By 1982, Lebanon was deep into a civil war waged by a bewildering array of political and sectarian militias, with the proxy involvement of regional powers, notably Syria, Iran and Israel. Prominent amongst these was the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), which used southern Lebanon as a base for attacks on Israel; but the proximate cause of Israel’s invasion was the PLO shooting of their United Nations ambassador. The invasion was launched on 6 June, and the conventional war was over before the end of the month. The main protagonists were the Israeli Defence Force (IDF) and the Syrian Army, each abetted by militias split on sectarian lines. Israel ‘won’, occupying southern Lebanon, and driving out the PLO. However, the war was a catalyst for the formation of Hezbollah, more formidable than the PLO, and continuing Israeli occupation would be sapped by terrorist attacks, and tarnished by the Shatila/Sabra massacres.
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