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Lebanese Civil War

Lebanese Civil War

Overview
The Lebanese Civil War was a multifaceted civil war
Civil war
A civil war is a war between organized groups within the same nation state or republic, or, less commonly, between two countries created from a formerly-united nation state....

 in Lebanon
Lebanon
Lebanon , officially the Republic of LebanonRepublic of Lebanon is the most common term used by Lebanese government agencies. The term Lebanese Republic, a literal translation of the official Arabic and French names that is not used in today's world. Arabic is the most common language spoken among...

. The war lasted from 1975 to 1990 and resulted in an estimated 150,000 to 230,000 civilian fatalities. Another one million people (a quarter of the population) were wounded, and today approximately 350,000 people remain displaced. There was also a mass exodus
Emigration
Emigration is the act of leaving one's country or region to settle in another. It is the same as immigration but from the perspective of the country of origin. Human movement before the establishment of political boundaries or within one state is termed migration. There are many reasons why people...

 of almost one million people from Lebanon. The Post-war occupation of the country by Syria
Syria
Syria , officially the Syrian Arab Republic , is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the West, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest....

 was particularly politically disadvantageous to the Christian population as most of their leadership was driven into exile
Exile
Exile means to be away from one's home , while either being explicitly refused permission to return and/or being threatened with imprisonment or death upon return...

, or had been assassinated or jail
Jail
A jail is a short-term detention facility in the United States and Canada.Jail may also refer to:In entertainment:*Jail , a 1966 Malayalam movie*Jail , a 2009 Bollywood movie...

ed.

There is no consensus among scholars and researchers on what triggered the Lebanese Civil War.
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Encyclopedia
The Lebanese Civil War was a multifaceted civil war
Civil war
A civil war is a war between organized groups within the same nation state or republic, or, less commonly, between two countries created from a formerly-united nation state....

 in Lebanon
Lebanon
Lebanon , officially the Republic of LebanonRepublic of Lebanon is the most common term used by Lebanese government agencies. The term Lebanese Republic, a literal translation of the official Arabic and French names that is not used in today's world. Arabic is the most common language spoken among...

. The war lasted from 1975 to 1990 and resulted in an estimated 150,000 to 230,000 civilian fatalities. Another one million people (a quarter of the population) were wounded, and today approximately 350,000 people remain displaced. There was also a mass exodus
Emigration
Emigration is the act of leaving one's country or region to settle in another. It is the same as immigration but from the perspective of the country of origin. Human movement before the establishment of political boundaries or within one state is termed migration. There are many reasons why people...

 of almost one million people from Lebanon. The Post-war occupation of the country by Syria
Syria
Syria , officially the Syrian Arab Republic , is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the West, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest....

 was particularly politically disadvantageous to the Christian population as most of their leadership was driven into exile
Exile
Exile means to be away from one's home , while either being explicitly refused permission to return and/or being threatened with imprisonment or death upon return...

, or had been assassinated or jail
Jail
A jail is a short-term detention facility in the United States and Canada.Jail may also refer to:In entertainment:*Jail , a 1966 Malayalam movie*Jail , a 2009 Bollywood movie...

ed.

There is no consensus among scholars and researchers on what triggered the Lebanese Civil War. However, the militarization of the Palestinian refugee
Palestinian refugee
Palestinian refugees or Palestine refugees are the people and their descendants, predominantly Palestinian Arabic-speakers, who fled or were expelled from their homes during and after the 1948 Palestine War, within that part of the British Mandate of Palestine, that after that war became the...

 population, with the arrival of the PLO guerrilla forces did spark an arms race
Arms race
The term arms race, in its original usage, describes a competition between two or more parties for the best armed forces. Each party competes to produce larger numbers of weapons, greater armies, or superior military technology in a technological escalation...

 amongst the different Lebanese political factions.

It has been argued that the antecedents of the war can be traced back to the conflicts and political compromises reached after the end of Lebanon's administration by the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

. The Cold War
Cold War
The Cold War was the continuing state from roughly 1946 to 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition between the Communist World—primarily the Soviet Union and its satellite states and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States...

 had a powerful disintegrative effect on Lebanon, which was closely linked to the polarization
Polarization (politics)
In politics, polarization is the process by which the public opinion divides and goes to the extremes. It can also refer to when the extreme factions of a political party gain dominance in a party. In either case moderate voices often lose power and influence as a consequence.-Definitions of...

 that preceded the 1958 political crisis. However, such accounts come from journalist
Journalist
A journalist collects and distributes news and other information. A journalist's work is referred to as journalism.A reporter is a type of journalist who researchs, writes, and reports on information to be presented in mass media, including print media , electronic media , and digital media A...

ic sources and are not consistent with such academic scholarship as is largely interested in comparative political research. These scholars (such as Michael Johnson) argue that the earlier conflicts in Lebanon were an expression of bourgeoisie
Bourgeoisie
In sociology and political science, bourgeoisie describes a range of groups across history. In the Western world, between the late 18th century and the present day, the bourgeoisie is a social class "characterized by their ownership of capital and their related culture." A member of the...

 war for influence amongst different political personalities. The 1958 war for example, often referred to as the War of the Pashas, was an insurrection mounted by traditional political boss
Political boss
A boss, in politics, is a person who wields the power over a particular political region or constituency. Bosses may dictate voting patterns, control appointments, and wield considerable influence in other political processes. They do not necessarily hold public office themselves...

es who had lost elections to the parliament in 1957. However, due to Lebanon's historic openness towards the press and political organization, such local conflagrations were always given more regional meaning because of the co-optation of such events by parasitic groups. The founding members of Fatah, for example, although not as yet officially formed, had flocked to Lebanon and participated in the insurrections, aiding in the take over of the streets in Tripoli
Tripoli, Lebanon
Tripoli is the largest city in northern Lebanon and the second-largest city in Lebanon. Situated 85 km north of the capital Beirut, Tripoli is the capital of the North Governorate and the Tripoli District. Geographically located on the east of the Mediterranean, the city's history dates back...

 by armed protesters who had been directed onto the streets by the defeated political bosses.

This crisis in 1958 was not deep and ended very quickly. However, by 1975, the presence of a foreign armed force in the form of the PLO guerrillas, who exercised a veto on Lebanese politics and exercised the foreign policy of other states within a period of regional polarization, had a visible effect on Lebanon. The establishment of the state of Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

 and the displacement of a hundred thousand Palestinian refugee
Palestinian refugee
Palestinian refugees or Palestine refugees are the people and their descendants, predominantly Palestinian Arabic-speakers, who fled or were expelled from their homes during and after the 1948 Palestine War, within that part of the British Mandate of Palestine, that after that war became the...

s to Lebanon (around 10% of the total population of the country) changed the demographics of Lebanon
Demographics of Lebanon
This article is about the demographic features of the population of Lebanon, including population density, ethnicity, education level, health of the populace, economic status, religious affiliations and other aspects of the population....

 and provided a foundation for the long-term involvement of Lebanon in regional conflicts.

After a short break in the fighting in 1976 due to Arab League
Arab League
The Arab League , officially called the League of Arab States , is a regional organisation of Arab states in North and Northeast Africa, and Southwest Asia . It was formed in Cairo on 22 March 1945 with six members: Egypt, Iraq, Transjordan , Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and Syria. Yemen joined as a...

 mediation and Syrian intervention, Palestinian–Lebanese strife continued, with fighting primarily focused in south Lebanon, which had been occupied by the PLO since 1969, in contravention of the Cairo accords signed with the Lebanese government. During the course of the fighting, alliances shifted rapidly and unpredictably: by the end of the war, nearly every party had allied with and subsequently betrayed every other party at least once. The 1980s were especially bleak: much of Beirut
Beirut
Beirut is the capital and largest city of Lebanon, with a population ranging from 1 million to more than 2 million . Located on a peninsula at the midpoint of Lebanon's Mediterranean coastline, it serves as the country's largest and main seaport, and also forms the Beirut Metropolitan...

 lay in ruins as a result of the 1976 Karantina massacre
Karantina Massacre
The Karantina massacre took place early in the Lebanese Civil War on January 18, 1976. With the breakdown in authority of the Lebanese government the militancy of radical factions increased...

 carried out by the Lebanese Front
Lebanese Front
The Lebanese Front or Front libanais in French, also known as the "Kufur Front", was a coalition of mainly Christian parties formed in 1976, during the Lebanese Civil War...

, the Syrian Army
Syrian Army
The Syrian Army, officially called the Syrian Arab Army, is the land force branch of the Syrian Armed Forces. It is the dominant military service of the four uniformed services, controlling the senior most posts in the armed forces, and has the greatest manpower, approximately 80 percent of the...

 shelling of Christian neighborhoods in 1978 and 1981, and the Israeli invasion
1982 Lebanon War
The 1982 Lebanon War , , called Operation Peace for Galilee by Israel, and later known in Israel as the Lebanon War and First Lebanon War, began on 6 June 1982, when the Israel Defense Forces invaded southern Lebanon...

 that evicted the PLO from the country.

Historical context



In 1860 foreign interests transformed sociopolitical struggles into bitter religious conflicts. A civil war between Druze and Christians erupted in Lebanon and resulted in the death of about 10,000 people. The commission members agreed that the partition of Mount Lebanon
Mount Lebanon
Mount Lebanon , as a geographic designation, is a Lebanese mountain range, averaging above 2,200 meters in height and receiving a substantial amount of precipitation, including snow, which averages around four meters deep. It extends across the whole country along about , parallel to the...

 in 1842 between the Druze
Druze
The Druze are an esoteric, monotheistic religious community, found primarily in Syria, Lebanon, Israel, and Jordan, which emerged during the 11th century from Ismailism. The Druze have an eclectic set of beliefs that incorporate several elements from Abrahamic religions, Gnosticism, Neoplatonism...

 and the Christians had been responsible for the massacre.

In 1918 the Ottoman
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 rule in Lebanon and Syria ended. These were hard times for the Lebanese; while the rest of the world was occupied with the World War, the people in Lebanon were suffering from a famine that would last nearly 4 years. The outbreak of World War I in August 1914 brought Lebanon further problems, as Ottoman Empire allied itself with Germany and Austria Hungary . The Ottoman government abolished Lebanon's semi autonomous status and appointed Djemal Pasha, then minister of the navy, as the commander in chief of the Turkish forces in Syria, with discretionary powers. Known for his harshness, he militarily occupied Lebanon and replaced the Armenian
Armenians
Armenian people or Armenians are a nation and ethnic group native to the Armenian Highland.The largest concentration is in Armenia having a nearly-homogeneous population with 97.9% or 3,145,354 being ethnic Armenian....

 mutasarrif, Ohannes Pasha, with a Turk, Munif Pasha.

In February 1915, frustrated by his unsuccessful attack on the British forces protecting the Suez Canal
Suez Canal
The Suez Canal , also known by the nickname "The Highway to India", is an artificial sea-level waterway in Egypt, connecting the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea. Opened in November 1869 after 10 years of construction work, it allows water transportation between Europe and Asia without navigation...

, Jamal Pasha initiated a blockade of the entire eastern Mediterranean coast to prevent supplies from reaching his enemies and indirectly caused thousands of deaths from widespread famine and plagues. Lebanon suffered as much as, or more than, any other Ottoman province. The blockade deprived the country of its tourists and summer visitors, and remittances from relatives and friends were lost or delayed for months. The Turkish Army cut down trees for wood to fuel trains or for military purposes. In 1916 Turkish authorities publicly executed twenty-one Syrians and Lebanese in Damascus and Beirut, respectively, for alleged anti-Turkish activities (see: Arab Revolt
Arab Revolt
The Arab Revolt was initiated by the Sherif Hussein bin Ali with the aim of securing independence from the ruling Ottoman Turks and creating a single unified Arab state spanning from Aleppo in Syria to Aden in Yemen.- Background :...

). The date, 6 May, is commemorated annually in both countries as Martyrs' Day, and the site in Beirut has come to be known as Martyrs' Square.

1926 Lebanon was declared a republic, and a constitution was adopted. However in 1932 the constitution was suspended due to upheaval, as some factions demanded unity with Syria, whilst a larger number demanded independence from the French
French Mandate of Lebanon
The state of Greater Lebanon, the predecessor of modern Lebanon, was created in 1920 as part of the French scheme of dividing the French Mandate of Syria into six states....

. In 1934, the country's first and, to date, last census was conducted.

In 1936 the Christian Phalange party was founded by Pierre Gemayel.

Lebanon was promised independence and on 22 November 1943 it was achieved. French troops, who had invaded Lebanon in 1941 to rid Beirut of the Vichy
Vichy
Vichy is a commune in the department of Allier in Auvergne in central France. It belongs to the historic province of Bourbonnais.It is known as a spa and resort town and was the de facto capital of Vichy France during the World War II Nazi German occupation from 1940 to 1944.The town's inhabitants...

 forces, left the country in 1946. The Christians assumed power over the country and economy. A confessional parliament was created, where Muslims and Christians were given quotas of seats in parliament. As well, the President was to be a Christian, the Prime Minister a Sunni Muslim and the Speaker of Parliament a Shia Muslim.

Series of events


During the 1948 Arab-Israeli War
1948 Arab-Israeli War
The 1948 Arab–Israeli War, known to Israelis as the War of Independence or War of Liberation The war commenced after the termination of the British Mandate for Palestine and the creation of an independent Israel at midnight on 14 May 1948 when, following a period of civil war, Arab armies invaded...

 an exodus of Palestinian refugees who fled the fighting or were expelled from their homes
1948 Palestinian exodus
The 1948 Palestinian exodus , also known as the Nakba , occurred when approximately 711,000 to 725,000 Palestinian Arabs left, fled or were expelled from their homes, during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War and the Civil War that preceded it. The exact number of refugees is a matter of dispute...

, arrived in Lebanon. Palestinians came to play a very important role in future Lebanese civil conflicts, whilst the establishment of Israel radically changed the local environment in which Lebanon found itself.

In July 1958, Lebanon was threatened by a civil war between Maronite
Maronites
Maronites , is an ethnoreligious group in the Middle East that have been historically tied with Lebanon. They derive their name from the Syriac saint Mar Maron whose followers moved to Mount Lebanon from northern Syria establishing the Maronite Church....

 Christians and Muslims. President Camille Chamoun
Camille Chamoun
Camille Nimr Chamoun was President of Lebanon from 1952 to 1958, and one of the country's main Christian leaders during most of the Lebanese Civil War ....

 had attempted to break the stranglehold on Lebanese politics exercised by traditional political families in Lebanon. These families maintained their electoral appeal by cultivating strong client-patron relations with their local communities. But this prevented the emergence of an educated political class into the parliament. Although he succeeded in sponsoring alternative political candidates to enter the elections in 1957, causing the traditional families to lose their positions, these families then embarked upon a war with Chamoun, referred to as the War of the Pashas. However, as always and due to Lebanon's open media and political society, regional tensions were used as an excuse to mount the insurrection by the excluded political bosses.

In previous years, tensions with Egypt had escalated in 1956 when the non-aligned President, Camille Chamoun, did not break off diplomatic relations with the Western powers that attacked Egypt during the Suez Crisis
Suez Crisis
The Suez Crisis, also referred to as the Tripartite Aggression, Suez War was an offensive war fought by France, the United Kingdom, and Israel against Egypt beginning on 29 October 1956. Less than a day after Israel invaded Egypt, Britain and France issued a joint ultimatum to Egypt and Israel,...

, angering Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser
Gamal Abdel Nasser
Gamal Abdel Nasser Hussein was the second President of Egypt from 1956 until his death. A colonel in the Egyptian army, Nasser led the Egyptian Revolution of 1952 along with Muhammad Naguib, the first president, which overthrew the monarchy of Egypt and Sudan, and heralded a new period of...

. Chamoun has often been called pro-Western, yet he had signed several trade deals with the Soviet union (see Gendzier). However Nasser had attacked Chamoun because of his suspected support for the US led Baghdad Pact. Nasser felt that the pro-western Baghdad Pact posed a threat to Arab Nationalism
Arab nationalism
Arab nationalism is a nationalist ideology celebrating the glories of Arab civilization, the language and literature of the Arabs, calling for rejuvenation and political union in the Arab world...

. Lebanon however historically had a small cosmetic army that was never effective in defending Lebanon's territorial integrity, and this is why in later years the PLO guerrilla factions had found it easy to enter Lebanon and set up bases, as well as takeover army barracks on the border with Israel as early as 1968. Yezid Sayigh documents the early skirmishes which saw the army not only lose control over its barracks to the occupying PLO but also lost many soldiers. However prior to this, aware of the country's vulnerability to outside forces, president Chamoun looked to regional pacts to ensure protection from foreign armies.
But his Lebanese Sunni Muslim Prime Minister Rashid Karami
Rashid Karami
Rashid Abdul Hamid Karami was a Lebanese statesman. He was one of the most important political figures in Lebanon for more than 30 years, including during much of Lebanese Civil War , and he served as Prime Minister eight times.- Background :Rashid Karami was born in Tripoli, into one of...

 supported Nasser in 1956 and 1958. Lebanese Muslims pushed the government to join the newly created United Arab Republic, a country formed out of the unification of Syria and Egypt, while the majority of Lebanese and especially the Christians wanted to keep Lebanon as an independent nation with its own independent parliament. President Camille feared the toppling of his government and asked for U.S intervention. At the time the U.S was engaged in the Cold War. Chamoun asked for assistance proclaiming that communism was going to overthrow his government. Chamoun however was not only responding to the revolt of former political bosses, but also to the fact that both Egypt and Syria had taken the opportunity to deploy proxies into the Lebanese conflict. Thus the Arab National Movement (ANM), led by George Habash
George Habash
George Habash also known by his laqab "al-Hakim" was a Palestinian nationalist. Habash, a Palestinian Christian, founded the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, which pioneered the hijacking of airplanes as a Middle East militant tactic...

 and later to become the Progressive Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP)and a faction of the PLO, were deployed to Lebanon by Nasser. The ANM were a clandestine militia implicated in attempted coups against both the Jordanian monarchy and the Iraqi president throughout the 1950s at Nasser's bidding. The founding members of Fatah
Fatah
Fataḥ is a major Palestinian political party and the largest faction of the Palestine Liberation Organization , a multi-party confederation. In Palestinian politics it is on the left-wing of the spectrum; it is mainly nationalist, although not predominantly socialist. Its official goals are found...

, including Yasser Arafat
Yasser Arafat
Mohammed Yasser Abdel Rahman Abdel Raouf Arafat al-Qudwa al-Husseini , popularly known as Yasser Arafat or by his kunya Abu Ammar , was a Palestinian leader and a Laureate of the Nobel Prize. He was Chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization , President of the Palestinian National Authority...

 and Khalil Wazir also flew to Lebanon to use the insurrection as a means by which a war could be fomented towards Israel. They participated in the fighting by directing armed forces against the government security in the city of Tripoli according to Yezid Sayigh's work.

In that year, President Chamoun was unable to convince the Christian army commander, Fuad Chehab
Fuad Chehab
Fuad Chehab Fuad Chehab Fuad Chehab (name also spelt Fouad Shihab, or Chehab, depending on transliteration from the original Arabic, (March 19, 1902 - April 25, 1973) was the President of the Lebanese Republic from 1958 to 1964...

 to use the armed forces against Muslim demonstrators, fearing that getting involved in internal politics would split his small and weak multi-confessional force. The Phalange militia
Kataeb Party
The Lebanese Phalanges , better known in English as the Phalange , is a traditional right-wing Lebanese political party. Although it is officially secular, it is mainly supported by Maronite Christians. The party played a major role in the Lebanese War...

 came to the presidents aid instead to bring a final end to the road blockades which were crippling the major cities. Encouraged by its efforts during this conflict, later that year, principally through violence and the success of general strikes in Beirut, the Phalange achieved what journalists dubbed the "counterrevolution." By their actions the Phalangists brought down the government of Prime Minister Karami and secured for their leader, Pierre Gemayel
Pierre Gemayel
Sheikh Pierre Gemayel , was a Lebanese political leader...

, a position in the four-man cabinet that was subsequently formed.

However estimates of the Phalange's membership by Yezid Sayigh and other academic sources put them at a few thousand. Non-academic sources tend to inflate the Phalanges membership. What should be kept in mind was that this insurrection was met with widespread disapproval by many Lebanese who wanted no part in the regional politics and many young men aided the Phalange in their suppression of the insurrection, especially as many of the demonstrators were little more than proxy forces hired by groups such as the ANM and Fatah founders as well as being hired by the defeated parliamentary bosses.

During the 1960s Lebanon was relatively calm, but this would soon change. Fatah and other Palestinian Liberation Organization factions had long been active among the 400,000 Palestinian refugees in Lebanese camps. Through the 1960s the center for armed Palestinian activities had been in Jordan, after being evicted from Jordan
Jordan
Jordan , officially the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan , Al-Mamlaka al-Urduniyya al-Hashemiyya) is a kingdom on the East Bank of the River Jordan. The country borders Saudi Arabia to the east and south-east, Iraq to the north-east, Syria to the north and the West Bank and Israel to the west, sharing...

 by the King, they came to Lebanon. Fatah and other Palestinians groups had attempted to mount a coup in Jordan by incentivizing a split in the Jordanian army, something that the ANM had attempted to do a decade earlier by Nasser's bidding. Jordan however responded and expelled the forces into Lebanon. When they arrived they created a "a State within the State". This action wasn't welcomed by the Lebanese government nor the majority of the Lebanese people and this shook Lebanon's fragile sectarian climate.

Solidarity to the Palestinians was expressed through the Lebanese Sunni Muslims but with the aim to change the political system from one of consensus amongst different ethnicities, towards one where their power share would increase. Certain groups in the Lebanese National Movement wished to bring about a more secular and democratic order, but as this group increasingly included Islamist groups, encouraged to join by the PLO, the more progressive demands of the initial agenda was dropped by January 1976. Islamists did not support a secular order in Lebanon and wished to bring about rule by Muslim clerics. Yezid Sayigh documents these events, especially the role of Fatah and the Tripoli Islamist movement known as Tawhid, in changing the agenda being pursued by many groups, including Communists. This rag-tag coalition has often been referred to as left-wing, but many participants were actually very conservative religious elements that did not share any broader ideological agenda; rather, they were brought together by the short term goal of overthrowing the established political order, each motivated by their own grievances.

These forces enabled the PLO / Fatah (Fatah constituted 80% of the membership of the PLO and Fatah guerrillas controlled most of its institutions now) to transform the Western Part of Beirut into its stronghold. The PLO had taken over the heat of Sidon and Tyre in the early 1970s, it controlled great swath of south Lebanon, in which the indigenous Shiite population had to suffer the humiliation of passing though PLO checkpoints and now they had worked their way by force into Beirut. The PLO did this with the assistance of so-called volunteers from Libya and Algeria shipped in through the ports it controlled, as well as a number of Sunni Lebanese groups who had been trained and armed by PLO/ Fatah and encouraged to declare themselves as separate militias. However as Rex Brynen makes clear in his publication on the PLO, these militias were nothing more than "shop-fronts" or in Arabic "Dakakin" for Fatah, armed gangs with no ideological foundation and no organic reason for their existence save the fact their individual members were put on PLO/ Fatah payroll.

The strike of fishermen at Sidon in February 1975 could also be considered the first important episode that set off the outbreak of hostilities. That event involved a specific issue: the attempt of former President Camille Chamoun (also head of the Maronite-oriented National Liberal Party) to monopolize fishing along the coast of Lebanon. The injustices perceived by the fishermen evoked sympathy from many Lebanese and reinforced the resentment and antipathy that were widely felt against the state and the economic monopolies. The demonstrations against the fishing company were quickly transformed into a political action supported by the political left and their allies in the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). The state tried to suppress the demonstrators, and a sniper reportedly killed a popular figure in the city, the former Mayor of Sidon
Sidon
Sidon or Saïda is the third-largest city in Lebanon. It is located in the South Governorate of Lebanon, on the Mediterranean coast, about 40 km north of Tyre and 40 km south of the capital Beirut. In Genesis, Sidon is the son of Canaan the grandson of Noah...

, Maroof Saad. He was buried in a Palestinian flag, and in the media, the Sidon riots became somehow fused with the Palestinian war with Israel in the minds of media watchers. However the event appeared to have been hi-jacked by the Palestinians because Saad was on bad terms with the PLO. Fatah controlled the heart of Sidon and the port and had attempted to fund the electoral campaigns of competing candidates which eventually saw Saad lose both his bid for a parliamentary seat and then in 1973, lose the mayor-ship. This meant that the Fatah sponsored rival had not only won Sidon, but was now representing Fatah's wishes in the Lebanese parliament! (see Khazen).
When Saad died, there was bitter enmity between him and the PLO/ Fatah .

Many non-academic sources claim a government sniper killed Saad, however there is no evidence to support such a claim, and it appears that whoever had killed him had intended for what began as a small and quiet demonstration to evolve into something more. The sniper targeted Saad right at the end of the demonstration as it was dissipating. Farid Khazen, sourcing the local histories of Sidon academics and eye-witnesses, gives a run-down of the puzzling events of the day that based on their research. Other interesting facts that Khazen reveals, based on the Sidon academic's work including that Saad was not in dispute with the fishing consortium made up of Yugoslav nationals. In fact, the Yugoslavian representatives in Lebanon had negotiated with the fisherman's union to make the fisherman shareholders in the company; the company offered to modernize the Fisherman's equipment and buy their catch, give their fisherman's a union and annual subsidy. Saad, as a union representative (and not the mayor of Sidon at the time as many erroneous sources claim), was offered a place on the company's board too. There has been some speculation that Saad's attempts to narrow the differences between the fishermen and the consortium, and his acceptance of a place on the board made him a target of attack by the conspirator who sought a full conflagration around the small protest.

The events in Sidon were not contained for long. The government began to lose control of the situation in 1975. On the morning of 13 April 1975, PLO Palestinian guerrilla's in a speeding car fired on a church in the Christian East Beirut suburb of Ain El Rummaneh, killing four people, including two Maronite Phalangists
Kataeb Party
The Lebanese Phalanges , better known in English as the Phalange , is a traditional right-wing Lebanese political party. Although it is officially secular, it is mainly supported by Maronite Christians. The party played a major role in the Lebanese War...

. The Church was being opened and thus the presence of the Phalange party was well known at the new church. That same day the situation escalated when a bus carrying Palestinians was ambushed by gunmen belonging to the Phalange party. The party claimed that earlier its headquarters had been targeted by an unknown gunmen. The attack against the bus in Ain El Rummaneh marked the official beginning of the Lebanese Civil War. Initially, the war pitted Maronite-oriented right-wing militias (most notably the Phalange party and the National Liberal party) against leftist and Muslim-oriented militias (grouped together in the Lebanese National Movement) , many of whom were trained, formed, and now funded by the PLO. By the end of 1975, the PLO and their allied parties were occupying one army barracks after another, expelling Christian soldiers from barracks, many in the south of Lebanon. By the start of 1976, a split in the Lebanese army was official. In February, Fatah had encouraged and supported a coup by the Beirut area army commander Ahmad Ahdab, with claims made by other Palestinian leaders that the PLO had to dispense 25 million dollars to bribe Ahdab and his forces to declare the coup. Ahdab however would change his mind by the end of the year and express regret for his actions.

Major militias



Most militias claimed that they were non-sectarian forces, but in fact they recruited mainly from the community or region of their chiefs.

Throughout the war most or all militias operated with little regard for human rights
Human rights
Human rights are "commonly understood as inalienable fundamental rights to which a person is inherently entitled simply because she or he is a human being." Human rights are thus conceived as universal and egalitarian . These rights may exist as natural rights or as legal rights, in both national...

, and the sectarian character of some battles, made non-combatant
Non-combatant
Non-combatant is a term in the law of war describing civilians not taking a direct part in hostilities, as well as persons such as medical personnel and military chaplains who are regular soldiers but are protected because of their function as well as soldiers who are hors de combat ; that is, sick,...

 civilian
Civilian
A civilian under international humanitarian law is a person who is not a member of his or her country's armed forces or other militia. Civilians are distinct from combatants. They are afforded a degree of legal protection from the effects of war and military occupation...

s a frequent target. As the war dragged on, the militias deteriorated ever further into mafia
Mafia
The Mafia is a criminal syndicate that emerged in the mid-nineteenth century in Sicily, Italy. It is a loose association of criminal groups that share a common organizational structure and code of conduct, and whose common enterprise is protection racketeering...

-style organizations with many commanders turning to crime as their main occupation rather than fighting. Finances for the war effort were obtained in one or all of three ways:

Outside support: Generally from one of the rival Arab governments, Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

 or Israel. Alliances would shift frequently.

Preying on the population: Extortion, theft, bank robberies and random checkpoints at which "customs
Customs
Customs is an authority or agency in a country responsible for collecting and safeguarding customs duties and for controlling the flow of goods including animals, transports, personal effects and hazardous items in and out of a country...

" would be collected, were commonplace on all sides. During cease-fires, most militias operated in their home areas as virtual mafia organizations.

Smuggling: During the civil war, Lebanon turned into one of the world's largest narcotics producers, with much of the hashish
Hashish
Hashish is a cannabis preparation composed of compressed stalked resin glands, called trichomes, collected from the unfertilized buds of the cannabis plant. It contains the same active ingredients but in higher concentrations than unsifted buds or leaves...

 production centered in the Bekaa valley. But much else was also smuggled, such as guns and supplies, all kinds of stolen goods, and regular trade - war or no war, Lebanon would not give up its role as the middleman in European-Arab business. Many battles were fought over Lebanon's ports, to gain smugglers access to the sea routes.

Christian militias


Christian militias acquired arms from Romania
Romania
Romania is a country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeastern Europe, on the Lower Danube, within and outside the Carpathian arch, bordering on the Black Sea...

 and Bulgaria
Bulgaria
Bulgaria , officially the Republic of Bulgaria , is a parliamentary democracy within a unitary constitutional republic in Southeast Europe. The country borders Romania to the north, Serbia and Macedonia to the west, Greece and Turkey to the south, as well as the Black Sea to the east...

 as well as from West Germany, Belgium and Israel, and drew supporters from the larger Christian population in the north of the country. They were generally right-wing in their political outlook, and all the major Christian militias were Maronite-dominated, and other Christian sects played a secondary role.

The most powerful of the Christian militias was the Kataeb Regulatory Forces
Kataeb Regulatory Forces
The Kataeb Regulatory Forces – KRF or RF , Forces Regulatoires du Kataeb in French were the military wing of the right-wing Lebanese Christian Kataeb Party, otherwise known as the Phalange, from 1961 to 1977...

, the military wing of the Kataeb Party
Kataeb Party
The Lebanese Phalanges , better known in English as the Phalange , is a traditional right-wing Lebanese political party. Although it is officially secular, it is mainly supported by Maronite Christians. The party played a major role in the Lebanese War...

 or Phalanges, which remained under the leadership of the charismatic William Hawi until his death during the final push against Tel el Zaatar Camp. After the fall of Palestinian camps in East Beirut, the Phalange militia, now under the command of Bachir Gemayel
Bachir Gemayel
Bachir Gemayel was a Lebanese politician, militia commander, and president-elect...

, merged with several minor groups (Tanzym, Guardians of the Cedars...) and formed a professional army called the Lebanese Forces
Lebanese Forces
The Lebanese Forces is a Lebanese political party. Founded as a militia by Bachir Gemayel during the Lebanese Civil War, the movement fought as the main militia within the Christian-dominated Lebanese Front...

 (LF). With the help of Israel, the LF established itself in Christian-dominated strongholds and rapidly transformed from an unorganized and poorly equipped militia into a fearsome army that had now its own armor, artillery,commando units (SADM), a small Navy, and a highly advanced Intelligence branch. Meanwhile, in the north, the Marada Brigade
Marada Brigade
The Marada Movement is a Lebanese political party and a former militia active during the Lebanese civil war, named after the legendary Syriac Marada or Mardaites warriors of the early Middle Ages...

s served as the private militia of the Franjieh family and Zgharta
Zgharta
Zgharta, or Zghorta is a large town in North Lebanon, with an estimated population of around 70,000.Zgharta is about 150 metres above sea level and lies between the rivers of Jouit and Rashein...

.

Another mainly Christian Militia was the South Lebanon Army
South Lebanon Army
The South Lebanon Army , also "South Lebanese Army," was a Lebanese militia during the Lebanese Civil War. After 1979, the militia operated in southern Lebanon under the authority of Saad Haddad's Government of Free Lebanon...

 which was controlled by Saad Haddad
Saad Haddad
Saad Haddad was the founder and head of the South Lebanon Army . Several sources have suggested Haddad's involvement in the Sabra and Shatila massacres in 1982.-Lebanese Civil War:...

. This militia was installed in South Lebanon by the Israelis. Their goal was to be a bulwark against PLO raids and attacks into the Galilee

Also, another notable militia; Noumour (نمور) was the military wing of the National Liberal Party
National Liberal Party (Lebanon)
The National Liberal Party is a center-right political party in Lebanon, established by President Camille Chamoun in 1958...

 (NLP/ AHRAR) during the Lebanese Civil War. The Tigers
Tigers Militia (Lebanon)
The Tigers Militia , also known as NLP Tigers or Tigers of the Liberals and PNL "Lionceaux" in French, was the military wing of the National Liberal Party during the Lebanese Civil War.- Origins :The NLP militia was first raised in October 1968 by Camille Chamoun at his own home town...

 formed in Saadiyat in 1968, as Noumour Al Ahrar (Tigers of the Liberals, نمور الأحرار ), under the leadership of Camille Chamoun. The group took its name from his middle name, Nemr - "Tiger". Trained by Naim Berdkan, the unit was led by Chamoun's son Dany Chamoun. After the start Civil War in 1975, the Tigers, strong of 3,500 militiamen fought the Lebanese National Movement (LNM) and its Palestinian allies.

Shi'a militias


The Shi'a militias were slow to form and join in the fighting. Initially, many Shi'a had sympathy for the Palestinians and a few had been drawn to the Lebanese Communist Party
Lebanese Communist Party
The Lebanese Communist Party – LCP or Parti communiste libanais in French, is a communist political party in Lebanon...

, but after 1970s Black September
Black September in Jordan
September 1970 is known as the Black September in Arab history and sometimes is referred to as the "era of regrettable events." It was a month when Hashemite King Hussein of Jordan moved to quash the militancy of Palestinian organizations and restore his monarchy's rule over the country. The...

, there was a sudden influx of armed Palestinians to the Shi'a areas. South Lebanon's population is mainly Shi'a and the Palestinians soon set up base there for their attacks against the Israelis. The Palestinian
Palestinian people
The Palestinian people, also referred to as Palestinians or Palestinian Arabs , are an Arabic-speaking people with origins in Palestine. Despite various wars and exoduses, roughly one third of the world's Palestinian population continues to reside in the area encompassing the West Bank, the Gaza...

 movement quickly squandered its influence with the Shi'ite, as radical factions ruled by the gun in much of Shi'ite-inhabited southern Lebanon, where the refugee camps happened to be concentrated, and the mainstream PLO proved either unwilling or unable to rein them in.

The Palestinian
Palestinian people
The Palestinian people, also referred to as Palestinians or Palestinian Arabs , are an Arabic-speaking people with origins in Palestine. Despite various wars and exoduses, roughly one third of the world's Palestinian population continues to reside in the area encompassing the West Bank, the Gaza...

 radicals' secularism
Secularism
Secularism is the principle of separation between government institutions and the persons mandated to represent the State from religious institutions and religious dignitaries...

 and behaviour had alienated the traditionalist Shi'ite community; the Shi'a did not want to pay the price for the PLO's rocket attacks from Southern Lebanon. The PLO created a state within a state in South Lebanon and this instigated a fury among Lebanon's Shi'a, who feared a retaliation from the Israelis to their native land in the South. Initially the Shi'a had been sympathetic towards the Palestinians, but when the PLO created chaos in South Lebanon these feelings were reversed. The Shiʿa predominated in the area of southern Lebanon that in the 1960s became an arena for Israel-Palestinian conflict. The state of Lebanon, which always avoided provoking Israel, simply abandoned southern Lebanon. Many of the people there migrated to the suburbs of Beirut, which are known as "poverty belts". The young Shi'a migrants, who had not participated in the prosperity of prewar Beirut, joined many Lebanese and some Palestinian organizations. After many years without their own independent political organizations, there suddenly arose Musa Sadr's Amal Movement
Amal Movement
Amal Movement is short for the Lebanese Resistance Detachments the acronym for which, in Arabic, is "amal", meaning "hope."Amal was founded in 1975 as the militia wing of the Movement of the Disinherited, a Shi'a political movement founded by Musa...

 in 1974–75. Its Islamist ideology immediately attracted the unrepresented people, and Amal's armed ranks grew rapidly. Amal fought against the PLO in the early days. Later a hard line faction would break away to join with Shi'a groups fighting Israel to form the organization Hezbollah, also known as the National Resistance, who to this day remains the most powerful and organised force of Lebanon and the Middle East. Hezbollah was created as a faction split from Amal Movement, and an Islamist organization which deemed Amal to be too secular. Hezbollah's original aims included the establishment of an Islamic state in Lebanon.

There was great support by Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

 during the Lebanese Civil War for Shi'ite factions, Amal Movement and Hezbollah. Hezbollah and its leaders were inspired by Ayatollah Khomeini's revolution and therefore in 1982 emerged as a faction set on resisting the Israeli occupation of Lebanon, and its forces were trained and organized by a contingent of Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps. Support was greatly met by both military training and funding support.

The Lebanese Alawites, followers of a sect of Shia Islam, were represented by the Red Knights Militia of the Arab Democratic Party, which was pro-Syrian due to the Alawites being dominant in Syria, and mainly acted in Northern Lebanon around Tripoli
Tripoli, Lebanon
Tripoli is the largest city in northern Lebanon and the second-largest city in Lebanon. Situated 85 km north of the capital Beirut, Tripoli is the capital of the North Governorate and the Tripoli District. Geographically located on the east of the Mediterranean, the city's history dates back...

.

Sunni militias


Some Sunni factions received support from Libya
Libya
Libya is an African country in the Maghreb region of North Africa bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, Egypt to the east, Sudan to the southeast, Chad and Niger to the south, and Algeria and Tunisia to the west....

 and Iraq
Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

, and a number of minor militias existed, the more prominent with Nasserist
Nasserism
Nasserism is an Arab nationalist political ideology based on the thinking of the former Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser. It was a major influence on pan-Arab politics in the 1950s and 1960s, and continues to have significant resonance throughout the Arab World to this day. It also...

 or otherwise pan-Arab and Arab nationalist leanings, but also a few Islamist ones, such as the Tawhid Movement. The main Sunni-led organization was the al-Murabitun
Al-Murabitun
The Independent Nasserite Movement or al-Murabitoun , also termed variously Mouvement des Nasséristes Indépendants ' in French, Independent Nasserite Organization , or Movement of Independent Nasserists, is a Nasserist political party in Lebanon.-Political...

 a major west-Beirut based force. Al-Murabitoun, led by Ibrahim Kulaylat
Ibrahim Kulaylat
Ibrahim Kulaylat is a lebanese political man.Head of the Nasserist Party, known under the name of al-Mourabitoun, established in 1958, he organized a multi-confessional militia, consisted specially of Sunni, Shiite Muslims and progressive Christians...

, fought with the Palestinians against the Israelis during the invasion of 1982. The Sixth of February Movement
Sixth of February Movement
The Sixth of February Movement or ‘6th FM’ was a small predominantly Sunni Nasserist faction active in Lebanon from the early 1970s to the mid-1980s...

 was another pro-Palestinian Nasserist militia, and sided with the PLO in the War of the Camps
War of the camps
The War of the Camps was a subconflict within the 1984–89 phase of the Lebanese Civil War, in which Palestinian refugee camps were besieged by the Shi'ite Amal militia....

.

Druze Progressive Socialist Party


The small Druze
Druze
The Druze are an esoteric, monotheistic religious community, found primarily in Syria, Lebanon, Israel, and Jordan, which emerged during the 11th century from Ismailism. The Druze have an eclectic set of beliefs that incorporate several elements from Abrahamic religions, Gnosticism, Neoplatonism...

 sect, strategically and dangerously seated on the Chouf
Chouf District
Chouf is a historic region of Lebanon, as well as an administrative district in the governorate of Mount Lebanon....

 in central Lebanon, had no natural allies, and so were compelled to put much effort into building alliances. Under the leadership of the Jumblatt family
Jumblatt Family of Lebanon
The Jumblatt family is an influential Druze family who settled in the Lebanon mountains around the 15-16th century, fleeing persecution from the Ottoman governor.Walid Jumblatt mentioned that his family is related to the...

, first Kamal Jumblatt
Kamal Jumblatt
Kamal Jumblatt ; was an important Lebanese politician. He was the main leader of the anti-government forces in the Lebanese Civil War until his assassination in 1977. He is the father of the present Lebanese Druze leader Walid Jumblatt.-Family background and education:Kamal Jumblatt was born in...

 (the LNM
Lebanese National Movement
The Lebanese National Movement or Mouvement National Libanais in French, was a front of parties and organizations active during the early years of the Lebanese Civil War...

 leader) and then his son Walid
Walid Jumblatt
Walid Jumblatt is a Lebanese politician and the current leader of the Progressive Socialist Party . He is the most prominent leader of Lebanon's Druze community.-Family:...

, the Progressive Socialist Party
Progressive Socialist Party
The Progressive Socialist Party or PSP , also known as Parti Socialiste Progressiste in French, is a political party in Lebanon. Its current leader is Walid Jumblatt...

 (PSP) served as an effective Druze militia, building excellent ties to the Soviet Union mainly, and with Syria upon the withdrawal of Israel to the south of the country. However, many Druze in Lebanon at the time were members of the non-religious party, the Syrian Social Nationalist Party. Under Kamal Jumblatt's leadership, the PSP was a major element in the Lebanese National Movement (LNM) which supported Lebanon's Arab identity and sympathized with the Palestinians. It built a powerful private army, which proved to be one of the strongest in the Lebanese Civil War of 1975 to 1990. It conquered much of Mount Lebanon and the Chouf District. Its main adversaries were the Maronite Christian Phalangist militia, and later the Lebanese Forces militia (which absorbed the Phalangists). The PSP suffered a major setback in 1977, when Kamal Jumblatt was assassinated. His son Walid succeeded him as leader of the party.
From the Israeli withdrawal from the Chouf in 1983 to the end of the civil war, the PSP ran a highly effective civil administration, the Civil Administration of the Mountain, in the area under its control. Tolls levied at PSP militia checkpoints provided a major source of income for the administration.

The PSP played an important role in the so-called "Mountain War" under the lead of Walid Jumblatt: after the Israeli Army retreated from the Lebanese Mountain, important battles took place between the PSP and Christian militias. PSP armed members were accused of several massacres that took place during that war (31 August 1983: 36 civilians in Bmarian, 7 September 1983: 200 Christian civilians killed in Bhamdoun, 10 September 1983: 64 in Bireh, 10 September 1983: 30 in Ras el-Matn, 11 September 1983: 15 in Maasser Beit ed-Dine, 11 September 1983: 36 in Chartoun, 13 September 1983: 84 in Maasser el-Chouf, and many others...).

The Progressive Socialist Party (or PSP) (Arabic: الحزب التقدمي الاشتراكي‎, al-hizb al-taqadummi al-ishtiraki) is a political party in Lebanon. Its current leader is Walid Jumblatt. It is in practice led and supported mostly by followers of the Druze faith.

Non-religious groups



Although several Lebanese militias claimed to be secular
Secularism
Secularism is the principle of separation between government institutions and the persons mandated to represent the State from religious institutions and religious dignitaries...

, most were little more than vehicles for sectarian interests. Still, there existed a number of non-religious groups, primarily but not exclusively of the left and/or Pan-Arab right.

Examples of this was the Lebanese Communist Party
Lebanese Communist Party
The Lebanese Communist Party – LCP or Parti communiste libanais in French, is a communist political party in Lebanon...

 (LCP) and the more radical and independent Communist Action Organization (COA). Another notable example was the pan-Syrian Syrian Social Nationalist Party
Syrian Social Nationalist Party
The Syrian Social Nationalist Party , is a secular nationalist political party in Lebanon and Syria. It advocates the establishment of a Syrian nation state spanning the Fertile Crescent, including present day Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Jordan, the Palestinian Territories, Israel, Cyprus, Kuwait,...

 (SSNP), which promoted the concept of Greater Syria
Greater Syria
Greater Syria , also known simply as Syria, is a term that denotes a region in the Near East bordering the Eastern Mediterranean Sea or the Levant....

, in contrast to Pan-Arab or Lebanese nationalism
Nationalism
Nationalism is a political ideology that involves a strong identification of a group of individuals with a political entity defined in national terms, i.e. a nation. In the 'modernist' image of the nation, it is nationalism that creates national identity. There are various definitions for what...

. The SSNP was generally aligned with the Syrian government, although it did not ideologically approve of the Ba'thist regime (however this has changed recently, under Bashar Al-Assad, the SSNP having been allowed to exert political activity in Syria as well).
The multi-confessional SSNP was led by Inaam Raad,a Catholic
Catholic
The word catholic comes from the Greek phrase , meaning "on the whole," "according to the whole" or "in general", and is a combination of the Greek words meaning "about" and meaning "whole"...

 and Abdallah Saadeh, a Greek Orthodox.It was active in North Lebanon(Koura
Koura
Koura may refer to:* Koura District, or El-Koura, a district in North Lebanon* New Zealand freshwater crayfish known as koura, see Paranephrops...

 and Akkar),West Beirut(around Hamra Street
Hamra Street
Hamra Street , or Rue Hamra, is one of the main streets of the city of Beirut, Lebanon, and one of the main economic and diplomatic hubs of Beirut. Due to the numerous sidewalk cafes and theatres, Hamra Street was the center of intellectual activity in Beirut during the 1960s and 1970s...

),in Mount Lebanon(High Metn,Baabda
Baabda
Baabda is the capital city of Baabda District as well as the capital of Mount Lebanon Governorate, western Lebanon. Baabda was the capital city of the autonomous Ottoman Mount Lebanon....

,Aley
Aley
Aley is a picturesque town in Mount Lebanon. It is located 17 km uphill from Beirut, just south of the summer resort of Bhamdoun and north of the strategic town of Souk El Gharb.-Demographics:...

 and Chouf),in South Lebanon(Zahrani,Nabatieh,Marjayoun
Marjayoun
Marjayoun is a Lebanese town and administrative district, Marjeyoun District, in the Nabatieh Governorate in Southern Lebanon...

 and Hasbaya
Hasbaya
Hasbeya or Hasbeiya is a town in Lebanon, situated about 36 miles to the west of Damascus, at the foot of Mount Hermon, overlooking a deep amphitheatre from which a brook flows to the Hasbani. In 1911, the population was about 5000....

) and and the Beqqa Valley(Baalbeck,Hermel
Hermel
Hermel is a Shia Muslim town in Beqaa Governorate, Lebanon. It's the capital of the Hermel District. Hermel is home to a Lebanese Red Cross First Aid Center.-Hermel plains:...

 and Rashaya
Rashaya
Rashaya , also known as Rashaya al-Wadi is a town in Lebanon, situated in the Rashaya District and south of the Beqaa Governorate. It is located on the slopes of Mount Hermon, south east of Beirut near the Syrian border, and approximately halfway between Jezzine and Damascus...

).

Two competing Baath party factions were also involved in the early stages of the war: a nationalist one known as "pro-Iraqi" headed by Dr. 'Abdul-Majeed Al-Rafei (Sunni) and Nicola Y. Ferzli (Greek Orthodox Christian
Eastern Orthodox Church
The Orthodox Church, officially called the Orthodox Catholic Church and commonly referred to as the Eastern Orthodox Church, is the second largest Christian denomination in the world, with an estimated 300 million adherents mainly in the countries of Belarus, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Georgia, Greece,...

), and a Marxist one known as "pro-Syrian" headed by Assem Qanso (Shiite).

The Kurdistan Workers' Party
Kurdistan Workers' Party
The Kurdistan Workers' Party , commonly known as PKK, also known as KGK and formerly known as KADEK or KONGRA-GEL , is a Kurdish organization which has since 1984 been fighting an armed struggle against the Turkish state for an autonomous Kurdistan and greater cultural and political rights...

 at the time had training camps in Lebanon, where they received support from the Syrians and the PLO. During the Israeli invasion all PKK units were ordered to fight the Israeli forces. A total of 11 PKK fighters died in the conflict. Mahsum Korkmaz
Mahsum Korkmaz
Mahsum Korkmaz or Mazlum Korkmaz, also known as Agit, was the first commander of the Kurdistan Workers' Party 's military forces. He is known to have led the 15 August 1984 PKK attacks which was the start of the PKK's armed rebellion against Turkey. He was killed on Nowruz, 1986, by Turkish...

 was the commander of all PKK forces in Lebanon.

The Armenian Marxist-Leninist militia ASALA
Asala
Asala may refer to:* Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia, a Marxist-Leninist guerrilla organization.* Asalah Nasri, Syrian singer* Al Asalah, a Salafist political party in Bahrain...

 was founded in PLO-controlled territory of West Beirut in 1975. This militia was led by revolutionary fighter Monte Melkonian
Monte Melkonian
Monte Melkonian was a famed Armenian commander during Nagorno-Karabakh war. Melkonian had no prior service record in any country's army before being placed in command of an estimated 4,000 men in the war...

 and group-founder Hagop Hagopian
Hagop Hagopian
Hagop Hagopian , also Bedros Ohanessian was one of the founders and the main leader of the Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia .- Life :...

. Closely alinged with the Palestinians, ASALA
Asala
Asala may refer to:* Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia, a Marxist-Leninist guerrilla organization.* Asalah Nasri, Syrian singer* Al Asalah, a Salafist political party in Bahrain...

 fought many battles on the side of the Lebanese National Movement
Lebanese National Movement
The Lebanese National Movement or Mouvement National Libanais in French, was a front of parties and organizations active during the early years of the Lebanese Civil War...

 and the PLO, most prominently against Israeli forces and their right-wing allies during the 1982 phase of the war
1982 Lebanon War
The 1982 Lebanon War , , called Operation Peace for Galilee by Israel, and later known in Israel as the Lebanon War and First Lebanon War, began on 6 June 1982, when the Israel Defense Forces invaded southern Lebanon...

. Melkonian was field commander during these battles, and assisted the PLO in its defense of West Beirut
Siege of Beirut
The Siege of Beirut took place in the summer of 1982, as part of the 1982 Lebanon War, which resulted from the breakdown of the cease-fire effected by the United Nations...

.

Palestinians



The Palestinian
Palestinian people
The Palestinian people, also referred to as Palestinians or Palestinian Arabs , are an Arabic-speaking people with origins in Palestine. Despite various wars and exoduses, roughly one third of the world's Palestinian population continues to reside in the area encompassing the West Bank, the Gaza...

 movement relocated most of its fighting strength to Lebanon at the end of 1970 after being expelled from Jordan
Jordan
Jordan , officially the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan , Al-Mamlaka al-Urduniyya al-Hashemiyya) is a kingdom on the East Bank of the River Jordan. The country borders Saudi Arabia to the east and south-east, Iraq to the north-east, Syria to the north and the West Bank and Israel to the west, sharing...

 in the events known as Black September
Black September in Jordan
September 1970 is known as the Black September in Arab history and sometimes is referred to as the "era of regrettable events." It was a month when Hashemite King Hussein of Jordan moved to quash the militancy of Palestinian organizations and restore his monarchy's rule over the country. The...

. The umbrella organization, the Palestine Liberation Organization
Palestine Liberation Organization
The Palestine Liberation Organization is a political and paramilitary organization which was created in 1964. It is recognized as the "sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people" by the United Nations and over 100 states with which it holds diplomatic relations, and has enjoyed...

 (PLO)—by itself undoubtedly Lebanon's most potent fighting force at the time—was little more than a loose confederation
Confederation
A confederation in modern political terms is a permanent union of political units for common action in relation to other units. Usually created by treaty but often later adopting a common constitution, confederations tend to be established for dealing with critical issues such as defense, foreign...

, but its leader, Yassir Arafat, controlled all factions by buying their loyalties. Arafat allowed little oversight to be exercised over PLO finances an he was the ultimate source for all decisions made in directing financial matters. Rex Brynen provides a detailed account of how this worked. Arafat's control of funds, channeled directly to him by the oil producing countries like Saudi Arabia and Iraq and Libya meant that he had little real functional opposition to his leadership and although ostensibly rival factions in the PLO existed , this masked a stable loyalty towards Arafat so long as he was able to dispense financial rewards to his followers and members of the PLO guerrilla factions.

The PLO mainstream was represented by Arafat's powerful Fatah
Fatah
Fataḥ is a major Palestinian political party and the largest faction of the Palestine Liberation Organization , a multi-party confederation. In Palestinian politics it is on the left-wing of the spectrum; it is mainly nationalist, although not predominantly socialist. Its official goals are found...

, which waged guerrilla warfare
Guerrilla warfare
Guerrilla warfare is a form of irregular warfare and refers to conflicts in which a small group of combatants including, but not limited to, armed civilians use military tactics, such as ambushes, sabotage, raids, the element of surprise, and extraordinary mobility to harass a larger and...

 but did not have a strong core ideology, except the claim to seek the liberation of Palestine. As a result, they gained broad appeal with a refugee population with conservative Islamic values (who resisted secular ideologies). The more ideological factions however included Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine
Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine
The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine is a Palestinian Marxist-Leninist organisation founded in 1967. It has consistently been the second-largest of the groups forming the Palestine Liberation Organization , the largest being Fatah...

 (PFLP), and its splinter, the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine
Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine
The Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine is a Palestinian Marxist-Leninist, secular political and military organization. It is also frequently referred to as the Democratic Front, or al-Jabha al-Dimuqratiyah...

 (DFLP). Fatah was actually instrumental in splitting the DF from the PFLP in the early days of the PFLPs formation so as to diminish the appeal and competition the PFLP posed to Fatah. Helen Cobban's history of the PFLP is an interesting source of information covering this event. Lesser roles were played by the fractious Palestinian Liberation Front (PLF) and another split-off from the PFLP, the Syrian-aligned Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine - General Command
Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine - General Command
The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine – General Command is a Palestinian nationalist organization, backed by Syria and Iran...

 (PFLP-GC). To complicate things, the Ba'thist systems of Syria and Iraq both set up Palestinian puppet organizations within the PLO. The as-Sa'iqa
As-Sa'iqa
As-Sa'iqa is a Palestinian Baathist political and military faction created and controlled by Syria...

 was a Syrian-controlled militia, paralleled by the Arab Liberation Front
Arab Liberation Front
Arab Liberation Front is a minor Palestinian political faction of the Palestine Liberation Organization , politically tied to the Iraqi Ba'ath Party formerly headed by Saddam Hussein.- Historical background :...

 (ALF) under Iraqi command. The Syrian government could also count on the Syrian brigades of the Palestinian Liberation Army
Palestinian Liberation Army
The Palestine Liberation Army was ostensibly set up as the military wing of the Palestine Liberation Organization at the 1964 Arab League summit , with the mission of fighting Israel...

 (PLA), formally but not functionally the PLO's regular army. Some PLA units sent by Egypt were under Arafat's command.

Sectarian violence and civilian massacres


Between 1968 and 1975, there was a gradual buildup in the assertion by Yasser Arafat's PLO of its right to fight Israel from the Lebanese south, in spite of Lebanese sovereignty. A sample of the incidents includes: Palestinian roadblocks in the city of Beirut killing Lebanese civilians; kidnapping by PLO militants of Lebanese gendarmes; Syria's backing of the PLO included punishing Lebanon by closing the borders between the two countries, which choked the Lebanese economy; incursions by Palestinian contingents of the Syrian Army such as the Palestine Liberation Army, the Al-Saiqa commandos, the Yarmouk Brigades, etc. into Lebanese territory and carrying out massacres against Christian villages in the north and the east; ineffective attacks by PLO militants against the Israeli north were often met with massive and deadly reprisals by Israel against the civilian population; the assassination of the Israeli ambassador in London led to Israel bombing Beirut Airport and destroying the entire fleet of the Lebanese national air carrier - MEA, Lebanese army air force bombing the Palestinian camps, etc. After these incidents, several accords were signed between the Lebanese State and the PLO (examples: The Cairo Accord of 1969 and the Melkart Accord of 1972), only to be violated by the PLO, then backed by Syria, Libya, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Egypt.

In the spring of 1975, this build-up erupted in an all-out conflict, with the PLO pitted against the Christian Phalange, and the ever-weaker national government wavering between the need to maintain order and catering to its constituency.

Christian East Beirut was ringed by heavily fortified Palestinian camps from which kidnappings and sniping against Lebanese Christians became a daily routine. Christian East Beirut became besieged by the PLO camps, with severe shortages of food and fuel. This unbearable situation was remedied by the Phalanges and their allied Christian militias as they besieged the Palestinian camps embedded in Christian East Beirut one at a time and brought them down. The first was on 18 January 1976 when the heavily fortified Karantina camp, located near the strategic Beirut Harbor, was sacked during the Karantina massacre
Karantina Massacre
The Karantina massacre took place early in the Lebanese Civil War on January 18, 1976. With the breakdown in authority of the Lebanese government the militancy of radical factions increased...

: About 1,000 PLO fighters and civilians were killed. Such massacres prompted a mass exodus of Muslims and Christians, as people fearing retribution fled to areas under the control of their own sect. The ethnic and religious layout of the residential areas of the capital encouraged this process, and East and West Beirut were increasingly transformed into an effective Christian and Muslim Beirut. Also, the number of Christian leftists who had allied with the LNM
Lebanese National Movement
The Lebanese National Movement or Mouvement National Libanais in French, was a front of parties and organizations active during the early years of the Lebanese Civil War...

, and Muslim conservatives with the government, dropped sharply, as the war gradually changed from an essentially Palestinian versus Lebanese confrontation into a more sectarian conflict.

Syrian intervention



In June, 1976, with fighting throughout the country and the Maronites on the verge of defeat, President Suleiman Frangieh
Suleiman Frangieh
Suleiman Kabalan Frangieh, last name also spelled Frangié, Franjieh, or Franjiyeh , was President of Lebanon from 1970 to 1976...

 called for Syria intervention in Lebanon, on the grounds that the port of Beirut would be closed and that is how Syria received a large portion of their goods. Christian fears had been greatly exacerbated by the Damour massacre
Damour massacre
The Damour massacre took place on January 20, 1976 during the 1975–1990 Lebanese Civil War. Damour, a Christian town on the main highway south of Beirut, was attacked by the Palestine Liberation Organisation units...

, and both sides felt the stakes had been raised above mere political power. Syria responded by ending its prior affiliation with the Palestinian Rejectionist Front
Rejectionist Front
The Rejectionist Front or Front of the Palestinian Forces Rejecting Solutions of Surrender was a political coalition formed in 1974 by radical Palestinian factions who rejected the Ten Point Program adopted by the Palestine Liberation Organization in its 12th Palestinian National Congress ...

 and began supporting the Maronite-dominated government. This technically put Syria on the same side as Israel, as Israel had already begun to supply Maronite forces with arms, tanks, and military advisers in May 1976. Syria had its own political and territorial interests in Lebanon, which harbored cells of the Islamists and anti-Ba'thist Muslim Brotherhood
Muslim Brotherhood
The Society of the Muslim Brothers is the world's oldest and one of the largest Islamist parties, and is the largest political opposition organization in many Arab states. It was founded in 1928 in Egypt by the Islamic scholar and schoolteacher Hassan al-Banna and by the late 1940s had an...

, and was also a possible route of attack for Israel.

At the President's request, Syrian troops entered Lebanon, occupying Tripoli
Tripoli, Lebanon
Tripoli is the largest city in northern Lebanon and the second-largest city in Lebanon. Situated 85 km north of the capital Beirut, Tripoli is the capital of the North Governorate and the Tripoli District. Geographically located on the east of the Mediterranean, the city's history dates back...

 and the Bekaa Valley, easily brushing aside the LNM and Palestinian defenses. A cease-fire was imposed, but it ultimately failed to stop the conflict, so Syria added to the pressure. With Damascus
Damascus
Damascus , commonly known in Syria as Al Sham , and as the City of Jasmine , is the capital and the second largest city of Syria after Aleppo, both are part of the country's 14 governorates. In addition to being one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, Damascus is a major...

 supplying arms, Christian forces managed to break through the defenses of the Tel al-Zaatar refugee camp in East Beirut, which had long been under siege.

In October 1976, Syria accepted the proposal of the Arab League
Arab League
The Arab League , officially called the League of Arab States , is a regional organisation of Arab states in North and Northeast Africa, and Southwest Asia . It was formed in Cairo on 22 March 1945 with six members: Egypt, Iraq, Transjordan , Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and Syria. Yemen joined as a...

 summit in Riyadh
Riyadh
Riyadh is the capital and largest city of Saudi Arabia. It is also the capital of Riyadh Province, and belongs to the historical regions of Najd and Al-Yamama. It is situated in the center of the Arabian Peninsula on a large plateau, and is home to 5,254,560 people, and the urban center of a...

. This gave Syria a mandate to keep 40,000 troops in Lebanon as the bulk of an Arab Deterrent Force
Arab Deterrent Force
The Arab Deterrent Force was a military intervention force created by the Arab League.As the Lebanese Civil War escalated in 1976, the Arab League created an intervention force composed almost entirely of Syrian forces with token contributions from other Arab states, including Saudi Arabia and Libya...

 charged with disentangling the combatants and restoring calm. Other Arab nations were also part of the ADF, but they lost interest relatively soon, and Syria was again left in sole control, now with the ADF as a diplomatic shield against international criticism. The Civil War was officially ended at this point, and an uneasy quiet settled over Beirut and most of the rest of Lebanon. In the south, however, the climate began to deteriorate as a consequence of the gradual return of PLO combatants, who had been required to vacate central Lebanon under the terms of the Riyadh Accords.

Uneasy quiet



The nation was now effectively divided, with southern Lebanon and the western half of Beirut becoming bases for the PLO and Muslim-based militias, and the Christians in control of East Beirut and the Christian section of Mount Lebanon
Mount Lebanon
Mount Lebanon , as a geographic designation, is a Lebanese mountain range, averaging above 2,200 meters in height and receiving a substantial amount of precipitation, including snow, which averages around four meters deep. It extends across the whole country along about , parallel to the...

. The main confrontation line in divided Beirut was known as the Green Line
Green Line (Lebanon)
The Green Line was a line of demarcation in Beirut, Lebanon during the Lebanese Civil War from 1975 to 1990. It separated the mainly Muslim factions in West Beirut from the Christian Lebanese Front in East Beirut. The appellation refers to the coloration of the foliage that grew because the space...

.

In East Beirut, in 1976, Christian leaders of the National Liberal Party
National Liberal Party (Lebanon)
The National Liberal Party is a center-right political party in Lebanon, established by President Camille Chamoun in 1958...

 (NLP), the Kataeb Party
Kataeb Party
The Lebanese Phalanges , better known in English as the Phalange , is a traditional right-wing Lebanese political party. Although it is officially secular, it is mainly supported by Maronite Christians. The party played a major role in the Lebanese War...

 and the Lebanese Renewal Party joined in the Lebanese Front
Lebanese Front
The Lebanese Front or Front libanais in French, also known as the "Kufur Front", was a coalition of mainly Christian parties formed in 1976, during the Lebanese Civil War...

, a political counterpoint to the LNM. Their militias - the Tigers
Tigers Militia (Lebanon)
The Tigers Militia , also known as NLP Tigers or Tigers of the Liberals and PNL "Lionceaux" in French, was the military wing of the National Liberal Party during the Lebanese Civil War.- Origins :The NLP militia was first raised in October 1968 by Camille Chamoun at his own home town...

, Kataeb Regulatory Forces
Kataeb Regulatory Forces
The Kataeb Regulatory Forces – KRF or RF , Forces Regulatoires du Kataeb in French were the military wing of the right-wing Lebanese Christian Kataeb Party, otherwise known as the Phalange, from 1961 to 1977...

 (KRF) and Guardians of the Cedars
Guardians of the Cedars
The Guardians of the Cedars – GoC , also designated Gardiens du Cedre or Gardiens des Cèdres in French, are a far-right ultranationalist Lebanese party and former militia in Lebanon...

 - entered a loose coalition known as the Lebanese Forces
Lebanese Forces
The Lebanese Forces is a Lebanese political party. Founded as a militia by Bachir Gemayel during the Lebanese Civil War, the movement fought as the main militia within the Christian-dominated Lebanese Front...

, to form a military wing for the Lebanese Front. From the very beginning, the Kataeb and its Regulatory Forces' militia, under the leadership of Bashir Gemayel, dominated the LF. In 1977-80, through absorbing or destroying smaller militias, he both consolidated control and strengthened the LF into the dominant Christian force.

In March the same year, Lebanese National Movement
Lebanese National Movement
The Lebanese National Movement or Mouvement National Libanais in French, was a front of parties and organizations active during the early years of the Lebanese Civil War...

 leader Kamal Jumblatt
Kamal Jumblatt
Kamal Jumblatt ; was an important Lebanese politician. He was the main leader of the anti-government forces in the Lebanese Civil War until his assassination in 1977. He is the father of the present Lebanese Druze leader Walid Jumblatt.-Family background and education:Kamal Jumblatt was born in...

 was assassinated. The murder was widely blamed on the Syrian government. While Jumblatt's role as leader of the Druze
Druze
The Druze are an esoteric, monotheistic religious community, found primarily in Syria, Lebanon, Israel, and Jordan, which emerged during the 11th century from Ismailism. The Druze have an eclectic set of beliefs that incorporate several elements from Abrahamic religions, Gnosticism, Neoplatonism...

 Progressive Socialist Party
Progressive Socialist Party
The Progressive Socialist Party or PSP , also known as Parti Socialiste Progressiste in French, is a political party in Lebanon. Its current leader is Walid Jumblatt...

 was filled surprisingly smoothly by his son, Walid Jumblatt
Walid Jumblatt
Walid Jumblatt is a Lebanese politician and the current leader of the Progressive Socialist Party . He is the most prominent leader of Lebanon's Druze community.-Family:...

, the LNM disintegrated after his death. Although the anti-government pact of leftists, Shi'a, Sunni, Palestinians and Druze would stick together for some time more, their wildly divergent interests tore at opposition unity. Sensing the opportunity, Hafez al-Assad
Hafez al-Assad
Hafez ibn 'Ali ibn Sulayman al-Assad or more commonly Hafez al-Assad was the President of Syria for three decades. Assad's rule consolidated the power of the central government after decades of coups and counter-coups, such as Operation Wappen in 1957 conducted by the Eisenhower administration and...

 immediately began splitting up both the Christian and Muslim coalitions in a game of divide and conquer.

Operation Litani



PLO attacks from Lebanon into Israel in 1977 and 1978 escalated tensions between the countries. On 11 March 1978, eleven Fatah fighters landed on a beach in northern Israel and proceeded to hijack two buses full of passengers on the Haifa - Tel-Aviv road, shooting at passing vehicles. They killed 37 and wounded 76 Israelis before being killed in a firefight with Israeli forces. Israel invaded Lebanon four days later in Operation Litani
Operation Litani
The 1978 South Lebanon conflict was an invasion in Lebanon up to the Litani River carried out by the Israel Defense Forces in 1978. It was a military success for the Israeli Defense Forces, as PLO forces were pushed north of the river...

. The Israeli Army occupied most of the area south of the Litani River
Litani River
The Litani River is an important water resource in southern Lebanon. The river rises in the fertile Beqaa Valley valley, west of Baalbek, and empties into the Mediterranean Sea north of Tyre. Exceeding 140 km in length, the Litani River is the longest river in Lebanon and provides an average...

 The UN Security Council passed Resolution 425 calling for immediate Israeli withdrawal and creating the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), charged with attempting to establish peace.

Security Zone



Israeli forces withdrew later in 1978, but retained control of the southern region by managing a 12 miles (19 km) wide "security zone" along the border. These positions were held by an Israeli ally, the South Lebanon Army
South Lebanon Army
The South Lebanon Army , also "South Lebanese Army," was a Lebanese militia during the Lebanese Civil War. After 1979, the militia operated in southern Lebanon under the authority of Saad Haddad's Government of Free Lebanon...

 (SLA), a Christian-Shi'a militia under the leadership of Major Saad Haddad
Saad Haddad
Saad Haddad was the founder and head of the South Lebanon Army . Several sources have suggested Haddad's involvement in the Sabra and Shatila massacres in 1982.-Lebanese Civil War:...

. Israel supplied the SLA with arms and resources, and posted "advisers" to assist the militia. The Israeli Prime Minister
Prime Minister of Israel
The Prime Minister of Israel is the head of the Israeli government and the most powerful political figure in Israel . The prime minister is the country's chief executive. The official residence of the prime minister, Beit Rosh Hamemshala is in Jerusalem...

, Likud
Likud
Likud is the major center-right political party in Israel. It was founded in 1973 by Menachem Begin in an alliance with several right-wing and liberal parties. Likud's victory in the 1977 elections was a major turning point in the country's political history, marking the first time the left had...

's Menachem Begin
Menachem Begin
' was a politician, founder of Likud and the sixth Prime Minister of the State of Israel. Before independence, he was the leader of the Zionist militant group Irgun, the Revisionist breakaway from the larger Jewish paramilitary organization Haganah. He proclaimed a revolt, on 1 February 1944,...

, compared the plight of the Christian minority in southern Lebanon (then about 5% of the population in SLA territory) to that of European Jews during World War II.

Violent exchanges resumed between the PLO and the Israeli/SLA alliance. The PLO attacked the SLA while it continued its efforts to consolidate power along the Lebanese-Israeli border. The PLO also continued to fire rockets into northern Israeli towns, while Israel retaliated with air raids against PLO positions.

Syria's wars against Lebanon's Christians


Syria had since the late 1960s covertly armed Palestinian guerrillas stationed in Lebanon. In 1976, a Palestinian-Syrian brigade called "Al Yarmook" crossed the Lebanese border and invaded the Christian town of Damour on the coast of the Chouf district, massacring thousands of its inhabitants. However, regional strategies shifted with 1978's Israel-Egypt Camp David agreement, and Syria changed its apparent role in Lebanon from a member of the Arab Peace keeping force (Green Helmets) into an open supporter of Palestinian/Leftist coalition, thus in summer 1978 Syrian troops started harassing the Lebanese Army (LAF) and Christian Militias. A major incident with the LAF in Hadath 1978 erupted into an all out confrontation with the Christian Militias, including the Phalanges and Chamoun's Ahrar forces. Syrian troops moved to invade strategic East Beirut and were countered by Christian forces in one of the bloodiest chapters of the civil war, known as the "100 Days War." Christian militias defeated elite troops of the Syrian army and kept them from occupying the vital regions of Ain el Remmaneh, Achrifiyeh, Sodeco, Karantina, and Gemayze, leading to an all out siege and a relentless bombardment of the city that lasted for three months killing thousands of innocent civilians. Eventually, international pressure mounted on Assad's regime, forcing a withdrawal of Syrian troops from Christian regions surrounding East Beirut, in a major victory to young Bachir Gemayel and a heavy defeat to Syria's occupation attempt.

Another chapter of Syria's open war on Lebanese Christians was the conflict of Zahle. In April 1981, Syrian forces attempted to invade the capital of the Bekaa's valley Zahle, famous for its largest concentration of Christian inhabitants in the entire Asian Continent. The Christian militias now know as the Lebanese Forces (LF), sent a force of 65 elite commandos on foot through the snowy peaks of Mount Lebanon to the encircled city where they organized local defenses. A relentless shelling of the city lasted for three months during which Syrian troops' several attempts to invade the city failed. Eventually, Israel intervened and shot down two Syrian helicopters that landed troops on Christian Mount Sannin, an incident that led Syria to set up anti-aircraft missiles in the Bekaa valley, leading to an international crisis that ended with the a ceasefire, a Syrian pullout from areas around Zahle, and the withdrawal of the 65 christian commando; another defeat to Syria, and another victory to Bashir Gemayel who had become the symbol of the Lebanese resistance.

Israeli bombing of Beirut


On 17 July 1981, Israeli aircraft bombed multi-story apartment buildings in Beirut that contained offices of PLO associated groups. The Lebanese delegate to the United Nations Security Council reported that 300 civilians had been killed, and 800 wounded. The bombing led to worldwide condemnation, and a temporary embargo on the export of U.S. aircraft to Israel.

Israel plans for attack


In August, Israeli prime minister Menachem Begin was re-elected, and in September, Begin and his defense minister Ariel Sharon
Ariel Sharon
Ariel Sharon is an Israeli statesman and retired general, who served as Israel’s 11th Prime Minister. He has been in a permanent vegetative state since suffering a stroke on 4 January 2006....

 began to lay plans for a second invasion of Lebanon for the purpose of driving out the PLO. Sharon's intention was to "destroy the PLO military infrastructure and, if possible, the PLO leadership itself; this would mean attacking West Beirut, where the PLO headquarters and command bunkers were located".

Sharon also wanted to ensure the presidency of Bashir Gemayel. In return for Israeli assistance, Sharon expected Gemayel, once installed as president, to sign a peace treaty with Israel, presumably stabilizing forever Israel's northern border. Begin brought Sharon's plan before the Knesset in December 1981; however, after strong objections were raised, Begin felt compelled to set the plan aside. But Sharon continued to press the issue. In January 1982, Sharon met with Gemayel on an Israeli vessel off the coast of Lebanon and discussed a plan "that would bring Israeli forces as far north as the edge of Beirut International Airport". In February, with Begin's input, Yehoshua Seguy, the chief of military intelligence, was sent to Washington to discuss the issue of Lebanon with Secretary of State
Secretary of State
Secretary of State or State Secretary is a commonly used title for a senior or mid-level post in governments around the world. The role varies between countries, and in some cases there are multiple Secretaries of State in the Government....

 Alexander Haig
Alexander Haig
Alexander Meigs Haig, Jr. was a United States Army general who served as the United States Secretary of State under President Ronald Reagan and White House Chief of Staff under Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford...

. In the meeting, Haig "stressed that there could be no assault without a major provocation from Lebanon".

Israel-PLO security situation


The PLO routinely attacked Israel during the period of the cease-fire, with over 270 documented attacks. People in Galilee regularly had to leave their homes during these shellings. Documents captured in PLO headquarters after the invasion showed they had come from Lebanon.

In addition, Arafat refused to condemn attacks occurring outside of Lebanon, on the grounds that the cease-fire was only relevant to the Lebanese theater. Arafat's interpretation underscored the fact that the cease-fire agreement did nothing to address ongoing violence between the PLO and Israel in other theaters. Israel thus continued to weather PLO attacks throughout the cease-fire period.

Israeli invasion of Lebanon



Argov assassination


On 3 June 1982, the Abu Nidal Organization attempted to assassinate Israeli ambassador Shlomo Argov
Shlomo Argov
Shlomo Argov was a prominent Israeli diplomat. He was the Israeli ambassador to the United Kingdom whose attempted assassination led to the 1982 Lebanon War.-Attempted assassination:...

 in London. Abu Nidal
Abu Nidal
Abu Nidal , born Sabri Khalil al-Banna , was the founder of Fatah–The Revolutionary Council , a militant Palestinian group more commonly known as the Abu Nidal Organization...

 had assassinated numerous PLO diplomats, and attempted to kill both Arafat and Mahmud Abbas, and was in fact condemned to death by the PLO. Additionally, British intelligence
MI5
The Security Service, commonly known as MI5 , is the United Kingdom's internal counter-intelligence and security agency and is part of its core intelligence machinery alongside the Secret Intelligence Service focused on foreign threats, Government Communications Headquarters and the Defence...

 reported that the attempt had likely been sponsored by Iraq
Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

, and Israeli intelligence
Mossad
The Mossad , short for HaMossad leModi'in uleTafkidim Meyuchadim , is the national intelligence agency of Israel....

 agreed. However, Ariel Sharon
Ariel Sharon
Ariel Sharon is an Israeli statesman and retired general, who served as Israel’s 11th Prime Minister. He has been in a permanent vegetative state since suffering a stroke on 4 January 2006....

 and Menachem Begin
Menachem Begin
' was a politician, founder of Likud and the sixth Prime Minister of the State of Israel. Before independence, he was the leader of the Zionist militant group Irgun, the Revisionist breakaway from the larger Jewish paramilitary organization Haganah. He proclaimed a revolt, on 1 February 1944,...

 ordered a retaliatory aerial attack on PLO and PFLP targets in West Beirut that led to over 100 casualties.

The PLO responded by launching a counterattack from Lebanon, without consulting its government, with rockets and artillery, which also constituted a clear violation of the cease-fire. This was the immediate excuse of Israel's subsequent decision to invade. Meanwhile, on 5 June, the UN Security Council unanimously passed Resolution 508
United Nations Security Council Resolution 508
United Nations Security Council Resolution 508, adopted unanimously on June 5, 1982, after recalling previous resolutions including 425 , 426 and 501 , demanded an end of foreign hostilities taking place on Lebanese territory between the Palestinian Liberation Organization and Israel...

 calling for "all the parties to the conflict to cease immediately and simultaneously all military activities within Lebanon and across the Lebanese-Israeli border and no later than 0600 hours local time on Sunday, 6 June 1982."

Israel invades




Israel launched Operation Peace for Galilee on 6 June 1982, attacking PLO bases in Lebanon. Israeli forces quickly drove 25 miles (40 km) into Lebanon, moving into East Beirut with the tacit support of Maronite leaders and militia. When the Israeli cabinet convened to authorize the invasion, Sharon described it as a plan to advance 40 kilometers into Lebanon, demolish PLO strongholds, and establish an expanded security zone that would put northern Israel out of range of PLO rockets. In fact, Israeli chief of staff Rafael Eitan
Rafael Eitan
Rafael "Raful" Eitan was an Israeli general, former Chief of Staff of the Israel Defense Forces and later a politician, a Knesset member government minister...

 and Sharon had already ordered the invading forces to head straight for Beirut, in accord with Sharon's blueprint dating to September 1981. After the invasion had begun, the UN Security Council passed a further resolution on 6 June 1982, Resolution 509
United Nations Security Council Resolution 509
United Nations Security Council Resolution 509, adopted unanimously on June 6, 1982, after recalling previous resolutions on the topic including 425 and 508 , the Council expressed concern and demanded Israel unconditionally withdraw all its military forces from Lebanon back to its internationally...

, which reaffirms UNSCR 508 and "demands that Israel withdraw all its military forces forthwith and unconditionally to the internationally recognized boundaries of Lebanon". Thus far the US had not used its veto. However, on 8 June 1982, the US vetoed a proposed resolution that "reiterates [the] demand that Israel withdraw all its military forces forthwith and unconditionally to the internationally recognized boundaries of Lebanon", thereby giving implicit assent to the Israeli invasion.

Siege of Beirut




By 15 June 1982, Israeli units were entrenched outside Beirut. The United States called for PLO withdrawal from Lebanon, and Sharon began to order bombing raids of West Beirut, targeting some 16,000 PLO fedayeen who had retreated into fortified positions. Meanwhile, Arafat attempted through negotiations to salvage politically what was clearly a disaster for the PLO, an attempt which eventually succeeded once the multinational force arrived to evacuate the PLO.

The fighting in Beirut killed more than 6,700 people of whom the vast majority were civilians. Combatants killed included 500 PLO, more than 400 Lebanese, over 100 Syrians and 88 Israelis. Fierce artillery duels between the IDF and the PLO, and PLO shelling of Christian neighborhoods of East Beirut at the outset gave way to escalating aerial IDF bombardment beginning on 21 July 1982. It is commonly estimated that during the entire campaign, approximately 20,000 were killed on all sides, including many civilians, and 30,000 were wounded.

Negotiations for a cease-fire


On 26 June, a UN Security Council resolution was proposed that "demands the immediate withdrawal of the Israeli forces engaged round Beirut, to a distance of 10 kilometers from the periphery of that city, as a first step towards the complete withdrawal of Israeli forces from Lebanon, and the simultaneous withdrawal of the Palestinian armed forces from Beirut, which shall retire to the existing camps"; the United States vetoed the resolution because it was "a transparent attempt to preserve the PLO as a viable political force", However, President Reagan made an impassioned plea to Prime Minister Begin to end the siege. Begin called back within minutes informing the President that he had given the order to end the attack.

Finally, amid escalating violence and civilian casualties, Philip Habib
Philip Habib
Philip Charles Habib was a Lebanese-American career diplomat known for work in Vietnam, South Korea and the Middle East...

 was once again sent to restore order, which he accomplished on 12 August on the heels of IDF's intensive, day-long bombardment of West Beirut. The Habib-negotiated truce called for the withdrawal of both Israeli and PLO elements, as well as a multinational force composed of U.S. Marines along with French and Italian units that would ensure the departure of the PLO and protect defenseless civilians.

International intervention




The first troops of a multinational force landed in Beirut on 21 August 1982 to oversee the PLO withdrawal from Lebanon and U.S. mediation resulted in the evacuation of Syrian troops and PLO fighters from Beirut. The agreement also provided for the deployment of a multinational force composed of U.S. Marines along with French, Italian and British units. However, Israel reported that some 2,000 PLO militants were hiding in Palestinian refugee camp
Refugee camp
A refugee camp is a temporary settlement built to receive refugees. Hundreds of thousands of people may live in any one single camp. Usually they are built and run by a government, the United Nations, or international organizations, or NGOs.Refugee camps are generally set up in an impromptu...

s on the outskirts of Beirut.

Bachir Gemayel
Bachir Gemayel
Bachir Gemayel was a Lebanese politician, militia commander, and president-elect...

 was elected president under Israeli military control on 23 August. Many, especially in the Muslim circles, feared his relationship with Israel. He was assassinated on 14 September.

Sabra and Shatila Massacre


The Kahan Commission
Kahan Commission
The Kahan Commission , formally known as the Commission of Inquiry into the Events at the Refugee Camps in Beirut, was established by the Israeli government on 28 September 1982, to investigate the Sabra and Shatila Massacre . The Kahan Commission was chaired by the President of the Supreme Court,...

 was set up by the Israeli government to investigate the circumstances of the massacre , in which about 3500 Muslim civilians were killed by the Lebanese christian forces under the full knowledge and help of the Israeli authorities . The Defence Minister
Defence minister
A defence minister is a person in a cabinet position in charge of a Ministry of Defence, which regulates the armed forces in some sovereign nations...

, Ariel Sharon
Ariel Sharon
Ariel Sharon is an Israeli statesman and retired general, who served as Israel’s 11th Prime Minister. He has been in a permanent vegetative state since suffering a stroke on 4 January 2006....

, was found to bear personal responsibility "for ignoring the danger of bloodshed and revenge" and "not taking appropriate measures to prevent bloodshed". Sharon's negligence in protecting the civilian population of Beirut, which had come under Israeli control amounted to a non-fulfillment of a duty with which the Defence Minister was charged. The Commission arrived to similar conclusions with respect to Chief of Staff, Lt. Gen.
Lieutenant General
Lieutenant General is a military rank used in many countries. The rank traces its origins to the Middle Ages where the title of Lieutenant General was held by the second in command on the battlefield, who was normally subordinate to a Captain General....

 Rafael Eitan
Rafael Eitan
Rafael "Raful" Eitan was an Israeli general, former Chief of Staff of the Israel Defense Forces and later a politician, a Knesset member government minister...

, finding his actions were tantamount to a breach of duty that was incumbent upon the Chief of Staff. The Commission recommended that Sharon resign his post as Defense Minister, which he did, though he remained in the government as an influential Minister without Portfolio.
The massacres made the headlines all over the world, and calls were heard for the international community to assume responsibility for stabilizing Lebanon. As a result, the multinational forces that had begun exiting Lebanon after the PLO's evacuation returned as peace keepers. With U.S. backing, Amine Gemayel
Amine Gemayel
Amine Pierre Gemayel was President of Lebanon from 1982 to 1988 and is the leader of Kataeb Party.Born in the Lebanese village of Bikfaya, Amine Gemayel is the son of Pierre Gemayel, founder of the Kataeb Party...

 was chosen by the Lebanese parliament to succeed his brother as President and focused anew on securing the withdrawal of Israeli and Syrian forces.

17 May Agreement


On 17 May 1983, Lebanon's Amine Gemayel
Amine Gemayel
Amine Pierre Gemayel was President of Lebanon from 1982 to 1988 and is the leader of Kataeb Party.Born in the Lebanese village of Bikfaya, Amine Gemayel is the son of Pierre Gemayel, founder of the Kataeb Party...

, Israel, and the United States signed an agreement text on Israeli withdrawal that was conditioned on the departure of Syrian troops; reportedly after the US and Israel exerted severe pressure on Gemayel. The agreement stated that "the state of war between Israel and Lebanon has been terminated and no longer exists." Thus, the agreement in effect amounted to a peace agreement with Israel, and was additionally seen by many Lebanese Muslims as an attempt for Israel to gain a permanent hold on the Lebanese South. The 17 May Agreement was widely portrayed in the Arab world
Arab world
The Arab world refers to Arabic-speaking states, territories and populations in North Africa, Western Asia and elsewhere.The standard definition of the Arab world comprises the 22 states and territories of the Arab League stretching from the Atlantic Ocean in the west to the Arabian Sea in the...

 as an imposed surrender, and Amine Gemayel was accused of acting as a Quisling
Quisling
Quisling is a term used in reference to fascist and collaborationist political parties and military and paramilitary forces in occupied Allied countries which collaborated with Axis occupiers in World War II, as well as for their members and other collaborators.- Etymology :The term was coined by...

 President; tensions in Lebanon hardened considerably. Syria strongly opposed the agreement and declined to discuss the withdrawal of its troops, effectively stalemating further progress.

In August 1983, Israel withdrew from the Chouf District
Chouf District
Chouf is a historic region of Lebanon, as well as an administrative district in the governorate of Mount Lebanon....

 (southeast of Beirut), thus removing the buffer between the Druze and the Christian militias and triggering another round of brutal fighting. By September, the Druze had gained control over most of the Chouf, and Israeli forces had pulled out from all but the southern security zone. The IDF would remain in this zone until 2000.

Resurging violence


The virtual collapse of the Lebanese Army in February 1984, following the defection of many Muslim and Druze units to militias, was a major blow to the government. With the U.S. Marines looking ready to withdraw, Syria and Muslim groups stepped up pressure on Gemayel. On 5 March the Lebanese Government canceled the 17 May Agreement, and the Marines departed a few weeks later.

This period of chaos witnessed the beginning of attacks against U.S. and Western interests, such as the 18 April 1983 suicide attack at the U.S. Embassy in West Beirut, which killed 63. Following the bombing, the Reagan
Ronald Reagan
Ronald Wilson Reagan was the 40th President of the United States , the 33rd Governor of California and, prior to that, a radio, film and television actor....

 White House
White House
The White House is the official residence and principal workplace of the president of the United States. Located at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW in Washington, D.C., the house was designed by Irish-born James Hoban, and built between 1792 and 1800 of white-painted Aquia sandstone in the Neoclassical...

 "ordered naval bombardments of Druze positions, which resulted in numerous casualties, mostly non-combatant," and the "reply to the American bombardments" was the suicide attack. Then, on 23 October 1983, a devastating suicide bombing in Beirut
1983 Beirut barracks bombing
The Beirut Barracks Bombing occurred during the Lebanese Civil War, when two truck bombs struck separate buildings housing United States and French military forces—members of the Multinational Force in Lebanon—killing 299 American and French servicemen...

 targeted the headquarters of the U.S. and French forces, killing 241 American and 58 French servicemen. On 18 January 1984, American University of Beirut President Malcolm Kerr was murdered. After US forces withdrew in February 1984, anti-US attacks continued, including a second bombing of the U.S. embassy annex in East Beirut on 20 September 1984, which killed 9, including 2 U.S. servicemen. The situation became serious enough to compel the U.S. State Department to invalidate US passports for travel to Lebanon in 1987, a travel ban that was only lifted 10 years later in 1997.

During these years, Hezbollah emerged from a loose coalition of Shi'a groups resisting the Israeli occupation, and splintered from the main Shi'a movement, Nabih Berri
Nabih Berri
Nabih Berri is the Speaker of the Parliament of Lebanon. He heads the mostly Shi'a Amal Movement.-Biography:He was born in Bo, Sierra Leone to Lebanese parents. He went to school in Tebnine and Ain Ebel in southern Lebanon and later studied at the Makassed and the Ecole de la Sagesse in Beirut...

's Amal Movement
Amal Movement
Amal Movement is short for the Lebanese Resistance Detachments the acronym for which, in Arabic, is "amal", meaning "hope."Amal was founded in 1975 as the militia wing of the Movement of the Disinherited, a Shi'a political movement founded by Musa...

. The group found inspiration for its revolutionary Islamism
Islamism
Islamism also , lit., "Political Islam" is set of ideologies holding that Islam is not only a religion but also a political system. Islamism is a controversial term, and definitions of it sometimes vary...

 in the Iranian Revolution
Iranian Revolution
The Iranian Revolution refers to events involving the overthrow of Iran's monarchy under Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi and its replacement with an Islamic republic under Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the leader of the...

 of 1979, With Iranian assistance and a large pool of disaffected Shi'a refugees from which to draw support, Hezbollah quickly grew into a strong fighting force.

Worsening conflict and political crisis


Between 1985 and 1989, sectarian conflict worsened as various efforts at national reconciliation failed. Heavy fighting took place in the War of the Camps
War of the camps
The War of the Camps was a subconflict within the 1984–89 phase of the Lebanese Civil War, in which Palestinian refugee camps were besieged by the Shi'ite Amal militia....

 of 1985-86 as a Syrian-backed coalition headed by the Amal militia sought to rout the PLO from their Lebanese strongholds, who were supported by Hezbollah. Many Palestinians died, and the Sabra
Sabra
Sabra may refer to:*Sabra and Shatila massacre, a 1982 massacre in Lebanon**Sabra refugee camp, former Palestinian refugee camp, part of the scene of the above massacre*Sabra , a native-born Israeli JewSABRA...

, Shatila, and Bourj al-Barajneh refugee camp
Refugee camp
A refugee camp is a temporary settlement built to receive refugees. Hundreds of thousands of people may live in any one single camp. Usually they are built and run by a government, the United Nations, or international organizations, or NGOs.Refugee camps are generally set up in an impromptu...

s were largely destroyed. (Fisk, 609)

Major combat returned to Beirut in 1987, when Palestinians, Hezbollah and leftist fighters allied against Amal, eventually drawing further Syrian intervention. After several Hezbollah successes against Amal, Syrian troops invaded the Shia stronghold of Basta and attacked the Fathallah barracks
Fathallah barracks
The Fathallah barracks were the early headquarters of the Hezbollah organisation, situated in the Basta neighbourhood of West Beirut. On February 25th 1987 it was attacked by Syria in retaliation for Hezbollah's support for Palestinian factions in the War of the Camps against the Syrian-backed...

, the headquarters of Hezbollah, killing 23 Hezbollah members and leading to a short period of fighting between Hezbollah and Syria. Violent confrontation flared up again in Beirut in early 1988 between Amal and Hezbollah. Hezbollah swiftly seized command of several Amal-held parts of the city, and for the first time emerged as a strong force in the capital.

Aoun government


Meanwhile, Prime Minister Rashid Karami
Rashid Karami
Rashid Abdul Hamid Karami was a Lebanese statesman. He was one of the most important political figures in Lebanon for more than 30 years, including during much of Lebanese Civil War , and he served as Prime Minister eight times.- Background :Rashid Karami was born in Tripoli, into one of...

, head of a government of national unity set up after the failed peace efforts of 1984, was assassinated on 1 June 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
Michel Aoun
Michel Naim Aoun is a former Lebanese Army Commander and he is one of the allies of Hezbollah. From 22 September 1988 to 13 October 1990, he has served as Prime Minister of the legal one of two rival governments that contended for power. He declared "The Liberation War" against the Syrian...

, as acting Prime Minister, contravening the National Pact
National Pact
The National Pact is an unwritten agreement that laid the foundation of Lebanon as a multi-confessional state, and has shaped the country to this day. Following negotiations between the Shi'ite, Sunni, and Maronite leaderships, the National Pact was born in the summer of 1943 allowing Lebanon to...

. Conflict in this period was also exacerbated by increasing Iraqi involvement, as Saddam Hussein searched for proxy battlefields for the Iran–Iraq War. To counter Iran's influence through Amal and Hezbollah, Iraq backed Christian groups; Saddam Hussein
Saddam Hussein
Saddam Hussein Abd al-Majid al-Tikriti was the fifth President of Iraq, serving in this capacity from 16 July 1979 until 9 April 2003...

 helped the Lebanese Forces led by Samir Geagea between 1988-1990.

Muslim groups rejected the violation of the National Pact and pledged support to Selim al-Hoss
Selim al-Hoss
Selim Ahmed El-Hoss is a veteran Lebanese politician. He was a Prime Minister of Lebanon and a longtime Member of Parliament representing his hometown, Beirut.-Education:...

, a Sunni who had succeeded Karami. Lebanon was thus divided between a Christian military government in East Beirut and a Muslim government in West Beirut.

Aoun's "War of Liberation"


On 14 March 1989, Aoun launched what he termed a "war of liberation" against the Syrians and their Lebanese militia allies. As a result, Syrian pressure on his Lebanese Army and militia pockets in East Beirut grew. Still, Aoun persisted in the "war of liberation", denouncing the regime of Hafez al-Assad
Hafez al-Assad
Hafez ibn 'Ali ibn Sulayman al-Assad or more commonly Hafez al-Assad was the President of Syria for three decades. Assad's rule consolidated the power of the central government after decades of coups and counter-coups, such as Operation Wappen in 1957 conducted by the Eisenhower administration and...

 and claiming that he fought for Lebanon's independence. While he seems to have had significant Christian support for this, he was still perceived as a sectarian leader among others by the Muslim population, who distrusted his agenda. He was also plagued by the challenge to his legitimacy put forth by the Syrian-backed West Beirut government of Selim al-Hoss
Selim al-Hoss
Selim Ahmed El-Hoss is a veteran Lebanese politician. He was a Prime Minister of Lebanon and a longtime Member of Parliament representing his hometown, Beirut.-Education:...

.
Militarily, this war did not achieve its goal. Instead, it caused considerable damages to East Beirut and provoked massive emigration among the Christian population.

Taif Agreement



The Taif Agreement
Taif Agreement
The Taif Agreement was an agreement reached to provide "the basis for the ending of the civil war and the return to political normalcy in Lebanon." Negotiated in Taif, Saudi Arabia, it was designed to end the decades-long Lebanese civil war, politically accommodate the demographic...

 of 1989 marked the beginning of the end of the fighting. In January of that year, a committee appointed by the Arab League
Arab League
The Arab League , officially called the League of Arab States , is a regional organisation of Arab states in North and Northeast Africa, and Southwest Asia . It was formed in Cairo on 22 March 1945 with six members: Egypt, Iraq, Transjordan , Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and Syria. Yemen joined as a...

, chaired by Kuwait
Kuwait
The State of Kuwait is a sovereign Arab state situated in the north-east of the Arabian Peninsula in Western Asia. It is bordered by Saudi Arabia to the south at Khafji, and Iraq to the north at Basra. It lies on the north-western shore of the Persian Gulf. The name Kuwait is derived from the...

 and including Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia , commonly known in British English as Saudi Arabia and in Arabic as as-Sa‘ūdiyyah , is the largest state in Western Asia by land area, constituting the bulk of the Arabian Peninsula, and the second-largest in the Arab World...

, Algeria
Algeria
Algeria , officially the People's Democratic Republic of Algeria , also formally referred to as the Democratic and Popular Republic of Algeria, is a country in the Maghreb region of Northwest Africa with Algiers as its capital.In terms of land area, it is the largest country in Africa and the Arab...

, and Morocco
Morocco
Morocco , officially the Kingdom of Morocco , is a country located in North Africa. It has a population of more than 32 million and an area of 710,850 km², and also primarily administers the disputed region of the Western Sahara...

, began to formulate solutions to the conflict. This led to a meeting of Lebanese parliamentarians in Ta'if, Saudi Arabia, where they agreed to the national reconciliation accord in October. The agreement provided a large role for Syria in Lebanese affairs. Returning to Lebanon, they ratified the agreement on 4 November and elected Rene Mouawad as President the following day. Military leader Michel Aoun in East Beirut refused to accept Mouawad, and denounced the Taif Agreement.

Mouawad was assassinated 16 days later in a car bomb
Car bomb
A car bomb, or truck bomb also known as a Vehicle Borne Improvised Explosive Device , is an improvised explosive device placed in a car or other vehicle and then detonated. It is commonly used as a weapon of assassination, terrorism, or guerrilla warfare, to kill the occupants of the vehicle,...

ing in Beirut on 22 November as his motorcade returned from Lebanese independence day ceremonies. He was succeeded by Elias Hrawi
Elias Hrawi
Elias Hrawi was a President of Lebanon, whose term of office ran from 1989 to 1998.He was a native of the Beqaa valley. He was elected on 24 November 1989, two days after the assassination of René Moawad, who had held office for just seventeen days...

 (who remained in office until 1998). Aoun again refused to accept the election, and dissolved Parliament.

Infighting in East Beirut


On 16 January 1990, General Aoun ordered all Lebanese media to cease using terms like "President" or "Minister" to describe Hrawi and other participants in the Taif government. The Lebanese Forces
Lebanese Forces
The Lebanese Forces is a Lebanese political party. Founded as a militia by Bachir Gemayel during the Lebanese Civil War, the movement fought as the main militia within the Christian-dominated Lebanese Front...

, which had grown into a rival power broker in the Christian parts of the capital, protested by suspending all its broadcasts. Tension with the LF grew, as Aoun feared that the LF was planning to link up with the Hrawi administration.

Aoun's troops had on several occasion attacked the LF including on 14 February 1989, one month before his all out war on Syria (14 March 1989), whereby Lebanese army troops attacked LF fighters stationed in Antelias, killing dozens. Nevertheless, the LF kept on assisting Aoun in his self declared "Liberation War," however, following the Taif's agreement and Aoun's failure in achieving any progress, plans changed and Aoun moved all his combat units facing Syria's army, and diverted them inwards launching an all out attack against the LF in what was known as the "Elimination war," which ended in severely weakening the Christian camp and ending all Aoun's ambitions of becoming President.

In August 1990, both the Lebanese Parliament, which did not heed Aoun's order to dissolve, 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 for the first time divided equally between Christians and Muslims.

As Saddam Hussein
Saddam Hussein
Saddam Hussein Abd al-Majid al-Tikriti was the fifth President of Iraq, serving in this capacity from 16 July 1979 until 9 April 2003...

 focused his attention on Kuwait
Kuwait
The State of Kuwait is a sovereign Arab state situated in the north-east of the Arabian Peninsula in Western Asia. It is bordered by Saudi Arabia to the south at Khafji, and Iraq to the north at Basra. It lies on the north-western shore of the Persian Gulf. The name Kuwait is derived from the...

, Iraqi supplies to Aoun dwindled.

Thus, on 13 October, Syria launched the 13 October attack, a major operation involving its army and air force (for the first time since Zahle's siege in 1981) against Aoun's stronghold around the presidential palace, taking advantage of the internal Christian war between Aoun and the LF, where hundreds of Aoun supporters were killed by Syrian troops. It then cleared out the last Aounist pockets. Aoun went to the French Embassy to negotiated a ceasefire with the Syrians and all militias from West Beirut. However some say the cease-fire negotiations turned out to be a scam in order to allow Aoun to flee from the Presidential palace and command center. Later on, he announced over the radio that the war is over and stayed in Beirut until a safe exit to Paris was available because of the Syrian political agenda of eliminating Aoun.

William Harris claims that the Syrian operation could not take place until Syria had reached an agreement with the United States, that in exchange for support against the Iraq
Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

i regime of Saddam Hussein
Saddam Hussein
Saddam Hussein Abd al-Majid al-Tikriti was the fifth President of Iraq, serving in this capacity from 16 July 1979 until 9 April 2003...

 in the Persian Gulf War
Gulf War
The Persian Gulf War , commonly referred to as simply the Gulf War, was a war waged by a U.N.-authorized coalition force from 34 nations led by the United States, against Iraq in response to Iraq's invasion and annexation of Kuwait.The war is also known under other names, such as the First Gulf...

, it would convince Israel not to attack Syrian aircraft approaching Beirut. Aoun claimed in 1990 that the United States "has sold Lebanon to Syria".

End


In March 1991, parliament passed an amnesty law
Amnesty law
An amnesty law is any law that retroactively exempts a select group of people, usually military leaders and government leaders, from criminal liability for crimes committed.Most allegations involve human rights abuses and crimes against humanity.-History:...

 that pardoned all political crimes prior to its enactment. The amnesty was not extended to 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 Hezbollah) 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 220 pounds of TNT) exploded in the Muslim neighborhood of Basta
Basta
Basta is a village on the island of Yell in the Shetland Isles, Scotland. It is on the shores of Basta Voe....

. At least thirty people were killed, and 120 wounded, including former Prime Minister Shafik Wazzan
Shafik Wazzan
Shafik Dib al-Wazzan was the Prime Minister of Lebanon from 1980 until 1984. In December 1991, Wazzan was wounded when a car bomb exploded in the Beirut neighborhood of Basta as he was passing through in an armored car....

, who was riding in a bulletproof car.

Legacy



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. Following the cease-fire which ended the 12 July 2006 Israeli-Lebanese conflict, the army has for the first time in over three decades moved to occupy and control the southern areas of Lebanon.

Lebanon still bears deep scars from the civil war. In all, it is estimated that more than 100,000 people were killed, and another 100,000 permanently handicapped by injuries. Approximately 900,000 people, representing one-fifth of the pre-war population, were displaced from their homes. Perhaps a quarter of a million emigrated permanently. Thousands of land mine
Land mine
A land mine is usually a weight-triggered explosive device which is intended to damage a target—either human or inanimate—by means of a blast and/or fragment impact....

s remain buried in the previously contested areas. Some Western hostages kidnapped
Lebanon hostage crisis
The Lebanon hostage crisis refers to the systematic kidnapping in Lebanon of 96 foreign hostages of 21 national origins – mostly American and western European – between 1982 and 1992...

 during the mid-1980s (many claim by Hezbollah, though the movement denies this) were held until June 1992. Lebanese victims of kidnapping and wartime "disappeared" number in the tens of thousands.

Car bombs became a favored weapon of violent groups worldwide, following their frequent, and often effective, use during the war. In the 15 years of strife, there were at least 3,641 car bombs, which left 4,386 people dead and thousands more injured. Other favorite weapons were the AK-47
AK-47
The AK-47 is a selective-fire, gas-operated 7.62×39mm assault rifle, first developed in the Soviet Union by Mikhail Kalashnikov. It is officially known as Avtomat Kalashnikova . It is also known as a Kalashnikov, an "AK", or in Russian slang, Kalash.Design work on the AK-47 began in the last year...

 and rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs).

In popular culture


The 1981 German film Die Fälschung
Die Fälschung
Die Fälschung is an anti-war film directed by Volker Schlöndorff and internationally released in 1981. An international co-production, it was an adaptation of Nicolas Born's novel of the same name, which had appeared in 1979...

(English title: Circle of Deceit) was set during the Lebanese Civil War, being based on a 1979 novel of the same name by Nicolas Born
Nicolas Born
Nicolas Born was a German writer.Nicolas Born was - together with Rolf Dieter Brinkmann - one of the most important and most innovative German poets of his generation...

. Lebanese movie drama Beyrout al Gharbyya
West Beirut (film)
West Beirut is a 1998 Lebanese drama film written and directed by Ziad Doueiri.-Plot:In April 1975, civil war breaks out; Beirut is partitioned along a Muslim-Christian line and is divided into East and West Beirut. Tarek is in high school, making Super 8 movies with his friend, Omar...

(English title: West Beirut, French title: À l'abri les enfants) from 1998 is a story of two Muslim boys and orphaned Christian girl set in divided Beirut of 1975. The Oscar nominated Incendies
Incendies
Incendies is a 2010 Quebec film written and directed by Denis Villeneuve. Adapted from Wajdi Mouawad's play, Scorched, Incendies follows the journey of twin brother and sister as they attempt to unravel the mystery of their mother's life. The film premiered at the Venice and Toronto Film Festivals...

, which focuses on the tragedy of this and all wars, has many scenes set at various times throughout the entire course of the war. The Swedish film Zozo
Zozo
Zozo is a 2005 Swedish-Lebanese film about a Lebanese boy during the civil war, who gets separated from his family and ends up in Sweden. It was directed by Swedish-Lebanese director Josef Fares. The story is mostly inspired by Fares' real life immigration to Sweden during the war.The film was...

 is about a boy whose parents are killed during the civil war, and who subsequently moves to Sweden. The animated drama Waltz With Bashir
Waltz with Bashir
Waltz with Bashir is a 2008 Israeli animated documentary film written and directed by Ari Folman. It depicts Folman in search of his lost memories from the 1982 Lebanon War....

 explored a soldier's flashbacks of the war.

Further reading

  • Al-Baath wa-Lubnân [Arabic only] ("The Baath and Lebanon"), NY Firzli, Beirut, Dar-al-Tali'a Books, 1973.
  • The Iraq-Iran Conflict, NY Firzli, Paris, EMA, 1981. ISBN 2-86584-002-6
  • Bregman, Ahron (2002). Israel's Wars: A History Since 1947. London: Routledge. ISBN 0-415-28716-2
  • Bregman, Ahron and El-Tahri, Jihan (1998). The Fifty Years War: Israel and the Arabs. London: BBC Books. Penguin Books. ISBN 0-14-026827-8
  • The Breakdown of the State in Lebanon, 1967-1976 Khazen Farid El (2000) (ISBN 0-674-08105-6)
  • The Bullet Collection, a book by Patricia Sarrafian Ward, is an excellent account of human experience during the Lebanese Civil War.
  • Civil War in Lebanon, 1975-92 O'Ballance Edgar (1998) (ISBN 0-312-21593-2)
  • Crossroads to Civil War: Lebanon 1958-1976 Salibi Kamal S. (1976) (ISBN 0-88206-010-4)
  • Death of a country: The civil war in Lebanon. Bulloch John (1977) (ISBN 0-297-77288-0)
  • Faces of Lebanon: Sects, Wars, and Global Extensions (Princeton Series on the Middle East) Harris William W (1997) (ISBN 1-55876-115-2)
  • The Fateful Triangle: The United States, Israel, and the Palestinians Noam Chomsky (1983, 1999) (ISBN 0-89608-601-1)
  • History of Syria Including Lebanon and Palestine, Vol. 2 Hitti Philip K.
    Philip Khuri Hitti
    Philip Khuri Hitti ,, born in Shimlan, Ottoman Syria, now modern day Lebanon), was a scholar of Islam and introduced the field of Arab culture studies to the United States. He was of Maronite Christian religion....

     (2002) (ISBN 1-931956-61-8)
  • Lebanon: A Shattered Country: Myths and Realities of the Wars in Lebanon, Revised Edition Picard, Elizabeth (2002) (ISBN 0-8419-1415-X)
  • Lebanon in Crisis: Participants and Issues (Contemporary Issues in the Middle East) Haley P. Edward, Snider Lewis W. (1979) (ISBN 0-8156-2210-4)
  • Lebanon: Fire and Embers: A History of the Lebanese Civil War by Hiro, Dilip (1993) (ISBN 0-312-09724-7)
  • Pity the Nation: Lebanon at War Fisk, Robert (2001) (ISBN 0-19-280130-9)
  • Syria and the Lebanese Crisis Dawisha A. I. (1980) (ISBN 0-312-78203-9)
  • Syria's Terrorist War on Lebanon and the Peace Process Deeb Marius (2003) (ISBN 1-4039-6248-0)
  • The War for Lebanon, 1970-1985 Rabinovich Itamar (1985) (ISBN 0-8014-9313-7)
  • Palestine and the Arab-Israeli Conflict, fourth edition, Charles D. Smith (2001) (ISBN 0-312-20828-6) (paperback)
  • Les otages libanais dans les prisons syriennes, jusqu'à quand? by Lina Murr Nehme
    Lina Murr Nehme
    Lina Murr Nehme is a Lebanese historical author and professor of Historical Art at the Lebanese University.-Biography:Lina Murr Nehme was born on 1955 in Lebanon, and graduated from Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris, in 1982. She is the daughter of May and Alfred Murr...


External links





Primary sources