ABSTRACT

This chapter attempts to situate the regime’s policies within the strategic context confronting Damascus during the months immediately following the eruption of the uprising in December 1987, particularly with regard to developments in Lebanon and trends in relations between Syria and the Palestine Liberation Organization. Syrian-sponsored Palestinian organizations largely followed Damascus’ lead during the first months of the uprising, arguing that violent resistance in the Gaza Strip and West Bank underlined the bankruptcy of the Camp David agreements. Syrian policy toward the intifada began to focus more closely on the struggle between the Arab population of the West Bank and Gaza and the Israeli armed forces in the wake of Secretary of State Shultz’s follow-up tour of the region in early April. Syria and its allies found themselves in a precarious strategic position in Lebanon during the last weeks of 1987.