This article is an extract from William Harris, Lebanon: A History 600-2011 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011). Surveying Lebanon’s communities through fourteen centuries and the modern country from its origins after 1800, the book closes with today’s downbeat Lebanon. The extract features a twilight zone, between Lebanon’s devastating war period of 1975-1990 and the implosion […]
Since the 1990s, Hizballah has defined itself along a number of parallel lines, each of which prior to 2011 appeared to support the other. The movement was simultaneously a sectarian representative of the Lebanese Shi’a, a regional ally of Iran and Syria, a defender of the Lebanese against the supposed aggressive intentions of Israel, and […]
U.S. diplomatic cables released by Wikileaks have given a new insight into American policy in Lebanon, especially efforts to counter Hizballah. Hizballah’s willingness to use a combination of hard power through violence and coercion, combined with a softer touch via extensive patronage networks has given them unmatched control over the Shi’a community since the 2005 […]
Since the ignominious withdrawal of Syrian forces from Lebanon in 2005, Damascus has managed to regain dominion over the country by exploiting its adversaries’ conflicting interests and weak resolve.
This article is based on a paper presented at the June 8-9, 2009, conference, “Israel and the Arab States: Parallel Interests, Relations, and Strategies,” jointly held in Jerusalem by the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung. While many Israelis once felt Lebanon would be the second Arab state to sign a peace treaty with Israel, today, it is assumed that Lebanon will be the last Arab state to take this step. While Hizballah didn’t obtain a majority in the June 7, 2009, parliamentary elections, the results showed its continuing power. Any chance of advancing an Israeli-Lebanese understanding, which would also help to stabilize Lebanon’s internal political situation, depends on broader regional results. Meanwhile, Israel must ensure preservation of its deterrence vis-a-vis Hizballah to try to preserve calm on the Israeli-Lebanese border.
This article traces the history of Israeli-Lebanese relations. Key episodes in the Israeli involvement in Lebanon are outlined. The article also examines the process whereby the Palestinian movement became a player in internal Lebanese affairs and the effect this had on Lebanon’s internal situation and eventually on the Israel-Lebanon context. Also discussed are the Litani operation of 1978, the 1982 war, subsequent Israeli involvement in southern Lebanon, and the 2006 war. The article concludes with observations regarding key elements and likely future direction of relations between Israel and Lebanon.