The 1975 Lebanese Civil War Essay
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Lebanon’s eastern borders meet with Syria, an Arabic country theoretically considered a strategic ally against the Zionist state located south of Lebanon: Israel. The Israeli-Arab conflict began in 1948 with the conquest of the land of Palestine by the Zionist movement. Almost thirty years later, Lebanon was struck by a long series of “earthquakes” that rendered the country a fragmented entity held together by a thin matrix. In precisely 1975, the tensions that had been building up as a result of the Zionist destabilization of the region ignited on Lebanese soil when 30 unarmed Palestinians on board a bus got slaughtered in the Ain El Remaneh region, buy supporters of the Phalange party.
The Lebanese civil war is the result of a conflict between one mentality that refuses to share Lebanon, willing to partition it if sharing was forced upon it, and another that claims its own right to defend the Palestinian cause in its own country. The catalyst is foreign meddling.
In the early 1970’s the Palestinian Liberation Organization began to use their historical struggle for freedom against Israel as an excuse to interfere lightly in Lebanon’s internal affairs.
In fact during the first half decade tensions grew between the PLO and the Phalange party a right wing Christian party that refused to share the country with the Palestinian, thus sacrificing Lebanon’s sovereignty and unity. A few years later, the increasing Palestinian intervention became a threat to Lebanon’s stability through their ever growing military expansion. The opposition of the PLO by the Phalange party reached its pre-war peek with the event that actually triggered the conflict: the Ain El Remaneh Event.
Facing the Phalange party, the Lebanese Progressive Socialist party and its mainly Moslem supporters were the basic building blocs of the Druze – Muslim left wing coalition that supported the right of the Palestinians to wage an unsuccessful war against Israel using Lebanon as a starting point. The coalition leaders were well known for their strong beliefs in the “Arabic” vision of the Middle East, back then headed by Jamal Abed El Nasser president of Egypt. The core of that vision was the liberation of Palestine. As the demands of the right wing Christian front to halt all Palestinian military actions on Lebanese soil grew, the support of the PLO by the Druze-Muslim left wing front grew as well. This divergence among the left and right wing front pushed the Lebanese Progressive Socialist party and there allies to go to the mattresses along side the PLO after the Ain El Remaneh massacre.
Some say that foreign meddling remains the most influential factor of all. The Lebanese civil war ignited during a violent period of the Cold War that opposed the strongest poles of that era: the United States of America, and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. The two giant struggled to rearrange the geopolitical map of the world in a way that suits their interests. The Middle East was a central conflict area of the Cold War. The USA granted unconditional support for Israel. Israel a few years after the beginning of the conflict contributed in training and arming the Lebanese Forces: a global realignment of major Christian parties to form a new stronger right wing front. The Lebanese Forces allied with Israel to defeat a mutual enemy: the PLO in Lebanon. Then again, the USSR granted support to Arab nations leading the offensive against Israel such as Egypt, Iraq, and Syria. Egypt was the strongest ally of the left wing front in the region. Some countries such as USA and Israel surpassed by far economic and technological support, by undertaking direct military campaigns in Lebanon.
The Lebanese civil war lasted fifteen years and ended ironically in 1990 with the collapse of the Soviet Union, an event marking the end of the Cold War. Tracing the history of the Lebanese civil conflict revealed to be extremely difficult since political parties and international support shifted with the protection of personal interests. It is common for people to conclude that the Lebanese people paid 15 long years of war and suffering for what seems to be very similar to an international chess game; to a higher level of abstraction a chess game between the Kremlin and the White House.