The War of Desperation: Lebanon 1982-85
By John Laffin
Publisher: Os Publishing 1985 192 Pages
PDF 7 MB
In the summer of 1982 Israel fought a war in southern Lebanon against the Palestine Liberation Organisation, and in eastern Lebanon against the PLO and its military allies, the Syrians. Initially called Operation 'Peace for Galilee', this conflict became one of the most momentous and most controversial of modern times. While it was simple enough in its causes, strategy, tactics and consequences, the fact that it took place in Lebanon made it appear confusing to people not familiar with the Byzantine politics of that unhappy country.
A small army of correspondents covered the war for the world's press, radio and television; but too often - for reasons which I give in this book - I believe that some of them succeeded only in compounding the confusion. This book is an attempt to clarify that war by describing the tensions which produced it, the campaign as a military event, and its regional and international consequences.
My sources are many and varied - Israeli, Syrian and PLO included - and I have leant heavily on my own close-up observation of several phases and aspects of the war. I know the region of combat well, in contrast to many reporters who were seeing it for the first time. I encountered at Tyre an American television crew who were making a film of what they told me was 'damage caused by shelling from Israeli warships'. In fact, the 'wrecked buildings' they were filming were early Roman ruins. A major aspect of the war was the media's ignorance about Lebanon, historically and currently. In Nabatiye, south-east Lebanon, my wife and I were in the company of a reporter from Illinois. As usual, the crowded streets of that Arab city were choked with cars and every driver, also as usual, was continually blasting his horn. 'My God!' said the wide-eyed Illinois man, 'this sure is a major political demonstration. What are they angry about?' 'They're not angry at all,' we told him. 'They always drive this way. It's normal.' Nevertheless, he proposed to report the din as a protest, against what or whom we never did find out.