During the height of the Cold War, when the West and Soviet Union attempted to insert their influence into any nation they could, and Lebanon would be in the crosshairs. Then, one of the biggest economies of the Middle East, Lebanon, was the region’s crown jewel, but cracks in the country’s system started to lead to conflict.

The Middle East and North Africa became ripe with Arab nationalism stemming from Abdel Nasser’s Free Officers coup against the Egyptian Monarchy, and class conflicts spilled over from the Soviet Union. Lebanon was caught in the Middle of various competitions that spilled over into the Levant. The once prosperous nation on the East Mediterranean would have its fate sealed in the 1958 civil war.


Lebanon emerged as a proposed state by France after the Sykes-Picot Agreement. Before Lebanon’s republic, Mount Lebanon was a semi-autonomous state under the Ottoman Empire with French oversight after the brutal civil war of the 1860s. Half of Mount Lebanon’s population was purposely starved to death in a famine exacerbated by Djemal Pasha, one of the triumvirates who ruled the late Ottoman Empire.

France intended Mount Lebanon to be represented primarily by the Maronites, Christians with close communion with the French Catholic Church. Druze and Sunnis were the minorities, and the state became increasingly filled with Armenian Genocide survivors.

The Maronite Church would propose a greater Lebanese state as Mount Lebanon was not as economically viable as they thought. For this, the Bekaa Valley and the South were added, increasing the demographics with even more Sunni and Shiite Muslims.

Lebanon would slowly become a top economic powerhouse of the Middle East with a banking system that Western nations such as America and France saw as valuable. Seeing itself as non-Arab, the Maronite-dominated government enacted neutrality policies, whereas the rest of the Middle East, aside from Iran at the time, became in a state of war against Israel.