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Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Lebanon: France's Sarkozy offers all party talks on Lebanon

History is little else than a picture of human crimes and misfortunes"
-Voltaire, "L'Ingenue"


TAG: Alongside its claims of backing a just solution in Lebanon, France continues a four-hundred year old tradition of supporting western interests in the Levant.

IN THE NEWS: In a meeting at the Elysee Palace France's President-elect Nicolas Sarkozy meets with Lebanon's Prime Minister Fouad Siniroa. Although Siniora has accepted French foreign minister Bernard Kouchner's offer to host all-party peace talks on Lebanon, Siniora is fully satisfied that France's new government will not be neutral but will fully back his beleaguered government against proSyrian alliance of which the militant Shia party, Hezbollah, is a part. The governing coalition of Christians and Sunnis has been in a standoff with Hezbollah since December when Hezbollah withdrew from cabinet in protest against Siniora's refusal to give it the power of veto. France will also support Siniora's desire for a strenghtened presence of UNIFIL peacekeepers in Lebanon and a an international tribunal to try suspects in what is presumed to be the Syrian-backed assassination of Prime Minister Rafik Hariri and other Lebanese politicians.

IN A NUTSHELL: France's influence and intervention in the Middle East began in the 17th century with its guarantee of protection of Lebanon's Maronite Christians. Since the French made Lebanon an autonomous part of its Mandate of Syria after World War I, a Sunni-Christian establishment has held power in a country with an increasing Shia Muslim population. Throughout two civil wars France , along with other western powers, has sought to protect Lebanon's Sunni-Christian establishment.

THEN AND NOW: In 1860-61, France and other European powers arrived in Lebanon to protect Lebanese Christians at the end of the Maronite Christian-Druze Muslim civil war. An international commission then determined an autonomous status for Christian Maronite areas. Once again, France steps in as peace broker, offering to host all-party peace talks for Lebanon and support an increase in the UNIFIL peace keeping force.

PROXIMATE BACKGROUND TO THE CRISIS. With the Taif Accords of 1989, the Lebanese civil war, which had been raging since 1973, ended. Throughout the 1990s, Sunni-Christian domination of the government was confirmed but with reduced participation of Christians. Both Syria and Israel, who had repeatedly occupied Lebanon during the civil war, ceased hostilities. While Syria continued its occupation, Isreal finally withdrew. The nationalist Sunni Prime Minister, Rafik Hariri, rebuilt much of the war-torn country but after he refused any extension of pro-Syrian president, Emile Lahoud's constitutional time limit, Syria delivered a veiled threat. On Feurary 14, 2005. Hariri was assassinated, much of the evidence pointing to Syria.

International pressure then forced Syria's final and full withdrawal from Lebanon. Periodic violence has accompanied efforts by the UN and the international community to set up a tribunal to bring pro-Syrian Lebanese suspects to justice. After the election of a pro-western Sunni-Christian governmemnt headed by Prime Minister Siniora (a Sunni), Lebanon began once again to fall into pro-Syria and anti-Syria factions. 'Anti- Syria' Siniora shares power with the 'pro-Syria (albeit Christian) President Lahoud. The Lebanese Shia party, Hezbollah, which did well in the last round of elections, opposes all criticism of Syria and since December has pulled its strong representation from Siniora's cabinet, protesting his refusal to give them the power of veto. Another pro-Syrian force is the party of General Michel Aoun, a Maronite Christian who once led the fight to drive Syria from Lebanon but has now teamed up with Hezbollah. Recent acts of terrorism and street clashes have raised fears that Syria is trying to provoke a civil war in order to reestablish control over Lebanon.

Until the election of Sarkozy, French president Chirac, due to personal and poltiical ties to the late Sunni Prime Minister Hariri, gave partisan support to the anti-Syrian March 14th Coalition led by Harir's son, Saad. Some saw this as a betrayal of Frace's traditonal support for Lebanese Christians. However, Charic's support of Hariri's legacys was pleasing to Washington which is disappointed in Sarkozy's apparently non-partisan decision to hold all-party peace talks at St. Cloud. In Washington's view Sarkozy is playing into the hands of Lebanes eopposition demands for a "unity government."

DISTANT BACKGROUND TO THE CRISIS. In 1861, to end the Druze-Maronite civil war, France helped pressure the Ottoman sultan to create a Sanjak or Christian-governed autonomous region in Lebanon and form a Majlis or multi-ethnic administrative council which included Maronites, Sunnis, Druzes and Shia. By the Berlin Treaty in 1878, however, French interests in Lebanon were confirmed and protection of the Maronites became the means by which France furthered its influence. Until World War I, ethnic strife continued and many Lebanese Christians moved to Europe; but by retaining ties in Lebanon, they only strenghthened the European presence there. In 1919, in the post World War I settlement, Washington's King-Crane Commission decided that close Maronite ties with France were inevitable while the Muslim majority wanted Lebanon to remain part of Syria. As a result, King-Crane recommended maintaining the compromise of an autonomous Lebanese province within a larger Syrian State. At the same time, Greater Syria, which included Lebanon fell under French mandate. The French, however, increased the size of Lebanon so that it ended up containing more Muslims. After Muslims rebelled in 1925-26, demanding more power, France adpoted the "Communal System" of ethnic representation copied from its own Repuublic, determining that the Prime Minister would be a Sunni, the President a Maronite and the speaker a Shia. It also fixed the proportion of Christians to Muslims in the assembly at 6 to 5. This formula, balancing power toward the Christians, would remain more or less in place until the present day and remains a source of dissatisfaction with Shia Muslims who may now be in the majority.

Western relations with the region were not helped when France brutally suppressed several rebellions in Syria during the 1930s. At the same time, imported French Fascist ideas took root among Maronite Christains like Phalange militia leader Pierre Gemayyel. In 1945, France granted Lebanon its independence leaving many Maronites feeling they were really a European enclave facing what would soon become a tide of Pan Arab nationalism. Syria gained its independence the following year. Like other western powers, France kept its eye on its own interests and on the welfare of Christians in the region during the turblent years of the 1970s and 1980s. In 1983, a French military force was withdrawn from Lebanon after its barracks were bombed by Hezbollah. With the election in France of Sarkozy, Washington is now nerovous that France's support of the present government and the Hariri march 14 Colation might not be so partisan.

REMOTE BACKGROUND TO THE CRISIS. While the Crusades ended in failure, they brought the Levantine coast to the attention of Europe and trade developed first with Venice and Genoa and then with France. As the Levant and Middle East fell under Ottoman rule, Europe retained a concern with protecting the holy places of Palestine along with Christain minorities, chiefly in Lebanon. In 1580, Pope Gregory XIII founded a seminary in Rome to train Lebanese Maronite Christians for the clergy. Over the next three centuries, Lebanese Maronites encouraged French Catholic missionaries to develope French, Christian western-style educational institutions in Lebanon. In 1649, the Ottoman Sultan accepted France's Louis XIV as protector of Christians in Lebanon and thenceforward, French education and culture influenced Lebanese political institutions. Throughout the 18th century, France pursued its political, commercial and religious interests in Lebanon. The coastal region of Beirut and Tyre became the most Europeanized area of the Middle East. But by the 19th century, the consequent empowerment of Lebanese Christians began to chafe on the Druze Muslims of the interior.

In the centuries following the Crusades, France gained its foothold in Lebanon through trade and through the education and protection of the Maronite Christian minority. In the eighteenth century, rivalry in Lebanon grew between Britain and France, both of whom made trade agreements with the Ottoman Sultan- but the extensive reach of Jesuit and other Catholic religious and educational institutions inside Lebanon guaranteed a strong French infleunce. As Druze Muslims began to feel the effects of French-backed Maronite power, they obtained the backing of the British and by the mid-19th century a Druze-Maronite civil war had ingited, not to end until 1860. The war concluded with an international agreement making Lebanon an autonomous region and providing it with a multi-ethnic adminstrative council or Majlis. An uneasy peace was maintained until Wolrd War I. With the end of the war, Lebanon-Syria fell under French mandate and in 1926, the French gave Lebanon the Communal System of government by which Sunnis, Maronites and Shia were guaranteed reperesentation in a power-sharing arrangement. During Wolrd War II, Vichy France provided a Fascist influence, chiefly among Lebanese Maronites. At the end of the war, in 1945, a Lebanon separate from Syria received its independence from France. Since then, France has maintained interests in Lebanon and tried with the UN, the US and Britain to act as a peace broker during Lebanon's civil war.

THE PRESENT SITUATION: In Lebanon, Sarkozy may even be trying to reassert France's traditional influence by offering to host peace talks on Lebanon's problems with a resurgent Syria and its division between pro-and anti-Syrian factions. However, Sarkozy seems to be far from impartial, supporting as he does, Prime Minister Sinoria and the status quo government which still represents Maronite power.

PLUS CAS CHANGE: In 1843, the French backed the creation of a Maronite Lebanese adminstrative area in the north to counter the Druzes in the south. In 1861 after the civil war and final massacre of Maronites by the Druzes, the French made certain of Ottomans provisions for the protection of the Maronites. In 2007, while offering to host peace talks in Lebanon, France's president Sarkozy has nevertheless made his support for Lebanon's pro-western government clear.

CURIOSITY: In the 1830s, an Albanian Muslim, Muhammed Ali, who had become Ottoman governor of Egypt, rebelled against the Ottoman Sultan and invaded Syria-Lebanon. Ali was a protege of France and during the three years that he governed th area, he invited French Jesuits to set up as educators among Lebanese Maronites .


2250 BC- Syria-Lebanon is part of the Akkadian Empire.

1850 BC- the Kingdom of Egypt rules the Lebanese coastal region.

1600 BC- Lebanon-Syria occupied by the Hurrians.

1300 BC- the Amorites. Lebanon is on a trade route stretching fromm Ur in southern Iraq tp Assur in norhtern Iraq, to Aleppo in north Syria and down through Lebanon toward Egypt.

1294- Battle of Kadesh, Syria: Hittites push the Egyptians out of Asia Minor.

1260- Destruction of Troy.

-1200 BC- Prompted by the Dorian invasions from the north of Greece and into Anatolia, the Luvians of Anatola occupy Syria-Lebanon.

-1000 -670 BC Phoenician civilization developes along the coast.

670 BC- Lebanon is ruled by the kingdom of Tyre as the Assyrian Empire dominates the region.

560 BC- Lebanon-Syria is ruled by Babylon.

480 BC- the region is part of the Persian Empire.

323 BC- Alexander the Great of Macedon takes the Lebanese coastal area on his march to Egypt.

301 BC- the region is ruled by Alexander's successor, Antigonus.

270 BC -Syria-Lebanon is ruled by the Macedonian Seleucid kings.

220 BC- the coastal region is ruled by Ptolemaic Egypt.

192 BC- Lebanon-Syria has fallen back under Seleucid rule.

74 BC- the region falls briefly under the rule of Armenia.

44 BC- the region has been taken by Rome with Syria to become a Roman province. The Lebanon region is called Phoenice.

330- Rome replaced by Constantinople as capital of the empire. Founding of Constantinople

325-644 -Syria-Lebanon is part of the Oriens region of the Eastern Roman Empire.

-6th century- Monothelite Christians, persecuted in Antioch, find refuge in Lebanon.

644- Syria-Lebanon falls under Muslim rule.

-Lebanon is Islamized by migration of Kurds, Turkomans, Persians and Arabs, many of whom had been accused of the Shia heresy in their land of origin.

-Abu Dharral Ghifari, a companion of Mohammed and partisan of Ali, the first Shia Caliph, is exiled to Rubzah in Syria.

-Late 7th century- the Islamic Umayyad Caliphate rules from Damascus.

-Christian Monothelites in the mountains become known as Maronites.

-11th century- Arab Muslim sectarians name themselves Druzes.

1040-1170- the Middle East dominated by the Seljuk Turks.

--1099- First Crusade

-11th to 13th centuries- the Crusaders invade Syria.

-1180- Lebanon is held by the Crusaders, while the the Saljuk Ayubbids who oppose them rule from Syria.

-1187- Battle of Hattin- Saladin takes Jerusalem from the Crusaders.

-1250-1517- Sultanate of the Mamluks in Egypt and the Levant.

-1258- the Mongols sack Baghdad and briefly take Damascus.

-1291- Mamluks take Acre- The end of the Crusades.

-after the Crusades, European trade begins with the Levant.

-1400 (circa) The Syrian military elite, the Mamelukes repel invasion from the east by the Samarkand conqueror, Tamerlane.

1514- Under Selim the Inexorable, Ottoman power is extended to the head of the Persian Gulf. (Iraq) using Janissari slave armies made up of Christian men and boys indoctrinated in Islam and given strict training.

-1520-1566- the region is under the control of the Ottoman sultan, Suleiman (aka the Magnificent).

-France joins the Italian city states in trade with the Levant.

-1536- Francis I of France and the sultan, Suleiman I, sign a treaty of capitulations concerning permanent French trading settlements in the Levant and Turks trading in France; free trade and freedom of religion in one another's countries. Right to be tried in court by one's own consul or nationals. The agreement is renewable upon expiry.

-1580 (circa)- in Rome, Gregory XIII founds a seminary to train Maronite seminarians for the clergy.

1585-1635- Fakhr al Din, Druze leader in Lebanon conducts his own foreign policy and invites Christian missionaries.

-1600-1900- Lebanese tribal chiefs encourage French Catholic missionaries to develop education in the country. Rome-educated Maronite priests return to Lebanon and spread western ideas.

1649- Ottoman Sultan issues a decree allowing France's Louis XIV to protect the Maronites. French clergy and French-educated Maronite priests begin to influence political institutions.

-18th century. The French form close trade relations with Ottoman Syria.

-1736- with Ottoman approval, France becomes protector of the Maronite Christians. The Church of Rome grants the Maronites recognition.

-1740- trade agreements between France and the Ottomans confirmed in perpetuity.

-1757- contrary to the agreement with the French, the the Ottomans agree to Russia being the protector of Christians in the Levant.

-1774--the Treaty of Kuchuk Kainarji which ends the first Russo-Turkish War also allows Russia to be protector of Greek Orthodox Christians in the Ottoman empire.The Ottomans reaffirm Russia as the protector of Christians in the Levant.

-prompted by French potection of the Maronites, Lebanon's Ottoman rulers incite the Druzes to move against the Maronites.

-the coastal area around Beirut and Tyre becomes the most Europeanized part of the Muslim world.

1831-40- Egyptian occupation of Syria. Muhammed Ali, Ottoman governor or Egypt, rebels against the Sultan and invades Syria. Because Ali is a protege of France, France refuses to help the Sultan. Ali wins Cilicia, Palestine and Syria.

-Mohammed Ali invites the French Jesuits to set up in Lebanon where the Jesuits become protectors of the Maronite Christians.

-Britain, meanwhile, allies itself with Druze chieftains in southern Lebanon.

-1840- the allied powers in Europe, minus France, force Ali to withdraw to Egypt.

-1840- the Maronite-Druze feudal system falls apart. A civil war begins which will last until 1860

1843- France and Britian persuade the Sultan to allow French-backed administration by the Maronites in the north and British-backed Druze administration by the British in the south.

-the treaties of capitulation 0f 1536 and 1740 become the means for theFrench to intervene in local affairs.

-peasant uprising against both Druze and maronite rule.

-1854- under threat of war, Napoleon III forces the Ottoman Sultan to recognize France as protector of the Christians in the Levant. In this he had British support against the ambitions of Russia in the Middle East.

-The Sultan begins, however, to give in to Russian pressure to restore Russia as the guarantor of Christianity and the Holy Places of the Middle East. In the end, the Sultan sides with Engand and France. In response, Russia occupies neightbouring Ottoman provinces of Wallachia and Moldovia under the prestext of protecting Russian Orthodoxy. The Russian action sparks the Crimean war.

-Maronite Christians, with French support and European cultural influence begin to challenge the Druzes.

-the local Ottoman governor inflames the conflict in hopes that the groups would destroy one another.

-Muslims tend to compete for political positions, while entrepreneurship and progress in commerce is left to Jews, Greeks and Armenians and through them, the Europeans. Increasingly the Muslim population has contempt for Christians and their modernizing tendencies

-1860- in Ottoman Lebanon, Druze Muslims clash with Maronite Christians. Maronites were considered to be dhimmi, like Jews and Christians- 2nd class citizens.

- Druze Muslims massacre Maronite Christians, killling 14,000. The violence spreads to Damascus where Kurdish, Druze and Syrian Muslims kill 5,000 Christians and Jews.

-1861 France intervenes and forces the Ottoman sultan to appoint an Oslmanli Christian governor for a special province or 'Sanjak' of Lebanon. As a result the Maronite Christians are awarded a special enclave.

-a Majlis or administrarive council is set up on the basis of equal representation of Maronites, Greek Cathilics, Greek Orthodox, Druzes, Metawilas Muslims and other Muslim sects.

-the Vatican conducts its affairs in Lebanon through French diplomats.

-Britain forces France to withdraw from Lebanon. An international commission declares it an autonomous region. French influence is sustained, however, through commerce, trade and religion.

-1864- Lebanon is formally separated from Syria and governed as an autonomous region.

-1878- French predominance in Lebanon is recognized by the Berlin Treaty. Lebanese eastern Christians become a means of French influence in the Levant.

1864-1914- the Ottoman province of Mount Lebanon retains semi-autonomous status. But during this period many Lebanese Christians flee Ottoman rule or internal violence. The links maintained between Lebanese abroad and those still at home form an important cultural bridge between Lebanon and Europe.

-however, Muslims educated in Europe did not form the same bonds with the west and western ways. Even Lebanese Muslims educated abroad continued to identify with thieir Osmanli rulers.

-1913-1918- Ottoman empire is under the dictatorial triumvirate of Talat Bey, Enver Pasha and Jemal Pasha. Ottoman empire is effectively a police state. More attempts are made to westernize the military.

1914- the Ottoman empire falls into alliance with Germany, Austria-Hungary and Bulgaria.

1914- post-Ottoman Turkey retains the ‘sanjak’ of Lebanon.

1918- Turkey is defeated on its Middle Eastern and European fronts

Oct. 18- Sultan Muhammed VI signs an armistice with the allied powers. The Ottoman empire comes to an end

1919- French troops under General Gouraud replace British troops in the Lebanon.

- the British allow the Emir Faisal to be military governor of Damascus.

-1919- the US King-Crane Commission finds that Maronites want to retain cose ties with France while the Muslim majority opposes separating Lebanon from Syria. The Commission recommends the compromise of an autonomous Lebanese province within a larger Syrian State.

-1920- 10 August- Treaty of Sevres-as part of the Sevres settlement between the allies and the Ottoman empire at the end of World War I, Syria comes under French mandate.

-the Emir Faisal in Damascus refuses to recognize the mandate and declares Syria independent. General Gouraud advances and captures Damascus, deposing Faisal.

-the Turkish ‘sanjak’ of Lebanon is enlarged by the French into ‘Greater Lebanon’.

-the Lebanese Maronite Christian enclave is expanded to form modern Lebanon, governed separately from Syria but still under French mandate. It includes coastal Muslim regions despite Muslim protest.

-1922- Syria-Lebanon, on becoming a League of nations Mandate, increases in size, bringing its Muslim population almost to parity with the Maronite Christian establishment.

1925-26- uprising by the Druze Muslims. They are a Shia sect who still revered as an incarnation of God the 11th century Shia Fatimid Caliph al-Hakim who is said to have been taken up to heaven.

1926- Lebanon’s new Communal Constitution, modeled on that of the French Third Republic, representation in the assembly favours Maronites to Muslims, 6 to 5. This majority was to become permanent despite changes in the population. The President was to be a maronite, the Prime Minister a Sunni and the Speaker a Shia Muslim.

-Lebanon is run by an agreement between Maronite and Orthodox Christians, Druzes, Shia and Sunni Muslims that required self-discipline and rejected radicalism. The Maronites and the Sunnis are the dominant groups but this ruling entente was run by the Higher Muslim Council which represented all the sects.

-the Lebanese inherit the political system of France's fifth republic which allocates parliamentary positions according to relgion: the President has to be a Christian, the prime Minister a Sunni Muslim, the speaker a Muslim; half the parliament must be Muslim.

1930-1939- the French put down several rebellions in Syria while trying to establish their mandate and alienate much of the population.

1936- Pierre Gemayel, educated in France brings the idea of a Fascist militia to Lebanon, which he names the Phalanges Libanaises, founded to oppose Pan Arabism.

-most Lebanese Maronites are linguistically and culturally French.

-1939- France established military rule in Syria-Lebanon.

-with the surrender of France, the collaborationist Vichy government sets up its own administraion in Lebanon,

1941- Britain and the Free French liberate Lebanon from Vichy France. Britaoin promoses France control of Syria-Lebanon.

1943- the National Pact settles differences between Muslims and Christians.

1943- The French and the British send a joint expedition to Syria to keep it out of Nazi control.

1945- Jan 1- Lebanon becomes independent. But the Muslms tend to want to be part of Syria and the Christians regard themselves as part of Europe, having no real connection with the Arab World. They called themselves Phoenicianists, considering themselves a Mediterranean, not an Arab civilization.

1945- after World War II, the influence of the Maronites declines with the withdrawal of the French and the British.

1946- Syria attains independence from France.

-Communist Syria becomes the site of cold-war rivalry between the United States and the Societ Union.

1948- as a member of the Arab League, Lebanon declares war on Israel.

1949- Lebanon is made to receive 300,000 Palestinian refugees. 100,000 are in 15 major camps, five of which ring the capital, controlling entry and exit from Beirut.

1952 -Maronite Camille Chamoun becomes President, favouring the West against the leftist, pan-Arab Nasserite movement.

- Lebanon has a bloodless revolution.

1956- many Lebanese begin to follow Nasser. Muslims believed they had lost the prestige they had had under the Ottomans before 1920 when the Franch separated Lebanon from Syria.

-until 1958- Lebanese governments tried to steer a middle course, reaching out both to the west and the Arab world.

1958- Syria and Egypt form the United Arab Republic in order to form an Arab socialist camp independent from the Societ Union.

1958- Unrest during the Suez Crisis. Chamoun’s acceptance of US aid and his opposition to a union of Syria and Egypt causes fighting between Christians and Pan Arab Nasserites, the latter with Syrian and Egyptian support. Pierre Gemayyel’s Maronite Phalanges Libanaises supports Chamoun. The Maronites invite intervention by US Marines. The Soviet Union protests.

-Kamal Jumblatt, leader of the Jumblatt clan and the Druze Muslims, supports the Nasserites, opposes the Communal Constitution. He also founds the Progressive Socialist party.

-Chamoun resigns, forms the National Liberal party and becomes the leader of the Maronite Chrisitians, favouring pluralism against an Arabism.

-1958- Sept. after election of President Fuad Chehab , a 'Salvation Cabinet" is formed with leaders of the four opposing groups: Rashid Karami and Hussein Oueini represent the Muslims; Raymond Edde and Pierre Gemayyel (b. 1905) the Christians. Muslims have now achieved parity with Christians. The Salvation Cabinet is given rule by decree for six months.

-Gemayyel's Christian, Falangist party is the only party in the tri-partite alliance of right-wing, pro-Western parties that could be said to have national power. Gemayyel will hold several cabinet portfolios throughout the 1960s.

US troops are withdrawn. Chehab restores Muslim parity with Christians in the assembly. Lebanon begins to lean toward the Arab states.

1958-59- Michel Aoun, of a prominent Maronite family gets military training in France.

1961- The United Arab Republic dissolves due to a Baathist coup in Syria.

1961- Syria’s withdrawal from a Pan Arab union with Egypt aggravates a rift between pro Arb and pro Western forces in Lebanon.

1962- Syria incites a coup to draw Lebanon into a ;Greater Syria but the plot is crushed.

-the late 60s- Palestinian Resistance units begin to infiltrate south Lebanon Kamal Jumblatt encourages their entry into Lebanon in order to weaken the Maronites.

1967- Lebanon gives lip service to the Arab cause in the Six Day War but tries to steer a middle course.

1968- Dec. 28- Israel raids Beruit Airport in reprisal for a Lebanon-based Palestinian attack on an Israeli plane in Athens.

1969- after attempting to limit the PLO’s activities, the Lebanese army engages against PLO units.

-Bashir Gemayyel (b. 1947), younger son of Pierre Gemayyel, protests the presence of the PLO in Lebanon.

1970- Bashir and elder brother Amin Gemayyel begint to take over leadership of the Maronite Phalange from their father Pierre. Their ascendance begins the eclipse of Chamoun.

1970- Amin Gemayyel is elected to parliament. His brother Bashir, meanhile works for a Wshington law form where he is recuited by th CIA.

1970s- Civil war breaks out when Shia and Druze Muslims rebel against Maronite Christians and Sunni rule.

-the war complicates as the PLO, driven out by the Israelis, sets up around Beirut. The PLO sides with the Drize and Shia in the civil war.

1970-71- King Hussein of Jordan expels refugees from the 1967 war into Lebanon. These refugees join PLO cells rather than Lebanese society. The PLO forms the sole government of Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon, forming a state within a state.

-Syria expels the PLO into Lebanon for spreading radicalism.

-poor Muslims in Lebanon look to the PLO rather than to Lebanon as their authority.

-Muslim militias AMAL and the Muslim Lebanese national Movement (LNM) are formed.

-Muslims become aware that, due to their increasing birth rate and the declining Maronite.birthrate (and the high rate of Maronite emigration) relative populations are no longer accurately represented by the governing accord. Moreover, the Christians still form the economic elite while the poorest elements are Muslim.

1972- fighting flares up between the Lebanese Army and Palestinian units.

1973- a brief upsurge of sectarian fighting. The Lebanese army engages Palestinian groups.

1973- Lebanon stays neutral in the Yom Kippur war.

1974- Palestianian groups launch attacks from Lebanon against Israel.

1975- Sakris becomes president.

1975- Left wing Shia and Druze Muslims supported by Syria revolt against Arab Maronite Christian (Eastern Chrisitians in communion with Rome) and Sunni control of the government. The Maronites are supported by Israel. The Druzes are led by Kamal Jumblatt, the Shia by Moussa Sadr.

-Shia leader Moussa Sadr undermines the Higher Muslim Council by calling for a Higher Shia Council.

-the war complicates as the PLO, driven out of Palestine by the Israelis and from Syria by the Syrians sets up around Beirut, using Lebanon as a new base for sorties against Israel.

1975- with Egypt having signed a peace accord with Israel, Syria’s Alawite regime decides to take over leadership of the Arab cause from Egypt by backing the PLO rebellion in Lebanon.

April 13- a Falangist leader is assassinated from a passing car in a Christian neighbourhood. Phalangists kill 27 Palestinains in reprisal- the match to the tinder that sets off the civil war.

-Bashir Remayyel becomes comander of the Lebanese Forces of the Lenanese Front, a oaltion of rightist Maronites. He moves into alliance with Israel.

-the Shia form an alliance with the left of the PLO.

-The PLO sides with Druze and Shia Muslims and the LNM militia in the growing civil war. Government order dissolves into anarchy.

1976- Syria forms the Arab Deterrent Force (ADF) and invades Lebanon at the request of Suleiman Franjieh, supporting the Maronites to prevent the Palestinians from gaining control. Syrian intervention is opposed by Druze leader Kamal Jumblatt.

-Amin Gemayyel, elder brother of Bashir of the Maroite Falangist party, gets in touch with Syrian army.

-Oct- a ceasefire fails to last.

- the PLO shifts to southern Lebanon, out of reach of Syria’s ADF, but giving Arafat more direct control over them.

-West Beirut is riven by competing militias.

-East and North Beirut is the objective of Christian militias backed by Israel.

-fighting continues despite the presence of Multinational Peace Troops.

1977- Druze leader, Kamal Jumblatt is assassinated and succeeded by his son Walid as head of the Progressive Socialist Party.

1978- May- Pierre Gemayyel visits Isreal where he signs an agreement for arms and training.

1978- March- June – seeing that there is no longer any central authority in Lebanon to deal with the PLO, Israel invades in an attempt to crush the PLO in southern Lebanon and forms a security zone north of the Israeli border.

-June Bashir engineers assassinatin of fellow Maronite rival Tony Franjieh.

-the UN sends in an ineffective UNIFIL force of 6,000.

-the Soviet Union provides arms for Syria and the PLO.

-East and North Beirut is the objective of Christian militias backed by Israel.

-fighting continues despite the presence of Multinational Peace Troops.

1978-1980- Michel Aoun gets military training in the United States.

1980- the broad division is between the larglely Christian-Sunni "Front of Lebanese Forces" and the "Front of National and Leftist Forces" which includes Hezbollah and the Druzes. However there is internecine fighting among the factions that make up both sides. On the conservative, Christian-Sunni side, Bashir Gemayyel, son of Falangist founder Pierre Gemayyel consolidates the Falangist party by force through more internecine fighting. He crushes the Tiger militia of ex-president Chamoun's National Liberal party, giving Gemayyel control of all east and northeast Beirut. But he fails to quell another militia, the Maradas. Gemayyel's Falangists join worces with Israel against the PLO.

- December- Pierre Gemayyel buries the hatchet with Chamoun and they join their Maronite forces with the Lebanese Front manifesto which facours a federal system within a united Lebanon.

-Bashir Gemayyel's militia gets arms and training from Israel.

-Bashir's older brother Amin has kept a low profile and stayed out of factional politics and the civil war.

1980s- Syria sends its army in to restore order and occupies Lebanon. Syria and the PLO hold separate parts of the country.

1982- -Israel invades Beirut and drives out the PLO. Bashir Gemayyel's Falangist militia links up with Israeli troops in south Beirut. In the process it allows a proxy force of Christian militias to assacre Palestinaian refugees in the Shabra and Shatila refugeee camps.

- Israel wipes out PLO strongholds in Tyre and Sidon, attacks Beirut by land, air and sea. Israeli troops encircle and bomb East Beirut, home of the PLO HQ. Israel drives out Syria and the PLO- sending the PLO to resettle in various Arab counties under the eye of international peace keepers.

-with Syria and the PLO defeated and Israel triumphant, Bashir Gemayyel's Falangists are left in control.

Aug. 23- Maronite Bashir Gemayyel is elected President.

-Sept. 14- When President Bashir Gemayyel is assassinated in a bombing of the Christian Falangist headquarters,, Israel, fearing further instability, occupies Beirut. In the process it allows a proxy force of Christian Maronite militias to massacre Palestinian refugees in the Shabra and Shatila refugee camps- the Christians probably doing do in retaliation for the death of Gemayyel.

-Bashir’s brother Amin Gemayel, backed by Syria, (b. 1942) is elected president. He manages to be popular at home and abroad.

-President Amin Gemayyel appoints General Michel Aoun as his chief of staff.

Amin Gemayyel attempts a reconciliation of different Lebenese groups to win confidence aong the Muslims. He appoints Shafiq al Wazzan as prime minister and resists Israel pressure to sign a peace treaty.

-the US pressures Israel for a settlement.

-the expulsion of the PLO from Lebanon results in the creation of Hezbollah as the new resistance to Israeli occupation, dedicated also to the annihilation of Israel and the establishment of a Palestinian theocracy.

-Israeli troops occupy southern lebanon to stop sorties against Israel by the PLO and the Shia militia, Hezbollah.

1983- April- a bomb destroys the US embassy in Beruit, killing 50.

- May- in a treaty brokered by the US, President Amin Jemayyil, though a Maronite must ask Israel, as well as Syria, to withdraw, if he is to retain national support. Even if it exposes him to Druze and Muslim militias. Nevertheless he successfully negotiates Israeli withdrawal after refusing to sign the peace treaty which Israel had held as a condition. As a result, Israel withdraws its protection of his regine. The Syrians, however, refuse to withdraw.

-fighting continues despite the 1982 ceasefire.

- Israeli troops are forced to withdraw to their south Lebanon security zone.

-when Israel finally withdraws, the Christian militias clash with Syrian backed Druze militias. Amin Gemayyel's government is weakened.

-Multinational Peace Troops suffer bomb attacks, killing 230 US maries and 58 French partroopers.

-1984- February- President Amin Gemayyel tries using the army to quell the Shia of west Beirut. This results in the collapse of the army into religious factions. Now Gemayyel has nowhere to turn for help except Syria.

-the Christian, South Lebanese Army, with the aid of Israeli troops, occupies south Lebanon.

- various militias begin taking westerners hostage.,

-Shia women begin wearing the black Chador as a gesture of traditionalist solidarity.

-in the absence of Israel, Lebanese factions turn on one another as the civil war fragments.

-President Amin Gemayyel is forced to recognize Syrian influence.

-March--at a Peace and Reconciliation Conference in Lausanne, Switzerland, President Amin Gemayyel appoints a reconciliation government under Rashid Karami. Amin's father, Pierre is present along with reconciled ally Camille Chamoun.

-April- Pierre Gemayyel joins Karami's reconciliation government.

August- Pierre Gemayyel dies.

-As internal strife eats at the Falange party in the wake of the death of Amin's father Pierre, Amin also becomes the target of Muslim and Druze leaders. As a result he refuses to recongize the agreement they had brokered with Syria.

-the pro-Syrian leaders agree on parity for Muslims in government instead of the 6-5 ration that favours the Christians, a move opposed by Amin Gemayyel. This also places him in oppostion to Syrian president Hafez Assad. Assad supports the pro-Syrian leaders against Amin Gemayyel.

-President Gemayyel refuses to reduce the the permanent Maronite majority in the Taif Accord assembly.

-PLO units filter back into Lebanon.

-1988- Syrian troops enter Lebanon to restore order. Druze leader Walid Jumblatt reluctantly accepts Syrian intervention.

-Sept. President Amin Gamayel’s term ends. Due to an election boycott, he brings in military government by Maronite Michal Aoun whose mandate is to expel Syria.

-surrounded by enemies, Amin Gemayyel goes into exile in France.

-Aoun appoints five military officers to cabinet but three Muslim officers refuse to serve.

1989- Syrian troops are attacked by the Lebanese army in a 'War of Liberation,' led by General Michel Aoun. Muslim militias turn against him.

-the Arab league brokers a truce between Muslims and Christians but makes no mention of Syrian occupation.

-Oct.- the Arab League proposes the Ta’if Accord, signed by the last members of the assembly standing before the civil war in 1975; the accord reduces the representation of Maronite Christians in the Lebanese government. Druze leader Walid Jumblatt accepts it reluctantly.

-General Aoun rejects the National Reconciliation Charter which had been accepted as part of the Taif Accord.

-Nov- Aoun refuses to accept the election of of Rene Muawad as president and remains in the presidential palace Baabda, outside Beirut.

1989-1990- revolts against Syrian occupation by Gen. Michel Aoun are put down by Syria and Aoun is forced to leave the country.

1990s- Hezbollah drives Israeli troops from southern Lebanon.

1990- President Muawad assassinated. President EliasHrawi succeds him.

-General Aoun refuses to recognize President Hrawi and digs in at the presidential palace.

-internecine fighting among Maronite Christian groups weakens General Aoun's position.

-Syria, allied with Lebanese opponents of Aoun drive him out of Lebanon and into exile in France.

- Nov. -rival Shia groups make peace among themselves

- Syria quietly re-occuppies Lebanon and enforces the Ta’if Accord.

-early 1990s- the militias begin releasing western hostages.

-1991- a government of national unity is established. A timetable for disarmament of the militias is established.

-the Lebanese army prepares to re-take control of the south.

-Aug- peace talks with Israel, Syria and a joint Palestinian-Jordanian delegation continue through 1992.

1992- fighting continues between various groups; and the Syrian military and the PLO are still in Lebanon.

-a general election in Lebanon is boycotted by many Maronite Christian parties. Amal and Hezbollah gain the most seats and Rafiq Hariri becomes Prime Minister. The constitution dictates that the president must be a maronite Christian, the Prime Minister a Sunni Muslim and the 108 member parliament divided equally between Christians and Muslms.

-the last of the hostages are released.

1990s- Hezbollah gradually drives Israeli troops from southern Lebanon.

2000- Under pressure from its own people, Israel withdraws its troops from the security zone, hence from Lebanon altogether.

2001- Syria withdraws 25,000 troops from Beruit but leaves 20,000 in the surrounding area.

2004- Aug. Under Syrian pressure, its own man in Lebanon, President Lahoud, remains in office beyond the constitutional six year time limit.

2004- Syrian President Bashir Assad, in a private meeting with Lebanon's western-oriented Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri, allegedly delivers a veiled threat of death should Hariri refuse to accept an extension of Syrian-backed President Lahoud's mandate to rule Lebanon.

2005- Hariri, who has almost rebuilt Lebanon in the wake of the war, resigns rather than confirm an extension of the mandate of Syria's proconsul, President Lahoud.

2005- February 14- Hariri is assassinated. Syria is strongly suspected. A national outpouring of support for Hariri, combined with international censure, forces Syria out of Lebanon.

-the new, pro-West, independence government of Prime Minister Sinioria is faced with heavy representation of the the Syria-supported Hezbollah Party in parliament and Cabinet.

2006- July- Hezbollah kidnaps Israel soldiers in the border area with Israel. In response, Israel invades Lebanon in order to destroy Hezbollah and cut off all support for hezbollah by Syria and Iran.

2006- November- the UN investigation of the murder of Rafiq Hariri implicates four Lebanese generals suspected of carrying out the attack on Syrian orders. Syria's president Bashir Assad's inner cicrcle is named as the instigator of the plot.

-Lebanon's finance minister, Pierre Gemayel is assassinated. Syria, once again is suspected. In light of UN disclosure of Syria's implication in the Hariri assassination, Syria is suspected of attempting to derail any further inquiries.

-Hezbollah holds masss demonstrations for the resignation of the Sinioria government and new elections that will more acurately show, in Hezbollah's view, the strength of the Shia vote.

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