Country Listing

Lebanon Table of Contents


Chaos in Beirut and Syrian Peacemaking Efforts

Internecine Battles in the Lebanese Forces

In early 1985, clashes erupted again in the capital, this time between rival Christian factions. Recognizing that Syria was now the dominant arbiter of Lebanese affairs, Jumayyil and senior Phalange Party members held conciliatory talks with Syria and attempted to obtain Syrian security guarantees for Lebanon's Christians. In return, the Phalangists agreed to Syrian demands that the Christians make political concessions to the Muslims. However, a portion of the Lebanese Forces (LF) rebelled against the rapprochement with Syria. On March 13, 1985, Samir Jaja (also seen as Geagea), a pro-Israeli senior commander in the LF, ordered his followers to attack Jumayyil's loyalists, Lebanese Army units, and Muslim and Palestinian forces in Sidon and Beirut. Syria massed troops around the Christian heartland north of Beirut, but agreed to give Jumayyil time to neutralize the revolt before resorting to armed intervention. Jaja's relatively small force could not prevail against so many adversaries, and on May 10 he was replaced by Elie Hubayka, who was elected by Phalange Party executives as the new commander of the LF. Hubayka was notorious for his role in the 1982 Sabra and Shatila massacres but also had a reputation for being more pro-Syrian than Jaja (see The Siege of Beirut , this ch.).

Data as of December 1987