FREE LEBANON - HISTORY
 
History


          In 1988, President Amin Gemayel's term of office was nearing its end , and the different Lebanese factions could not agree on a candidate to be his successor. Consequently, when his term expired on September 23rd of that year, he appointed Army Commander General Michel Aoun as Lebanon's Prime Minister. General Aoun formed a government that worked toward the reunification of all parts of Lebanon, freeing Lebanon from all foreign armies, and the restoration of democracy and freedom in Lebanon. Meanwhile, Gemayel's acting prime minister, Salim al Huss, also continued to act as the de facto prime minister. As a result, Lebanon was divided between a Syrian-backed government in west Beirut, and the constitutionally legal government of General Aoun in east Beirut.

          In March 1989, an attempt by Prime Minister General Michel Aoun to close all illegal seaports, and stop all kinds of drug production and smuggling, led to what has come to be known as "Hareb al Tahreer" or Liberation War. Syrian forces in the occupied parts of Lebanon opened fire on the liberated areas in order to bring down the Lebanese government's agenda. Lebanon's army under the command of Prime Minister General Michel Aoun defended the liberated areas against the Syrian attacks. Shelling by the Syrians and their counter-parts caused nearly 1000 deaths and several thousand injuries, and further destruction of Lebanon's economic infrastructure.

         In May 1989, the Arab League empowered a High Committee on Lebanon, composed of Saudi King Fahed, Algerian President Benjidid, and Moroccan King Hassan, to work toward a solution in Lebanon. In July 1989, the committee issued a report accusing Syria of assailing Lebanon's freedom and independence. After further discussions, the committee arranged for a cease-fire in September, followed by a meeting of Lebanese parliamentarians in Taef, Saudi Arabia.

         After a month of intense discussions, the Lebanese deputies were forced and bribed by Syria to agree on a Charter of National Reconciliation also known as the Taef Agreement. In this agreement Syria would redeploy its soldiers in Lebanon, rather than withdrawing. The Lebanese population residing within the liberated parts of Lebanon opposed the Taef Agreement, as it violates national sovereignty. For this, Prime Minister Aoun issued a decree in early November dissolving the Lebanese parliament, calling for elections under the supervision of the United Nations.

         In November the dissolved parliament met at the Qleiat Air Base in northern Lebanon, where they approved the Taef Agreement and elected Rene Moawad as a president. Moawad was assassinated on November 22 by a bomb planted in his armored car, although he was under strong Syrian protection (guess who killed him!!!). The dissolved parliament met on November 24 in the Beeqa Valley and elected Elias Hrawi to replace him.

         The Syrians renewed their attacks on the liberated Lebanese areas. Meanwhile, hundreds of Lebanese citizens rallied around the Lebanese Presidential Palace (Beit el Shaab) to show their support of Prime Minister General Michel Aoun, and to defend it against Syrian attacks. On October 13, 1990, a Syrian-led military operation, in which fighter planes were used by the Syrians for the first time in Lebanon, invaded the liberated areas of Lebanon. Prime Minister Michel Aoun was forced to take refuge in the french embassy. The French President, Francois Mitterand, declared that General Aoun's safety was a matter of honour to France, and negotiated Prime Minister General Michel Aoun's safe departure to France along with members of his government.

         Today Lebanon is still occupied by over 40,000 Syrian soldiers, contrary to what the dissolved parliament had agreed upon in the Taef Agreement. The government in power in Lebanon is a puppet in the hands of Syria, denying people freedom of speech. There are daily arrests without warrants. There is an outcry as a result of the terrorizing methods employed by the Syrian intelligence service against the Lebanese citizens, coupled with the deteriorating economic situation in Lebanon. Prime Minister General Michel Aoun is still in France, where he heads a number of international organizations, working peacefully toward the achievement of a free Lebanon.