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The Lebanon File

1941 Lebanon is occupied by Free French and British troops; independence is declared.

1943 The foundations of the independent Lebanese state are set out in a National Covenant; public offices are distributed proportionally among the religious groups, with Christians in the majority.

1976: Syrian troops entering Beirut after Lebanon requests that they intervene in its civil war. Eventually, Syrian troop strength in Lebanon would grow to at least 30,000. (Rihan -- AP)

1946 French troops withdraw.

1948 State of Israel established. Lebanon accepts thousands of Palestinian refugees, most of whom settle in the south.

1958 U.S. Marines intervene to quell a Syrian-aided revolt against the Lebanese government.

1967 As the Arab-Israeli war ends, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) begins to use Lebanon as a base for actions against Israel.

1975-90 The Lebanese civil war. Leftist Muslims and Palestinian units fight Maronites, Phalangists and other Christian forces. An estimated 100,000 people are killed, another 100,000 permanently handicapped; up to 20,000 remain unaccounted for. About 900,000 flee the country in 1975-76, about 250,000 emigrating permanently. The country suffers billions in damage.

1976 Lebanon calls for help from Syrian troops. Arab summits establish the Syrian Arab Deterrent Force to maintain a ceasefire.

1978 Israel invades in response to PLO attacks from Lebanon bases. The United Nations creates a peacekeeping force. Israel withdraws but turns over positions to its ally, the South Lebanon Army (SLA), and sets up an informal "security zone."

1982 Israel invades to remove PLO forces. President Bashir Gemayel is assassinated. Israeli troops stand aside as Lebanese Christian troops massacre nearly 800 Palestinian civilians in two refugee camps.

1983 The United States, Lebanon and Israel agree to Israeli withdrawal; at least 30,000 Syrian troops remain. Israeli forces pull back to the security zone. Hezbollah, a terrorist group supported by Syria and Iran, emerges. Attacks against U.S. and other Western interests begin: a bomb kills 63 at the U.S. Embassy in Beirut; two bombs kill 241 U.S. Marines and 56 French paratroopers at U.S. and French forces headquarters.

1987 Prime Minister Rashid Karami is assassinated.

1989 The Taif Agreement, under the auspices of the Arab League, produces a blueprint for national reconciliation, giving Muslims a greater say in the political process. President-elect Rene Moawad is assassinated.

1990 The Syrian air force attacks the Lebanese presidential palace. Civil war ends.

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