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The Middle East divide

"The Middle East divide" Continued...

Issue: "Big mouth on campus," March 12, 2005

Most evangelicals feel politically impotent next to the more powerful Maronite Church. But evangelicals are seen playing a larger role than their minority status would suggest after former economy minister Basil Fuleihan, a known evangelical, was critically wounded in the bomb blast that killed Mr. Hariri. He is in Paris receiving treatment for burn wounds. Evangelical churches, meanwhile, have agreed to a day of fasting and prayer for their country on Good Friday. In Lebanon, that is Mar. 25, coinciding with the Western observance.

The important thing, according to Mr. Mallouh, "is what happens next. If we have withdrawal, and if a new government takes over, would these different parties stick together, or would they go back to the previous situation" when religious differences divided the country?

Uneasy cohabitation: Syria and Lebanon

· 1989: The Taif Agreement ends Lebanon's civil war and outlines the withdrawal of Syria's troop from Lebanon.

· 1991: President signs "Treaty of Brotherhood, Cooperation and Coordination" with Syrian president.

· 1998: Pro-Syrian general, Emile Lahoud, becomes Lebanon's president.

· 2002: American missionary nurse Bonnie Weatherall is murdered at an evangelical clinic in Sidon. She is the first American terror victim in more than 10 years.

· June 5, 2004: President Bush and French President Jacques Chirac meet and agree to work together to push for a UN resolution demanding a Syrian pullout from Lebanon.

· Aug. 26, 2004: Prime Minister Rafik Hariri visits Syrian President Bashar Assad in Damascus to discuss a constitutional amendment that would allow pro-Syria President Emile Lahoud to run for re-election. After returning, Mr. Hariri tells associates he has no choice but to support the amendment, but he will resign as prime minister in protest.

· Sept. 2, 2004: The UN Security Council calls for the withdrawal of foreign forces in Lebanon.

· Sept. 3, 2004: Lebanon's parliament succumbs to Syrian pressure and approves a constitutional amendment giving Mr. Lahoud another three years in office.

· Sept. 7, 2004: Traditionally an ally of Syria, Walid Jumblatt resigns as foreign minister and swings to the opposition's side, bringing the Druze sect with him.

· Oct. 1, 2004: A car bomb in central Beirut wounds former Economy Minister Marwan Hamadeh. Mr. Hamadeh resigned from his post to protest the parliament's extension of Mr. Lahoud's term.

· Oct. 20, 2004: Lebanon's Prime Minister Rafik Hariri resigns.

· Feb. 14, 2005: Mr. Hariri is assassinated when a car bomb explodes as his motorcade travels in west Beirut. Lebanon holds Syria responsible. Opposition leaders call for the resignation of Prime Minister Omar Karami's cabinet and demand full withdrawal of Syrian troops before elections in early spring.

· Feb. 16, 2005: Mr. Hariri is buried as 100,000 mourners turn his funeral into an anti-Syrian protest.

· Feb. 19, 2005: Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrullah renews the call for dialogue with Lebanon.

· Feb. 24, 2005: Syria announces it will begin withdrawing its troops in Lebanon closer to its own border.

· Feb. 26, 2005: Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak orders a change in the country's constitution to allow multi-candidate presidential elections in the fall.

· Feb. 27, 2005: Syria captures Saddam Hussein's half-brother, Sabawi Ibrahim al-Hassan, and hands him over to Iraqi officials.

· Feb. 28, 2005: Lebanon's Prime Minister Omar Karami resigns.

-Kristin Chapman

Mindy Belz
Mindy Belz

Mindy travels to the far corners of the globe as the editor of WORLD and lives with her family in the mountains of western North Carolina. Follow Mindy on Twitter @mcbelz.

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