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Taʾif Accord


Agreement ending the civil war in Lebanon, 1989.

In July 1989, the Arab Tripartite Committee (Morocco, Saudi Arabia, and Algeria) made recommendations to resolve Lebanon's civil war: expanded Lebanese sovereignty, a pullback of Syria's forces, and formalization of Syria and Lebanon's relationship with Israel. Syria promptly rejected them. In September, in the city of Taʾif, Saudi Arabia, representatives of the various Lebanese factions accepted a new National Unity charter. Under it, Syria would restrain Shiʿite groups backed by Iran in exchange for recognition of its dominance in Lebanon and the isolation of the Christian military figure Michel Aoun; vacant parliamentary seats would be filled by the new government before holding elections; Syria was empowered to become involved in reconstituting national governmental authority; re-deployment of its forces left Syria firmly in control of territory strategically important for access to Beirut; and the governments of Syria and Lebanon were permitted to conclude secret agreements. The Taʾif Accord came under heavy criticism because several of its clauses were never implemented. Foremost was the issue of Syrian troops' presence in Lebanon. In 2002 and 2003, the Syrian regime implemented symbolic minor withdrawals from some areas in Lebanon, including Beirut. As of today, there are still more than 25,000 Syrian troops in Lebanon.

bryan daves
updated by george e. irani

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