Beirut Reconstruction: A Missed Opportunity for Conflict Resolution – by Lourdes Martinez-Garrido

In  1975,  Beirut  became  the  setting  of  a  protracted  civil  conflict  that  would  dramatically  change  the  city’s  social  milieu  by  the  time  it  ended,  over  fifteen  years  later.  What  started  as  a  disagreement  between  the  Christian  and  the  Muslim  communities  over  the  power  of  the  Palestine  Liberation  Organization  (PLO)  in  Lebanon,  ended  up  involving  regional  actors  (Syria,  Saudi  Arabia  and  Israel)  and  international  powers  (American  and  European  military  forces).  As  a  result,  in  a  country  of  about  three  million,  170,000  people  died,  twice  as  many  were  wounded  and  900,000  emigrated.  More  than  half  of  the  population  suffered  some  kind  of  displacement  from  their  homes.   The  war  came  to  an  end  in  1990  with  the  Taif  Accords,  signed  in  1989,  through  which  the  Sunni  and  Shia  communities  were  granted  greater  representation  in the parliament.

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