ancient Lebanon".
The earliest known settlements in Lebanon date back to earlier than 5000 BC. Archaeologists have discovered in
Byblos, which is believed to be the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world, remnants of prehistoric huts with crushed limestone floors, primitive weapons, and burial jars which are evidence of the Neolithic and Chalcolithic fishing communities who lived on the shore of the Mediterranean Sea over 7,000 years ago.It was known that the first time coloring was discovered accidentally when a seashell gave the famous dark red that was used for dyeing cloth for kings and rich people.
Phoenicia".The coastal plain of Lebanonis the historic home of a string of coastal trading cities of Semitic culture, which the Greeks termed Phoenicia, whose maritime culture flourished there for more than 2,000 years 255 Ancient ruins in Byblos, Berytus ( Beirut), Sidon, Sarepta( Sarafand), and Tyre show a civilized nation, with urban centres and sophisticated arts. Present-day Lebanon was a cosmopolitan centre for many nations and cultures. Its people roamed the Mediterranean seas, skilled in trade and in art, and founded trading colonies. They were also the creators of the oldest known 24-letter alphabet, a shortening of earlier 30-letter alphabets such as Proto-Sinaiticand Ugaritic.
The ancient Lebanese set for sail and colonized overseas. Their most famous colonies were
Cadizin today’s Spainand Carthagein today’s Tunisia.
Phoenicia maintained an uneasy tributary relationship with the neo-
Assyrian and neo- Babylonian empires; it was conquered outright by the Achaemenid dynastyof Persia, which organized it as a satrapy. It was added to the empire of Alexander the Great, who notably conquered Tyre (332 BC) by extending a still-extant causeway from the mainland in a seven-month effort. It fell to the Seleucid Empireafter Alexander's death. The area was conquered by the Roman Empirein the first century and remained Roman until the advent of the Caliphate. Christianitywas introduced to Phoenicia from neighboring Galileesoon after the time of Jesusof Nazareth; the Arab advances brought Islamsoon after the death of Muhammad. Muslim influence increased greatly in the seventh century when the Umayyadcapital was established at nearby
Arab rule and the Middle Ages
Middle Ages,eorithejbfj involved in the Crusades. Lebanon was in the main path of the First Crusade's advance on Jerusalem. Later, Frankish nobles occupied present-day Lebanon as part of the southeastern Crusader States. The southern half of present-day Lebanon formed the northern march of the Kingdom of Jerusalem; the northern half was the heartland of the County of Tripoli. Although Saladineliminated Christian control of the Holy Landaround 1190, the Crusader states in Lebanon and Syria were better defended. Muslim control of Lebanon was reestablished in the late 13th century under the Mamluksultans of Egypt. Lebanon was later contested between Muslim rulers until the Ottoman Empiresolidified authority over the eastern Mediterranean. Ottoman control was uncontested during the early modern period, but the Lebanese coast became important for its contacts and trades with Veniceand other Italian city-states.
The mountainous territory of
Mount Lebanonhas long been a shelter for minority and persecuted groups, including its historic MaroniteChristian majority along with Druze, and local Shi'a Muslims. It was an autonomous Maronite region of the Ottoman empire.
Ottoman Turksformed an empire starting from the 14th century which came to encompass the Balkans, Middle east and North Africa. The Ottoman sultan, Selim I(1516-20), after defeating the Persians, conquered the Mamluks. His troops, invading Syria, destroyed Mamluk resistance in 1516 at Marj Dabaq, north of Aleppo.
During the conflict between the Mamluks and the Ottomans, the amirs of Lebanon linked their fate to that of
Ghazali, governor (pasha) of Damascus. He won the confidence of the Ottomans by fighting on their side at Marj Dabaq and, apparently pleased with the behavior of the Lebanese amirs, introduced them to Salim I when he entered Damascus. Salim I, moved by the eloquence of the Lebanese ruler Amir Fakhr ad Din I (1516-44), decided to grant the Lebanese amirs a semiautonomous status. The Ottomans, through two great Druze feudal families, the Maans and the Shihabs, ruled Lebanon until the middle of the nineteenth century. It was during Ottoman rule that the term Greater Syriawas coined to designate the approximate area included in present-day Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and Israel.
The Maans, 1120-1697
Maan family, under orders from the governor of Damascus, came to Lebanon in 1120 won against the invading Crusaders. They settled on the southwestern slopes of the Lebanon Mountains and soon adopted the Druzereligion. Their authority began to rise with Fakhr ad-Din I, who was permitted by Ottoman authorities to organize his own army, and reached its peak with Fakhr ad-Din II(1570-1635).
Although Fakhr ad-Din II's aspirations toward complete independence for Lebanon ended tragically, he greatly enhanced Lebanon's military and economic development. Noted for religious tolerance , Fakhr ad-Din attempted to merge the country's different religious groups into one Lebanese community. In an effort to attain complete independence for Lebanon, he concluded a secret agreement with Ferdinand I, duke of
Tuscanyin Italy, the two parties pledging to support each other against the Ottomans. Informed of this agreement, the Ottoman ruler in Constantinoplereacted violently and ordered Ahmad al Hafiz, governor of Damascus, to attack Fakhr ad Din. Realizing his inability to cope with the regular army of Al Hafiz, the Lebanese ruler went to Tuscany in exile in 1613. He returned to Lebanon in 1618, after his good friend Muhammad Pashabecame governor of Damascus.
Following his return from Tuscany, Fakhr ad-Din II, realizing the need for a strong and disciplined armed force, channeled his financial resources into building a regular army. This army proved itself in 1623, when Mustafa Pasha, the new governor of Damascus, underestimating the capabilities of the Lebanese army, engaged it in battle and was decisively defeated at Anjar in the Biqa Valley. Impressed by the victory of the Lebanese ruler, the sultan of Constantinople gave him the title of Sultan al Barr (Sultan of Land).
In addition to building up the army, Fakhr ad-Din II, who became acquainted with Italian culture during his stay in Tuscany, initiated measures to modernize the country. After forming close ties with the dukes of Tuscany and Florence and establishing diplomatic relations with them, he brought in architects, irrigation engineers, and agricultural experts from Italy in an effort to promote prosperity in the country. He also strengthened Lebanon's strategic position by expanding its territory, building forts as far away as Palmyra in Syria, and gaining control of Palestine. Finally, the Ottoman sultan
Murad IVof Constantinople, wanting to thwart Lebanon's progress toward complete independence, ordered Kutshuk, then governor of Damascus, to attack the Lebanese ruler. This time Fakhr ad Din was defeated, and he was executed in Constantinople in 1635. No significant Maan rulers succeeded Fakhr ad Din II.
The Shihabs, 1697-1842
Shihabssucceeded the Maans in 1697. They originally lived in the Hawranregion of southwestern Syria and settled in Wadi at Taimin southern Lebanon. The most prominent among them was Bashir Shihab II, who was much like his predecessor, Fakhr ad Din II. His ability as a statesman was first tested in 1799, when Napoleonbesieged Acre, a well-fortified coastal city in Palestine, about forty kilometers south of Tyre. Both Napoleon and Al Jazzar, the governor of Acre, requested assistance from the Shihab leader; Bashir, however, remained neutral, declining to assist either combatant. Unable to conquer Acre, Napoleon returned to Egypt, and the death of Al Jazzar in 1804 removed Bashir's principal opponent in the area.
During the nineteenth century the town of
Beirutbecame the most important port of the region supplanting Acre further to the south. This was mostly because Mount Lebanon became a centre of silkproduction for export to Europe. This industry made the region wealthy, but also dependent on links to Europe. Since most of the silk went to Marseillethe French began to have a great impact in the region.
The rise and fall of Emir Bashir II
Bashir Shihab II(sometimes spelled Bachir in French sources) would rise to become the Emir. Born into poverty, he was elected emir upon the abdication of his predecessor, and would rule under Ottoman suzerainty, being appointed "wali" or governor of Mt Lebanon, the Biqa valley and Jabal Amil. Together this is about two thirds of modern day Lebanon. He would reform taxes and attempt to break the feudal system, in order to undercut rivals, the most important of which was also named Bashir: Bashir Jumblatt, whose wealth and feudal backers equaled or exceeded Bashir II – and who had increasing support in the Druzecommunity. In 1822 the Ottoman wali of Damascus went to war with Acre, which was allied with Muhammad Ali, the pashaof Egypt. As part of this conflict one of the most remembered massacres of Maronite Christians by Druze forces occurred, forces that were aligned with the wali of Damascus. Jumblatt represented the increasingly disaffected Druze, who were both shut out from official power and angered at the growing ties with the Maronites by Bashir II, who was himself a Maronite Christian.
Bashir II was overthrown as wali when he backed Acre, and fled to Egypt, later to return and organize an army. Jumblatt gathered the Druze factions together, and the war became sectarian in character: the Maronites backing Bashir II, the Druze backing Bashir Jumblatt. Jumblatt declared a rebellion, and between 1821 and 1825 there were massacres and battles, with the Maronites attempting to gain control of the Mt. Lebanon district, and the Druze gaining control over the Biqa valley. In 1825 Bashir II defeated his rival and killed him after the battle of al Simqaniya. Bashir II was not a forgiving man and repressed the Druze, particularly in and around Beirut.
Bashir II, who had come to power through local politics and nearly fallen from power because of his increasing detachment from them, reached out for allies, allies who looked on the entire area as “the Orient” and who could provide trade, weapons and money, without requiring fealty and without, it seemed, being drawn into endless internal squabbles. He disarmed the Druze and allied with France, governing in the name of the Egyptian Pasha Muhammad Ali, who entered Lebanon and formally took overlordship in 1832. For the remaining 8 years, the sectarian and feudal rifts of the 1821–1825 conflict were heightened by the increasing economic isolation of the Druze, and the increasing wealth of the Maronites.
ectarian conflict: European Powers begin to intervene
The discontent grew to open rebellion, fed by both Ottoman and British money and support: Bashir II fled, the Ottoman empire reasserted control and Mehmed Hüsrev Pasha, whose sole term as Grand Vizier ran from 1839 to 1841, appointed another member of the Shihab family, who styled himself Bashir III. Bashir III, coming on the heels of a man who by guile, force and diplomacy had dominated Mt Lebanon and the Biqa for 52 years, did not last long. In 1841 conflicts between the impoverished Druze and the Maronite Christians exploded: There was a massacre of Christians by the Druze at Deir al Qamar, and the fleeing survivors were slaughtered by Ottoman regulars. The Ottomans attempted to create peace by dividing Mt Lebanon into a Christian district and a Druze district, but this would merely create geographic powerbases for the warring parties, and it plunged the region back into civil conflict which included not only the sectarian warfare but a Maronite revolt against the Feudal class, which ended in 1858 with the overthrow of the old feudal system of taxes and levies. The situation was unstable: the Maronites lived in the large towns, but these were often surrounded by Druze villages living as "perioikoi". In 1860, this would boil back into full scale sectarian war, when the Maronites began openly opposing the power of the Ottoman Empire. The Druze took advantage of this and began burning Maronite villages. The long siege of Deir al Qamar found a Maronite garrison holding out against Druze forces backed by Ottoman soldiers; the area in every direction was despoiled by the besiegers. In July 1860, with European intervention threatening, the Turkish government tried to quiet the strife, but Napoleon III of France sent 7,000 troops to Beirut and helped impose a partition: The Druze control of the territory was recognized as the fact on the ground, and the Maronites were forced into an enclave, arrangements ratified by the concert of Europe in 1861. They were confined to a mountainous district, cut off from both the Biqa and Beirut, and faced with the prospect of ever growing poverty. Resentments and fears would brood, ones which would resurface in the coming decades.
It is estimated that more than 4000 Christians were killed in the conflict, with another 4000 dying of destitution. Furthermore, more than 100 000 were made homeless (Salibi, K. 1965 The "Modern History of Lebanon"). Another destabilizing factor was France's support for the Maronite Christians against the
Druzewhich in turn led the British to back the Druze, exacerbating religious and economic tensions between the two communities. In 1859–60 violence erupted between the Maronites and the Druze. The Druze had grown increasingly resentful of the favoring of the Maronites by Bashir II, and were backed by the Ottoman Empire and the wali of Damascus in an attempt to gain greater control over Lebanon; the Maronites were backed by the French, out of both economic and political expediency. The Druze began a military campaign that included the burning of villages and massacres, while Maronite irregulars retaliated with attacks of their own. However, the Maronites were gradually pushed into a few strongholds and were on the verge of military defeat when the Congress of Europeintervened and established a commission to determine the outcome. The French forces deployed there were then used to enforce the final decision. The French accepted the Druze as having established control and the Maronites were reduced to a semi-autonomous region around Mt Lebanon, without even direct control over Beirut itself. The Province of Lebanonthat would be controlled by the Maronites, but the entire area was placed under direct rule of the governor of Damascus, and carefully watched by the Ottoman Empire.
Rising prosperity and peace
The remainder of the 19th century saw a relative period of stability, as Islamic, Druze and Maronite groups focused on economic and cultural development which saw the founding of the
American University of Beirutand a flowering of literary and political activity associated with the attempts to liberalize the Ottoman Empire. Late in the century there was a short Druze uprising over the extremely harsh government and high taxation rates, but there was far less of the violence that had scalded the area earlier in the century.
In the approach to World War I, Beirut became a center of various reforming movements, and would send delegates to the Arab Syrian conference and Franco-Syrian conference held in Paris. There was a complex array of solutions, from pan-Arab nationalism, to separatism for Beirut, and several status quo movements that sought stability and reform within the context of Ottoman government. The Young Turk revolution brought these movements to the front, hoping that the reform of
Ottoman Empirewould lead to broader reforms. The outbreak of hostilities changed this, as Lebanon was to feel the weight of the conflict in the Middle East more heavily than most other areas.
League of Nations Mandate
Following the collapse of the
Ottoman Empireafter World War I, the League of Nationsmandated the five provinces that make up present-day Lebanon to the direct control of France. Initially the division of the Arab speaking areas of the Ottoman empire were to be divided by the Sykes-Picot Agreement, however, the final disposition was at the San Remo conferenceof 1920, whose determinations on the mandates, their boundaries, purposes and organization was ratified by the League in 1921 and put into effect in 1922.
According to the agreements reached at San Remo, France also had its control over what was termed
Syriarecognised, the French having taken Damascus in 1920. However Syria was scheduled to be an independent country, a so called Class A Mandate, and the rights granted to France were far less than over other mandate territories. A Class B mandate granted the right to administer the territories. The entire mandate area was termed "Syria" at the time, including the administrative districts along the Mediterranean coast. Wanting to maximize the area under its direct control, contain an Arab Syria centered on Damascus, and insure a defensible border, France established the Lebanon-Syrian border to the "Anti-Lebanon" mountains, on the far side of the Beqaa Valley, territory which had belonged to the province of Damascus for hundreds of years, and was far more attached to Damascus than Beirut by culture and influence. This doubled the territory under the control of Beirut, at the expense of what would become the state of Syria.
Consequently, the demographics of Lebanon were profoundly altered, as the territory added contained people who were predominantly Muslim or Druze: Lebanese Christians, of which the Maronites were the largest subgrouping, now constituted barely more than 50% of the population, while Sunni Muslims in Lebanon saw their numbers increase eightfold, Shi'ite Muslims fourfold. Modern Lebanon's constitution, drawn up in 1926, specified a balance of power between the various religious groups, but France designed it to guarantee the political dominance of its Christian allies. The president was required to be a Christian (in practice, a Maronite), the prime minister a Sunni Muslim. On the basis of the 1932 census, parliament seats were divided according to a 6 to 5 Christian/Muslim ratio. The constitution gave the president veto power over any legislation approved by parliament, virtually ensuring that the 6:5 ratio would not be revised in the event that the population distribution changed. By 1960, Muslims were thought to constitute a majority of the population, which contributed to Muslim unrest regarding the political system.
Lebanon gained independence in 1943, while France was occupied by Germany. General Henri Dentz, the Vichy High Commissioner for Syria and Lebanon, played a major role in the independence of both nations. The Vichy authorities in 1941 allowed Germany to move aircraft and supplies through Syria to
Iraqwhere they were used against British forces. Britain, fearing that Nazi Germany would gain full control of Lebanon and Syria by pressure on the weak Vichy government, sent its army into Syria and Lebanon.
After the fighting ended in Lebanon, General
Charles de Gaullevisited the area. Under various political pressures from both inside and outside Lebanon, de Gaulle decided to recognize the independence of Lebanon. On November 26, 1941, General Georges Catrouxannounced that Lebanon would become independent under the authority of the Free French government. Elections were held in 1943 and on November 8, 1943 the new Lebanese government unilaterally abolished the mandate. The French reacted by throwing the new government into prison. In the face of international pressure, the French released the government officials on November 22, 1943 and accepted the independence of Lebanon. The allies kept the region under control until the end of World War Two. The last French troops withdrew in 1946.
Lebanon's history from independence has been marked by alternating periods of political stability and turmoil interspersed with prosperity built on Beirut's position as a freely trading regional center for finance and trade. Lebanon was also a major center for the production of opium in the Mideast.
Beirutbecame a mecca for institutions of international commerce and finance, as well as wealthy tourists, and enjoyed a reputation as the " Parisof the Middle East" until the outbreak of the Lebanese Civil War.
Meanwhile, in the aftermath of the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, Lebanon became home to more than 110,000
Palestinianrefugees after being expelled from the newly formed Israel and Jordan, where King Husseinsaw them as a threat to the stability of his kingdom. More Palestinians found their way to Lebanon than to any other Arab country.
In 1958, during the last months of President
Camille Chamoun's term, an insurrection broke out, and 5,000 United States Marineswere briefly dispatched to the capital Beiruton July 15in response to an appeal by the government. After the crisis, a new government was formed, led by the popular former general Fuad Chehab.
During the 1960s, Lebanon enjoyed a period of relative calm, with
Beirut-focused tourism and banking sector-driven prosperity. Lebanon reached the peak of its economic success in the mid-1960’s – the country was seen as a bastion of economic strength by the oil-rich Gulf Arabstates, whose funds made Lebanon one of the world’s fastest growing economies and fashionable Beirut seen as the “Paris of the East”. This period of economic stability and prosperity was brought to an abrupt halt with the collapse of Yousef Beidas' Intra Bank, the country's largest bank and financial backbone, in 1966.
Additional Palestinian refugees arrived after the
1967 Arab-Israeli war. Following their defeat in the Jordanian civil war, thousands of Palestinian militiamen regrouped in Lebanon, led by Yasir Arafat's Palestine Liberation Organization, with the intention of replicating the modus operandi of attacking Israel from a politically and militarily weak neighbour. Starting in 1968, Palestinian militants of various affiliations began to use southern Lebanon as a launching pad for attacks on Israel. Two of these attacks led to a watershed event in Lebanon's inchoate civil war. In July 1968, a faction of George Habash's Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine(PFLP) hijacked an Israeli El Alcivilian plane en route to Algiers; in December, Habash himself oversaw an attack on an El Al plane in Athens, resulting in two deaths.
Later that month, Israeli agents flew into Beirut's international airport and destroyed 13 civilian airliners belonging to various Arab carriers. Israel defended its actions by informing the Lebanese government that it was responsible for encouraging the PFLP. The retaliation, which was intended to encourage a Lebanese government crackdown on Palestinian militants, instead polarized Lebanese society on the Palestinian question, deepening the divide between pro- and anti-Palestinian factions, with the Muslims leading the former grouping and Maronites primarily constituting the latter. This dispute reflected increasing tensions between Christian and Muslim communities over the distribution of political power, and would ultimately foment the outbreak of civil war in 1975.
In the interim, while armed Lebanese forces under the Maronite-controlled government sparred with Palestinian fighters, Egyptian leader
Gamal Abd al-Nasserhelped to negotiate the 1969 " Cairo Agreement" between Arafat and the Lebanese government, which granted the PLO autonomy over Palestinian refugee camps and access routes to northern Israel in return for PLO recognition of Lebanese sovereignty. The agreement incited Maronite frustration over what were perceived as excessive concessions to the Palestinians, and pro-Maronite paramilitary groups were subsequently formed to fill the vacuum left by government forces, which were now required to leave the Palestinians alone. Notably, the Phalange, a Maronite militia, rose to prominence around this time, led by members of the Gemayel family. (Charles D. Smith, "Palestine and the Arab Israeli Conflict", pp. 310, 353.)
For its part, the PLO used its new privileges to establish an effective "mini-state" in southern Lebanon, and to ramp up its attacks on settlements in northern Israel. Compounding matters, Lebanon received an influx of armed Palestinian militants, including Arafat and his
Fatahmovement, fleeing the 1970 Jordanian crackdown. The PLO's "vicious terrorist attacks in Israel" (Noam Chomsky, "The Fateful Triangle", p. 184) dating from this period were countered by Israeli bombing raids in southern Lebanon, where "150 or more towns and villages...have been repeatedly savaged by the Israeli armed forces since 1968," of which the village of Khiyamis probably the best-known example ("Ibid.", p. 191, quoting "Guardian" correspondent Irene Beeson). Palestinian terror claimed 106 lives in northern Israel from 1967, according to official IDF statistics, while the Lebanese army had recorded "1.4 Israeli violations of Lebanese territory per day from 1968–74" ("Ibid.", p. 74, citing "Ha'aretz", June 22, 1982, and p. 191, citing "The New York Times", October 2, 1977.) Where Lebanon had no conflict with Israel during the period 1949–1968, after 1968 Lebanon's southern border began to experience an escalating cycle of attack and retaliation, leading to the chaos of the civil war, foreign invasions and international intervention. The consequences of the PLO's arrival in Lebanon continue to this day.
The Lebanese Civil War: 1975–1990
The Lebanese Civil War (1975–1990) had its origin in the conflicts and political compromises of
Lebanon's colonial period and was exacerbated by the nation's changing demographic trends, inter-religious strife, and proximity to Syria, the Palestine Liberation Organization, and Israel. By 1975, Palestinians in Lebanon numbered more than 300,000.
Events and political movements that contributed to Lebanon's violent implosion include, among others, the departure of European colonial powers, the emergence of
Arab Nationalism, Arab Socialismin the context of the Cold War, the Arab-Israeli Conflict, Ba'athism, the Iranian Revolution, Palestinian militants, Black September in Jordan, Islamic fundamentalism, and the Iran–Iraq War.
In all, it is estimated that more than 100,000 were killed, and another 100,000 handicapped by injuries, during Lebanon's 16-year war. Up to one-fifth of the pre-war resident population, or about 900,000 people, were displaced from their homes, of whom perhaps a quarter of a million emigrated permanently. Thousands of people lost limbs during many stages of planting of land-mines.
The War can be divided broadly into several periods: The initial outbreak in the mid-1970s, the Syrian and then Israeli intervention of the late 1970s, escalation of the PLO-Israeli conflict in the early 1980s, the 1982 Israeli invasion, a brief period of multinational involvement, and finally resolution which took the form of Syrian occupation.
Initial outbreak, 1975–76 and Syrian intervention
Constitutionally guaranteed Christian control of the government had come under increasing fire from Muslims and leftists, leading them to join forces as the National Movement in 1969, which called for the taking of a new census and the subsequent drafting of a new governmental structure that would reflect the census results. Political tension became military conflict, with full-scale civil war in April 1975. The Maronite leadership called for Syrian intervention in 1976, leading to the presence of Syrian troops in Lebanon, and an Arab summit in 1976 was called to stop the crisis.
PLO and Israeli conflict, Israeli intervention 1976–82
In the south, military exchanges between
Israeland the PLOled Israel to support Saad Haddad's South Lebanon Army(SLA) in an effort to establish a security belt along Israel's northern border, an effort which intensified in 1977 with the election of new Israeli prime minister Menachem Begin. Israel invaded Lebanon in response to Fatah attacks in Israel in March 1978, occupying most of the area south of the Litani River, and resulting in the evacuation of at least 100,000 Lebanese (Smith, "op. cit.", 356), as well as approximately 2,000 deaths ("Newsweek", March 27, 1978; "Time", April 3, 1978; cited in Chomsky, "Towards a New Cold War", p. 485 n115).
UN Security Councilpassed Resolution 425 calling for an immediate Israeli withdrawal and creating the UN Interim Force in Lebanon(UNIFIL), charged with maintaining peace. Israeli forces withdrew later in 1978, leaving an SLA-controlled border strip as a protective buffer against PLO cross-border attacks.
Concurrently, tension between Syria and
Phalangeincreased Israeli support for the Maronite group and led to direct Israeli-Syrian exchanges in April 1981, leading to American diplomatic intervention. Philip Habibwas dispatched to the region to head off further escalation, which he successfully did via an agreement concluded in May.
Intra-Palestinian fighting and PLO-Israeli conflict continued, and July 24, 1981, Habib brokered a cease-fire agreement with the PLO and Israel: the two sides agreed to cease hostilities in Lebanon proper and along the Israeli border with Lebanon.
Israeli invasion and international intervention: 1982–84
After continued PLO-Israeli exchanges, Israel invaded Lebanon on June 6 in Operation Peace for Galilee. By June 15, Israeli units were entrenched outside Beirut and
Yassir Arafatattempted through negotiations to evacuate the PLO. It is commonly estimated that during the entire campaign, approximately 20,000 were killed on all sides, including many civilians. A multinational force composed of U.S. Marines, French, Italian units arrived to ensure the departure of the PLO and protect defenseless civilians. Nearly 15,000 Palestinian militants were evacuated by September 1.
Bashir Gemayelagreed to send troops from his Phalange militia into camps to clear out 2,000 PLO fighters. On September 14, Gemayel was assassinated. Phalangists entered the camps on September 16 at 6:00 PM and remained until the morning of September 19, massacring 700–800 Palestinians, according to official Israeli statistics, "none apparently members of any PLO unit" (Smith, "op. cit.", 380-1). These are known as the Sabra and Shatila massacres. Amine Gemayelsucceeded his brother and focused on securing the withdrawal of Israeli and Syrian forces. A May 17, 1983, agreement among Lebanon, Israel, and the United States arranged an Israeli withdrawal conditional on the departure of Syrian troops. Syria opposed the agreement and declined to discuss the withdrawal of its troops, effectively stalemating further progress.
In 1983 the IDF withdrew southward, and would remain only in the "security zone" until the year 2000.
Intense attacks against U.S. and Western interests, including two truck bombings of the US Embassy in 1983 and 1984 and the landmark attacks on the U.S. Marine and French parachute regiment barracks on October 23, 1983, led to an American withdrawal, while the virtual collapse of the Lebanese Army in February 1984 was a major blow to the government. On March 5 the Lebanese Government canceled the
May 17agreement and the Marines departed a few weeks later.
Assassination of Bachir el Gemayel
Israeli forces invaded Lebanon in 1982. Although Gemayel did not cooperate with the Israelis publicly, his long history of tactical collaboration with Israel counted against him in the eyes of many Lebanese, especially Muslims. Although the only announced candidate for the presidency of the republic, the National Assembly elected him by the second narrowest margin in Lebanese history (57 votes out of 92) on August 23, 1982; most Muslim members of the Assembly boycotted the vote. Nine days before he was due to take office, Gemayel was assassinated along with twenty-five others in an explosion at the Kataeb headquarters in Achrafieh on September 14, 1982. Bachir Gemayel was succeeded as president by his older brother Amine Gemayel, who served from 1982 to 1988. Rather different in temperament, Amine Gemayel was widely regarded as lacking the charisma and decisiveness of his brother, and many of the latter's followers were dissatisfied.
Habib Tanious Shartouni, a member of the pro-Damascus Syrian Social Nationalist Party, confessed to the crime, was apprehended and handed to Amine Gemayel. He escaped but was captured again a few hours later and handed over to Lebanon's justice system. He was imprisoned in the Roumieh prison. He was released from Roumieh in October 1990 in the post-war amnesty.
Worsening conflict and political crisis: 1985–89
Between 1985 and 1989, heavy fighting took place in the "
War of the Camps." The Shi'a MuslimAmal militia sought to rout the Palestinians from Lebanese strongholds.
Combat returned to Beirut in 1987, with Palestinians, leftists, and Druze fighters allied against Amal, eventually drawing further Syrian intervention. Violent confrontation flared up again in Beirut in 1988 between Amal and
Meanwhile, on the political front, Prime Minister
Rashid Karami, head of a government of national unity set up after the failed peace efforts of 1984, was assassinated on June 1, 1987. President Gemayel's term of office expired in September 1988. Before stepping down, he appointed another Maronite Christian, Lebanese Armed Forces Commanding General Michel Aoun, as acting Prime Minister, as was his right under the Lebanese constitution of 1943. This action was highly controversial.
Muslim groups rejected the move and pledged support to
Selim al-Hoss, a Sunni who had succeeded Karami. Lebanon was thus divided between a Christian government in East Beirut and a Muslim government in West Beirut, with no President.
In February 1989, General Aoun launched the "Harb El Tahrir", a war against the Syrian Armed Forces in Lebanon. He did not receive aid or support from any other Lebanese group or militia, except the
Lebanese Forces(who were to later side with the Syrian regime against Aoun). In October 1990, the Syrian air force, backed by the US and pro-Syrian Lebanese groups (including Hariri, Joumblatt, Berri, Geagea and Lahoud) attacked the Presidential Palace at B'abda and forced Aoun to take refuge in the French embassy in Beirut and later go into exile in Paris. October 13, 1990 is regarded as the date the civil war ended, and Syria is widely recognized as playing a critical role in its end. [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/country_profiles/819200.stm]
End of the Civil War: 1989–91
Taif Agreementof 1989 marked the beginning of the end of the war, and was ratified on November 4. President Rene Mouawadwas elected the following day, but was assassinated in a car bombing in Beirut on November 22 as his motorcade returned from Lebanese independence day ceremonies. He was succeeded by Elias Hrawi, who remained in office until 1998.
In August 1990, the parliament and the new president agreed on constitutional amendments embodying some of the political reforms envisioned at Taif. The National Assembly expanded to 128 seats and was divided equally between Christians and Muslims. In March 1991, parliament passed an amnesty law that pardoned most political crimes prior to its enactment, excepting crimes perpetrated against foreign diplomats or certain crimes referred by the cabinet to the Higher Judicial Council.
In May 1991, the militias (with the important exception of Hizballah) were dissolved, and the Lebanese Armed Forces began to slowly rebuild themselves as Lebanon's only major non-sectarian institution.
Some violence still occurred. In late December 1991 a car bomb (estimated to carry 100 kg (220 pounds) of TNT) exploded in the Muslim neighborhood of
Basta. At least thirty people were killed, and 120 wounded, including former Prime Minister Shafik Wazzan, who was riding in a bulletproof car. It was the deadliest car bombing in Lebanon since June 18, 1985, when an explosion in the northern Lebanese port of Tripoli killed sixty people and wounded 110.
The last of the Westerners kidnapped by Hezbollah during the mid-1980s were released in May 1992.
Postwar reconstruction: 1992 to July 2006
Since the end of the war, the Lebanese have conducted several elections, most of the militias have been weakened or disbanded, and the
Lebanese Armed Forces(LAF) have extended central government authority over about two-thirds of the country. Only Hezbollah retained its weapons, and was supported by Lebanon's parliament in doing so, because it was defending Lebanon against the ongoing Israeli occupation of almost one-quarter of the country. That occupation finally ended in 2000.
Postwar social and political instability, fueled by economic uncertainty and the collapse of the Lebanese currency, led to the resignation of Prime Minister
Omar Karami, also in May 1992, after less than 2 years in office. He was replaced by former Prime Minister Rashid al Sulh, who was widely viewed as a caretaker to oversee Lebanon's first parliamentary elections in 20 years.
By early November 1992, a new parliament had been elected, and Prime Minister
Rafiq Haririhad formed a cabinet, retaining for himself the finance portfolio. The formation of a government headed by a successful billionaire businessman was widely seen as a sign that Lebanon would make a priority of rebuilding the country and reviving the economy. Solidere, a private real estate company set up to rebuild downtown Beirut, was a symbol of Hariri's strategy to link economic recovery to private sector investment. After the election of then-commander of the Lebanese Armed Forces Émile Lahoudas President in 1998 following Hrawi's extended term as President, Salim al-Hossagain served as Prime Minister. Hariri returned to office as Prime Minister in November 2000. Although problems with basic infrastructure and government services persist, and Lebanon is now highly indebted, much of the civil war damage has been repaired throughout the country, and many foreign investors and tourists have returned.
If Lebanon has in part recovered over the past decade from the catastrophic damage to infrastructure of its long civil war, the social and political divisions that gave rise to and sustained that conflict remain largely unresolved. Parliamentary and more recently municipal elections have been held with fewer irregularities and more popular participation than in the immediate aftermath of the conflict, and Lebanese civil society generally enjoys significantly more freedoms than elsewhere in the Arab world. However, there are continuing sectarian tensions and unease about Syrian and other external influences.
In the late 1990s, the government took action against Sunni Muslim extremists in the north who had attacked its soldiers, and it continues to move against groups such as Asbat al-Ansar, which has been accused of being partnered with
Osama bin Laden's al-Qaidanetwork. On January 24, 2002, Elie Hobeika, another former Lebanese Forces figure associated with the Sabra and Shatilla massacres who later served in three cabinets and the parliament, was assassinated in a car bombing in Beirut.
Syrian military presence
During Lebanon's civil war, Syria's troop deployment in Lebanon was legitimized by the Lebanese Parliament in the
Taif Agreement, supported by the Arab League, and is given a major share of the credit for finally bringing the civil war to an end in October 1990. In the ensuing fifteen years, Damascus and Beirut justified Syria's continued military presence in Lebanon by citing the continued weakness of a Lebanese armed forces faced with both internal and external security threats, and the agreement with the Lebanese Government to implement all of the constitutional reforms in the Taif Agreement. Under Taif, the Hezbollahmilitia was eventually to be dismantled, and the LAF allowed to deploy along the border with Israel. Lebanon was called on to deploy along its southern border by , urged to do so by UN Resolution , and deployment was demanded by UN Security Council Resolution 1559. The Syrian military and intelligence presence in Lebanon was criticised by some on Lebanon's right-wing inside and outside of the country, others believed it helped to prevent renewed civil war and discourage Israeli aggression, and others believed its presence and influence was helpful for Lebanese stability and peace but should be scaled back. [http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/D1460459-D7F5-490B-8622-380ED8282B85.htm] Major powers United Statesand Francerejected Syrian reasoning that they were in Lebanon by the consent of the Lebanese government. They insist that the latter had been co-opted and that in fact Lebanon's Government was a Syrian puppet [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/1280579.stm] .
Up to 2005, 14-15,000
Syrian troops (down from 35,000) [http://hir.harvard.edu/articles/1408/] remained in position in many areas of Lebanon, although the Taif called for an agreement between the Syrian and Lebanese Governments by September 1992 on their redeployment to Lebanon's Bekaa Valley. Syria's refusal to exit Lebanon following Israel's 2000 withdrawal from south Lebanon first raised criticism among the Lebanese MaroniteChristians [http://dailystar.com.lb/article.asp?edition_id=1&categ_id=2&article_id=7981] and Druze, who were later joined by many of Lebanon's Sunni Muslims. [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/4212973.stm] ) Lebanon's Shiites, on the other hand, have long supported the Syrian presence, as has the Hezbollah militia group and political party.The U.S. began applying pressure on Syria to end its occupation and cease interfering with internal Lebanese matters [http://www.lebanonwire.com/0405/nnt040502.htm] . In 2004, many believe Syria pressured Lebanese MPs to back a constitutional amendment to revise term limitations and allow Lebanon's two term pro-Syrian president Émile Lahoudto run for a third time. France, Germanyand the United Kingdom, along with many Lebanese politicians joined the U.S. in denouncing alleged Syria's interference [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/3608046.stm] .On September 2, 2004, the UN Security Counciladopted UN Security Council Resolution 1559, authored by France and the U.S. in an uncommon show of cooperation. The resolution called "upon all remaining foreign forces to withdraw from Lebanon" and "for the disbanding and disarmament of all Lebanese and non-Lebanese militias".
May 25, 2000, Israelcompleted its withdrawal from the south of Lebanon in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 425[http://domino.un.org/UNISPAL.NSF/d744b47860e5c97e85256c40005d01d6/e25dae8e3ce54fb5852560e50079c708!OpenDocument] . A 50 square kilometer piece of Lebanese mountain terrain, commonly referred to as the Shebaa Farms, remains under the control of Israel. The UN has certified Israel's pullout [http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2000/20000618.sc6878.doc.html] , and regards the Shebaa Farms as occupied Syrian territory, while Lebanon and Syria have stated they regard the area as Lebanese territory. [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/763504.stm] The January 20, 2005, UN Secretary-General's report on Lebanon stated: "The continually asserted position of the Government of Lebanon that the Blue Line is not valid in the Shab'a farms area is not compatible with Security Council resolutions. The Council has recognized the Blue Line as valid for purposes of confirming Israel's withdrawal pursuant to resolution 425 (1978). The Government of Lebanon should heed the Council's repeated calls for the parties to respect the Blue Line in its entirety." [http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2005/sc8299.doc.htm]
In Resolution 425, the UN had set a goal of assisting the Lebanese government in a "return of its effective authority in the area", which would require an official Lebanese army presence there. Further,
UN Security Council Resolution 1559requires the dismantling of the Hezbollahmilitia. Yet, Hezbollah remains deployed along the Blue Line [http://www.un.org/News/ossg/sgcu0500.htm] . Both Hezbollah and Israel have violated the Blue Line more than once, according to the UN [http://www.un.org/apps/sg/offthecuff.asp?nid=202] [http://domino.un.org/UNISPAL.NSF/22f431edb91c6f548525678a0051be1d/bb095796d02d589785256b910058cc00!OpenDocument] . The most common pattern of violence have been border incursions by the Hezbollah into the Shebaa Farms area, and then Israeli air strikes into southern Lebanon. [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/3414431.stm] The UN Secretary-General has urged "all governments that have influence on Hezbollah to deter it from any further actions which could increase the tension in the area" [http://www.un.org/apps/sg/sgstats.asp?nid=449] . Staffan de Misura, Personal Representative of the Secretary-General for Southern Lebanon stated that he was "deeply concerned that air violations by Israel across the Blue Line during altercations with Hezbollah are continuing to take place" [http://www.escwa.org.lb/information/press/un/2003/feb/3_2.html] , calling "upon the Israeli authorities to cease such violations and to fully respect the Blue Line" [http://www.escwa.org.lb/information/press/un/2002/jan/02.html] . In 2001 de Misura similarly expressed his concern to Lebanon's prime minister for allowing Hezbollah to violate the Blue Line, saying it was a "clear infringement" of UN Resolution 425, under which the UN certified Israel's withdrawal from south Lebanon as complete [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/1279456.stm] . On January 28, 2005, UN Security Council Resolution 1583called upon the Government of Lebanon to fully extend and exercise its sole and effective authority throughout the south, including through the deployment of sufficient numbers of Lebanese armed and security forces, to ensure a calm environment throughout the area, including along the Blue Line, and to exert control over the use of force on its territory and from it. [http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2005/sc8299.doc.htm] On January 23, 2006The UN Security Council called on the Government of Lebanon to make more progress in controlling its territory and disbanding militias, while also calling on Syria to cooperate with those efforts. In a statement read out by its January President, Augustine Mahigaof Tanzania, the Council also called on Syria to take measures to stop movements of arms and personnel into Lebanon [http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=17263&Cr=middle&Cr1=leban] .
2004 Amendments to the Constitution
September 3 2004, the National Assemblyvoted 96–29 to amend the constitution to allow the pro-Syrian president, Émile Lahoud, three more years in office by extending a statute of limitationsto nine years. Many regarded this as a second time Syria had pressured Lebanon's Parliament to amend the constitution in a way that favored Lahoud (the first allowing for his election in 1998 immediately after he had resigned as commander-in-chief of the LAF.) [PDFlink| [http://www.carnegieendowment.org/files/PO14.Choucair.FINAL.pdf Lebanon’s New Political Moment] |117 KiB a study from Carnegie Endowment] Three cabinet ministers were absent from the vote and later resigned. The USA charged that Syria exercised pressure against the National Assembly to amend the constitution, and many of the Lebanese rejected it, saying that it was considered as contradictive to the constitution and its principles. [ [http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/2004/707/re1.htm The limits of loyalty] from Al-Aharamweekly.com, retrieved at April 2, 2007.] Including these is the Maronite Patriarch Mar Nasrallah Boutros Sfeir – the most eminent religious figure for Maronites – and the Druzeleader Walid Jumblatt.
To the surprise of many, Prime Minister
Rafiq Hariri, who had vehemently opposed this amendment, appeared to have finally accepted it, and so did most of his party. However, he ended up resigning in protest against the amendment. He was assassinated soon afterwards (see below), triggering the Cedar Revolution. This amendment comes in discordance with the UN Security Council Resolution 1559, which called for a new presidential election in Lebanon.
On October 1
2004, one of the main dissenting voices to Émile Lahoud's term extension, the newly resigned Druzeex-minister Marwan Hamadehwas the target of a car bomb attack as his vehicle slowed to enter his Beiruthome. Mr. Hamadeh and his bodyguard were wounded and his driver killed in the attack. Druze leader Walid Jumblattappealed for calm, but said the car bomb was a clear message for the opposition. [ The quote is: "The police state ... has proven its efficiency in targeting one of the symbols of the nation... ", see [http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/2004/711/re4.htm Lebanon at the crossroads] , Al-AharamWeekly, retrieved at April 2, 2007] UN Secretary General Kofi Annanexpressed his serious concern over the attack [http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2004/sgsm9515.doc.htm] .
October 7 2004, UN Secretary General Kofi Annanreported to the Security Council that Syria had failed to withdraw its forces from Lebanon. Mr. Annan concluded his report saying that "It is time, 14 years after the end of hostilities and four years after the Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon, for all parties concerned to set aside the remaining vestiges of the past. The withdrawal of foreign forces and the disbandment and disarmament of militias would, with finality, end that sad chapter of Lebanese history." [http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=12147&Cr=lebanon&Cr1=] .
October 19 2004, following the UN Secretary General's report, the UN Security Council voted unanimously (meaning that it received the backing of Algeria, the only Arab member of the Security Council) to put out a statement calling on Syria to pull its troops out of Lebanon, in accordance with Resolution 1559 [http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=12263&Cr=lebanon&Cr1=syria] .
Assassination of Hariri, 2005
October 20 2004, Prime Minister Rafiq Haririresigned; the next day former Prime Minister and loyal supporter of Syria Omar Karamiwas appointed Prime Minister [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/3763120.stm] . On February 14, 2005, former Prime Minister Hariri was assassinated in a car-bomb attack which killed 16 and wounded 100. This was a second car-bomb assassination of a Lebanese Parliament member that opposed Syria in a four month period. On February 212005, tens of thousand Lebanese protestors held a rally at the site of the assassination calling for the withdrawal of Syria's peacekeeping forces and blaming Syria and the pro-Syrian president Lahoud for the murder [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/4283543.stm] .
Hariri's murder triggered increased international pressure on Syria. In a joint statement U.S. President Bush and French president Chirac condemned the killing and called for full implementation of UNSCR 1559. UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan announced that he was sending a team led by Ireland's deputy police commissioner,
Peter Fitzgerald, to investigate the assassination [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/4279593.stm] . And while Arab Leaguehead Amr Moussadeclared that Syrian president Assad promised him a phased withdrawal over a two year period, the Syrian Information Minister Mahdi Dakhlallahsaid Mr Moussa had misunderstood the Syrian leader. Mr Dakhlallah said that Syria will merely move its troops to eastern Lebanon.
Local Lebanese pressure mounted as well. As daily protests against the Syrian occupation grew to 25,000, a series of dramatic events occurred. Massive protests such as these have been quite uncommon in the Arab world, and while in the 90s most anti-Syrian demonstrators were predominantly Christian, the new demonstrations were Christian and Sunni [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/4315223.stm] . On
February 28the government of pro-Syrian Prime Minister Omar Karamiresigned, calling for a new election to take place. Mr Karami said in his announcement: "I am keen the government will not be a hurdle in front of those who want the good for this country." The tens of thousands gathered at Beirut's Martyrs' Square cheered the announcement, then chanted "Karami has fallen, your turn will come, Lahoud, and yours, Bashar" [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/4305927.stm] . Opposition MPs were also not satisfied with Karami's resignation, and kept pressing for full Syrian withdrawal. Former minister and MP Marwan Hamadeh, who survived a similar car bomb attack on October 1, 2004, said "I accuse this government of incitement, negligence and shortcomings at the least, and of covering up its planning at the most... if not executing". Two days later Syrian leader Bashar Assadannounced that his troops will leave Lebanon completely "in the next few months". Responding to the announcement, opposition leader Walid Jumblatt said that he wanted to hear more specifics from Damascus about any withdrawal: "It's a nice gesture but 'next few months' is quite vague – we need a clear-cut timetable" [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/4310699.stm] .
March 3 Russia, Syria's Cold Warally, and Germanyhad joined those calling for Syria to comply with UNSCR 1559. German Chancellor Gerhard Schrödersaid: "Lebanon should be given an opportunity for sovereignty and development and this can only be achieved by complying with Security Council resolutions that stipulate immediate Syrian withdrawal from Lebanon." [http://www.dailystar.com.lb/article.asp?edition_id=1&categ_id=2&article_id=13156] . The Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, stated that "Syria should withdraw from Lebanon, but we all have to make sure that this withdrawal does not violate the very fragile balance which we still have in Lebanon, which is a very difficult country ethnically" [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/4315107.stm] .
Arab states have also joined in with the withdrawal demands. As Al-Assad arrived in
Saudi Arabiafor emergency consultation with Crown Prince Abdullah bin Abdel-Aziz, Assad was told in no uncertain terms that Syria must comply with UN Security Council demands immediately. It was reported that Assad offered to remove most of the 15,000 troops Syria has stationed in Lebanon during the talks, but insisted on leaving a force of 3,000 in the country [http://www.dailystar.com.lb/article.asp?edition_id=1&categ_id=2&article_id=13156] . The Saudis also rejected a Syrian plea that an Arab summit, due to take place on March 23 in Algeria, should officially ask Syria to withdraw, giving the pullback an Arab endorsement as envisaged in the 1989 Taif Agreement, rather than making it conditional on UNSCR 1559. Algerian Foreign Minister Abdel-Aziz Belkhadem discussed the consensus ahead of the summit, stating that "we all agreed to demand the implementation of the Taif Accord with respect to international legitimacy."
On March 5 Syrian leader Assad declared in a televised speech that Syria would withdraw its forces to the
Bekaa valleyin eastern Lebanon, and then to the border between Syria and Lebanon. Assad did not provide a timetable for a complete withdrawal of Syrian forces from Lebanon – 14,000 soldiers and intelligence agents [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/4322477.stm] . Meanwhile, Hezbollah leader Nasrallah called for a "massive popular gathering" on Tuesday against UN Resolution 1559 saying "The resistance will not give up its arms ... because Lebanon needs the resistance to defend it", and added "all the articles of UN resolution give free services to the Israeli enemy who should have been made accountable for his crimes and now finds that he is being rewarded for his crimes and achieves all its demands" [http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&ncid=721&e=1&u=/nm/20050306/wl_nm/lebanon_hizbollah_dc] .In opposition to Nasrallah's call, Monday, March 7 saw at least 70,000 people – with some estimates putting the number at twice as high – gathered at central Martyrs' Square to demand that Syria leave completely [http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&e=1&u=/ap/20050307/ap_on_re_mi_ea/syria_lebanon] .
The following day a pro-Syrian demonstration set a new record when Hezbollah amassed 400–500 thousand protestors at Riad Solh square in Beirut, most of them bussed in from the heavily Shi'ite south Lebanon and eastern Beka'a valley. The show of power demonstrated Hezbollah's influence, wealth and organization as the sole Lebanese party allowed to hold a militia by Syria. In his speech Nasrallah blasted UN Security-Council Resolution 1559, which calls for Hezbollah's militia to be disbanded, as foreign intervention. Nasrallah also reiterated his earlier calls for the destruction of Israel saying "To this enemy we say again: There is no place for you here and there is no life for you among us. Death to Israel!". Though Hezbollah organized a very successful rally, opposition leaders were quick to point out that Hezbollah had active support from Lebanon's government and Syria. While the pro-democracy rallies had to deal with road blocks forcing protestors to either turn back or march long distances to Martyr's Square, Hezbollah was able to bus people directly to Riad Solh square. Dory Chamoun, an opposition leader, pointed out that "the difference is that in our demonstrations, people arrive voluntarily and on foot, not in buses". Another opposition member said the pro-Syrian government pressured people to turn out and some reports said Syria had bused in people from across the border. But on a mountain road leading to Beirut, only one bus with a Syrian license plate was spotted in a convoy of pro-Syrian supporters heading to the capital and Hezbollah officials denied the charges [http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&e=3&u=/ap/20050309/ap_on_re_mi_ea/lebanon_syria] . Opposition MP
Akram Chehayebsaid "That is where the difference between us and them lies: They asked these people to come and they brought them here, whereas the opposition's supporters come here on their own. Our protests are spontaneous. We have a cause. What is theirs?" [http://www.dailystar.com.lb/article.asp?edition_id=1&categ_id=2&article_id=13261] .
After weeks of international and local pressure it appeared that a UN showdown was on its way. A meeting between UN special envoy
Terje Roed-Larsenand Syrian leader Assad was scheduled for March 12. Roed-Larsen preceded the meeting by consulting with Egypt, Jordan, Arab League chief Amr Mousa, and Lebanon. Roed-Larsen was expected to deliver an ultimatum to Assad over compliance with UNSCR 1559. This included compliance with honoring Lebanon's sovereignty; not undermining its upcoming legislative elections; providing a complete timeline for a full pullout of troops. A phased withdrawal, or "sequencing" would be accepted, but must be expeditious; providing a timeline for the withdrawal of some 5,000 Syrian intelligence agents in Lebanon; Finally, disarming and dismantling foreign and domestic Syrian-supported militias in Lebanon [http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/afp/20050311/wl_mideast_afp/uslebanonsyriaunultimatum_050311084853] . Supporting Roed-Larsen's mission, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, speaking after talks with Lebanese opposition leader Walid Jumblatt, said Russia was keeping a close eye on Syrian troop movements and that Syria's intelligence services should also pull out [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/4340493.stm] .
One month after Hariri's murder, an enormous anti-Syrian rally gathered at Martyr's Square in Beirut. Multiple news agencies estimated the crowd at between 800,000 and 1 million – a show of force for the Sunni, Christian and Druze communities. The rally was double the size of the mostly Shi'ite pro-Syrian one organized by Hezbollah the previous week [http://www.nytimes.com/2005/03/15/international/middleeast/15lebanon.html] . When Hariri's sister took a pro-Syrian line saying that Lebanon should "stand by Syria until its land is liberated and it regains its sovereignty on the [Israeli-] occupied Golan Heights" the crowd jeered her [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/4346613.stm] . This sentiment was prevalent among the rally participants who opposed Hezbollah's refusal to disarm based on the claim that Lebanese and Syrian interests are linked [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/4348129.stm] .
Withdrawal of Syrian troops
2005 Lebanon bombings"
Jamil Sayyed, a Syrian ally in the Lebanese security forces, resigned on Monday, April 25, just a day before the final Syrian troops pulled out of Lebanon.
On April 26, 2005, the last 250 Syrian troops left Lebanon. During the departure ceremonies, Gen. Ali Habib, Syria's chief of staff, said that Syria's president had decided to recall his troops after the Lebanese army had been "rebuilt on sound national foundations and became capable of protecting the state."
UN forces led by Senegalese Brig. Gen. Mouhamadou Kandji were sent to Lebanon to verify the military withdrawal which was mandated by Security Council resolution 1559.
Following the Syrian withdrawal a series of assassinations of Lebanese politicians and journalists with the anti-Syrian camp had begun. Over nine bombings have occurred to date and have triggered condemnations from the UN Security Council and UN Secretary General [http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=16905&Cr=middle&Cr1=leban] .
Amnesty for Samir Geagea
Parliament voted for the release of the former
Lebanese Forceswarlord Samir Geageain the first session since election were held in the spring of 2005. Geagea was the only leader during the civil war to be charged with crimes related to that conflict. With the return of Michel Aoun, the climate was right to try to heal wounds to help unite the country after former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri was assassinated on February 14, 2005. Geagea was released on July 26, 2005and left immediately for an undisclosed European nation to undergo medical examinations and convalesce.
Hariri Assassination Investigations
Eight months after Syria withdrew from Lebanon under intense domestic and international outrage over the assassination of Lebanese prime minister Rafiq Hariri the UN investigation has yet to be completed. While UN investigator
Detlev Mehlishas pointed the finger at Syria's intelligence apparatus in Lebanon he has yet to be allowed full access to Syrian officials who are suspected by the UN International Independent Investigation Commission ( UNIIIC) as being behind the assassination [http://www.un.org/Docs/journal/asp/ws.asp?m=S/2005/775] . In its latest report UNIIIC said it had "credible information" that Syrian officials had arrested and threatened close relatives of a witness who recanted testimony he had previously given the Commission, and that two Syrian suspects it questioned indicated that all Syrian intelligence documents on Lebanon had been burned [http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=16952&Cr=Middle&Cr1=Leban] .A campaign of bomb attacks against politicians, journalists and even civilian neighborhoods associated with the anti-Syrian camp has provoked much negative attention for Syria in the UN [http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=16905&Cr=middle&Cr1=leban] and elsewhere.On December 15, 2005 the UN Security Council extended the mandate of the UNIIIC.
December 28, 2005 Lebanese newspaper An-Nahar said it had received a statement signed by "The Strugglers for the Unity and Freedom in al-Sham," the group that claimed responsibility for the death of its former editor Gibran Tueniwith a car bomb on December 12. The statement said outgoing UNIIIC chairman Mehlis was lucky to escape death and threatened any new chairman with assassination if he too implicated Syria [http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20051228/ap_on_re_mi_ea/lebanon;_ylt=An.v6OlZ1vUFABXmXy4kEqpvaA8F;_ylu=X3oDMTA5aHJvMDdwBHNlYwN5bmNhdA--] .
December 30, 2005 Syria's former Vice-President, Abdul Halim Khaddam, said that "Hariri received many threats" from Syria's President Bashar Al-Assad [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/4570652.stm] . Prior to Syria's withdrawal from Lebanon Mr Khaddam was in charge of Syria's Lebanon policy and mainly responsible for Syria's abuse of Lebanon's resources. Many believe that Khaddam seized the opportunity to clear his history of corruption and blackmail.
During the Cedar Revolution
Hezbollahorganized a series of pro-Syrian rallies. Hezbollah became a part of the Lebanese government following the 2005 elections but is at a crossroads regarding UNSCR 1559's call for its militia to be dismantled. On November 21, 2005Hezbollah launched an attack along the entire border with Israel, the heaviest in the five and a half years since Israel's withdrawal. The barrage was supposed to provide tactical cover for an attempt by a squad of Hezbollah special forces to abduct Israeli troops in the Israeli side of the village of Al-Ghajar[http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/pages/ShArt.jhtml?itemNo=648271&contrassID=1&subContrassID=5] . The attack failed when an ambush by the IDF Paratrooperskilled 4 Hezbollah members and scattered the rest [http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/objects/pages/PrintArticleEn.jhtml?itemNo=648771] . The UN Security Council accused Hezbollah of initiating the hostilities [http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=16671&Cr=middle&Cr1=east] .On December 27, 2005Katyusha rockets fired from Hezbollah territory smashed into houses in the Israeli village of Kiryat Shmonawounding three people [http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20051228/wl_nm/mideast_attack_dc_6] . UN Secretary General Kofi Annan called on the Lebanese Government "to extend its control over all its territory, to exert its monopoly on the use of force, and to put an end to all such attacks" [http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=17049&Cr=Middle&Cr1=Lebanon] . Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Sanioradenounced the attack as "aimed at destabilizing security and diverting attention from efforts exerted to solve the internal issues prevailing in the country" [http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/663101.html] . On December 30, 2005the Lebanese army dismantled two other Katyusha rockets found in the border town of Naqoura, an action suggesting increased vigilance following PM Saniora's angry remarks. In a new statement Saniora also rejected claims by Al-Qaeda that it was responsible for the attack and insisted again that it was a domestic action challenging his government's authority. [http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/664445.html] .
2006 Lebanon War
Events after the 2006 Lebanon War
An explosion was heard in one of
Beirut's Muslimsections on 21 May 2007. [http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2007/05/21/africa/ME-GEN-Lebanon-Explosion.php]
In May 2007, militants in the
Nahr al Bared Palestinian refugeecamp outside of Tripoli, allied with Al Qaedabegan a struggle against government forces located outside of the camp. The violence shook the country and a wave of car bombings, including one in Verdunin Beirut, followed. The violence ended early in September 2007, with the fall of the camp to the Army. There had been no ripple effect across the country, but despite this containment the violence had been the worst to shake Lebanon since the Lebanese Civil War.
In May 2008, fighting broke out in
Beirutafter the government attempted to disable Hezbollah's private communications network. [http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/09/world/middleeast/09lebanon.html?ex=1367985600&en=27fbc7f2741a0ae2&ei=5124&partner=permalink&exprod=permalink]
Lebanese Civil War
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* [http://www.democracyinlebanon.org The Center for Democracy in Lebanon]
* [http://tyros.leb.net/ Lebanon, the Cedars' Land] The historic and touristic cities of Lebanon
* [http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/664445.html Lebanese army sappers defuse rockets intended for Israel] AP, December 30, 2005
* [http://www.defense-update.com/2005/12/al-ghajar-village-flashpoint.html Al-Ghajar Village Flashpoint] Defense Update, December 5, 2005
* [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/4348129.stm Who's who in Lebanon] BBC, March 14, 2005
* [http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/ap/20050314/ap_on_re_mi_ea/lebanon_syria_rallies_1 A Look at Mass Rallies Held in Lebanon] AP, March 14, 2005
* [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/4315223.stm Lebanon finds unity in street rallies] BBC, March 3, 2005
* [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/4311621.stm Lebanese groups stand up to Syria] BBC, March 2, 2005
* [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/4308823.stm Q&A: Syria's involvement in Lebanon] BBC, March 1, 2005
* [http://www.dailystar.com.lb/article.asp?edition_id=1&categ_id=2&article_id=12684 Opposition accuses Syria of assassination] Daily Star, February 15, 2005
* [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/country_profiles/819200.stm Timeline: Lebanon A chronology of key events] -BBC News February 14, 2005
* [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/4263893.stm Explosion kills former Lebanon PM] BBC, February 14, 2005
* [http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/533433.html UN rebukes Lebanon over Har Dov] Reuters, January 29, 2005
* [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/3757260.stm UN urges Syria to leave Lebanon] BBC, October 19, 2004
* [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/3734576.stm Lebanon 'split' over Assad tirade] BBC, October 11, 2004
* [http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=12147&Cr=lebanon&Cr1= Syria has not withdrawn troops from Lebanon, Annan reports] UN News Centre, October 7, 2004
* [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/3708910.stm Syria 'refusing to leave Lebanon'] BBC, October 2, 2004
* [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/3706158.stm Ex-minister hurt in Beirut blast] BBC, October 1, 2004
* [http://www.globalpolicy.org/security/issues/lebanon/2004/0914lcard.htm Hizballah and Syria's "Lebanese Card"] Nicholas Blanford, Middle East Online Report, September 14, 2004
* [http://cnews.canoe.ca/CNEWS/World/2004/09/13/628067-ap.html In rare move, Gulf ministers urge Syria to withdraw troops from Lebanon] CNews, September 13, 2004
* [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/3630054.stm Syria feels squeeze over Lebanon] Kim Ghattas, BBC, September 5, 2004
* [http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2004/sc8181.doc.htm UN Press Release SC/8181] UN, September 2, 2004
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* [http://dailystar.com.lb/article.asp?edition_id=1&categ_id=2&article_id=7981 Maronite archbishops slam corruption, Syrian role] Daily Star, September 2, 2004
* [http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/afp/20040901/wl_mideast_afp/un_syria_lebanon_040901185248 US draft resolution at UN demands respect for Lebanon's sovereignty] , AFP, September 2, 2004
* [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/3622260.stm UN vote due on Syria resolution] BBC, September 2, 2004
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* [http://www.merip.org/mero/mero081302.html Thirteen-Year Itch - The Demise of Lebanon's Taif Agreement?] Middle East Report, August 13, 2002
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* [http://users.ox.ac.uk/%7Eshehadi/contents.htm Center for Lebanese Study] -Oxford University
* [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/country_profiles/791071.stm Country Profile: Lebanon] -BBC News
* [http://www.chomsky.info/books/fateful01.htm War is Peace] Noam Chomsky, excerpts from "The Fateful Triangle" on The Israeli invasion of Lebanon, 1983
* [http://www.chomsky.info/articles/19960423.htm Israel, Lebanon, and the "Peace Process"] Noam Chomsky, April 23, 1996
* [http://www.chomsky.info/articles/199309--.htm "Limited War" in Lebanon] Noam Chomsky September, 1993
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