The Ronald Reagan administration’s considerable restraint during the early phase of Israel’s 1982 operation in Lebanon came as a surprise to many in the US and the region alike. By late 1982-early 1983 the administration could indeed point to several early indications of success in realizing the objectives. The quick selection of Amin Jumayyil to succeed his slain younger brother appeared to testify to the feasibility of stabilizing the central government in Lebanon and of building its foundations upon the dominance of the Christian Maronite element. If the administration was relieved that Congress’ decision had postponed any serious public discussion of the marines’ presence in Lebanon until after the November 1984 elections, its relief was short-lived. Reagan’s late 1983 declaration that success in establishing stability in Beirut— no longer in all of Lebanon — would permit withdrawal of the marines, seemed to signal the nature of his approaching decision.