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History of Lebanon

Lebanon was formed from five former Turkish (Ottoman) Empire districts and became an independent state on September 1, 1920. It was administered under the French mandate from 1920 to 1941, with French troops withdrawing fully in 1946 (World Almanac & Book of Facts, 2000). With a 70 percent Islamic majority and a 30 percent Christian minority, the 1943 National Covenant divided all public positions among the various religious communities. Initially Christians were the majority, but by the 1970s, Muslims had become the majority group and demanded a larger political and economic role (World Almanac & Book of Facts, 2000).

Among the independent states comprising the Arab world in the mid-twentieth century, Lebanon stood alone because of its Christian presidency, the high proportion of Muslims in its population, the Arab-Western cultural dualism, and its "confessional democracy" which allowed the commercial and rural upper class to control the state (Harris, l997). This combination of internal complexities made Lebanon a war theater ion the mid-1970s, in large measure because Lebanon was the pre-eminent meeting ground of Christendom and Islam in the Middle East, the refuge for all the radical movements of the region, and the chief cultural bridgehead of the West in the Arab world (Harris, 1997).

In 1958, U.S. Marines intervened during a Syrian-aided revolt against the Christian government. Continued raids against Israel between 1970 and 1975 brought Israeli attacks against guerrilla camps and villages, with Israel occupying South Lebanon in March of 1978 and again in April of 1980 (World Almanac & Book of Facts, 2000). In 1975-1976, an estimated 60,000 were killed and billions of dollars of damage (centered in Beirut) inflicted in a civil war; Palestinian and leftist Muslims fought against the Maronite (Christian) militia, the Phalange. Several Arab countries provided political and arms support to the various factors, with Isr...

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History of Lebanon. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 08:26, February 18, 2019, from