Beirut, (AFP) – Here are key events in Lebanon since its independence from France 75 years ago:
– Power-sharing –
The small Mediterranean country becomes independent on November 22, 1943 after 23 years under French mandate.
In terms of a “national pact”, its Christians agree to abandon protection from the West and Muslims from that of Arab nations.
It lays out a power-sharing agreement still in place today that allocates the post of president to a Maronite Christian, prime minister to a Sunni Muslim, and speaker of parliament to a Shiite Muslim.
– Civil strife –
A five-month civil war breaks out in 1958 when Muslims, backed by Egypt and Syria, take up arms against the pro-Western regime of president Camille Chamoun.
The president appeals to the United States for help. American troops arrive in July, their first military intervention in the Middle East. With the rebellion quelled, they pull out three months later.
– PLO moves to Lebanon –
After the Arab defeat in the 1967 Six-Day War, the first Palestinian bases are established in south Lebanon on the border with Israel and Syria.
In 1969, Lebanon legalises the armed Palestinian presence on its soil under the Cairo Accord.
Following the bloody Black September clashes in Jordan in 1970, Yasser Arafat’s Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) retreats to Lebanon, later setting up base in Beirut.
– Civil war –
In April 1975 a 15-year-long civil war starts: Christian militias battle Palestinians, who are quickly backed by leftists and Muslim forces.
In 1976 the Syrian army intervenes, with US approval, after an appeal by embattled Christian forces.
In 1982 Israel invades and besieges Beirut: Arafat and 11,000 Palestinian fighters evacuate the capital.
In September a Christian militia massacres at least 1,000 people in the Palestinian camps of Sabra and Shatila in Beirut.
The war ends in 1990. More than 150,000 people had been killed, 17,000 went missing and hundreds of thousands were exiled or displaced.
– Syrian domination –
Syria’s military and political presence is crystallised with a May 1991 treaty between Damascus and Beirut.
Israel meanwhile maintains its occupation of southern Lebanon, withdrawing only in 2000.
In February 2005 former prime minister Rafik Hariri is killed in a massive Beirut bombing along with 21 others. Those opposed to Syria blame Damascus, which denies any role.
It leads to all Syrian troops leaving Lebanon by late April 2005. They had peaked at 40,000 during the army’s 29-year deployment.
– Israel vs Hezbollah –
In July 2006 conflict erupts between Israeli forces and Lebanon’s powerful Shiite movement Hezbollah, which was founded in 1982 during the civil war and entered parliament soon afterwards.
The conflict is sparked by Hezbollah’s capture of two Israeli soldiers from the southern Lebanon border area.
The 34-day war costs Lebanon around 1,200 lives, mostly civilians.
With the withdrawal of Israeli troops in October, the Lebanese army — aided by a United Nations force — deploys in the south after a 40-year absence.
– Syria war –
Two years after the Syrian conflict breaks out, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah says in April 2013 his fighters have intervened on the side of President Bashar al-Assad.
The Syrian conflict entrenches Lebanon’s divided political blocs: one led by Iran-backed Hezbollah, and the other by Saad Hariri, the son of the assassinated former premier who is backed by the US and Saudi Arabia.
– Government delay –
In May 2018 Hezbollah and its allies dominate the first legislative elections held since 2009.
Hariri is designated premier for a third term and tasked with forming a new government.
But negotiations drag on for months and in November Hariri accuses Hezbollah of causing the delay.
A new cabinet is finally announced on 31 January, 2019 and includes 30 ministers from Lebanon’s rival political clans.