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Shiite Muslim kidnappers in Lebanon free Anglican Church envoy Terry Waite after more than four years of captivity. Waite, looking thinner and his hair grayer, was freed along with American educator Thomas M. Sutherland after intense negotiations by the United Nations.
Waite, special envoy of the archbishop of Canterbury, had secured the release of missionaries detained in Iran after the Islamic revolution. He also extracted British hostages from Libya and even succeeded in releasing American hostages from Lebanon in 1986.
A total of 10 captives were released through Waite’s efforts before Shiite Muslims seized him during a return mission to Beirut on January 20, 1987. He was held captive for more than four years before he was finally released.
During captivity, Waite said he was frequently blindfolded, beaten and subjected to mock executions. He spent much of the time chained to a radiator, suffered from asthma and was transported in a giant refrigerator as his captors moved him about.
Waite, 52, made an impromptu, chaotic appearance before reporters in Damascus after his release to Syrian officials. He said one of his captors expressed regret as he informed Waite he was about to be released.
“He also said to me: ‘We apologize for having captured you. We recognize that now this was a wrong thing to do, that holding hostages achieves no useful, constructive purpose,'” Waite said.
The release of Waite and Sutherland left five Western hostages left in Beirut—three Americans, including Terry Anderson, and two Germans. The Americans would be released by December 1991, the Germans in June 1992.
Some 96 foreign hostages were taken and held during the Lebanon hostage crisis between 1982 and 1992. The victims were mostly from Western countries, and mostly journalists, diplomats or teachers. Twenty-five of them were Americans. At least 10 hostages died in captivity. Some were murdered and others died from lack of adequate medical attention to illnesses.
The hostages were originally taken to serve as insurance against retaliation against Hezbollah, which was thought to be responsible for the killing of over 300 Americans in the Marine barracks and embassy bombings in Beirut. It was widely believed that Iran and Syria also played a role in the kidnappings.
Thomas Sutherland, Lebanon Hostage Who Was Freed After 6 Years, Dies at 85
Thomas Sutherland, a former agriculture professor who was swept up in an international drama when he was kidnapped by Islamic militants in Lebanon in 1985 and held for more than six years, died on Friday at his home in Fort Collins, Colo. He was 85.
His wife, Jean, said the cause had not been determined, though he had a heart condition.
Mr. Sutherland was among dozens of Westerners taken hostage in Beirut in the 1980s at the height of Lebanon’s civil war. When he was kidnapped, he was the dean of agriculture at the American University of Beirut.
After he was snatched near his Beirut home, where he lived with his wife, Mr. Sutherland was confined in a series of rooms, often blindfolded and chained to a wall, by gun-toting men who operated under Hezbollah, the Lebanese militant group.
The Western hostages were abused regularly, hit with fists, sticks and rifle butts, said Terry Anderson, the longest-held American, who was a Middle East reporter for The Associated Press. Mr. Anderson said he and Mr. Sutherland had spent a great deal of time together, lying side by side on cots and engaged in conversation.
“He had a particularly difficult time, especially in the first two years,” Mr. Anderson said on Sunday. “He had always been in academia. He was a gentle man, and he just couldn’t understand what was happening.”
To break the boredom, Mr. Sutherland gave Mr. Anderson lessons in French and agriculture. In return, Mr. Anderson taught him how to play chess, using pieces made of tinfoil, and bridge. Mr. Sutherland later said his talks with Mr. Anderson had been critical to his coping with the captivity.
Thomas McNee Sutherland was born on May 3, 1931, in Falkirk, Scotland, to William and Helen Sutherland, and grew up on a dairy farm. He graduated from the University of Glasgow in 1953 with a degree in agriculture and then traveled to the United States, where he earned a Ph.D. degree in animal science from Iowa State University in 1958.
He joined the faculty at Colorado State University and later became a naturalized American. He took a leave of absence to go to Beirut in 1983.
In a joint memoir, Mr. Sutherland and his wife portrayed themselves as fairly innocent upon their arrival there, according to a review in The Los Angeles Times. They found themselves in a war zone, surrounded by bombings, assassinations and abductions.
In 1989, four years into Mr. Sutherland’s captivity, George Bush began his presidency with a call for renewed efforts to free the hostages. “Good will begets good will,” he said in his inaugural address.
On Nov. 18, 1991, under a deal brokered by the United Nations, Mr. Sutherland was released with another hostage, Terry Waite, an envoy of the Anglican Church. Mr. Anderson, the Associated Press reporter, was released a short time later.
When Mr. Sutherland arrived to a crowd of well-wishers at San Francisco International Airport, he had on his arm his 4-year-old granddaughter, a girl he was getting to know for the first time.
“Hello, America, and thank you,” he said. “We’re going to have a very, very happy Thanksgiving.”
In Fort Collins, the home of Colorado State, the trees were decorated with yellow ribbons.
“One of the greatest moments in the history of Colorado State University was the afternoon in 1991 when we welcomed our friend and colleague Tom Sutherland home from his long captivity in Beirut,” the university’s president, Tony Frank, said in a statement on Saturday.
Mr. Sutherland became a professor emeritus at Colorado State, and in his 70s, he took up acting.
In addition to his wife of 60 years, he is survived by three daughters, Kit Sutherland, Joan Sears and Ann Sutherland seven grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
In 2001, the Sutherland family won a lawsuit against Iran over its role in financing Hezbollah. Individual members of the family received sizable payouts from frozen Iranian assets, including more than $23 million for Mr. Sutherland, much of which he gave to charity.
After that, he joked that he was on an “extended vacation paid for by the shah of Iran,” The Denver Post reported.
On This Day: Last US Hostage in Lebanon Released
Terry Anderson, the chief Middle East correspondent for The Associated Press, was abducted in Beirut on March 16, 1985, as he was leaving a tennis court.
His kidnappers were members of Hezbollah, a Shiite Lebanese militant organization that came into existence during the civil war in Lebanon. The group abducted more than 90 foreigners, including 17 Americans, during the war.
&ldquoThe hostage seizures were fully consistent with Hizballah's declared goal of expunging both the American diplomatic presence and Americans from Lebanon, and the hostages&rsquo fate was often manipulated in order to serve the interests of Hizballah's sponsor, Iran,&rdquo explains the Council on Foreign Relations.
Upon his capture, Anderson was kept in a small cell with other hostages, including William Buckley, the CIA chief in Lebanon. The prisoners were kept in chains or placed inside a coffin-like box. Guards beat them with iron rods or rubber hoses about the head, back, ribs and feet, and staged mock executions.
At least eight hostages died, including Buckley and Marine Lieut. Col. William R. Higgins, died. Many suffered permanent injuries, and some attempted suicide. In December 1987, Anderson banged his head against the prison wall until his face was covered in blood.
In the late &lsquo80s and early &lsquo90s, as Tehran sought closer economic ties to the United States, the number of abductions decreased and conditions for the remaining hostages improved. Most of the remaining hostages, including Anderson and Terry Waite, an envoy of the Archbishop of Canterbury who had been kidnapped while negotiating the release of the hostages, were released in 1991. The last two hostages, both Germans, were released in June 1992.
On his release, Anderson told reporters, &ldquoYou just do what you have to do. You wake up every day, summon up the energy from somewhere and you get through the day, day after day after day.&rdquo
He was reunited with his fiancée, Madeleine Bassil, and their 6-year-old daughter, Sulome, whom he had never seen.
Born This Day In History 18th November
Celebrating Birthday's Today
Celebrating Birthday's Today
Born: 18th November 1923 East Derry, New Hampshire
Died: 21st July 1998 Monterey, California
Known For : Alan Shepard is best known as the First American In Space on 5th May 1961 23 days after the first man in space Yuri Gagarin of the Soviet Union . On 31st January 1971 he once again became the center of attention during the Apollo 14 mission when he lived every golfers dream using a makeshift six-iron to strike golf balls from the moons surface which travelled miles and miles. For his services to the Space Program he was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor (Space).
Born: 18th November 1942 Hartford, Connecticut
Known For : American Actress who won Golden Globe ( Dynasty 1982) and an Emmy nominated American actress, she has been on many well know TV shows including The Big Valley 1965-1969 , Dynasty playing Krystle Carrington 1981-1988. The cat fight between Linda Evans ( Krystle Carrington ) and Joan Collins ( Alexis Carrington ) is a classic in TV history.
WAITE MEETS KIDNAPPERS, AGAIN PUTS OFF LEAVING BEIRUT
Hostage negotiator Terry Waite, switching cars to avoid detection, had a rendezvous Tuesday with kidnappers of Westerners in Beirut and again put off his leaving Lebanon.
Waite, a Church of England envoy, who had put off leaving Monday, said the new delay was "necessitated by developments." He did not forecast freedom right away for any of the 18 missing Westerners, including 6 Americans.
"The work still remains difficult," Waite said. "There is no certainty at all that hostages will be released this week.
"You can never say what is going to happen. The great thing is to remain persistent and to keep working and working and working. I believe that eventually a solution will be found."
Waite, personal envoy of Archbishop of Canterbury Robert Runcie, was driven in a military jeep by Druse bodyguards from his seaside hotel to the American University of Beirut and was dropped at the gate.
There he got into a Renault, which sped off. Waite appeared again two hours later back at his hotel, a witness said.
Waite was optimistic Monday, reporting contact with the Islamic Jihad group holding American hostages Terry Anderson, 38, a reporter for The Associated Press, and Thomas Sutherland, 54, an educator at Beirut's American University. Waite did not say that he had seen the captives but reported they were "well looked after and their condition is generally good."
He said prospects for their release are "good."
The 18 foreigners missing and believed kidnapped in Lebanon are 6 Americans, 6 Frenchmen, 2 Britons, an Irishman, a South Korean, an Italian and a West German.
One of the Americans, William Buckley, was reported to have been killed. His body was never found.
10 Questions for humanitarian and author Terry Waite
He was put in solitary confinement and blindfolded for four years, most of which was spent chained to a radiator. His autobiography, Taken On Trust, has been updated and is published again this week.
Do people tiptoe around you?
No. I don’t think I was a broken man after my release or anything like that. I didn’t need special treatment, just time to adjust to a world that had changed. People accepted that for what it was.
What do strangers say when they first meet you?
They want to talk about my captivity, obviously, but they also say I give them a better understanding of what it’s like over there. And I learn lots from them too.
Are you more hopeful about the Middle East 25 years on?
Not at all. Now, at any given moment, the Middle East fall-out can cause incidents in any country across the world, and we have refugees fleeing, and dying, in numbers. It’s like World War Three.
How did this happen?
The current mess is a result, in my opinion, of our wrongful invasion of Iraq. Wittingly, or unwittingly, we have contributed to the situation ourselves.
Does it make your own experience seem pointless?
I don’t look at it like that. I don’t feel my experience was negative just because it didn’t improve things.
How do you look back on your kidnapping?
It was difficult but I was determined to use it positively to go on and work with the oppressed. I know what it’s like to be alone, to have no hope, no help. It gave me an impetus to work positively.
Is your relationship with God a trusting one after your experience?
Oh yes. I don’t blame my kidnapping on God for one moment.
So, what does your Faith bring you?
Having faith doesn’t protect you from the ups and downs of life but I believe it prepares you to handle them better.
What has been the most important life lesson you learned?
That the world is full of suffering, but that suffering doesn’t have to destroy us. Something creative can come from it too.
You have 24 hours left to live. How do you spend it?
I have had a lot of help over the years, as you can imagine, so I would do nothing other than go around all my family and friends to say thank you for all the wonderful things they’ve done for me over the years.
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Two Thousand Miles Of Distance
During your captivity, what is your family going through? I believe they didn’t even know whether you were alive or dead.
Someone who came back from Beirut or came out of Beirut, I don’t quite know what, told my wife, ‘Your husband is dead.’ She asked how they knew and they said, ‘We’ve seen his grave.’ She said, ‘Well, I’ll believe it when I see it.’ She never believed that I was dead, and the family held on.
I have great admiration for my wife. We have four children, grown up now, and grandchildren. She had to keep the children and the family together and see them through school and halfway through university. It was very difficult for them. In some ways it is more difficult for families than it is for the hostage, because they just don’t know, and they go on not knowing, and have to live normal life with all the pressures.
But we came through it and I think in fact it has done us good. It sounds absolutely silly to say that. Perhaps a better way to put it is that we’ve refused to allow it to do us harm. Again, I think this is the business of taking events as far as you can in your own hands. I said a moment ago that suffering is always difficult, and it is. I’m the last one to underplay it and the last one to treat it lightly. But it needn’t destroy. Very often it can be turned around so that you can make something creative of it. If you look back into history you will find that many great acts of creativity came out of suffering. And, of course, the central symbol of the Christian faith is a symbol of suffering—the cross. But beyond that lies the symbol of hope—the resurrection.
I can’t imagine the feelings that must’ve been flowing through you when you saw your wife and kids for the first time after five years of solitary confinement.
I didn’t know my son. I mean, my son was a young lad when I was taken and he was now a mature teenager. He’s now a school master actually he’s head of sixth form these days with children of his own. But I wouldn’t have recognised him.
It took time. It took time to get together again. If anybody is listening to this who has been through a long period of separation or trauma, don’t imagine that you are going to rush back and everything is going to be wonderful. It may be, and that would be fortunate. But take time. Someone said to me, ‘When you come out after an experience like that, take it as though you are coming up from the sea bed. If you come up too quickly you get the bends if you take it gently you will be fine.’ That was good advice.
How were you finally released? What was the turning point?
Simply the end of the political saga in the Middle East. They simply came into the room, gave me some clothes which didn’t fit—I’m six foot seven—so, you know, I looked like I was wearing Boy Scout trousers . . .
Ready for the cameras rolling as you leave . . .
They probably said, ‘There’s Waite again, looking elegant as usual!’
I looked like a scarecrow. I looked dreadful.
I bet your kids were saying, ‘Oh Dad, come on!’
Yeah, ‘Come on, get yourself a suit.’ Well, what do you mean? This is my best suit! In Australia they all dress like this!
When it became clear the kidnappers were not targeting only political figures, many Americans and Europeans were forced to reconsider why they were in Beirut. In his memoir From Beirut to Jerusalem, Friedman considers how the city&mdashand his job as a reporter&mdashchanged drastically after colleagues like CNN's Jeremy Levin were taken. "After the kidnappings began in Beirut, I acquired a healthy respect for how little I had really penetrated the place," Friedman writes, adding, "I gained an equally healthy respect for the notion that the real story is often found not in the noise but in the silence&mdashand that is why it is so often missed." In Pity the Nation: The Abduction of Lebanon, Robert Fisk, then a reporter for The Times, remembers, "Every assignment would now be attended by an added fear. When we were not trying to avoid incoming shellfire, we were watching for mysterious cars, for Mercedes limousines with curtains over the back windows, for bearded drivers, Hezbollah signs, Iranian flags." The legacy of the hostages is now recorded in a number of powerful memoirs. Personal stories&mdashfrom Terry Anderson's Den of Lions to Brian Keenan's An Evil Cradling to Terry Waite's Taken on Trust&mdashbrought a human voice and perspective to the headlines. But the tragedy of these events often reverberated into the future. In her book The Hostage's Daughter: A Story of Family, Madness, and the Middle East, Sulome Anderson, the daughter of Terry Anderson, explains how her father's ordeal pushed her as a writer and journalist to return to Beirut to explore the "legacy of trauma I was born with and how it led me to ask questions about the events that shaped my life."
President Bush, condemning the reported hanging of Lt. Col. William Higgins by pro-Iranian kidnappers, Monday night called on "all parties" holding hostages in the Middle East to release them "to begin to reverse the cycle of violence."
In a statement telephoned to news organizations, Bush pointedly renewed his criticism of Israel, whose kidnapping on Friday of a Moslem Shiite cleric led Higgins' kidnappers to release a tape which they said showed his execution by hanging.
"On Friday, I said that the taking of any hostage was not helpful to the Middle East peace process. The brutal and tragic events of today have underscored the validity of that statement," Bush said.
"Tonight I wish to go beyond that statement with an urgent call to all, all parties, who hold hostages in the Middle East to release them forthwith, as an humanitarian gesture, to begin to reverse the cycle of violence in that region."
In his conference call to news agencies, presidential spokesman Marlin Fitzwater said it was "impossible to tell" what the reaction to the president's statement would be.
Asked if the U.S. government had contacted Israel in an attempt to persuade it to release its hostage, Fitzwater replied that"We have had contacts with Israel, but not in the past day." He did not elaborate on the nature of the contacts.
"We face a very difficult situation," Fitzwater said. "We have threats of two other possible deaths. We have hostages being held by a number of countries or factions or groups."
"The president feels his plea, with real attention focused on the situation, could give everyone a chance to release their hostages."
Fitzwater referred to threats made during the day by groups in the Middle East against two hostages, Joseph James Cicippio, an official of the American University of Beirut, and Anglican church envoy Terry Waite.
Earlier, referring to "this brutal murder" of the Marine officer, Bush said: "It is a most troubling and disturbing matter that has shocked the American people right to the core. There is no way that I can properly express the outrage that I feel."
While Bush cautioned publicly that he had no confirmation Higgins had in fact been hanged, Senate Republican Leader Bob Dole, R-Kan., said the president told congressional leaders Monday night that "it's about a 98 percent probability that it happened."
Bush monitored reports through the afternoon after returning from Chicago, then met into the evening in the Cabinet room with top advisers, including Defense Secretary Dick Cheney, Deputy Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger and other Cabinet members, before briefing the congressional leaders.
Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman David Boren, D-Okla., said after that meeting that Bush was considering several options but he declined to identify them.
"I don't think anything has been ruled out at this point," Boren said.
During his earlier meeting with advisers, Bush "received a briefing on the status of our knowledge of the situation. This was primarily an informational meeting at which all aspects of the case involving Col. Higgins and the other hostages were discussed," Press Secretary Marlin Fitzwater said in a statement.
Higgins' reported killing triggered an instant debate in Congress over Israel's role in the events. Israeli commandos kidnapped a Shiite Moslem cleric last week, and the announcement of Higgins' hanging said he was killed in retaliation.
"Perhaps a little more responsibility on behalf of the Israelis would be refreshing," Dole said. But Rep. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., countered that blaming Israel would be "turning the world on its head."
At the White House, officials carefully avoided direct criticism of Israel, but Fitzwater said, "It is fair to say that many people do share the senator's concerns." He would not elaborate.
An Israeli official in Washington, speaking on condition of anonymity, said, "It's ridiculous to say that Israel is responsible for Higgins' death. We don't even know if it's him, and if it is, when he was killed."
A member of Congress who attended the leadership meeting with Bush, speaking on condition of no further identification, said the lawmakers were told repeatedly the United States was given no notice of Israeli's intent to kidnap the cleric, and "There was no consultation between Israel and the United States."
After meeting with Bush, Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell, D-Maine, said the president "strongly reaffirmed his belief in the appropriate policy of not negotiating with terorrists in any circumstances."
He, like others at the meeting, declined to discuss which possible responses, including military options, might be under consideration.
One administration official, asked about reports that Bush would not undertake military retaliation or rescue missions, said it would be premature to reach that conclusion.
The source, speaking on condition of anonymity, said administration officials planned more meetings to discuss the crisis, indicating a likelihood that no final decisions had been made.
Rep. William Dickinson, R-Ala., ranking Republican on the Armed Services Committee, said after the White House meeting: "The president made it very clear, until the facts are known, at least more facts than we have now, there's no way you can make a definitive decision" on what to do.
There are nine Americans in captivity in the Middle East, including Terry Anderson, Middle East correspondent for The Associated Press.
"Somehow there has got to be a return to decency and honor, even in matters of this nature," Bush said on the White House lawn after returning from Chicago, where he had addressed the National Governors' Association.
He also said he had spoken by telephone with Higgins' wife, "a wonderfully stoic individual who is going through sheer hell."
Bush had been scheduled to proceed from Chicago to Las Vegas for a speech to the Disabled American Veterans, and then on to Oklahoma City for a Tuesday address to the Fraternal Order of Police convention.
But he said in Chicago, "This matter is of such concern to me and to all of you and to the American people that I think it's appropriate that I go back to Washington."
He learned of reports of the execution as he landed in Chicago.
Higgins, 44, was serving as part of an international peacekeeping force in Lebanon when he was taken captive in February 1988. Pro-Iranian Shiite Moslem captors said they hanged him Monday in retaliation for Israel's kidnapping of a Moslem cleric. The group released a videotape purporting to show the execution.
Israel offered earlier in the day to swap the cleric, Sheik Abdul Karim Obeid, and other Shiite Moslem captives for all captured Israeli soldiers and foreign hostages held by Shiite groups in Lebanon.
Secretary of State James A. Baker, leaving Paris for Washington after a weekend of meetings focusing on U.S.-Soviet relations and the future of Cambodia, called the execution report "outrageous and uncivilized."
Dole said in Washington, "I would hope the Israelis would take another look at some of their actions that they must know in advance would endanger American lives."
But Rep. Schumer said, "Israel is among the few countries seeking to fight terrorism. The blame has to fall on the terrorists themselves."
Rep. Gary Ackerman, D-N.Y., was circulating a letter asking colleagues to support a resolution calling for the extradition of Sheik Obeid to stand trial in the United States for the kidnapping of Higgins.
WAITE DROPS OUT OF SIGHT SEEKING BEIRUT KIDNAPPERS
Terry Waite, the special envoy of the archbishop of Canterbury, went underground Friday to try to meet the Moslem kidnappers of at least four Americans and personally appeal for their release.
Waite told his secretary in England on Friday he had talked to the kidnappers several times by telephone but had been unable to meet with them, reports said. That was his only public acknowledgement of progress in his quest to free the captives.
Waite, 46, said he was "well and cheerful" but could not say when he would be back in public view.
The envoy of Archbishop of Canterbury Robert Runcie had been followed closely by reporters since he arrived Wednesday in Lebanon.
He angrily told a pack of journalists Thursday he had to negotiate with the kidnappers in secret.
"A wrong move and people could lose their lives, including myself," he said.
Four of the six Americans kidnapped in Lebanon prompted his mission with a letter to Runcie last week.
President Reagan rejected a plea from the captives to negotiate their release.
"I really do have to just drop out of the picture," Waite said Thursday. Waite's mission is the latest in a series of efforts he has made to secure the release of Westerners being held hostage.
The bearded layman reportedly persuaded Lebanese kidnappers to free American Presbyterian minister Benjamin Weir as a goodwill gesture Sept. 14. He also mediated the release of four Britons from Libya in January and four others from Iran in 1981.
As Waite dropped from sight, Beirut's respected An Nahar newspaper said Brig. Ghazi Kanaan, head of Syrian military intelligence in Lebanon, had discussed the plight of six kidnapped Americans and four Frenchmen with a Moslem leader.
The newspaper said Kanaan raised the question Thursday with Sheikh Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah, the leader of the powerful Hezbollah, or Party of God, movement. Some U.S. intelligence reports have linked the group with the abductions.
Fadlallah repeatedly has denied any Hezbollah involvement in the series of kidnappings of Westerners that started in March 1984.
The pro-Iranian Islamic Jihad movement says it is holding the Americans and Frenchmen. It claims it killed kidnapped U.S. diplomat William Buckley.
An Nahar said Syrians also were trying to get the Americans and Frenchmen released.
Kanaan's efforts were widely credited with freeing three Soviet Embassy officials Oct. 30 after a month of captivity at the hands of the hitherto unknown Islamic Liberation Organization. One Soviet Embassy worker was killed after his kidnapping.
Lebanon in History
- Failed coup by Syrian group in Lebanon Charles Helu elected president of Lebanon WRLH TV channel 31 in Lebanon, NH (NBC) begins broadcasting Israeli commandos destroy 13 Lebanese airplanes Lebanese army in battle with Palestinians Christian Falange kills 27 Palestinians, begins Lebanese civil war Israel opens "Good Fence" to Lebanon Syria drives Palestinian guerrillas out of Lebanon Battle of Aishiya, Lebanon during Lebanese Civil War. -21] operation Litani: Israeli offensive in South Lebanon Israeli Defense Forces withdraw from Lebanon. Syrians & Lebanese engage in heavy fighting in Lebanon Major Haddad declares South-Lebanon independent The Safra massacre in Lebanon Heavy battle between Christian militia & Syrian army in East Lebanon Israel attacks targets in south Lebanon 30,000 Israeli troops invade Lebanon to drive out the PLO Israel and Syria stop fighting in Lebanon David S Dodge becomes 1st American hostage in Lebanon
Event of Interest
1983-09-29 US Congress authorizes President Reagan to keep 1,600 US Marines in Lebanon
- Bomb attack on Israeli headquarter in Tyrus Lebanon, 60 killed PLO exchanges 6 Israeli prisoners for 4,500 Palestinians & Lebanese US jet fighters strike Syrian anti-aircraft positions in Lebanon
Event of Interest
1983-12-20 PLO chairman Yasser Arafat & 4,000 loyalists evacuate Lebanon
- Lebanese army fights in Beirut Muslim militiamen take over West Beirut from Lebanese army Last US marines in multinational peacekeeping force in Lebanon left Beirut
2001-06-10 Pope John Paul II canonizes Lebanon's first female saint, Saint Rafqa
- A federal grand jury in Alexandria, Virginia, indicts 13 Saudis and a Lebanese in the 1996 bombing of the Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia that killed 19 American servicemen Lebanon's former Prime Minister, Rafik Hariri, is assassinated, prompting the country to fall into chaos. Lebanon's pro-Syrian prime minister, Omar Karami, resigns amid large anti-Syria street demonstrations in Beirut. Cedar Revolution, where over a million Lebanese march in the streets of Beirut to demonstrate against the Syrian military presence in Lebanon, and against the government, following the assassination of Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. Under international pressure, Syria withdraws the last of its 14,000 troop military garrison in Lebanon, ending its 29-year military domination of that country. Syria completes withdrawal from Lebanon, ending 29 years of occupation Samir Geagea, the Lebanese Forces (LF) leader, is released after spending 11 years in a solitary confinement. His release came after the end of the Syrian occupation to Lebanon. Cronulla riots: thousands of white Australians demonstrate against ethnic violence, resulting in a riot against anyone thought to be Lebanese (and many who were not) in Cronulla Sydney. These are followed by ethnic attacks on Cronulla. Anti-Syrian Lebanese Minister and MP Pierre Gemayel is assassinated in suburban Beirut. One million Lebanese opposition supporters gather in downtown Beirut, calling for the government to resign. 66th Venice Film Festival: "Lebanon" directed by Samuel Maoz wins Golden Lion 8 people are killed and 78 injured by a car bomb in Beirut, Lebanon 50 people are killed in mosque bombings in Tripoli, Lebanon 23 people are killed by a suicide bombing attack on the Iranian Embassy in Beirut, Lebanon Tammam Salam is elected Prime Minister of Lebanon after a 10 month gridlock The World Food Programme suspends critical food aid to more than 1.7 million Syrian refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, Iraq and Egypt because of a lack of funds Suicide bombings in Lebanon kill 43, Isis claim responsibility