The Lebanon Crises (1958)

The Lebanon Crises (1958)

In Lebanon, the big problem was the fragile nature of the social and political structure of the country. Lebanon was a multi-confessional state with Christians and Muslims sharing power. The new Government appointed by President Chamoun in 1956 seemed to tilt more towards the West. On January 5, 1957, President Eisenhower appeared before Congress to announce a new US policy for the Middle East. He asked Congress to pass a resolution authorizing economic assistance and the use of US forces to prevent a Communist takeover in the Middle East (Meo 132-144). Lebanon was the only Arab country to announce publicly its support for the doctrine. The decision by President Chamoun to endorse the new US policy, and accept aid under the terms of the Middle East Resolution, caused a major foreign policy rift between the Government and the opposition in Lebanon and led to the formation of the united National Front, an opposition grouping composed of Muslims and Christians (Meo 132-144)
This rift coincided with Chamoun’s plans to amend the electoral law before the elections in June 1957. The passage of the new law increased the number of seats in the Chamber of Deputies and had a direct impact on the outcome of the elections, outside influences also affected the outcome. The United States provided covert funds for pro-Government candidates, while Egypt and Syria supported and funded the opposition (Eveland 248-250).
Since assuming the Presidency, Camille Chamoun had made a determined effort to destroy the power of the feudal landowners who formed the backbone of the Lebanese political system.

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