Posts Tagged ‘lebanon’

By Christopher Harper

The Israeli invasion of Lebanon, which began 40 years ago this week, created a variety of unintended consequences from the rise of militant Islam to a Shia swath from Lebanon to the Arab Gulf. 

I traveled as a reporter throughout the Arab World for many years, covering some of the worst episodes of human despair and devastation of the 20th century. But the Israeli invasion, which began with Tel Aviv’s goal of removing the Palestine Liberation Organization from Lebanon, had a devastating effect on the world.

On June 6, 1982, Israeli forces launched an invasion of Lebanon called “Operation Peace for Galilee.” About 60,000 troops and more than 800 tanks, heavily supported by aircraft, attack helicopters, artillery, and missile boats, crossed the Israel–Lebanon border. A few days later, the Israelis and their Christian allies had encircled Beirut, where my colleagues and I reported on a siege that would end nearly three months later when the PLO evacuated Lebanon for other Arab countries.

Accurate casualty figures are difficult to find, but the independent Beirut newspaper An Nahar published an estimate of deaths from hospital and police records that claimed that more than 17,000 people died, roughly half civilians.

After the PLO’s departure, Christian forces murdered between 700 and 2,000 people in the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps in South Beirut. Israeli forces stood by as the massacre happened in September. I worked on an excellent documentary about the tragedy, “Oh, Tell the World What Happened,” for ABC News.

Although the PLO had many flaws, it was distinctly nonreligious. After the Israelis drove the PLO from Lebanon, Shia Muslims took control of the Lebanese government, creating an even more hostile force with Syria and Iran’s military and religious backing. That resulted in an attack on October 23, 1983, when 241 Marines and seamen died in a truck bombing in Beirut. The attack used Iranian funds, Syrian know-how, and Shia bombers. 

Here is the ABC 20/20 investigation I produced:



The cross-border confrontations between Israel and Hezbollah, the Shia group in Lebanon, led to a war in 2006, which emboldened the Islamists. Furthermore, Hezbollah joined forces with Hamas, a Palestinian group in the Gaza Strip that continues to harass Israel today.

The Bekaa Valley in eastern Lebanon became a critical training ground for guerrillas and terrorists worldwide under the control of both Sunni and Shia extremists. Many foreign soldiers who fought U.S. troops in Afghanistan and Iraq in the 2000s got some of their training in the Bekaa Valley. 

It’s rare that a decision from 40 years ago continues to create havoc, but that’s precisely what occurred when Israel decided to invade Lebanon in 1982. 

Hope or Hezbollah?

Posted: August 11, 2020 by chrisharper in war
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By Christopher Harper

For nearly a decade, I lived and traveled into Beirut—a time that molded me into a journalist.

In Beirut, you worked hard and played hard. Almost every day, journalists went into a dangerous city, where many thousands of people died, and almost every night, they retired to the bar at the Commodore Hotel.

My wife Elizabeth and I arrived in Beirut in 1979, where we lived for two years. After that, we spent many days back in Lebanon during a variety of news stories, including the Israeli invasion of Lebanon. We returned in 2011 during the Arab uprising to see Beirut had risen from the ashes, with restaurants and businesses booming from an economic resurgence.

Although we both loved the city and made friends with whom we remained close for many years, recent events did not surprise us.

Lebanon has existed for decades without a government. When it had a good leader like Rafic Harari, a businessman and prime minister, he ended up dead in 2005 as the victim of assassination. Ironically, last week’s explosion occurred just as a United Nations tribunal was set to determine the guilt or innocence of those suspected of killing Harari. See

For the past year, Lebanese have been protesting the current government for its corruption and inability to deal with day-to-day issues, such as garbage collection. As an example, my former colleague can only received $500 a month from his ABC News and government pensions because the government has placed severe restrictions on the country’s banking system.

Although the Lebanese president, Michel Aoun, is a Christian—as delineated in the country’s constitution–he is beholden to Hezbollah, the Shia militia, for his power. He remains in power despite the resignation of the prime minister and the cabinet.

Hezbollah has links to Iran and Hamas and is considered a terrorist organization by the U.S. government. Hezbollah was behind the 1983 attack against the U.S. Marines that left more than 200 dead and the hijacking of TWA 847 in 1985 that left a U.S. sailor dead. The group has a vast militia, which rivals the country’s army, and has engaged in a variety of battles with Israel.

More important for Lebanon, Hezbollah helped create a corrupt and negligent political system that created the lack of enforcement at the port and allowed the storage of 2,700 tons of ammonium nitrate.

Moreover, a new report by the Foundation for Defense of Democracies asserts that Hezbollah siphons off billions of dollars from around the world. Money is laundered through Lebanon, allowing Hezbollah to function as a kind of parallel state, one with its financial and social services. See

When my wife and I lived in Lebanon, the country embraced the song “I’ll Will Survive” as it national anthem. The resignation of the government may be a step toward survival, but Hezbollah still has a choke hold on the country. No survival will occur until the organization no longer holds significant power in Lebanon.

Israel attacked from the north

Posted: August 3, 2010 by datechguy in opinion/news, war
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How many times do we have to read this story before the world get it though their heads what is going on in Israel?

Good thing we have that brave UN to prevent the Lebanese army from attacking Jews in Israel. Israellycool makes a good point:

What is not clear is whether the Lebanese soldier picture actually fired the RPG, but it is nonetheless problematic that UNIFIL would just happen to be “hanging out” with the Lebanese soldiers during the clashes with Israel.

Or even worse: shielding them.

No comment yet from Helen Thomas or Octavia Nasr.

This was done in broad daylight with plenty of witnesses that means it was done for a reason. Was it to prove Israeli response, to keep Jewish eyes elsewhere?

Time will tell.

Memeorandum thread here