The situation in Lebanon after the protracted civil war stabilized in 1991; most semi-military associations representing various interest groups were demobilized and their equipment was handed over to the government forces. A friendship agreement was signed between Syria and Lebanon, meaning that Syria indirectly controls parts of Lebanon’s foreign and defense policy. In the late summer of 2006, a regular 34-day long war broke out between Hizbullah pro-Iranian forces and Israel, led by Hizbullah with indirect rocket weapons fired into Israeli territory. Israel responded with all-round assemblies including ground combat allies to the Litany River. The UN set up Unifil II as a complement to Unifil I(1978); a total of about 10,000 men from 20 countries along the entire border with Israel. Sweden contributed a warship.
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The government troops include (2006) 160,000 men with the support of a general military duty which was reintroduced and organized into 11 brigades, 32 patrol vessels and some older fighter aircraft etc. Normally, the scope is estimated to be 72,000 men. The material is of mixed Soviet and increasingly Western origin. Police forces amount to about 13,000 men. Defense costs fell from 9.0% to 4.4% of GDP in 1985-96, to 3.1% of GDP in 2006. The Hizbullah movement has 2,000 people at its disposal. To see related acronyms about this country, please check ABBREVIATIONFINDER where you can see that LBN stands for Lebanon.
The Sabra and Chatila massacres
On August 23, Congress appointed President Sarkis’ successor, Bashir Gemayel, the only candidate and backed by Israel. But the Maronite leader never got to the post. On September 14, he was killed by an attack that destroyed the Falangist headquarters in East Beirut. No one claimed responsibility for the attack. The next day, the city was occupied by Israeli forces. On September 16, the so-called Lebanese Forces led by Elie Hbaiqa entered the Israeli refugee camps, Sabra and Chatila, where they murdered hundreds of unarmed civilians – without making any difference to the elderly, women or children. A subsequent investigation revealed with 100% certainty the Israeli military commanders’ responsibility for the massacre. They had encouraged the right-wing militia they had under their control. Chief of the massacre was Israeli Defense Minister Ariel Sharon.
While the Israeli military continued its occupation of Lebanon, a new president, Amin Gemayel, was deployed at the head of the country’s government. He was the big brother of the murdered Bashir and elected under the same circumstances. The election of the new president did not reduce the contradictions between the various groups living together in Lebanon. The leading trend within the ruling Falangist Party sought to replace the 1943 National Alliance with a new political formula based on a division of the country into districts and a central federal government. However, this formula posed the danger of an atomization of Lebanese politics and a division into religious ministries. Administrative (not political) decentralization was viewed with interest by the Sunni and Shiite leaders, while the Drusian community advocated greater autonomy.
In June 83, an agreement was concluded between Israel and Lebanon, ending the state of war between the two countries. Israel undertook to leave Lebanese territory as part of the withdrawal of all foreign forces from the country. At the same time, Lebanon pledged not to house armed groups from organizations intended to “carry out raids into the territory of the other party.”
In July 1984, the Lebanese currency suddenly dropped drastically, having otherwise retained its value since the start of the war in 75. This triggered an unprecedented wave of inflation. The crisis was further exacerbated by the recession in the Gulf states. It was the shock of Beirut. The country had to take note of a $ 1.5 billion balance of payments deficit in $ 84.
The Israeli army formally withdrew from Lebanon in 85, but before then the occupying forces had ensured that Christian militias had expelled the Muslim population from the southern part of the country, thus securing a friendly – Christian – population in it. 10 km security zone, which Israel forced into the southernmost part of Lebanon.
In September 88, the pro-Israeli Maronite general, Michel Aoun, took office, which had become vacant after Amín Gemayel was deposed in a palace coup. From this point on, the country was led by two rival governments. The one Aouns. The second Muslim headed by Prime Minister Selim Al-Hoss.
In October 89, for the first time since parliament, independence met outside the country on the initiative of the Arab League’s commission – Saudi Arabia, Algeria and Morocco – acting as mediators between the warring parties. The Ta’if meeting was about the formulation of a final peace plan for the country, an alternative to the political formula that had been in effect since 43 and the nomination of the next president of the republic. Namely, according to the Lebanese constitution, the president is elected indirectly – by parliament.
On October 12, the Christian and Muslim parliamentarians announced an agreement for national reconciliation that would have a greater impact on the Muslim population and the withdrawal of Syrian troops from the country. However, General Aoun rejected the agreement and characterized it as a “Syrian trap”. On November 5, the Christian Maronite, René Moawad, was unanimously elected by parliament for president. He was a proponent of opening to the Arab world, but only 17 days after his appointment he was killed by a car bomb.
On November 24, Elías Hrawi was appointed President of the Lebanese Parliament, which met in Zahle, located in Syrian-controlled territory. He too was a Christian Maronite. Once again, General Aoun rejected the election. This time with reference to the fact that the president had been elected in an area beyond the control of the Christian militia.