Lebanon 1975

International Operation Name: N/A

International Operation Dates: N/A

Mandating Organization: Government of Canada

Region Name:  Middle East

Location:  Lebanon

Canadian Operation Name: (Lebanon 1975)

Canadian Operation Dates: 1975/10/09 – 1976/11/30

Mission Mandate:

To evacuate Canadian nationals from Lebanon

Mission Notes: 

Lebanon has a varied ethnic melange.  About half the population is Muslim (Shi'ite, Sunni or Druze) while another half is Christian.  By 1976 Palestinian refugees, who had left their lands following the creation of Israel (1948) and the three Arab-Israeli Wars (1956, 1967 and 1973) were also an important demographic (and political) factor.  Dissatisfaction with the prominent role accorded to the Christian community by the Lebanese Constitution was especially high among the Palestinians.  When on 13 April 1975 gunmen killed four members of the Phalangist (Christian) political party during an assassination attempt on Pierre Jumayyil, the Phalangist leader, it was widely believed that the gunmen had been Palestinian.  Consequently, a group of Phalangists attacked a bus carrying Palestinians through a Christian area, killing about 26 of the passengers.  The next day fighting erupted between Phalangists and Palestinians.  The government could not act effectively as it became fractured over whether to use the army to suppress the fighting.  As various groups began to choose sides, Lebanon descended into civil war.

The fighting resulted in some nations suggesting that their nationals should leave the country.  As fighting continued into 1976, the United States conducted an evacuation of its nationals and Embassy staff in June and July of that year.

In Canada, the civil war raised the possibility that Canadian nationals might need to be evacuated.  On 9 October 1975, a 436 Squadron CC-130 Hercules was placed on standby in case an airlift was required.  The standby period lasted into November, with no date specified as to when it ended.

A briefing note prepared in 1979 indicates that Canadian and other nationals were evacuated from Lebanon in 1976.  The note unfortunately does not provide any supporting information.  

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