Beirut (Mar 2011)
Beirut was in civil war between 1975 and 1990. An era of relative prosperity ended in 1975 when the Lebanese Civil War broke out throughout the country. During most of the war, Beirut was divided between a Muslim west part and the Christian east. The downtown area, previously the home of much of the city's commercial and cultural activities, became a no man's land known as the "Green Line." Many inhabitants fled to other countries. Thousands of others were killed throughout the war, and much of the city was devastated. A particularly destructive period was the 1982 Israeli invasion, during which most of West Beirut was under siege by Israeli troops. In 1983, French and US barracks were bombed by Hezbollah, killing 241 American servicemen, 58 French servicemen, 6 civilians and the 2 suicide bombers.

Since the end of the war in 1990, the people of Lebanon have been rebuilding Beirut, and by the start of the 2006 Israel-Lebanon conflict the city had somewhat regained its status as a tourist, cultural, and intellectual centre in the Middle East, as well as a centre for commerce, fashion, and media. Reconstruction of downtown Beirut has been largely driven by Solidere, a development company established in 1994 by Rafik Hariri.

The 2005 assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri near the Saint George Bay in Beirut shook the entire country. Approximately one million people gathered for an opposition rally in Beirut, a month after the death of Hariri. The "Cedar Revolution" was the largest rally in Lebanon's history at that time. The last Syrian troops withdrew from Beirut on 26 April 2005.The two countries established diplomatic relations on 15 October 2008. During the 2006 Lebanon War, however, Israeli bombardments seeking Hezbollah targets resulted in damage in many parts of Beirut, especially the poorer and largely Shiite South Beirut, which is controlled by Hezbollah. In May 2008, violent clashes broke out in Beirut, after the government decided to disband Hezbollah's network of communications (which it later rescinded), between the government allies that were relocated in the capital and the forces of the opposition briefly before handing it over to the control of the Lebanese Army.
47 photos · 95 views