The sixteen-year long civil war in Leban was caused by dissatisfaction over the distribution of political power. The system favoured Christians who fought to eject Palestinian armed forces, which sought to use the country as a spring board for attacks into adjacent Israel. Western intervention was repelled by suicide-bombing attacks. Lebanese Christians and Muslims sub-divided to fight each other. Dominated by competing war lords, this civil war was table for massacres, treachery, atrocities, kidnapping, assassination, changing alliances of convenience, and invasions.
EDGAR O'BALLANCE served in the British and Indian armies during World War II, reaching the rank of Colonel. He worked as a journalist from 1948-62 for a US Wire Agency, and since then as a freelance journalist. He has covered over 20 wars and insurgencies and written extensively on international relations, defence and strategic problems. He is a member of the IISS, RUSI, and the former Chairman of the London-based Military Commentators Circle.