• Short Summary

    As Lebanese braced themselves for Sunday's (August 23) general election, the first in more than 20 years, the nation's rival religious groups continued a dispute that again threatens to plunge Lebanon into new waves of violence.

  • Description

    As Lebanese braced themselves for Sunday's (August 23) general election, the first in more than 20 years, the nation's rival religious groups continued a dispute that again threatens to plunge Lebanon into new waves of violence.

    The Christian community is demanding that the elections be postponed until all Syrian troops have been withdrawn. The Prime Minister Rashid Solh has refused to delay the poll.

    The dispute threatens to split the country along sectarian lines. Some diplomats fear a civil war similar to the one that ended in 1990.

    Lebanon's last general election took place in 1972, when a coalition government took power.

    Sectarian tensions in Lebanon erupted in violence in April, 1975 when Christian gunmen ambushed a busload of Palestinian Arabs in Beirut, killing 30. Moslems rallied behind the Palestinian community, sparking wide-spread sectarian killings, and creating the "Green Line" battlefront which divided Beirut into the Christian east, and Moslem west.

    In 1976, 6,000 Syrian troops entered Lebanon at the invitation of Christian president Suleiman Franjieh to prevent Moslem-Palestinian forces encircling East Beirut.

    Israel invaded south Lebanon in 1978, and set up its so-called "security zone", introducing a new force into war-torn Lebanon.

    Israel moved further into Lebanon in the early 1980's trying to contain the Palestine Liberation Organisation (P.L.O.) which had established headquarters in Beirut.

    In a bid to quell the fighting, the United States (U.S.) sent 800 marines to Beirut. The U.S. involvement in Lebanon ended in 1983 when a suicide bomber drove a truck loaded with explosives into a Marines' barracks killing 241 of the soldiers.

    Christian leader General Aoun curbed Lebanese militia groups in Beirut's Christian sectors; enforced a sea blockade of Lebanon's Moslem-controlled ports, and declared a "war of liberation" to expel Syria's 33,000 troops. After six months of fighting, the Arab League arranged a truce, and a peace plan to curb Christian power.

    Aoun rejected the plan, and his troops fought Lebanese militia for control of Christian enclaves. Aoun was eventually forced to flee to France in 1990, refusing to step down from his post as Christian leader.

    Fifteen years of civil war finally drew to a close in 1990 when the Lebanese army disarmed Palestinian camps and militias in 1991, paving the way for Sunday's elections.


  • Tags

  • Data

    Film ID:
    VLVACXS4TCTEXDZUCCTEMKRSZSYUF
    Media URN:
    VLVACXS4TCTEXDZUCCTEMKRSZSYUF
    Group:
    Reuters - Source to be Verified
    Archive:
    Reuters
    Issue Date:
    01/04/1972
    Sound:
    Unknown
    HD Format:
    Available on request
    Stock:
    Colour
    Duration:
    00:04:38:00
    Time in/Out:
    /
    Canister:
    N/A

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