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Muslims vs. Christians

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The Christians vs. Muslims conflict in Lebanon also referred to as the Arab-Israel conflict refers to the hostiles and tension between the Jewish community and the Arab people. The conflicts in Lebanon can be traced back as to have risen from two causes; the Arab-Israel dispute and the Muslim-Christian divide internally and ethnically. The consequent of these two combinations was disastrous as sporadic troubles led to a major civil war in the year 1975. The conflict was mainly because of the power sharing system that was composed of a Sunni prime minister, a Christian president and a Shi’a speaker. Both parties felt the system no longer offered political legitimacy because of its ideological difference between the Christians and the Muslims.  The Muslims had on their side been attracted by ideas from the pan-Arab from as early as 1950 yet the Christians had not (McDowel 2000).

The disagreement resulted to sharpening of the political division among ethnic groups with the Muslims identifying themselves with the Palestinians as they struggled against Israel and the Christians stood against the Muslim involvement and wanted them out of the conflict.  The effect of the disagreement was the large influx of the Palestinians coming from Jordan and Israel in 1970 and 1948 respectively.  This influx included the military and political headquarters of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). At the same time, Beirut had lost its control over southern Lebanon to the Israel proxy forces and Palestinians. Outside forces like the UN force as well as the National Interim Force in Lebanon offered security to the locals but this did not stop the sporadic attacks by Israel targeting Palestinians and vice versa (McDowel 2000). 

In this conflict, the Christians were considered as the minority making approximately 43% of the total population with the Muslims standing out as the majority group.  The difference in the population gave rise to the conflict of who among the two religious were the chosen people in reference to the Promised Land which was Jerusalem. This part of the conflict was based on the difference in religious beliefs. According to the Koran, the land was meant for the Muslims while the Bible had it that the land was meant for the Christians. The interventions from other nations such as the United States and Syria were meant to ease up the tension between these two sides but to some extend ended up worsening the situation. This is because either of the two religions felt the intervening nations were taking sides depending on the religious background. The Lebanon conflict which had started as a nationalist and political conflict mainly due to competition over territorial ambitions has since then shifted from the Muslim-Christian conflict at large to a local Palestinian-Israel conflict as the two remain at odds over specific territory (Waldman 2003). 

The multifaceted civil war in Lebanon that lasted until 1990 from 1975 is estimated to have resulted to an approximated 150,000 to 230, 000 fatalities. Of the total population of Lebanon, more than one million people were wounded while an estimated 350, 000 remained displaced. Its effect to the civilians did not stop at that; the country experienced a massive exodus of more than a million people. The occupants who moved in after that war, were politically disadvantageous especially to the Christians as a better part of their leadership had been driven to exile, jailed, or had been assassinated.  Until now, there exists no consensus on what was the main cause of the Lebanese Civil War (Waldman 2003).

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