This period is characterized by Israeli attempts to achieve an overall arrangement on the northern border by threatening the vital areas in the strategic Syrian rear space, in the passes sector. It had been hoped that the Peace for Galilee War would result in a peace agreement between Israel and Lebanon (and in fact an abortive short-lived Peace Treaty was initialed). However, hopes in this respect were premature. The IDF, despite its achievements in the Peace for Galilee War (which included the destruction of the PLO infrastructure) found itself bogged down in the quagmire of Lebanon.
The Lebanese Government was unable to assert its authority and anarchy prevailed with over a dozen armed militias (among them Druze and Christian Forces Libanaises) fighting each other. The IDF consequently withdrew its forces from the region of Beirut (in September 1983), redeploying to a line from the Awali river (north of Sidon) downwards. The IDF faced ever-increasing guerrilla and insurgent activities, at the start by the Palestinians, and later by the Shiites in south Lebanon, who established the Amal and Hizbullah organizations. The activities of these organizations increased, particularly in the last year of the IDF’s deployment in Lebanon, and were characterized by a number of suicide bombings which inflicted mass casualties, such as the attack in Sidon and on the US Marines and French Army headquarters in Beirut (October 1983). During this period, there were approximately 1,350 attacks in Lebanon against the IDF (an average of 450 per year), in which a total of 306 Israeli soldiers were killed. However, Israel’s northern villages lived in peace, without a single casualty or significant attack. Given the anarchy and the inability to conclude peace in Lebanon, the IDF finally withdrew from Lebanon in June 1985, supporting a 3-15 kilometer-wide Security Zone in South Lebanon contiguous to Israel. In this zone the Lebanese General Antoine Lahad commands the Southern Lebanese Army (SLA) comprised of Lebanese Christian and Shiite troops.