Israel hoped that Lebanon's newly elected president, Bashir . A version of this op-ed appears in print on September 17, , on Page A23 of. Particularly since the conflict with Israel, Hezbollah, the Party of God, has become. Iran's most important partner in projecting power throughout the region. . Lebanon had been due to hold a general election in As the .. , across Syria and the region, UK support has delivered over. other anti-U.S. Lebanese actors without provoking civil conflict among .. The Israeli air campaign and ground operation aimed at degrading Iranian influence in Lebanon via its ties to Hezbollah, the potential for renewed billion in humanitarian aid to Lebanon since FY,10 much of it designed to.
- Lebanon: Country profile
A history in pictures Reconciled political process — The Ta'if Accord, signed under the auspices of the Arab League inofficially ended the civil war in To balance power among Lebanon's three main religious groups the presidency is reserved for a Maronite Christian, the prime minister is a Sunni Muslim and the speaker of parliament is always a Shia Muslim. Pictured are the current president Michel Suleiman, centerprime minister Najib Mikati, right and speaker of the parliament Nabih Berri, left.
Hide Caption 5 of 11 Photos: A history in pictures A delicate peace — Lebanon's peace has at times been a fragile one. InPrime Minister Rafik Hariri pictured in the poster was assassinated by a car bomb in central Beirut. Huge public demonstrations against Syria led to the withdrawal of all Syrian military forces in April The kidnapping of two Israeli soldiers by Hezbollah in led to a day conflict with Israel that left approximately 1, civilians dead, according to the CIA World Factbook.
Hide Caption 6 of 11 Photos: A history in pictures Rebuilding the economy — Lebanon has been rebuilding its economy and infrastructure since the end of the civil war in A history in pictures Beirut by night — Despite the turmoil of its recent history, Lebanon plays host to some of the liveliest cities in the Middle East. Beirut pictured is famed for its bustling night life and was known as the Paris of the Middle East.
A number of important cultural sites can be found at Tripoli and Tyre. Hide Caption 8 of 11 Photos: A history in pictures Tourism destination — In recent years Lebanon has rebranded itself as a trendy tourist destination, catering for a wide variety of religious, historic and leisure visitors.
More than 2 million people visited Lebanon in alone according to a World Bank report. Hide Caption 9 of 11 Photos: A history in pictures Cedar tree symbol — Lebanon is one of the few independent states in the world to feature a tree in its national flag alongside Equatorial Guinea, Haiti, Belize and Fiji.
The cedar tree is an important symbol in the country's history, representing happiness, prosperity and resilience. It has been adopted by many Lebanese political parties and the country's national airline, Middle East Airlines.
Hide Caption 10 of 11 Photos: A history in pictures Syrian conflict and refugees — Internal conflict in neighboring Syria spilled over into Lebanon earlier this year, prompting fears that renewed factional rivalries could reopen the wounds of past conflicts.
Clashes between political and religious groups who either support or oppose the Syrian president Bashar al Assad have erupted in both Tripoli and Beirut. Hide Caption Story highlights Country on eastern edge of Mediterranean Sea has a tumultuous recent history Capital Beirut was once known as 'Paris of the East', city now renowned for nightlife and culture Country has what is known as a 'confessional democracy' developed after civil war from to Lebanon could have no more fitting symbol of its tumultuous history than its national flag.
Emblazoned with a green cedar tree against a white background, framed between two red bands, an official account states the white represents peace, the red, the blood that has been spilled in the name of liberation and the tree, survival. Situated on the eastern-most lip of the Mediterranean basin -- in a region once known as the Levant -- Lebanon stands at the gateway between Christian Europe and the Arab Middle East and North Africa. Throughout its history it has been the scene of bitter struggles.
As far back as BC, Alexander the Great -- realizing its importance as a strategic gateway to the Mediterranean -- led a seven-month siege at Tyre, modern Lebanon's fourth largest city.
Originally an island city, Alexander spared no effort in taking the Phoenician city state, constructing a 1km-long causeway to connect the island with the mainland as part of his invasion plan.Why Do Israel And Syria Hate Each Other?
Part of the Ottoman Empire from the early 16th century, Lebanon became a French mandate after World War I and achieved independence in In the 20th century, it suffered violent shifts in its fortunes.
Once known as the "Paris of the East" because of its cosmopolitan nature, Beirut proudly boasted that it was the only city in the world where you could swim in the Mediterranean in the morning and then drive to the mountains to go skiing in the afternoon. Others compared it with Switzerland as its reputation grew as a financial center in the s.
Until the mids the country prospered, but conflict between the Christian and Muslim communities, the influx of Palestinian refugees, and repeated wars in the region destabilized the country. In response, the militant Shia group Hezbollah formed with Syrian and Iranian backing. They conducted guerrilla warfare against Israel to resist the occupation. Inthe Israeli army burned down olive groves to "deprive Hezbollah guerrillas of cover".
The day operation caused hundreds of thousands of civilians in south Lebanon to flee their homes. On April 18, several Israeli shells struck refugee compounds, killing civilians sheltered there. Throughout the s discontent had been growing in Israel about the occupation of parts of Lebanon.
Lebanon profile - Timeline
Discontent increased as a result of a helicopter crash that killed 73 Israeli soldiers bound for Lebanon. Ehud Barak campaigned for prime minister on a platform of withdrawing from Lebanon.
The SLA collapsed and about 6, SLA members and their families fled the country, although more than 2, had returned by December With the withdrawal of Israeli forces, many in Lebanon began calling for a review of the continued presence of Syrian troops, estimated in late at approximately 25, The destruction of Lebanese infrastructure that the Israeli military left behind, particularly water infrastructure, was devastating to Southern Lebanon.
The international border between Lebanon and Israel is still to be determined in the framework of a peace agreement. In August, the Government of Lebanon deployed over 1, police and soldiers to the former security zone, but Hezbollah also maintained observation posts and conducted patrols along the Blue Line.
While Lebanon and Syria agreed to respect the Blue Line, both have registered objections and continue to argue that Israel has not fully withdrawn from Lebanese soil. As regional tension escalated with the Palestinian intifada in SeptemberHezbollah cited Blue Line discrepancies when it reengaged Israel on October 7, taking three Israeli soldiers captive in an area known as Shebaa Farms.
Lebanon profile - Timeline - BBC News
This largely unpopulated Israeli controlled territory along the border between Lebanon and Syria is claimed by Lebanon, although the United Nations and Israel agree that Shebaa Farms is part of Syria. Since the beginning of the Cedar Revolutionhopes had increased of an Israel-Lebanon peace treaty.
We don't want wars. We hope that the peace process moves ahead with us, with the Syrians, with all the Arab countries," but he added that Lebanon would not sign a separate peace treaty as Jordan and Egypt have done.
Other Lebanese leaders draw an even harder line.
Lebanon: Country profile - CNN
It was uncovered in the cache of diplomatic cables released by Wikileaks that inLebanese Defense Minister had sent messages to Israel via the United States stating the Lebanese Army would refrain from getting involved in a future conflict between Israel and Hezbollah and that the army, as quoted in the cables "will move to pre-position food, money, and water with these units so they can stay on their bases when Israel comes for Hezbollah — discreetly, Murr added.
Ambassador to Lebanon Michele Sison, the dispatcher of the cable, "Murr offered some ideas aimed at avoiding turning the Christian population against Israel when the next war with Hezbollah occurs Many were expected to receive the death penaltywhich the Lebanese cabinet announced it intended to carry out. While Israel's find is within its territorial exclusive economic zone, the dispute stems from the possibility that the gas field spans to Lebanon's boundary.
A general principle in such a situation is the Rule of capture where each side is permitted to lift as much as it can on its side. Israel has already started exploration and construction on its side, while Lebanese authorities have not yet officially demarcated its exclusive economic zone or initiated a process of attracting bids for exploration rights. Beirut had previously warned the American Noble Energy company not to approach its territory.
In response, Israeli Infrastructure Minister Uzi Landau warned Lebanon that Israel was willing to use force to protect the gas reserves discovered off its shores. The law called for the establishment of a treasury and a committee to oversee exploration and drilling.