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Political violence in Leban was a permanent feature of international news bulletins during the 1980s. Beginning with the Israeli invasion and bombing of Beirut, the Sabra and Chatila massacres, the ejection of the PLO and the Syrian occupation of the rth and east, Leban in these years became the site for regional and international conflict, played out through its warring communities. By its very nature discreet, even secretive, diplomacy, whether on the international or domestic stage, was a crucial dimension of the Lebanese war which still awaits documentation. This insider's memoir comes from one who, for most of the 1980s, was at the centre of diplomatic efforts to bring the conflict to an end. As foreign minister, and then adviser, to the Lebanese president, Elie Salem witnessed the day-to-day events of the three main phases of the decade: the Reagan administration's frustrated attempt to broker an agreement that would get the Israeli - later the Syrian - army out of Leban; the desperate years 1984-87, when killings and kidnappings isolated the population from the world; and the revival of diplomacy after Syria signalled its readiness for a rapprochement with Washington, finally leading to a settlement that in some ways set the scene for the Arab-Israeli peace accord, a few years later.