TIMELINE OF KEY EVENTS IN LEBANON

This section is a working chronology of Key events prior to, and following the creation of the Lebanese Republic.



2016

Lebanese Army continues to target armed groups posts in Arsal’s outskirts and northern Bekaa while bodies of Hezbollah militants killed in Syria are regularly returned home. Lebanese Forces leader S. Geagea endorses the presidential candidacy of his archrival M. Aoun in an attempt to end presidential vacuum; 8 months later former PM S. Hariri will take a similar stand. Lebanon caught in the crosshairs of the Saudi-Iran fight: Hezbollah SG H. Nasrallah fiercely criticizes Saudi Arabia & GCC countries, warns against turning the issue into a Sunni-Shiite conflict. Saudi foreign ministry warns Saudi nationals not to travel to Lebanon and urges nationals living there to leave the country; this move negatively impacts the already strained economic sector. GCC countries declare Hezbollah a terrorist organization. Municipal elections held in a peaceful atmosphere in Lebanon and reflect voters’ discontent from traditional leaderships in certain regions. Waste management crisis prolonged lack of sustainable solutions meeting technical, financial and environmental criteria. Enhanced coordination among Lebanese security apparatus leads to the dismantling of terrorist cells in Lebanon, and to a decrease in security incidents related to the Syrian crisis. In June, 7 suicide bombers blew themselves in al- Qaa within 48 hours. A 4-billion USD worth Saudi Arabia grant for the Lebanese army is put on hold amid Saudi discontent from Lebanon’s official position over regional matters discussed in the Arab League. Cabinet fails to overcome political deadlock despite continuous efforts of PM Tamam Salam. Except for parliamentary committees meetings, the Lebanese parliament fails to undertake legislative work. Several corruption cases are pointed out, but none comes to a serious end. Former MP H. Yaacoub is released on bail after detention over alleged involvement in abduction of Hannibal Gadhafi. Former Minister M. Samaha is sentenced to 13 years for smuggling explosives from Syria and planning terrorist attacks in the complicity of Syrian officials. Parliament adopts financial regulatory laws (FATF) aimed at combatting money laundering and terrorism financing under the pressure of international sanctions. The election of M. Aoun as President on October 2016 ends a 2-year political vacuum. A cabinet of 30 ministers headed by PM S. Hariri get Parliament vote of confidence amid popular consensus.

2015

Violence continues to spill over from the war in Syria; explosions & suicide attacks hit Tripoli, the Bekaa and Beirut southern suburbs causing tens of casualties amid Sunni –Shia tensions sparkled by Hezbollah’s intervention in Syria. Bodies of Hezbollah militants killed in Syria are regularly returned home amid massive burial ceremonies . Security forces arrest Salafi Cleric Sheikh Ahmad Al-Assir while attempting to flee the country and manages to detain scores of individuals on various alleged terrorist plots preventing more victims and incitement of communal violence. Lebanese Army continues to target militant’s posts in the Arsal outskirsts and northern Bekaa. Former Lebanese PM Fouad Siniora and MP Walid Jumblatt testify at the International Tribunal for Lebanon Lebanese Presidential vacuum enters its first year; since May 2014. PM Salam national union cabinet severely hampered by internal divisions and conflicting constitutional interpretations regarding the exercise of executive power in the absence of a President of the Republic. A wave of protests started in Beirut as a response to the government's failure to dispose accumulated trash following the closing of the Naameh landfill. The protesting movement reached its climax on August 29th sit-in when thousands rallied against political leaders. Syria al-Qaeda affiliate NUSRA front frees 16 Lebanese servicemen— three soldiers and 13 policemen— in a swap deal with the Lebanese government while servicemen abducted by Daech remain detained in the vicinity of the Syrian border. First-of-a-kind sandstorm hits Lebanon in September for five consecutive days. Syrian refugees influx has been reduced with current total number slightly decreasing; parsimonious and disorganized aid still straining the Lebanese socio-economic fabric. Uncoordinated attempts to break the presidential election deadlock put various political alliances under stress. Muammar Gaddafi’s son Hannibal Gaddafi briefly kidnapped in Syria by an armed group and handed over to the Lebanese Security forces; Former MP Hassan Yaacoub was arrested in connection with the kidnapping case.

2014

International tribunal opens hearings into 2005 assassination of Rafik Hariri. Premier Tamam Salam finally assembles new power-sharing cabinet following 10 months of talks. Violence continues to spill over from the war in neighboring Syria amid growing sectarian tensions; explosions hit southern Beirut and Tripoli in northern Lebanon while security forces arrest radical clerics and foreign nationals on alleged assassination plots and incitement of communal violence. UN announces that Syrian refugees registered in Lebanon have surpassed one million. Parsimonious international aid strains the socio-economic fabric. President Suleiman ends his term in office, leaving a power vacuum. Attempts to elect a successor fail. Syrian Islamists overrun the border town of Arsal. They withdraw following clashes with the Lebanese Army while taking captives from internal security and army. Same groups launch attacks on Hezbollah bases in eastern Lebanon. Hezbollah sets off explosive device on the Israeli-controlled side of border; incident ends months of relative quiet along border. Fighting rages between the Lebanese Army and Sunni militants in Tripoli, which have been divided over the civil war in Syria; gunmen are ousted from the city. Lebanon's Parliament vote to extend its term by two and a half years, contending that country's tenuous security situation makes it too difficult to hold elections; civil rights organizations and many Lebanese citizens denounce the move as undermining democratic practices. Lebanon says it will not accept any more refugees from neighboring Syria, except in 'exceptional' cases. Members of the Salam Cabinet launch anti-corruption measures.

2013

Lebanon became more entrenched in the Syrian conflict, due to Hezbollah’s open military intervention in support of the Syrian regime as well as opposition groups receiving logistical support by friendly groups located in the eastern part of Lebanon. This divided support catalyzed deadly sectarian clashes and acts of terrorism among Sunni and Shia groups. The UN estimates that Lebanon is currently hosting at least 800,000 registered Syrian, exacerbating economic tension and social stress on all concerned parties. Parliament voted to postpone elections until November 2014, due to security concerns and disaccord regarding an electoral law. PM Najib Mikati's cabinet resigned and Caretaker Premier Tamam Salam was tasked with forming a new cabinet. Mohamed Chatah, advisor to Saad Hariri and former Minister is assassinated in Beirut. Lebanon's nascent oil and gas sector began to take shape, granting approval for exploration rights. However, progress has been symbolic due to the government deadlock. The interior ministry registered the first civil marriage ever carried out inside the country.

2012

Syrian conflict spills over into Lebanon in deadly skirmishes in the city of Tripoli, on the north-east border and other predominantly Muslims neighborhoods. Pope visits Lebanon in September. Lebanese Security detains and charges a former minister and MP, and points at Syrian officials, after uncovering a bomb and assassination plot meant to provoke sectarian clashes. Weeks later, Security Chief Wissam al-Hassan is killed in a bomb attack. Opposition boycotts government and blames Syria while calling for resignation of Prime Minister Mikati over repeated failures in the security and economic arenas as in the outstanding national issues. Prime Minister invokes fear of governance vacuum to stay at the helm.

2011

Hariri National unity government collapses over a shift of alliances induced by Hezbollah. UN prosecutor issues indictment for murder of Rafik Hariri. Najib Mikati is appointed Prime Minister and succeeds in forming a cabinet dominated by Hezbollah and its allies who control 16 of 30 seats. STL issues four arrest warrants over assassination of Rafik Hariri. Political divides and local uncertainties remains amid strife that erupted in neighboring Syria.

2010

National Unity Government led by Prime Minister Saad Hariri halfhearted in delivering on its ministerial platform due to political bickering over the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL). Highlighting the regional dimension of the crisis, Saudi, Syrian, Iranian and Turkish senior officials visit Beirut in an attempt to alleviate tensions. This while Hezbollah called on the Lebanese public and leadership to boycott “Israeli-motivated and sponsored STL”.

2009

Special Tribunal for Lebanon opens in Hague. Lebanese security apparatus detains an army colonel on suspicion of spying for Israel, the latest of about 30 such arrests. The pro-Western March 14 alliance led by Saad Rafik Hariri wins 71 of 128 seats in parliamentary elections while rival March 8 alliance, led by Hezbollah, secures 57.

2008

Political paralysis between the “Cedar Revolution” government and the Parliamentary majority with the Hezbollah-led opposition culminates in May violence. Hezbollah takes over West Beirut. The Arab League promotes Doha consensus candidate, Army chief Michel Suleiman.

2007

UN Security Council Resolution 1757 establishes the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) for prosecution of criminal acts relating to the assassination of PM Rafik Hariri. Hostilities erupt between Lebanese army and Fatah al-Islam jihadists. A crisis of governance occurs when President Lahoud’s term ends without a successor.

2006

Hezbollah captures two Israeli soldiers. Israel responds by bombarding both Hezbollah and non-Hezbollah targets alike and begins a violent ground war against Hezbollah inside Lebanon. UN Security Council Resolution 1701 is approved. The resolution demands the complete disarmament of Hezbollah in addition to other paramilitary forces in Lebanon (as consistent with the Ta’if Accord and UN resolutions 1559 and 1680), the withdrawal of all Israeli forces from Lebanon, the deployment of additional United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) joined by the Lebanese army south of the Litani River and the full and complete control of the sovereignty ceded exclusively to the Lebanese state.

2005

Prime Minister Rafik Hariri is assassinated sparking the “Cedar Revolution.” The Syrians withdraw from Lebanon and the first, free Parliamentary elections since 1972 are held. The UN begins its first murder inquiry into Hariri’s death while Damascus and its allies are pointed at. Further political assassinations occur.

2004

Bashar al-Assad forces Hariri to agree to an extended term for President Emile Lahoud. The US and France sponsor UN Security Council resolution 1559 demanding Syrian military withdrawal from Lebanon.

2003

Syrian Accountability and Lebanese Restoration Act is passed into US Law by the United States Congress which calls for an end to the Syrian occupation of Lebanon.

2000- 2004

Syria withdraws 25,000 troops from Beirut and the surrounding suburbs. However 20,000 Syrian troops remain spread throughout the countryside amid rising Lebanese animosity generated by their presence.

2000

Israel withdraws from Southern Lebanon principally due to Hezbollah's military pressure. Rafik Hariri scores impressively in the Lebanese Parliamentary elections despite the hostility of the rhetoric and brutality of political tactics from both the Syrian and pro-Syrian camps in Lebanon. Hariri returns as prime minister.

1998

Syria pressures parliament into electing Lebanese Army Chief Emile Lahoud as president and supports de facto strengthening of the Presidency to promote a Syrian agenda. Lahoud pressures Hariri out of office.

1996

In an attempt to prevent further Hezbollah rocket attacks, Israel initiates “Operation Grapes of Wrath,” a naval blockade coupled with a massive 16-day shelling campaign of Lebanon. Hezbollah and Israel agree—under an informal, US- Hariri brokered agreement known as the April Understanding—that neither party would continue to carry out cross-border attacks against civilian targets.

1995

Under pressure from Syria, parliament extends President Elias Hrawi’s term.

1992

First post-war parliamentary elections; Syria provides guidance and support amid a designed boycott by the majority of Christian voters. Rafik Hariri becomes prime minister and launches a Lebanese reconstruction program.

1991

“Brotherhood Treaty” between Syria and Lebanon is imposed upon Lebanon.

1990- 2005

Lebanese state is slowly restored under Syrian hegemony. Major anti-Syrian Christian leaders either in exile or incarceration.

1989

Ta’if Accord ends the Lebanese Civil War and amends the Constitution to inaugurate the “Second Lebanese Republic.” Executive power shifts from President to Council of Ministers.

1985

Israel establishes security zone in South Lebanon but withdraws from the remainder of the country.

1982

Israel invades Lebanon with the stated aim of permanently evicting the PLO from the country.

1978

First Israeli invasion in response to attacks from PLO and affiliated groups operating within Lebanon.

1976

Syrian troops enter Lebanon under the banner of the Arab Deterrent Forces.

1975- 1976

Lebanon erupts in civil war between Christians, Muslims and Palestinians.

1969

Cairo Accord formally establishes Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) role in Lebanon including the right of all Palestinians in Lebanon to join in an “armed struggle” against Israel. PLO consequently establishes a “state within a state” in Lebanon and opens the door to future Israeli and Syrian intervention.

1967

Arab defeat in Arab-Israeli war leads to an increased flow of Palestinian militants into Lebanon followed by intermittent Israeli military incursions and strains in Lebanese Christian-Muslim relations.

1958

Brief violent breakdown of Lebanese state. Pressures come from creation of the United Arab Republic and president's interest in an extended term. US interaction enables elite to step back from the brink.

1948

Israel declares statehood. Many Palestinians are expelled and refugees begin arriving in Lebanon.

1943

Sixth Chamber of Deputies abrogates mandate. French authorities briefly imprison communal leaders and Lebanon achieves independence under the “National Pact” (an informal understanding of a sectarian arrangement based on the 1926 Constitution).

1934

First direct elections of Parliamentarians.

1932

First and only Lebanese census.

1926

Lebanese Constitution introduces a bicameral Parliament (Chamber of Deputies and Senate–which were later suspended). First Chamber of Deputies appointed.

1920

The League of Nations grants France stewardship of Lebanese and Syrian mandates; results in the formation of the State of Greater Lebanon.

1864- 1915

Indirectly elected administrative Council of Ottoman establishes autonomous province of Mount Lebanon.