The Lebanese Civil War

Lebanon Civil War MapThe Lebanese civil war is a civil war that lastest for 15 years, a war that occurred in more recent times yet many have not understood or paid attention to the consequences of this internal conflict.

This civil war was of epic proportions and actually had outside influences that impacted the conflict starting. The outcome of the Lebanese civil war starting had far reaching complication in Lebanon as a country that is still seen today.

Prior to the Lebanese civil war

The reasons for the Lebanese civil war can be traced back as far as the 1860’s when foreign governments and companies invested in the country altering political and social standing to create a religious conflict killing 10,000.

By 1918 the Ottoman Empire crumbled and Lebanon was an independent state, the issue was it had no money and its people suffered hardship because of this. Things were further compounded when the First World War broke out as the Ottoman Empire simply removed the independence that Lebanon had gained and put its own puppet leader in place.

Over the course of the First World War the Lebanese suffered at the hands of Ottomans enemies stopping trade and supplies reaching the country, but also but its harsh leadership too.

By 1926 Lebanon was finally declared a Republic and it had its own constitution but by 1932 this finished because of internal struggles related to foreign governments.

Post World War II a 1948 Arab-Israeli War occurred; this war saw hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees move into Lebanon. This was one of the most important reasons for the Lebanon Civil War to occur some 27 years later.

In 1958 civil war nearly broke out in Lebanon, again this was because of politics and religion. Luckily Lebanon managed to escape the potential of civil war even though Maronite Christians and Muslims were teetering on the brink of conflict.

Not long after this the Muslim contingent of Lebanon were pushing the government to join the United Arab Republic which was a joining of Egypt and Syria. The Lebanese leader did not want this and pushed against it, it was at this time that both Egypt and Syria planted their own seeds into the Lebanese conflict.

New factions were also being created in the region; these factions being the Arab National Movement (ANM), later to become the Progressive Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and a faction of the PLO were formed. Fatah and the PLO were growing in popularity among the Lebanese refugees who entered Lebanon after the 1948 Arab-Israeli war and they were fighting against the government in Lebanon as well as trying to wage war with Israel.

The PLO and Fatah factions grew in strength and started to gain strongholds in the Western Part of Beirut, Sidon and Tyre. By 1975 the fishermen of Sidon went on strike, this was the first early signs of the conflict.

The next step leading to civil war was an assassination attempt on the Maronite Christian Phalangist leader Pierre Gemayel, this led to Christian gunmen killing 27 civilians on a bus and prompted clashes between Muslim and Christian forces thus starting the Civil War.

The Lebanese civil war

Within a year 30,000 Syria troops entered Lebanon; this was under the guise that they came to restore peace. Interestingly Syria never recognised Lebanon as a country after the 1948 Arab-Israeli civil war which leads many to believe it was actually a move to annex Lebanon onto Syria.

The PLO faction of Palestinians of Lebanon started raids on Israel in early 1978, included a raid on Tel Aviv, this meant Israel now got involved in the conflict and 25,000 Israeli soldiers then moved into Lebanon.

The UN now got involved passing Resolution 425 which made Israel remove its troops from southern Lebanon and the UN to establish a force of 4,000, this force is called the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon and is still in Lebanon today.

In July 1978 the war worsens as Syria turns its battery guns on Christian sectors of Lebanon and starts firing indiscriminately.

The civil war continued to rage and in 1982 the war took another twist as Israel sent its troops into Lebanon again. This time it was a full blown invasion and under the leadership of Gen. Ariel Sharon the Israeli army killed an estimated 18,000 civilians and militia in the space of 2 months.

The United States now gets heavily involved in mediation, but rather than Israel leaving they cause Yasser Arafat and the PLO fighters to leave Lebanon with many going to Tunisia but most going to the Gaza Strip and West Bank (as seen by Palestinian unrest today).

Later in 1982 the Lebanese President Christian Elect Bashir Gemayel and Phalangist leader is assassinated, adding further strain to the conflict.

On September the 15th to 16th a group of Christian Militia is sent into a Palestinian camp on behalf of the Israelis and they massacre around 2,000 to 3,000 Palestinian civilians.

In 1983 the US Embassy in Lebanon is bombed by a suicide bomber, this kills 63 and effectively brings the US straight into the front line of conflict.

The US Marines are drafted into Lebanon, but within months a major offensive against the Marine Barracks located near the Beirut airport ends in 241 American Marines killed. The weapon of choice was a truck laden with explosives driven by a suicide bomber. The French Commandos had the same fate happen to them at the same time with the loss of 58 French soldiers.

By 1985 the Israeli army had finally withdrawn from Lebanon to the borders of Lebanon and Israel.

The Israeli withdrawal comes 6 days prior to the Hezbollah movement hijacking a flight in Beirut and keeping those on board hostage for two weeks and also killing a diver from the United States Navy.

1987 saw another Lebanese senior official killed, this time it was the Prime Minister Rashid Karami.

By 1988 the Presidency finished and there was no one to take over so the rule of Lebanon, and thus ended up with two different ruling parties, one being a civil affair and the other being a military rule.

In 1989 the Arab League finally manage to broker a peace deal that sees the Muslims and Christians of Lebanon agree a 50-50 split in power. This was to happen only two months before President Elect René Muawad was assassinated.

On October 13th 1990 Syria joined America in the coalition of Operation Desert Shield in Iraq; this gave them the agreement of the West to march on the Presidential Palace of Michel Aoun. Michel Aoun moves out of Lebanon into Exile in Paris.

The Lebanese civil war finished with roughly 380,000 dead and injured and with Lebanon still struggling with the many disabled from the war today. The civil war also saw the creation and rise of the Hezbollah group.

1 thought on “The Lebanese Civil War”

  1. i need to know more about the religion piecce of the war, religious causes and stuff, but other than that this was very helpful


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