LEBANESE CIVIL WAR
Years: 1975-1990 | Est. deaths: 170 000
Published prior to 2013
The Lebanese Civil War was a bloody and complex conflict that raged in Lebanon from 1975 until 1990.
During the era between independence and the 1970s Lebanon was viewed as a paragon of post-colonial success. It was the wealthiest state in the region, had a freer and more open society, and was a frequently cited example of inter-faith coexistence and cooperation in a region beset by internecine violence.
There were early problems, however. The cooperation between the economically dominant Maronite Christians and the majority Muslims was always tenuous. The very existence of the state was called into question by Arab nationalists leading to a brief civil war in 1958 that was only ended by the intervention of American soldiers.
On 13 April 1975, in retaliation to an assassination attempt on a leader of the Phalange, Pierre Gemayel, the Phalangists, led by the Gemayels, massacred 27 Palestinians travelling on a bus in Ein Al-Rumaneh. In December, 1975, four Christians were killed in east Beirut. In growing reprisals, the Phalangists and Muslim militias subsequently massacred at least 600 Muslims and Christians at checkpoints, beginning the 1975-1976 civil war. Full-scale civil war broke out, with the Palestinians joining the Muslim forces, controlling an increasingly lawless West Beirut. In June, 1976, with the Maronites on the verge of defeat, the President called for Syrian intervention, who moved into the country and imposed a ceasefire (Fisk, pp. 78-81). After the arrival of Syria, Christian forces massacred 2,000 Palestinians in the Tel al-Za’atar camp in East Beirut  (http://www.wsws.org/articles/2000/jun2000/assa-j16.shtml). Other massacres by both sides were committed at Karantina and Damour, where the PLO murdered 350 Christian civilians (Fisk, 99). Despite the Syrian occupation, fighting continued in Southern Lebanon. In the Fall of 1976, Arab summits in Riyadh and Cairo set out a plan to end the war. The resulting Arab Deterrent Force, which included Syrian troops already present, moved in to help separate combatants. An uneasy quiet settled over Beirut, and security conditions in the south began to deteriorate.
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