Lebanon. Israeli troops withdrew from the zone in southern Lebanon. May 24, which they had occupied since 1982. A large number of Lebanese and Palestinians had been killed in the area during the occupation, as were close to 1,300 members of the Syrian-backed guerrilla Hizbullah.
The withdrawal was preceded by continued clashes throughout the winter and spring. In mid-May, Israeli soldiers began handing over their positions to the Israeli-backed militia group SLA (Southern Lebanese Army), which was soon forced from Hizbullah bases. Many SLA soldiers deserted, others fled to Israel. With the SLA in disbanding, the Israeli soldiers were forced to flee. On May 24, around 250,000 civilian Lebanese entered the zone to celebrate the liberation. Over 1,500 SLA members who did not flee to Israel surrendered to the government.
During the summer, the UN Security Council began to deploy its UNIFIL (United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon) peacekeeping force in the border zone. But only a small part of the Lebanese government forces, which, according to a UN resolution, would take over security control in the area from Hizbullah, were expelled. The government demanded that Israel first leave an area at the border with the Golan Heights, which goes by the name of the Sheeba farms and which Lebanon claims. Israel refused to leave the area.
- ABBREVIATIONFINDER: Offers three letter and two letter abbreviations for the country of Lebanon. Also covers country profile such as geography, society and economy.
In the parliamentary elections, which were held in two rounds of elections on August 27 and September 3, candidates won loyal to the company leader and former prime minister Rafiq al-Hariri. Al-Hariri, who was supported by 106 of Parliament’s 128 members, had during his earlier term as prime minister 1992-98 managed to radically improve the country’s economy, but since he resigned, the country had incurred a government debt that cost more in interest than the state received in revenue per year. The incumbent Prime Minister Salim al-Huss lost his seat in Parliament. al-Hariri formed a government with as many Christians as Muslims among the ministers. Several of them were identified as loyal to President Emile Lahoud, traditionally an opponent of al-Hariri. At the end of October, al-Hariri announced that a number of state-owned companies would be sold out for the state to raise money.
Egypt’s President Hosni Mubarak visited Lebanon in February to show his support for the country and for resistance to Israel’s occupation. It was the first time an Egyptian head of state visited Lebanon.
Four members of the Japanese Red Army terror group were deported to Japan in March, while a fifth member of the same group received political asylum in Lebanon.
On August 11, the UN Security Council adopted a resolution on the suspension of combat operations. At the same time, Secretary-General Kofi Annan took the opportunity to scold the Council: “The UN’s inability to act in this conflict has in the eyes of the world delegitimized the organization”. At the same time, the statement was a criticism of the United States in particular, which had hindered the peace organization from acting, and UN Ambassador John Bolton then responded to Annan’s statement by shaking his head.
Annan was already trying on July 17 to persuade the council to intervene, but in vain. At the same time, Israel made the organization’s relief, refugee and observer work (in UNIFIL) increasingly impossible.
On the night of July 26, Israel killed four unarmed UN soldiers, respectively. Canada, Finland, China and Austria at their checkpoint in Khiam in southern Lebanon. Israel lamented the “incident”. The UN Secretary-General condemned the attack and called it “apparently targeted”. This assessment was confirmed when it emerged during the day that the UN had been in contact with the Israeli military 10 times during the day to point out that Israeli bombs and rockets were dangerously close to the checkpoint. Israel ended up from a bomber firing two laser guided precision bombs into the UN checkpoint. Subsequently, also UN forces to excavate those killed were also fired. For Israel, the purpose was to remove the UN Observation Force, UNIFIL from southern Lebanon, so that there were no observers for the Israeliwar crimes in the area. Australia decided on 27 July to withdraw its forces from UNIFIL, and the UN decided for security reasons two days later to withdraw part of its forces.
Israel has a long tradition of attacking UNIFIL forces in the area. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, many UNIFIL soldiers were killed or wounded by Israeli shelling. In 1996, Israel attacked a UNIFIL camp, killing 106 Palestinian refugees who had sought shelter in the camp. A later UN investigation showed that Israel’s attack was not an accident, but should kill as many as possible.
According to COUNTRYAAH, the population of Lebanon in 2000 was 3,842,667, ranking number 122 in the world. The population growth rate was 1.720% yearly, and the population density was 375.6381 people per km2.