USS Cole dispatched to the Lebanese Coast and US military involvement in Lebanon

The United States has ordered a warship to take up position off the coast of Lebanon in a show of support for the country's embattled government.

Read here on the two main historical precedents.
In 1958, the US intervened to bolster the pro-Western Lebanese government of President Camille Chamoun against internal opposition.

In 1982, US forces entered Lebanon as part of a Multinational force:
"to provide appropriate assistance to the Lebanese Armed Forces as they carry out" responsibilities for the safe evacuation of the departing PLO, the safety "of the persons in the area" (generally interpreted to mean the Palestinian non-combatants remaining in Beirut), and to "further the restoration of the sovereignty and authority of the Government of Lebanon over the Beirut area." With regard to the safety of Palestinian non-combatants, the agreement stated that "The Governments of Lebanon and the United States will provide appropriate guarantees of safety. . . . "(emphasis added). In reality, the agreement was a vague and open-ended mandate for committing American military personnel.

A summary of the events of 1982 in Lebanon and a timeline on the side on this site. (The problem with the timeline is that it says when the French and the US troops were targeted by a suicide bombing but it doesn't tell when the troops entered Lebanon).
During the autumn of 1982, the presence of the Marines in Beirut began to take on an additional meaning which was never publicly acknowledged. The Marines became a bargaining chip in the complex international maneuvering that the United States was fostering. There were active negotiations among the United States, Israel, and Lebanon over the withdrawal of Israeli forces and the terms of a possible treaty between Lebanon and Israel. The presence of the Marines provided leverage in putting pressure on the Government of Lebanon to accede to Israeli demands. The presence implied some measure of protection for the Lebanese authorities against those Lebanese, Palestinians, and other Arabs who adamantly opposed any normalization between Lebanon and Israel.

I posted this Time Magazine cover from 1982 because this is the most salient feature associated in my memory with the events of 1982 in Lebanon. In 1958 I was barely born to remember. But those who slaughtered Palestinian civilians in 1982 are still around. They are the US staunchest allies in Lebanon, they are part of March 14th, the movement that is behind the present Lebanese pro-US government. The Palestinians are now gone, militarily speaking, from Lebanon, replaced by another resistance to Israel, Hezbollah and its allies. However, the slaughtering of civilians will continue, and the target this time - beside the Palestinians, always an easy target for Israel and its US ally - are Hezbollah, the Shias, and the Christians opposed to March 14th, as well as the civilians and the infrastructure around. It doesn't matter to the US that the Lebanese opposition is legitimate and enjoys the support of the majority of Lebanese. What matters for them is Israel and its clients in the country, March 14th and its illegitimate, ill elected, weak, unpopular, and amputated government. Oh yes, a show of force for the Lebanese people in order to send the message that whatever their will, if it doesn't match USrael's will, then it is not acceptable. And it is wishful thinking if the US thinks that the Lebanese people will adore this exhibition of military force...

Read here an hour by hour account from the US army of the first US Marines' landing in Beirut in 1982. At the end of the chapter you will find a link to the following chapter, and so on, all related to the presence of the US Marines in Beirut until their departure. Of particular interest is chapter 7 relating the investigation into the bombing of the US Marines in Beirut and its conclusions.

This post is mentioned by Raed Rafei in his blog's round-up on the USS cole's move, in the LA Times blogs.

Read here, in French, Lebanese blogger Frenchy, with his usual humor, commenting on the event.


dubhaltach said...

Every time I've come to comment on this post I've had to stop because only using extreme bad language would allow me to express the rage I feel that the country where as a visibly foreign child I was treated with such love and care is more likely than not once again going to be pounded to dust by that pack of warmongering racists.

I hate to think how you must feel about it.

Rationally I know that every time they do this they weaken themselves yet further, but that is no comfort to the people who have been bombed and lost their loved ones and their homes.

Keep well Sophie,


Sophia said...


We have to wait and see. But that's really foolish as foreign policy. We nedd agressive diplomacy in the Middle East and not agressive Show of force.
And what will happen to the world if every time an unpopular government or a dictator calls US military ships to the rescue ? Knowing the precedents, at least in Lebanon, this is non sense.

I hope that this country of yours, and mine, will become peaceful one day...

Ted said...

Bush will find a way to get us into a area wide war before he leaves office, all for Israel domination of the area.

Number of Operations Iraq Freedom and Enduring Freedom casualties as confirmed by U.S. Central Command: 4437

dubhaltach said...

Sophia have you seen this from AFP?

السعودية: العمليات العسكرية الاسرائيلية في غزة "تحاكي جرائم الحرب النازية"

Looks like the rhetoric is heating up everywhere.

dubhaltach said...

Oops sorry that link should have been to the English version of the Saudi Statement:

Saudi Press Agency - SPA:

"While condemning the Israeli war crimes against the Palestinian people, and the threats vowed by the Israeli officials to inflict a holocaust on Gaza Strip, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia believes that by resorting to such methods, Israel is emulating the Nazi war crimes."

The full thing is at the link above.

Alright it's the Saudis who are hypocrticial to say the least and whose hands are very very far from clean - nevertheless, what I am getting more and more from friends throughout the region is that the pro-western elites are starting to panic about the depth of feeling on the "street"

Any thoughts ?

Sophia said...


SA is reacting this way to save its own rulers from a revolt in their own country. These people never cared for Palestine. They only cared for their harems and material wealth and extravaganza...

Sophia said...


As someone from the military you will be interested in reading the account of the US Marines multiple landing and their involvement in beirut, told by the military. The link is in this post. It seems that the US sends the Marines on a a mission to lebanon everytime Israel has specific intentions or projects for invading the country. On the other side, the US Marines mission in 1982 seems to have been tied to Israel, it was vague from the beginning and all the way...

dubhaltach said...

Sophia yes, that's why I put in that comment about the street. I think they're realising just how frail their grip on power is if all, not so much consent as acquiesence, is withdrawn from their appeasement policies.

Ted apropos Sophia's last comment - I'm a bomb disposal officer, as was my dad before me, when I was a cadet I got the chance to hear him give a guest lecture/workshop at the JWC in Stavanger. The topic was preventable bombings. One of the things he did was produce photos and a map of the building that the Marines used - they were from before the bombing.

He didn't tell the participants where it was, he didn't tell them how (and why) the marines had made themselves thoroughly hated, he didn't tell them that the U.S. NCA had forbidden preventive measures such as installing bollards. He just handed out the photos and the map and said "Gentlemen - evaluate"

There was complete silence for about 2 minutes and then 2 of the participants said simultaneously:

"F*** what a target!"

Which was of course the right answer.

Sophia my sincere apologies for using such language on your blog even in bowdlerised form, but in this instance it was needed to make the point of the incident clear.

Sophia said...


Sorry for this late response. I love the way you are proud of your dad. And don't worry for the language...

Since March 29th 2006