1982 Lebanon War


1982 Lebanon War
1982 Lebanon War
Part of Israeli-Lebanese conflict and Lebanese Civil War
Troepen idf.jpg
Israeli troops in South Lebanon, June, 1982
Date 6 June 1982 – 17 May 1983
Location Southern Lebanon
Result Israeli tactical victory, strategic failure
  • Collapse of Maronite-Israeli alliance, failure to achieve lasting Lebanese-Israeli peace[1]
  • de facto Syrian occupation of Lebanon
  • PLO expulsion from Lebanon (1982)
  • Destruction of Syrian SAM batteries in the Bekaa
  • Israeli occupation of the southern half of Lebanon (1982–85), withdrawal started in 1983 according to the 17. May Accord
  • Israeli Security Zone and the SLA (1985–2000)
  • South Lebanon conflict (1982–2000)
  • Establishment of Hezbollah
Territorial
changes
Israeli occupation of southern Lebanon (1982–1985). Syrian de facto occupation of Lebanon (1976–2005).
Belligerents
 Israel

SLA
Lebanese Front

Palestinian territories PLO

Syria Syria
Lebanon LNRF
Hezbollah
Amal Movement
ASALA
PKK

Commanders and leaders
Israel Menachem Begin (Prime Minister)
Israel Ariel Sharon (Ministry of Defence)
Israel Rafael Eitan (Army Chief of Staff)
Israel David Ivry (Israeli Air Force)
Israel Ze'ev Almog (Israeli Sea Corps)
Bashir Gemayel
Fadi Frem
Al-Tanzim logo.png Fawzi Mahfuz
Saad Haddad
Palestinian territories Yasser Arafat (PLO leader)
Syria Hafez al-Assad (President)
George Hawi
Elias Atallah
Lebanon Muhsin Ibrahim
Abbas al-Musawi
Ragheb Harb
Ibrahim Kulaylat
Nabih Berri
Monte Melkonian
Inaam Raad
Mahsum Korkmaz
Strength
Israel:
78,000 troops
800 tanks
1,500 APCs
634 aircraft
LF:
30,000 troops
SLA:
5,000 troops
97 tanks
Syria:
22,000 troops
352 tanks
300 APCs
450 aircraft
300 artillery pieces
100 anti-aircraft guns
125 SAM batteries
PLO:
15,000 troops
80 tanks
150 APCs
350+ artillery pieces
250+ anti-aircraft guns
Casualties and losses
Israel:
657 killed
2,383 wounded[2][3]
Syrian & Palestinian combatants killed: 9,798
Lebanese killed: 17,825 (estimated)[4]

Wounded: Unknown

The 1982 Lebanon War (Hebrew: מלחמת לבנון הראשונה‎, Milhemet Levanon Harishona, "the first Lebanon war"), (Arabic: الاجتياح‎, Al-ijtiyāḥ, "the invasion"), called Operation Peace for Galilee (Hebrew: מבצע שלום הגליל, or מבצע של"גMivtsa Shlom HaGalil or Mivtsa Sheleg) by Israel, and later known in Israel as the Lebanon War and First Lebanon War, began on 6 June 1982, when the Israel Defense Forces invaded southern Lebanon. The Government of Israel launched the military operation after the Abu Nidal Organization's assassination attempt against Israel's ambassador to the United Kingdom, Shlomo Argov.[5][6]

By expelling the PLO, the removal of Syrian influence over Lebanon, and the installment of a pro-Israeli Christian government led by Bashir Gemayel, Israel hoped to sign a treaty which Menachem Begin promised would give Israel "forty years of peace." [7]

Israel would succeed in expelling the PLO from Lebanon. After attacking the PLO, as well as Syrian, leftist and Muslim Lebanese forces, Israel occupied southern Lebanon and eventually surrounded the PLO and elements of the Syrian army. Surrounded in West Beirut and subjected to heavy bombardment, the PLO forces and their allies negotiated passage from Lebanon with the aid of Special Envoy Philip Habib and the protection of international peacekeepers.

However following the assassination of Bashir Gemayel, Israel's position in Beirut became untenable and the signing of a peace treaty became increasingly unlikely. Outrage following Israel's role in the Christian-led Sabra and Shatila Massacre of Palestinian refugees and Israeli popular disillusionment with the war would lead to a withdrawal from Beirut to southern Lebanon. The Shi'a militant group Hezbollah was established in 1982 to fight the Israeli occupation of southern Lebanon, leading to nearly 20 years of armed conflict. The Lebanese Civil War would continue until 1990, at which point Syria had established complete dominance over Lebanon.[1]

Contents

Background

With the establishment of Israel and the 1948 Arab-Israeli conflict, Lebanon became home to more than 110,000 Palestinian refugees after fleeing their homes in the former British Mandate of Palestine. After its founding in 1964 and the radicalization among Palestinians, which followed the Six Day War, the PLO became a powerful force, then centred in Jordan. The large influx of Palestinians from Jordan after “Black September” caused an additional demographic imbalance within Lebanese society and its democratic institutions established earlier by the National Pact.[8][9] By 1975, the refugees numbered more than 300,000 and the PLO in effect created an unofficial state-within-a-state, particularly in Southern Lebanon, which then played an important role in the Lebanese Civil War.

Operation Litani

Continual violence near the Lebanese border occurred between Israel and the PLO starting from 1968; this had previously peaked during Operation Litani in 1978. The United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) was created after the incursion, following the adoption of Security Council Resolution 425 in March 1978 to confirm Israeli withdrawal from Southern Lebanon, restore international peace and security, and help the government of Lebanon restore its effective authority in the area.[10] With the completion of Israeli withdrawals from Sinai in March 1982, under the terms of the Egyptian-Israeli Peace Treaty, the Likud-led government of Israel hardened its attitude to the Arab world and became more aggressive.[11]

As early as 1976, Israel had been assisting Lebanese Christian militias in their sporadic battles against the PLO.[1] During Operation Litani in 1978, Israel established a security zone in southern Lebanon with mostly Christian inhabitants, in which they began to supply training and arms to Christian militias which would later form the South Lebanese Army.[12] But Israel's main partner was to be the Maronite Phalange party, whose paramilitary was led by Bashir Gemayel, a rising figure in Lebanese politics[12] Gemayel's strategy during the early stages of the Lebanese Civil War was to provoke the Syrians into retaliatory attacks on Christians, such that Israel could not ignore. In 1978, Menachem Begin declared that Israel would not allow a genocide of Lebanese Christians, while refusing direct intervention.[13] Hundreds of Lebanese militiamen began to train in Israel, at the IDF Staff and Command College. The relationship between Israel and the Maronites began to grow into a political-strategic alliance, and members of the Israeli government like Ariel Sharon began to conceive of a plan to install a pro-Israel Christian government in Lebanon, as it was known that Bashir wanted to remove the PLO and all Palestinian refugees in the country.[14]

Precursors to war

On 10 July 1981, violence erupted in South Lebanon and Northern Israel with the rocketing of Northern Israel by thousands of PLO forces who had come to occupy Southern Lebanon. Israel renewed its air strikes in an attempt to trigger a war that would allow it to drive out the PLO and restore peace to the region.[15] On 17 July, the Israel Air Force launched a massive attack on PLO buildings in downtown Beirut. "Perhaps as many as three hundred died, and eight hundred were wounded, the great majority of them civilians."[16] The Israeli army also heavily targeted PLO positions in south Lebanon without success in suppressing Palestinian rocket launchers and guns. As a result, thousands of Israeli citizens who resided near the Lebanese border headed south. On 24 July 1981, United States envoy Philip Habib brokered a ceasefire badly needed by both parties. Between July 1981 and June 1982, the Lebanese-Israeli border "enjoyed a state of calm unprecedented since 1968."[1]

US Secretary of State, Alexander Haig filed a report with US President Ronald Reagan on Saturday 30 January 1982 that revealed Secretary Haig's fear that Israel might, at the slightest provocation, start a war against Lebanon.[17] On 21 April 1982, after a landmine killed an Israeli officer while he was visiting a South Lebanese Army gun emplacement in Taibe, Lebanon, the Israeli Air Force attacked the Palestinian-controlled coastal town of Damour, killing 23 people.[18] On 9 May, Israeli aircraft again attacked targets in Lebanon. Later that same day, UNIFIL observed the firing of rockets from Palestinian positions in the Tyre region into northern Israel, but none of the projectiles hit an Israeli settlement[19]--the gunners had been ordered to miss.[16] Major-General Erskine (Ghana), Chief of Staff of UNTSO reported to the Secretary-General and the Security Council (S/14789, S/15194) that from August 1981 to May 1982, inclusive, there were 2096 violations of Lebanese airspace and 652 violations of Lebanese territorial waters (Chomsky, 1999, p. 195; Cobban, 1984, p. 112).[20] There were more than 240 PLO attacks against Israeli targets, and Israel considered them violations of the ceasefire.[21] The freedom of movement of UNIFIL personnel and UNTSO observers within the enclave remained restricted due to the actions of Amal and the South Lebanon Army under Major Saad Haddad's leadership with the backing of Israeli military forces.[20]

International reaction

Prior to establishing ceasefire in July 1981, U.N. Secretary-General Kurt Waldheim noted: "After several weeks of relative quiet in the area, a new cycle of violence has begun and has, in the past week, steadily intensified." He further stated: "There have been heavy civilian casualties in Lebanon; there have been civilian casualties in Israel as well. I deeply deplore the extensive human suffering caused by these developments." The President of the U.N. Security Council, Ide Oumarou of Niger, expressed "deep concern at the extent of the loss of life and the scale of the destruction caused by the deplorable events that have been taking place for several days in Lebanon".[22][23]

Secretary Haig's critics have accused him of "greenlighting" the Israeli Invasion of Lebanon in June 1982. Haig denies this and says he urged restraint.[24] The American reaction was that they would not apply any undue pressure on Israel to quit Lebanon as the Israeli presence in Lebanon may prove to be a catalyst for the disparate groups of Lebanon to make common cause against both Syrian and Israeli forces. Haig's analysis, which Ronald Reagan agreed with, was that this uniting of Lebanese groups would allow President Elias Sarkis to reform the Lebanese central Government and give the Palestinian refugees Lebanese citizenship.[25]

Israel's rationale for war

Since the ceasefire, established in July 1981, until the start of the war, Israel recorded 240 “terrorist actions” committed by the PLO against Israeli targets including the assassination of an Israeli diplomat in Paris and encounters with PLO units attempting to cross from Jordan.[26] However, according to George Ball, the PLO had observed the ceasefire. Israel he says continued looking for the "internationally recognized provocation" that Secretary of State Alexander Haig said would be necessary to obtain American support for an Israeli invasion of Lebanon.[27]

According to Avi Shlaim, the real driving force behind the Israeli invasion to Lebanon was the defense minster Ariel Sharon. One of his aims was the destruction of PLO military infrastructure in Lebanon and undermining it as a political organization, in order to facilitate the absorption of the West Bank by Israel. The second aim was the establishment of the Maronite government in Lebanon, headed by Bashir Gemayel and signing the peace treaty between two countries, the third aim was the expelling of Syrian army from Lebanon.

The military plan with the code name "Big Pines", prepared by IDF, envisaged invasion to Lebanon up to the highway Damascus-Beirut and linking with Maronite forces. It was first presented to Israeli cabinet on 20 December 1981 by Begin, but rejected by the majority of ministers. According to Avi Shlaim, Sharon and chief of staff Rafael Eitan, realizing that there was no chance in persuading the cabinet to approve a large-scale operation in Lebanon, adopted a different tactic and intended to implement "Operation Big Pines" in stages by manipulating enemy provocations and Israeli responses.[28]

On 3 June 1982 Israel’s ambassador to the United Kingdom, Shlomo Argov was shot and seriously wounded in London by terrorists belonging to the Abu Nidal terrorist organization. The organization was the longtime rival of PLO and its head was condemned to death by the PLO court, the British police reported that PLO leaders were on the "hit list" of the attackers.[29]

The PLO denied complicity in the attack but Israel retaliated with punishing air and artillery strikes against PLO targets in Lebanon. Sabra and Shatila refugees camps were bombed for four hours and the local "Gaza" hospital was hit there. About 200 people were killed during these attacks.[30] The PLO hit back firing rockets at northern Israel causing considerable damage and some loss of life[citation needed]. According to another source, twenty villages were targeted in Galilee and 3 Israelis were wounded.[31]

Yasser Arafat, at that time in Saudi Arabia, told the Americans through the Saudis that he was willing to suspend cross-border shelling. But that message was disregarded by the Israeli government. President Reagan also sent a message to Begin urging him not to widen the attack.[31]

On 4 June the Israeli cabinet authorized a large scale invasion.[32][33]

Opposing forces

The 1982 Lebanon War was first a conventional war up to and including when the PLO were expelled from Beirut.[34] The war was limited by both Israel and Syria because they were determined to isolate the fighting, not allowing it to turn into an all-out war.[34] Israeli forces were numerically superior, allowing Israel to maintain both the initiative and an element of surprise. The Syrian Army fielded six divisions and 500 aircraft, while Israel had eleven tank divisions and eleven infantry brigades, plus 600 aircraft. There were numerous other factions involved.[34]

Palestinians

PLO

Palestinian Liberation Organization forces continued to grow in Lebanon with full-time military personnel numbering around 15,000, although only 6,000 of these, including 4,500 regulars, were deployed in the south. They were armed with 80 aging tanks, many of which were no longer mobile, and 100 to 200 pieces of artillery. According to Israeli analysts Schiff and Ya'ari (1984), the PLO more than quadrupled its artillery from 80 cannons and rocket launchers in July 1981 to 250 in June 1982.[35] The same authors also refer to Israeli intelligence estimates of the number of PLO fighters in southern Lebanon of 6,000 as "divided into three concentrations; about 1,500 south of the Litani River in the so-called Iron Triangle (between the villages of Kana, Dir Amas, and Juya), Tyre, and its surrounding refugee camps; another 2,500 of the Kastel Brigade in three districts between the Litani and a line running from Sidon to northeast of Nabatiye; and a third large concentration of about 1,500–2,000 men of the Karameh Brigade in the east, on the slopes of Mount Hermon".[36]

PLO primary forces consisted of three conventional brigades each of 2,000 to 2,500 men and seven artillery battalions.[37] Each brigade was composed of contingents of the many PLO factions. The Yarmouk Brigade was stationed along the coastal strip while the Kastel Brigade was in the south. The Karameh Brigade was stationed on the eastern slopes of Mount Hermon in the area called Fatahland.

The PLO had around 15,000 - 18,000 fighters (of whom about 5,000-6,000 were alleged to be foreign mercenaries (or volunteers) from such countries as Libya, Iraq, India, Sri Lanka, Chad and Mozambique [1]) and they were disposed as follows[34]:

  • 6,000 in the Beirut, Ba'abda and Damour area,
  • 1,500 in Sidon,
  • 1,000 between Sidon and Tyre,
  • 1,500 in Tyre,
  • 1,000 deployed from Nabatiyeh to Beaufort Castle,
  • 2,000 in Fatahland, and
  • around 1,000 in the UNIFIL Zone.

Heavy weapons consisted of about 60 T-34, T54 and T55 tanks, most of which were dug in as pillboxes, up to 250 130mm and 155 mm artillery, many BM21 Katyusha multiple rocket launchers plus heavy mortars.[38]

Non-PLO groups

Palestinian groups in the radical Rejectionist Front fought on the Muslim-leftist side. While others, such as Saiqa, the Arab Liberation Front, the Palestine Liberation Army and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command (PFLP-GC) were essentially mercenary armies for foreign governments (Syria, Iraq, and Libya, respectively).[39]

Syria

Syrian anti-tank teams successfully deployed French-made Milan ATGMs during the war in Lebanon in 1982.
Part of a Syrian SA-6 site built near the Beirut-Damascus highway, and overlooking the Bekaa Valley, in early 1982.

The Syrian Army deployed over 30,000 troops in Lebanon.[39][40]

The largest concentration was in the Bekaa Valley where the 1st Armoured Division consisting of the 58th Mechanised and the 76th and 91st Armoured Brigades. The 62nd Independent Armored Brigade and ten commando battalions were also assigned to the division. Syria deployed around 400 tanks in the Bekaa Valley. 19 Surface to Air missile batteries, including SA6's, were also deployed in the Bekaa Valley.

In Beirut and the Shouf Mountains were the 85th Infantry Brigade, the PLA, As-Sa'iqa and 20 commando battalions. Syria deployed around 200 tanks in this area. Their primary mission was to protect the Beirut-Damascus Highway, which was Syria's primary supply line in the region.[34]

Israel

The Israeli Merkava Mark I tank was used throughout the First Lebanon War

IDF forces totalled 78,000 men, 1,240 tanks and 1,500 armoured personnel carriers. IDF troops were deployed in five divisions and two reinforced brigade-size units. The IDF maintained additional forces on the Golan Heights as an area reserve.[34] IDF forces were divided into three main axis of advances called sectors[34]:[41]

  • Coastal Sector, (from Rosh Hanikra north to Tyre, Sidon, Damour and Beirut.) - Forces included Division 91 with three brigades including the 211th and the Golani Brigade. The 35 Paratroop Brigade and the Na'hal 50th Paratroop Battalion were attached to the division as needed. The Israeli Navy provided naval interdiction, shore gunfire support and landed a mixed brigade from Division 96 at the mouth of the Awali River near Sidon. Israeli Naval commandos had landed there previously.[34][41]
  • Central Sector (from Beaufort Castle to Nabatiyeh) - Jezzine was the main objective and then on to Sidon to link up with the coastal forces. IDF forces included the Divisions 36 and 162.[34]
  • Eastern Sector (from Rachaiya and Hasbaiya thru the Bekaa Valley around Lake Qaraoun) - IDF forces included Divisions 90 and 252, the Vardi Force and the Special Maneuver Force which was composed of two brigades of Infantry and paratroops who were trained for anti-tank operations. These forces were primarily used to contain the Syrians with orders not to initiate combat against them.[34][41]

Lebanon

Lebanese Army APC, Beirut 1982

Armed Forces

Lebanese Army - By 1982 the Lebanese Army had largely disintegrated and what was left was a Christian-staffed force of about 10,000 men in five brigades (the 5th, 7th, 8th, 9th, and 10th) plus some smaller independent units. The Lebanese Army was officially neutral and followed the orders of the Lebanese government, but provided tacit and active support to the Lebanese Front.[39] The Army had lost much of its heavy equipment due to defections of its units.

A Lebanese national army unit of 1,350 was under the operational control of the UNIFIL commander, HQ located at Arzun with sub-units attached to UNIFIL Battalions.[20][34]

Security Forces

Internal Security Forces: the national police and security force of Lebanon.

Paramilitary forces

Right wing

  • South Lebanon Army, founded in 1979 the SLA fought against both the PLO and Hezbollah. The SLA was composed of Christians, Shias and Druze from the areas that it controlled but the officers were mostly Christians.
  • Guardians of the Cedars, exclusively Maronite with strong anti-Syrian views, 3,000-6,000 uniformed militiamen armed with modern small-arms. They were backed by a mechanized force consisting of a single M50 Super Sherman medium tank, a few M42 Dusters and Chaimite V200[42] armoured cars backed by gun-trucks (Land-Rovers, Toyota Land Cruisers, GMC and Ford light pick-ups, plus US M35A2 2-1/2 ton cargo trucks) fitted with heavy machine guns (HMGs), recoilless rifles, and a few anti-aircraft autocannons.[43]

Left wing

  • The Lebanese National Resistance Front forces totalled about 30,000 fighting men and women. It was the successor of the Lebanese National Movement.
  • The Druze were initially neutral but turned against the LF when the new government attempted to force their way into Druze territory. The militia of the Progressive Socialist Party consisted of 10,000 to 20,000 men and boys.[44]
  • The Kurdistan Workers' Party at the time had training camps in Lebanon, where they received support from the Syrians and the PLO. During the Israeli invasion all PKK units were ordered to fight the Israeli forces. A total of 11 PKK fighters died in the conflict.[45][46][47]

Religious

  • The Christian Lebanese Front, sometimes called the Kufur Front, was a coalition of mainly Christian parties formed in 1976, during the Lebanese Civil War. It was intended to act as a counter force to the Lebanese National Movement (LNM) of Kamal Jumblatt and others. Combined Lebanese Front forces totalled about 30,000 fighting men and women. These forces were mostly Phalangist, though there were some men from Saad Haddad's "Free Lebanon forces"[48] and other smaller right-wing militias, including al-Tanzim.
  • Shiite organizations
    • Amal Movement the militia wing of the Movement of the Disinherited, a Shi'a political movement. Initially neutral. The Shia Amal guerrillas had been ordered by their leaders not to fight and to surrender their weapons if necessary.[44]
    • Hezbollah the other Shiite militia ostensibly formed during the invasion around Beirut and backed by Iran.
    • Pasdaran - In July 1982 Iran dispatched an expeditionary force of Revolutionary Guards to Lebanon, ostensibly to fight the Israeli invaders. The approximately 650 Pasdaran established their headquarters in the city of Baalbek in the Syrian-controlled Biqa Valley where they conducted guerrilla training, disbursed military matériel and money, and disseminated propaganda.[49]
    • The political fission that characterized Lebanese politics also afflicted the Shia movement, as groups split off from Amal. Husayn al Musawi, a former Amal lieutenant, entered into an alliance with the Revolutionary Guard and established Islamic Amal.
    • Other Shia groups included Jundallah (Soldiers of God), the Husayn Suicide Commandos, the Dawah (Call) Party, and the notorious Islamic Jihad Organization, reportedly headed by Imad Mughniyyah.[49]

Timeline

An aerial view of the stadium used as an ammunition supply site for the PLO, after Israeli airstrikes in 1982.

Invasion

On 6 June 1982, Israeli forces under direction of Defence Minister Ariel Sharon invaded southern Lebanon in "Operation Peace for Galilee".

Course of the fighting

Israel's publicly stated objective was to push PLO forces back 40 kilometres (25 mi) to the north. Israeli forces pushed in from Southern Lebanon in a three-pronged offensive. They captured strategic positions throughout the country, with some of the fiercest fighting taking place at Beaufort Castle, Nabatieh, and the Syrian-held town of Jezzine. In an effort to establish air superiority and greater freedom of action, the Israeli Air Force launched Operation Mole Cricket 19. During the course of the operation, the Israeli Air Force scored a dramatic victory over the Syrians shooting down more than 80 Syrian planes and also destroyed 30 Syrian anti-aircraft missile batteries, with no air to air losses of its own. However, one A-4 Skyhawk was lost to anti-aircraft fire on 6 June. Syria acknowledged the loss of 16 aircraft. Israeli aircraft also pounded PLO targets in Beirut, and Israeli gunboats shelled the coastal roads in order to cut PLO supply lines. Although Israeli forces managed to fight their way into the Syrian-held town of Sultan Yacoub, they became surrounded. Although they successfully broke out, Sultan Yacoub was one of the few objectives the IDF failed to take over the course of the war. The Israelis swept through Lebanon, pushing towards Beirut. To cut off any PLO retreat routes, the Israeli Navy facilitated an amphibious landing of tanks, armoured vehicles, and paratroopers north of Sidon. The IDF soon reached Beirut and were determined to drive the PLO from southern Lebanon.[50] Tyre and Sidon (major cities in South Lebanon, still within the 40-kilometre (25 mi) limit) were heavily damaged, and the Lebanese capital Beirut was shelled by Israeli artillery, and bombed by Israeli aircraft for ten weeks, killing PLO members though some civilians were also killed. Israeli troops captured Beirut Airport and several southern suburbs of the city in heavy fighting.

IAF Roundel for the strike aircraft that attacked Syrian SAM batteries in 1982 Lebanon war

During the course of combat operations, the Israeli Air Force conducted successful ground attack missions against Syrian and PLO targets, with Israeli attack helicopters inflicting heavy losses on Syrian armor. Israeli jets shot down between 82[51] and 86 Syrian aircraft in aerial combat, without losses.[52][53] A single Israeli A-4 Skyhawk and two helicopters were shot down by anti-aircraft fire and SAM missiles.[54][55][56] This was the largest aerial combat battle of the jet age with over 150 fighters from both sides engaged. Syrian claims of aerial victories were met with skepticism even from their Soviet allies.[57] The Soviets were so shaken by the staggering losses sustained by their allies that they dispatched the deputy head of their air defense force to Syria to examine how the Israelis had been so dominant.[58] The Israeli Air Force also performed ground attacks, notably destroying the majority of Syrian anti-aircraft batteries stationed in Lebanon. AH-1 Cobra helicopter gunships were employed against Syrian armour and fortifications. IAF Cobras destroyed dozens of Syrian Armored fighting vehicles, including some of the modern Soviet T-72 main battle tanks. The war also witnessed the Israeli Merkava MBT make its first combat debut, squaring off against Syrian T-72 tanks. During these engagements, the Merkava proved superior to the T-72 destroying a number of them without sustaining a single loss to T-72 fire.[59] Former IAF commander, David Ivri would later recall a meeting with a high ranking member of the Warsaw Pact, in which he was told that the dominance of Israeli and U.S. technology and tactics during the war was one of the factors that changed Soviet mind-set, leading to Glasnost and ultimately, the fall of the Soviet Union.[60][61]

IAF Cobra gunships on military exercise. These attack helicopters were successfully employed against Syrian AFVs during the conflict.

An agreement was reached later in 1982. More than 14,000 PLO combatants evacuated the country in August and September, supervised by the Multinational Force in Lebanon, an international peacekeeping force with troops from the United States, United Kingdom, France, and Italy. About 6,500 Fatah fighters relocated from Beirut to Jordan, Syria, Iraq, Sudan, both North and South Yemen, Greece, and Tunisia—the latter of which became the new PLO headquarters.[62] Philip Habib, Ronald Reagan's envoy to Lebanon, provided an understanding (i.e., assurance) to the PLO that the Palestinian civilians in the refugee camps would not be harmed. However, the United States Marines left West Beirut two weeks before the end of their official mandate following the 1983 Beirut barracks bombing.

Sabra and Shatila massacre

On 14 September 1982, Bachir Gemayel, the newly elected President of Lebanon, was assassinated by Habib Shartouni of the Syrian Social Nationalist Party.[63] Israeli forces occupied West Beirut the next day. At that time, the Lebanese Christian Militia, also known as the Phalangists, were allied with Israel.[64] The Israeli command authorized the entrance of a force of approximately 150 Phalangist fighters' into the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps, claiming there was a remaining force of approximately "2000 PLO terrorists" in the camps.[64] The result was the Sabra and Shatila massacre in which at least 800 civilians were slaughtered by the Phalangists, who themselves suffered only two casualties. Meanwhile, Israeli troops surrounded the camps with tanks and checkpoints, monitoring entrances and exits.[64] Further Israeli investigation by the Kahan Commission of Inquiry found that Ariel Sharon bore "personal responsibility" for failing to prevent the massacre, and for failing to act once he learned that a massacre had started, and recommended that he be removed as Defence Minister and that he never hold a position in any future Israeli government. Sharon initially ignored the call to resign, but after the death of an anti-war protester following an anti-war protest, he did resign as Israel's Defence Minister, however, he remained in Begin's cabinet as a Minister without portfolio.

Outcome of the war

Casualties

It is estimated that around 17,825 Lebanese were killed during the first year of the war, with differing estimates of the proportion of civilians killed. This number of civilian casualties is not the total number of civilian casualties from 1982-2000. Beirut newspaper An Nahar estimated that 5,515 people, both military and civilian, were killed in the Beirut area alone during the conflict, while 9,797 Syrian soldiers, PLO fighters, and other forces aligned with the PLO, as well as 2,513 civilians were killed outside of the Beirut area.[65] Approximately 675 Israeli soldiers were killed.[66]

Samuel Katz and Lee E Russell in their book Armies in Lebanon 1982-84[67] puts the casualties as follows:

  • Israel - 368 dead and 2,383 wounded
  • PLO - 1,500 dead and an unknown amount wounded plus around 8,000 captured
  • Syria - 1,200 dead and around 3,000 wounded plus 296 captured
  • Lebanon - civilians 17,825 dead and around 30,000 wounded.
  • Foreigners - 1800 foreigners from 26 countries on five continents, allegedly training in the Ein el Hilweh refugee camp near Sidon, were captured.

They also state that the extensive PLO political and military infrastructure in Lebanon, which had taken 15 years to build, had been destroyed.

Lebanese estimates, compiled from International Red Cross sources and police and hospital surveys, calculated that 17,825 Lebanese had died and over 30,000 had been wounded.[68]

The security buffer zone

Map showing power balance in Lebanon, 1983: Green - controlled by Syria, purple - controlled by Christian groups, yellow - controlled by Israel, blue - controlled by the United Nations

In September 1982, the PLO withdrew most of its forces from Lebanon. With U.S. assistance, Israel and Lebanon reached an accord in May 1983 that set the stage to withdraw Israeli forces from Lebanon while letting them patrol a "security zone" together with the Lebanese Army.

The instruments of ratification were never exchanged, however, and in March 1984, under pressure from Syria, Lebanon cancelled the agreement.

In January 1985, Israel started to withdraw most of its troops, leaving a small residual Israeli force and an Israeli-supported militia, the South Lebanon Army in southern Lebanon in a "security zone", which Israel considered a necessary buffer against attacks on its northern territory. The Israeli withdrawal to the security zone ended in June 1985. Israel withdrew fully from Lebanon in 2000.

Political results

In the voting in the Knesset on the war, only Hadash opposed the war (and even submitted a no-confidence motion against the Israeli government). Hadash Knesset member Meir Vilner said in the Knesset plenary session that: "The government is leading Israel to an abyss. It is doing something that in the course of time might lead to crying for generations." In response, they were condemned, and calls were heard, among others from the editor of Yediot Ahronoth, to prosecute them for treason. Left-wing Knesset members, including Shulamit Aloni and Yossi Sarid, were absent from the plenary for the vote. Even the Labour faction voted in support. By mid January 1983 Rabin was saying that the Israeli attempt to impose a peace agreement on Lebanon by the use of force was a "mistake" based upon an "illusion".[69]

Syria backed the anti-Arafat PLO forces of Abu Musa in the Beka valley from May 1983. When Arafat castigated the Syrian government for blocking PLO supplies in June 1983, the Syrian government declared Arafat a persona non grata on 24 June 1983.[70]

With the withdrawal of the PLO leadership from Tripoli in December 1983 there was an Egyptian-PLO rapprochement, this was found to be encouraging by the Reagan administration but was condemned by the Israeli government.[71]

But heavy Israeli casualties, alleged disinformation of Israeli government leaders and the Israeli public by Israeli military and political advocates of the campaign, and lack of clear goals led to increasing disquiet among Israelis. This culminated in a large protest rally in Tel Aviv, organized by the Peace Now movement, following the 1982 Sabra and Shatila massacre. Organizers claimed 400,000 people participated in the rally, and it became known as the "400,000 rally". Other estimates put the figure much lower, maybe reaching 100,000 Israelis but including thousands of reserve soldiers back from Lebanon, .[72]

In 2000, when Ehud Barak was Israeli Prime Minister, Israel finally withdrew from the security zone to behind the Blue Line. Lebanon and Hezbollah continue to claim a small area called Shebaa Farms as Lebanese territory, but Israel insists that it is captured Syrian territory with the same status as the Golan Heights. The United Nations has not determined the final status of Shebaa Farms but has determined that Israel has complied with UNSC resolution 425. The UN Secretary-General had concluded that, as of 16 June 2000, Israel had withdrawn its forces from Lebanon in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 425 of 1978, bringing closure to the 1982 invasion as far as the UN was concerned.[73]

Investigation into violation of International Law

In 1982, an international commission investigated into reported violations of International Law by Israel during its invasion of the Lebanon. Chairman was Seán MacBride, the other members were Richard Falk, Kader Asmal, Brian Bercusson, Géraud de la Pradelle, and Stefan Wild. The commission's report[74] concluded that "the government of Israel has committed acts of aggression contrary to international law", that the government of Israel had no valid reasons under international law for its invasion of Lebanon, and that the Israeli authorities or forces were involved directly or indirectly in the massacres at Sabra and Shatila.

Consequences

The 1982 Lebanon War had a number of consequences:

  • From the standpoint of the Israeli Military, the invasion removed PLO presence from Southern Lebanon and destroying its infrastructure, as well as increasing deterrence on other Arab anti-Israeli militant organizations.[citation needed] The Syrian military was weakened by combat losses, especially in the air.
  • The political vacuum resulting from the Israeli withdrawal would eventually lead to the de facto Syrian occupation of Lebanon. Syria would gain much more power over Lebanon than what it enjoyed before 1982.[1]
  • The complete dominance of U.S. and Israeli technology and tactics over those of the Eastern Bloc was said to have been a factor that hastened the demise of the Warsaw Pact and Soviet Union.[60][61]
  • The failure of the larger Israeli objectives of resolving the conflict in Lebanon with a peace treaty,[75] of securing its hold on the West Bank by destroying effective Palestinian resistance,.[31][dubious ]
  • The Israeli-Maronite alliance dissolved, and Sharon's goal of installing a pro-Israel Christian government in Beirut was not accomplished.[76] 850,000 Christians would emigrate during the Civil War, most of them permanently.[77]
  • The invasion that also targeted many Shiite Lebanese, has brought about the switching of sides of Amal Movement, which used to fight against the PLO prior to the invasion.
  • The invasion is popularly held to be the major catalyst for the creation of the Iranian and Syrian supported Hezbollah organization, which by 1991 was the sole armed militia in Lebanon not supported by Israel and by 2000 had completely replaced the vanquished PLO in Southern Lebanon.[citation needed]
  • The Lebanese Council for Development and Reconstruction estimated the cost of the damage from the invasion at 7,622,774,000 Lebanese pounds, equivalent to US$2 billion at the time.[78]
  • Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden said in a videotape released on the eve of the 2004 U.S. presidential elections that he was inspired to attack the buildings of the United States by the 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon in which towers and buildings in Beirut were destroyed in the siege of the capital.[79]
  • The withdrawal of the IDF back to South Lebanon in the summer of 1983, led to one of the bloodiest phases of the Lebanese war, where the Christian Militia (the Lebanese Forces) was left alone to defend the "Mountain" area which comprised the Aley and Chouf districts against a coalition of Druze PSP, Palestinian PLO, Syrian Army, Lebanese Communist, and Syrian Social National Party. The result was catastrophic on the civilian population from both sides (more than 5,000 killed from both sides). The war ended after the Christian forces and civilians withdrew to the town of Deir el Kamar where they were besieged for 3 months before all hostilities ceased and they were transported to East Beirut.
  • Israel’s withdrawal from Lebanon led to pressure on the Syrians to withdraw their occupation forces and this pressure intensified after the assassination of the popular Lebanese Prime Minister, Rafik Hariri. On 26 April 2005 the Syrian occupation forces withdrew from Lebanon.[80]

See also

Conflicts

Politics

Films

Notes

 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the Library of Congress Country Studies.

  1. ^ a b c d e Morris, p. 559
  2. ^ http://www.liberty05.com/civilwar/civi2.html
  3. ^ http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/History/Lebanon_War.html
  4. ^ "Twentieth Century Atlas - Death Tolls and Casualty Statistics for Wars, Dictatorships and Genocides". Archived from the original on 7 May 2009. http://users.erols.com/mwhite28/warstat3.htm#Lebanon. Retrieved 5 April 2009. 
  5. ^ Kahalani, A Warriors Way, Shapolsky Publishers (1994) p. 299-301
  6. ^ Harvey W. Kushner, Encyclopedia of terrorism Sage Publications (2003), p.13
  7. ^ Friedman, Thomas (2006). From Beirut to Jerusalem, p. 157. Anchor Books, New York. ISBN 0385413726.
  8. ^ Kissinger, Henry (1999). Years of Renewal, Phoenix Press. ISBN 1-84212-042-5. p. 1022. "I think with sadness of these civilized men who in a turbulent part of the world had fashioned a democratic society based on genuine mutual respect of religion. Their achievement did not survive. The passions sweeping the area were too powerful to be contained by subtle constitutional arrangements. As it had attempted in Jordan, the Palestinian movement wrecked the delicate balance of Lebanon's stability. Before the peace process could run its course, Lebanon was torn apart. Over its prostrate body of writing all the factions and forces of the Middle East still chase their eternal dreams and act out their perennial nightmares."
  9. ^ "Black September in Jordan 1970-1971". Armed Conflict Events Database. December 16, 2000. http://www.onwar.com/aced/data/bravo/blacksept1970.htm. Retrieved 15 September 2006. 
  10. ^ "Extracts relating to Article 98 of the Charter of the United Nations: Supplement No 5 (1970 - 1978)" (PDF). Repertory of Practice of United Nations Organs. United Nations. pp. §275–279. http://untreaty.un.org/cod/repertory/art98/english/rep_supp5_vol5-art98_e.pdf#pagemode=none. Retrieved 6 August 2006. 
  11. ^ Shlaim, Avi (2007). Lion of Jordan; The life of King Hussein in War and Peace. Allen Lane. p. 412. ISBN 978-0-7139-9777-4
  12. ^ a b Morris, p. 503
  13. ^ Morris, p. 505
  14. ^ Morris, p. 509
  15. ^ Israel's Lebanon War Schiff & Yaari (1984), pp. 35–36
  16. ^ a b Morris, p. 507
  17. ^ Reagan, Ronald (Brinkley, Douglas, (ed.) (2007). The Reagan Diaries. Harper Collins. ISBN 978-0-06-087600-5 p. 66: Saturday, January 30
  18. ^ Fisk, Robert (2001). Pity the Nation: Lebanon at War. Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-280130-9, and ISBN 978-0-19-280130-2 p. 194.
  19. ^ Friedman, Thomas L. "Israeli Jets Raid P.L.O. in Lebanon; Shelling follows". The New York Times, 10 May 1982, p. 1.
  20. ^ a b c UN Doc S/15194 of 10 June 1982 Report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon
  21. ^ Herzog & Gazit (2005), pp. 350–351
  22. ^ UN Doc S/PV.2292, 17 July 1981.
  23. ^ Sharon's war crimes in Lebanon: the record
  24. ^ "Alexander Haig". Time (New York). 9 April 1984. http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,952421,00.html. 
  25. ^ Reagan, Ronald (Brinkley, Douglas (ed.)) (2007). The Reagan Diaries. Harper Collins. ISBN 978-0-06-087600-5 pp. 87–90.
  26. ^ Herzog (1982) p. 341
  27. ^ Ball, George W. Error and Betrayal in Lebanon, p. 35.
  28. ^ Shlaim 1999 pp. 396-397
  29. ^ Chomsky, Noam (1983). The Fatefull Triangle. South End Press. ISBN 0-89608-187-7.  p.196
  30. ^ Chomsky p.197
  31. ^ a b c Shlaim, Avi (1999). The Iron Wall. Norton. ISBN 0-393-04816-0.  p.404
  32. ^ Herzog (1982) p. 340-43
  33. ^ Hogg, Ian V., Israeli War Machine, Hamlyn Publishing Group Ltd, (1983) p. 171-175 ISBN 0-600-38514-0
  34. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Armies in Lebanon 1982-84, Samuel Katz and Lee E. Russell, Osprey Men-At-Arms series #165, 1985
  35. ^ pp. 83–84.
  36. ^ pp. 134–135.
  37. ^ http://lcweb2.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/r?frd/cstdy:@field%28DOCID+lb0161%29 Lebanon. The Two-Week War. Section 1 of 1; Data as of December 1987 Library of Congress Country Studies
  38. ^ Sayigh, Y. (1990). Armed Struggle and the Search for State: The Palestinian National Movement, 1949-1993.. Oxford: Oxford University Press.. pp. 524. ISBN 0-19-829643-6. 
  39. ^ a b c APPENDIX B -- Lebanon, APPENDIX B -- Lebanon
  40. ^ # Armies in Lebanon 1982-84, Samuel Katz and Lee E. Russell, Osprey Men-At-Arms series #165, 1985
  41. ^ a b c Israeli Elite Units since 1948, Samuel Katz, Osprey Elite series 18,
  42. ^ http://milinme.wordpress.com/category/v-200-chaimite – An ex-ISF V-200 Chaimite employed by the Guardians of the Cedar pictured at Houche-el-Oumara during the Battle for Zahle, April–June 1981.
  43. ^ http://www.alsminiature.com/m.34.gardien.cedre.htm – GoC M34 gun-truck with ZU-23-2 AA autocannon, c.1976.
  44. ^ a b http://lcweb2.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/r?frd/cstdy:@field%28DOCID+lb0163%29
  45. ^ In the Spotlight: PKK (A.k.a KADEK) Kurdish Worker's Party
  46. ^ Abdullah Öcalan en de ontwikkeling van de PKK
  47. ^ a secret relationship
  48. ^ Shahid, Leila. The Sabra and Shatila Massacres: Eye-Witness Reports. Journal of Palestine Studies, Vol. 32, No. 1. (Autumn, 2002), pp. 36-58.
  49. ^ a b http://lcweb2.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query2/r?frd/cstdy:@field%28DOCID+lb0166%29
  50. ^ Lebanon 1982: The Imbalance Of Political Ends And Military Means
  51. ^ Rabinovich, The Yom Kippur War, Schocken Books (2004) p. 510
  52. ^ Herzog, The Arab-Israeli Wars, Random House (1982) p347-48
  53. ^ Bruce Walker & the editors of Time-Life books, Fighting Jets: The Epic of Flight, Time Life Books (1983) p162-63
  54. ^ Rabinovich p. 510
  55. ^ Herzog, p 347-348
  56. ^ Walker, p.162-63
  57. ^ Hurley, Matthew M.. "The Bekaa Valley Air Battle". Airpower Journal (Winter 1989). http://www.airpower.maxwell.af.mil/airchronicles/apj/apj89/win89/hurley.html. Retrieved 2008-09-10. 
  58. ^ Rabinovich, p. 510-11
  59. ^ Herzog, p. 349
  60. ^ a b Rabinovich p. 510-11
  61. ^ a b Rebecca Grant The Bekaa Valley War Air Force Magazine Online 85 (June 2002). Retrieved 2009-08-22
  62. ^ "1982: PLO leader forced from Beirut". BBC News. 30 August 1982. http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/august/30/newsid_2536000/2536441.stm. Retrieved 20 April 2010. 
  63. ^ Seale, Patrick (1988). Asad: The Struggle for the Middle East. p. 391. ISBN 0-520-06667-7. 
  64. ^ a b c "Flashback: Sabra and Shatila massacres", BBC News Online (London), 24 January 2002.
  65. ^ "Twentieth Century Atlas - Death Tolls and Casualty Statistics for Wars, Dictatorships and Genocides". Archived from the original on 7 May 2009. http://users.erols.com/mwhite28/warstat3.htm#Lebanon. Retrieved 5 April 2009. 
  66. ^ Ross, Michael (2006). The Volunteer.
  67. ^ Osprey Men-At-Arms series, 1985
  68. ^ LEBANON - A Country Study Library of Congress, Federal Research Division
  69. ^ American Jewish Committee Archives, American Jewish Yearbook 1985. p. 260.
  70. ^ American Jewish Committee Archives American Jewish Yearbook 1985. p. 126.
  71. ^ American Jewish Committee Archives American Jewish Yearbook 1985. p. 130.
  72. ^ Warschawski, Michel (April–May 2006). "Inside the Anti-Occupation Camp", The Link (Americans for Middle East Understanding).
  73. ^ "Security Council Endorses Secretary-General's Conclusion On Israeli Withdrawal From Lebanon as of 16 June", UN Press release SC/6878, 18 June 2000.
  74. ^ MacBride, Seán; A. K. Asmal, B. Bercusson, R. A. Falk, G. de la Pradelle, S. Wild (1983). Israel in Lebanon: The Report of International Commission to enquire into reported violations of International Law by Israel during its invasion of the Lebanon. London: Ithaca Press. p. 191. ISBN 0-903729-96-2. 
  75. ^ Netanel Lorch. "The Arab-Israeli Wars". Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs. http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/History/Modern+History/Centenary+of+Zionism/The+Arab-Israeli+Wars.htm. 
  76. ^ Morris, p. 551
  77. ^ Dagher, Carol. Bring Down the Walls: Lebanon's Post-War Challenge" p. 71
  78. ^ E/CN.4/2000/22/Add.1 of 3 March 2000
  79. ^ Arak, Joel (29 October 2004). "Osama Bin Laden Warns America: Terror Leader Admits For First Time That He Ordered 9/11 Attacks", CBS News.
  80. ^ Security Council Press Release SC/8372

References

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