Chronology: Lebanon

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July 18: Lebanon's Parliament approved amnesty for Christian militia leader Samir Geagea, who was serving a life sentence for ordering four political assassinations, including the killing of Prime Minister Rashid Karami in 1987 and the unsuccessful attempt on the life of Defense Minister Michel Murr in 1991. He was the only Lebanese warlord to be punished for crimes committed during the Lebanese Civil War. [BBC, 7/18]

July 19: A Shi'ite teenager was killed in clashes that broke out in Beirut after the Lebanese Parliament granted former militia leader Samir Geagea amnesty. The violence erupted between members of the Shia Amal movement and Christian Maronite supporters of Geagea. [Al-Jazeera, 7/19]

Lebanon's leaders agreed to the formation of the first government free from Syrian political influence since the Civil War. Prime Minister Fouad Siniora's new cabinet, which includes a senior member of Hizbullah, was announced after a meeting with President Emile Lahoud. Shi'ite independent Fawzi Salukh was named Foreign Minister. [BBC, 7/19]

July 22: US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice arrived in Beirut in an unexpected break with the published schedule for her Middle East trip. Rice's visit marked the highest-level US visit since Syria ended its 29-year military presence in Lebanon. She met President Emile Lahoud after visiting the tomb of former Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri. [BBC, 7/22]

Aug. 8: Lebanon's new government created a national commission to draft new election laws that would replace the code that was crafted in 2000 with strong Syrian input. The committee, headed by the former Foreign Minister Fouad Butros, is comprised of six Christian and six Muslim members. [Reuters, 8/9]

Aug. 23: A Christian area of Beirut was hit by a bomb blast, renewing tensions between pro- and anti-Syrian factions. It was the 11th such attack in Lebanon since the February 14 assassination of former Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri. …