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Last Updated:Thursday, 8 May, 2003, 10:34 GMT 11:34 UK
Timeline: Lebanon

A chronology of key events:

1920 1 September - After the League of Nations grants the mandate for Lebanon and Syria to France, the State of Greater Lebanon is proclaimed. It includes the former autonomous province of Mount Lebanon, plus the provinces of north Lebanon, south Lebanon and the Biqa, historically part of Syria.

Archaelogical site in Lebanon
Land of antiquity: Ruins of Baalbek
1926 23 May - The Lebanese Representative Council approves a Constitution and the Lebanese Republic is declared.

1940 - Lebanon comes under the control of the Vichy French government.

1941 - After Lebanon is occupied by Free French and British troops in June 1941, independence is declared on 26 November.

1943 March - The foundations of the state are set out in an unwritten National Covenant which states that Lebanon is an independent Arab country with ties to the West but which cooperates with other Arab states while remaining neutral. The 1932 census which had shown that Christians were 54% of the population is used as the basis for the distribution of seats in the Chamber of Deputies (later to be called the National Assembly) on a ratio of 6 to 5 (later extended to other public offices). The President is to be a Maronite Christian, the Prime Minister a Sunni Muslim, and the Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies a Shi'i Muslim.


1943 December - France agrees to the transfer of power to the Lebanese government with effect from 1 January 1944.

1957 - President Kamil Sham'un accepts the Eisenhower Doctrine, announced in January, which offers US economic and military aid to Middle Eastern countries to counteract Soviet influence in the region.

1958 14 July - Faced with increasing opposition which develops into a civil war, President Sham'un asks the United States to send troops to preserve Lebanon's independence.

1958 15 July - The United States, mindful of Iraq's overthrow of its monarchy, sends marines to re-establish the government's authority.

Arab-Israeli war

1967 June - Lebanon plays no active role in the Arab-Israeli war but is to be affected by its aftermath when Palestinians use Lebanon as a base for activities against Israel.

1968 28 December - In retaliation for an attack by two members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) on an Israeli plane in Athens, Israel raids Beirut airport, destroying 13 civilian planes.

1969 November - The Commander-in-Chief of the Army, Emile Bustani, and Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Chairman Yasir Arafat sign an agreement in Cairo which aims to control Palestinian guerrilla activities in Lebanon.

1973 10 April - Israeli commandos raid Beirut and kill three Palestinian leaders, close associates of Arafat. The Lebanese government resigns the next day.

Civil war begins

1975 13 April - Phalangist gunmen ambush a bus in the Ayn-al-Rummanah district of Beirut, killing 27 of its mainly Palestinian passengers. The Phalangists claim that guerrillas had previously attacked a church in the same district. (These clashes are regarded as the start of the civil war).

1976 June - Syrian troops enter Lebanon to restore peace but also to curb the Palestinians.

1976 October - Following Arab summit meetings in Riyad and Cairo, a cease-fire is arranged and a predominantly Syrian Arab Deterrent Force (ADF) is established to maintain it.

Israel controls south

1978 14/15 March - In reprisal for a Palestinian attack into its territory, Israel launches a major invasion of Lebanon, occupying land as far north as the Litani River.

1978 19 March - The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) passes Resolution 425, which calls on Israel to withdraw from all Lebanese territory and establishes the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) to confirm the Israeli withdrawal, restore peace and help the Lebanese government re-establish its authority in the area.

1978 - By 13 June Israel hands over territory in southern Lebanon not to UNIFIL but to its proxy mainly Christian Lebanese militia under Maj Sa'd Haddad.

Israel attacks

1982 6 June - Following the attempted assassination of Shlomo Argov, Israeli ambassador to the United Kingdom, Israel launches a full-scale invasion of Lebanon, "Operation Peace for Galilee".

1982 14 September - President-elect, Bashir al-Jumayyil, is assassinated. The following day, Israeli forces occupy West Beirut, and from 16 to 18 September, the Phalangist militia kill Palestinians in Sabra and Shatila refugee camps in West Beirut.

1982 21 September - Bashir's elder brother, Amin al-Jumayyil, is elected president.

1982 24 September - The first contingent of a mainly US, French and Italian peacekeeping force, requested by Lebanon, arrives in Beirut.

Buffer zone set up

1983 17 May - Israel and Lebanon sign an agreement on Israeli withdrawal, ending hostilities and establishing a security region in southern Lebanon.

1983 23 October - 241 US marines and 56 French paratroopers are killed in two bomb explosions in Beirut, responsibility for which is claimed by two militant Shi'i groups.

Archaelogical site in Lebanon
Land of antiquity: Ruins of Baalbek
1985 - By 6 June most Israeli troops withdraw but some remain to support the mainly Christian South Lebanon Army (SLA) led by Maj-Gen Antoine Lahd which operates in a "security zone" in southern Lebanon.

1985 16 June - A TWA plane lands in Beirut after having been hijacked on a flight from Athens to Rome by two alleged members of Hezbollah demanding the release of Shi'is in Israeli jails. The crisis is resolved with the help of Syrian mediation.

1987 21 May - Lebanon abrogates the 1969 Cairo agreement with the PLO as well as officially cancelling the 17 May 1983 agreement with Israel.

1987 1 June - After Prime Minister Rashid Karami is killed when a bomb explodes in his helicopter, Salim al-Huss becomes acting prime minister.

Two governments, one country

1988 22 September - When no candidate is elected to succeed him, outgoing President Amin al-Jumayyil appoints a six-member interim military government, composed of three Christians and three Muslims, though the latter refuse to serve. Lebanon now has two governments - one mainly Muslim in West Beirut, headed by Al-Huss, the other, Christian, in East Beirut, led by the Maronite Commander-in-Chief of the Army, Gen Michel Awn.

Archaelogical site in Lebanon
Land of antiquity: Ruins of Baalbek
1989 14 March - Awn declares a "war of liberation " against the Syrian presence in Lebanon.

1989 28 July - Shaykh Abd-al-Karim Ubayd, Hezbollah leader in Jibshit, is abducted by Israeli forces.

1989 22 October - The National Assembly, meeting in Ta'if, Saudi Arabia, endorses a Charter of National Reconciliation, which reduces the authority of the president by transferring executive power to the cabinet. The National Assembly now has an equal number of Christian and Muslim members instead of the previous six to five ratio.

1989 November - President-elect Rene Mu'awwad is assassinated on 22 November and succeeded by Ilyas al-Hirawi on 24 November. The following day, Salim al-Huss becomes Prime Minister and Gen Emile Lahhud replaces Awn as Commander-in-Chief of the Army on 28 November.

Civil war ends

1990 13 October - The Syrian airforce attacks the Presidential Palace at B'abda and Awn takes refuge in the French embassy. This date is regarded as the end of the civil war.

1990 24 December - Umar Karami heads a government of national reconciliation.

1991 - The National Assembly orders the dissolution of all militias by 30 April but Hezbollah is allowed to remain active and the South Lebanon Army (SLA) refuses to disband.

1991 22 May - A Treaty of Brotherhood, Cooperation and Coordination is signed in Damascus by Lebanon and Syria and a Higher Council, co-chaired by their two presidents, is established.

1991 1 July - The Lebanese army defeats the PLO in Sidon so that it now confronts the Israelis and the SLA in Jazzin, north of the so-called "security zone".

1991 26 August - The National Assembly grants an amnesty for all crimes committed during the civil war, 1975-1990. Awn receives a presidential pardon and is allowed to leave for France.

1991 30 October - Lebanon participates in the Middle East Peace Conference launched in Madrid.

1992 16 February - Shaykh Abbas al-Musawi, Secretary-General of Hezbollah, is killed when Israeli helicopter gunships attack his motorcade on a road south-east of Sidon
By 17 June all Western hostages held by Shi'i groups have been released.

1992 20 October - After elections in August and September (the first since 1972), Nabih Birri, Secretary-General of the Shi'i Amal organization, becomes speaker of the National Assembly.

One-time Lebanese leader
Prime Minister al-Hariri
1991 31 October - Rafiq al-Hariri, a rich businessman, born in Sidon but with Saudi Arabian nationality, becomes prime minister, heading a cabinet of technocrats.

1993 25 July - Israel attempts to end the threat from Hezbollah and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command (PFLP-GC) in southern Lebanon by launching "Operation Accountability", the heaviest attack since 1982.

1994 21 May - Mustafa Dib al-Dirani, head of the Believers' Resistance, a breakaway group from the Shi'i Amal organization, is abducted by Israeli commandos from his house in eastern Lebanon.

Israel bombs Beirut

1996 11 April - The start of "Operation Grapes of Wrath" in which the Israelis bomb Hezbollah bases in southern Lebanon, the southern district of Beirut and the Biqa.

1996 18 April - An Israeli attack on a UN base at Qana results in the death of over 100 Lebanese refugees sheltering there.

1996 26 April - The United States negotiates a truce and an "understanding" under which Hezbollah and Palestinian guerrillas agree not to attack civilians in northern Israel, and which recognizes Israel's right to self-defence but also Hezbollah's right to resist the Israeli occupation of southern Lebanon. Lebanon and Syria do not sign the "understanding" but the Israel-Lebanon Monitoring Group (ILMG), with representatives from the United States, France, Israel, Lebanon and Syria, is established to monitor the truce.

1998 1 April - Israel's inner cabinet votes to accept United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Resolution 425 of 1978 if Lebanon guarantees the security of Israel's northern border. Both Lebanon and Syria reject this condition.

Lahhud is president

1998 24 November - Commander-in-Chief of the Army, Emile Lahhud, is sworn in as president, succeeding Ilyas al-Hirawi.

1998 4 December - Salim al-Huss becomes prime minister heading a cabinet which includes no militia leaders and only two ministers from the previous administration.

Israel withdraws from southern Lebanon
Exit: Israeli troops withdraw from Lebanon
1999 3 June - The South Lebanon Army (SLA) completes its withdrawal from the Jazzin salient (north of the "security zone") occupied since 1985.

2000 5 March - The Israeli cabinet votes for the unilateral withrawal of Israeli troops from southern Lebanon by July 2000.

2000 18 April - Israel decides to release thirteen Lebanese prisoners held without trial for over 10 years but the detention of Shaykh Abd-al-Karim Ubayd and Mustafa Dib al-Dirani is extended.

2000 24 May - After the collapse of the South Lebanon Army (SLA) and the rapid advance of Hezbollah forces, Israel withdraws its troops from southern Lebanon, more than six weeks before its stated deadline of 7 July.

2000 25 May - Lebanon declares 25 May an annual public holiday to be called "Resistance and Liberation Day".

2001 March - Lebanon begins pumping water from a tributary of the River Jordan to supply a southern border village despite opposition from Israel.

2002 January - Elie Hobeika, a key figure in the massacres of Palestinian refugees in 1982, dies in a blast shortly after disclosing that he held videotapes and documents challenging the Israeli version of the story of the massacres.

2002 September - Serious row over Lebanon's plan to divert water from a border river shared by Lebanon and Israel. Israel says it cannot tolerate the diversion of the Wazzani, which provides 10% of the country's drinking water, and threatens the use of military force.


May 2000: Hezbollah enters Israel's occupation zone
BBC's Hilary Andersson reports on the advance

Compiled by BBC Monitoring

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