Results for Tag: Israel
In the spring of 2005, the remaining Syrian forces, whose number had already dropped from 40,000 in 2000 to 14,000 in 2004, finally withdrew, thus ending 29 years of military presence. Foreign involvement did not end here, however. Observers have said that Lebanon exchanged the Syrian tutelage for a Western umbrella or stepped-up Iranian interference.
The Civil War was not a war between Muslims and Christians, at least not at all times, although it seemed to start along religious lines. Instead, it was a war between left and right – ‘the Left’ being strongly in favour of a redistribution of power according to existing realities, ‘the Right’ opposing such a redistribution. Alliances between Lebanese groups sometimes shifted, as did support from abroad.
The coastal region of present-day Lebanon corresponds to an important part of ancient Canaan, which extended from Ugarit (now Ras Shamra) in northern Syria, along the coast and the valley of the river Orontes, down to southern Israel. Later, in the 1st millennium BCE, Tripoli, Byblos, Beryt (Beirut), Sidon (Saida), and Tyre were famous, independent Phoenician cities. From the first century CE on, the Christian religion spread along the Mediterranean Coast and beyond. Lebanon and Syria were among the very first countries to be Christianized. The Christians in the Roman Empire were at first ignored or tolerated, then persecuted, and eventually recognized.
The overwhelming majority – approximately 98 percent – of Tunisians are Muslim Arabs or Berbers, most of whom are Sunnis; only a minority are Shiite Muslims. Christians make up about 1 percent of the population, and another 1 percent consists of Jews – who have historically played a significant role in Tunisian society – as well as other small religious and ethnic groups.