B/K Notes Pgs. 209 – 214

Civil War and Its Consequences


  1. 1975 Civil War between Maronites and those in the Lebanese National Movement. LNM encompassed many different Lebanese groups including: Druze, factions such as the Syrian Socialist Nationalist party, Lebanese Communist party and dissatisfied Muslims; only to be joined later by the PLO.
  2. President Hafez Al-Assad of Syria intervened to help the failing Maronite government. His motives:

  • Afraid a radical government in Lebanon could strengthen the PLO to become independent of Syria

  • Anarchy in Lebanon could induce an Israeli invasion threatening Syrian security

3. In 1976 a group of Christian leaders formed the Lebanese Front, a political conglomerate, which was militarily supported by the Lebanese Forces. The Lebanese Forces brought together 4 major Christian militias, thought the power was vested in the Phalange. The Front was supported by Israel, who had forged connections with Gemayel over mutual security concerns (PLO). Israel helped form the South Lebanon Army – Christian militia in southern Lebanon.

4. 1978 Israel invaded Lebanon designed to destroy the PLO bases in south Lebanon. This established a nine mile wide “security zone.”

5. Operation Peace for Galilee 1982
  • Israel would eliminate PLO in southern Lebanon
  • Create a secure area up to 25 miles north of the border
What did happen:
  • Israel destroyed all PLO surface-to-air missiles
  • Siege of Beirut
  • Resulted in PLO diaspora
  • Bashir Gemayel backed away from public alliance with Israel
  • Assassinated
  • Sabra and Shatila to avenge his death

6. Due to the PLO evacuation of Lebanon, new groups and militias formed seeking more and better representation in Parliament for their specific group. Amal and Hizbullah are two major groups supplied by Iran for the betterment of the Shi’ite Muslims in Lebanon.

7. Divisions in Lebanon became increasingly apparent and were exacerbated by the presence of both Syrian and Israeli troops in the 1980s. Syria supported the PLO’s rivals while Israel was continually pushing an alliance with the Phalange.

8. US Secretary of State George Shultz facilitated an agreement which would end the war between Israel and Lebanon and withdrawal of Israeli troops if Syria did the same. However, Assad was not pleased and two weeks later the US Embassy in Beirut was bombed.

9. Economic and Political chaos caused by:

  • American backing of the “legitimate government” meaning Maronite Christians
  • This presence became resented
  • Amin Gemayel renounced accord with Israel to mend relationship with Syria
  • Violence common; anarchy reigned
  • Yasser Arafat returned to Lebanon for a short while

10. Withdrawing from Lebanon, Israel found itself the target of car bombings and sniper attacks by local militias. The “iron fist” retaliation technique was adopted with Israeli soldiers invading villages and assassinating the leaders of resistance.