Lebanese Civil War

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The Lebanese Civil War (1975–1982) was a conflict that was significantly worsened by Lebanon's changing demographics. There was a conflict between Sunnis and Shias, between Christians and Muslims, and the involvement of Syria, Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) exacerbated existing issues. After a short break in the fighting in 1976 due to Arab League mediation and Syrian intervention fighting continued in south Lebanon, occupied first by the PLO, then occupied by Israel.

Violent events increased from the end of the 1960s and the first half of 1970s. Several armed movements were creating, with different political views. The Lebanese National Movement, led by Kamal Jumblatt wanted to end the religious class society system. Sunni and Shi'i struggled for more representation and supported the Palestinian refugees. Many Palestinians joined the struggles.[1][2]

The civil war started on the 13th of April, 1975, after one of these attacks, committed by the phalanges against a Palestinian bus. Fights spread on that day. The government was unable to control the militias and violence spread extremely quickly.

During the first two years of war, several massacres were committed: the massacre of Tel al-Za'atar (1976) by the Syrian and Lebanese Phalanges forces against Palestinians and the massacre of Damour (1976) by the Palestine Liberation Organization against Christians.

Civilian fighting lasted for a year until other countries joined in the fight. In 1976, Syria joined the conflict, and so the Lebanese civil war starts to impact all the Middle-east region. Israel joined the conflict in 1976, because of the attempt against the Israeli ambassador, Shlomo Argov. The Israeli army invaded Lebanon by the south and reached Beirut. According to the claims of the invaders and the leaders representing them, the intention of the invasion was to safeguard Israeli citizens and to generally diminish the threat of international terrorism. This would mean a siege of West Beirut and destruction of the PLO as well as the surrounding area.[3] At this time, Syrian forces also began occupying areas of Lebanon.[4]

On May 17, 1977, a US-backed agreement was reached for making peace between Lebanon and Israel. The agreement failed when Syria refused to withdraw its forces.[5]

About 150,000 people were killed during the war and almost one million people moved out of Lebanon.[6]

References[change | change source]

  1. Nalbantian, T. (2022). The Lebanese Civil War. History of the Modern Middle East. Leiden; Leiden University Faculty of Humanities.
  2. "Sabra and Shatila, 1982". Palestinian Journeys. Archived from the original on 2022-01-26. Retrieved 2022-05-15.
  3. Shahid, Leila (2002-10-01). "The Sabra and Shatila Massacres: Eye-Witness Reports". Journal of Palestine Studies. 32 (1): 36–58. doi:10.1525/jps.2002.32.1.36. ISSN 0377-919X.
  4. United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Minorities at Risk Project (2004). "Chronology for Maronite Christians in Lebanon". Refworld.
  5. "World: Middle East History of Israel's in Lebanon". BBC News. 1 April 1998. Retrieved 30 March 2015.
  6. Daniel Byman and Kenneth Michael Pollack. "Things Fall Apart: Containing the Spillover from an Iraqi Civil War." p. 139