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Lebanon's Sunnis and the Civil War
Lebanon's Sunnis and the Civil War
Watser?
Published by Watser?
08-01-2008
Tablet The Shi段tes

The Shi段tes


The rise of Amal among the Shi段tes had a few other specific causes. The Shi段te areas, Jabal Amil in the south and the Bekaa valley, had been severely neglected by the central government for a long time. This had created a created a steady stream of internal migration to Beirut and external migration to west Africa and the Arab oil states. The new inhabitants of Beirut usually ended up in the slums while the ones who went abroad maintained their ties with Lebanon and often returned wealthy.121

In 1974, Musa al-Sadr founded his Harakat al-Mahrumin and in 1975, the milita Amal. So far, the parties with the most followers among Shi段tes were the two communist parties: CPL and OCA. This changed during the course of the civil war however for the following reasons:

- The interests of the Shi段tes and the National Movement began to diverge. The Shi段tes had suffered severely during the civil war. The inhabitants of Qarantina were mostly Shi段tes and many Shi段tes lived in Tall az-Zaatar as well. Shi段tes fought in many of the militias also. Musa al-Sadr remarked that the NM was prepared to fight the Christians until the last Shi段te.122

The interests diverged even more in the south. Here the NM, together with the PLO, was engaged in an intense struggle with Israel and Haddad痴 militia. The mainly Shi段te population was trapped between the warring parties and hundreds of thousands fled the area. Israel痴 policies were aimed at driving a wedge between the Shi段te population and the PLO. Many Shi段tes started to blame the increasing Israeli raids on the PLO for provoking those attacks by its presence. Israel capitalised on that by allowing local militias as long as they kept the Palestinians out of their villages. These militias merged with Amal which had the same policy.

- The disappearance of Musa al-Sadr in Libya in 1978 had a huge impact on the growth of Amal. An important part of the Shi段te faith is the 践idden Imam. The Imams are the followers and descendants of Ali, the son-in-law of the prophet Mohammed (imam is also the name for the person who leads the Muslims in prayer). The Twelfth Imam disappeared without a trace and it is believed that he shall return at the end of times as the Mahdi (Messiah). For the Shi段tes of Lebanon, Musa al-Sadr痴 disappearance conjured up cultural memories of the disappearance of the Twelfth Imam. Amal痴 leadership capitalised on that by not appointing a new chairman, but a vice-chairman. By his disappearance, Musa al-Sadr became a martyr and a stronger symbol than he ever had been while alive.

Another effect was that a deep rift appeared between Lebanon痴 Shi段tes and the Libyan regime. The aversion to Qadhafi痴 regime also had an impact on the relations with the NM which had parties supported by Libya (most notably the MIN/al-Murabitun).

- The revolution in Iran of 1979 boosted the Lebanese Shi段tes consciousness. For Amal it was an example of what a Shi段te community can do but not a model to follow in Lebanon.123

What痴 remarkable in Amal痴 political program is how much emphasis there is on Lebanon. This can be explained from the fact that the Shi段te community is divided into three geographically separate areas: Jabal Amil in the south, the Bekaa Valley and the suburbs of Beirut. If Lebanon were to be partitioned, the Shi段te community would be divided. In a pan-Syrian or pan-Arab state on the other hand they would be a tiny minority (only Iraq has a sizeable Twelver Shi段te population). That explains Amal痴 emphasis on Lebanese independence, although they do recognise the Arab character of Lebanon.

Amal痴 branches in the south, Beirut and Bekaa Valley did not always have the same interests and so did not always follow the same course. The southern branch considered the Israeli invasion of 1982 a liberation from the PLO痴 presence which it saw as an occupation. Amal-south did not resist the invasion and even helped the invaders in tracking down Palestinian and Lebanese resistance fighters.124 In Beirut the situation was entirely different. Although there had been clashes there also between Amal and Palestinian groups (like the pro-Iraqi ALF) and NM militias, the Shi段tes in the suburbs still considered the Maronite militias their biggest enemy. Moreover, the Israelis had bombed Beirut heavily, not sparing the Shi段te areas; therefore, Amal Beirut did fight the Israeli troops.

Amal痴 following among the Shi段tes was eroded increasingly by fundamentalist groups after 1982. In July of 1982, a radical faction under Husain Musawi broke away from Amal. Musawi accused Amal痴 leadership of collaborating with the Israelis and founded Islamic Amal.125 Hezbollah was also rising, which was supported by Iran. Its headquarters were in the Shaikh Abdullah barracks at Baalbek (in the Bekaa Valley) from 1983.126 The units of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards were also established in Baalbek.

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Thanks, from:
curses (08-02-2008), Sophia (01-22-2011), Stormlight (08-01-2008)
  #1  
By Watser? on 12-27-2010, 01:10 AM
News Re: Lebanon's Sunnis and the Civil War

Here's a story from the Lebanese press about one former member of Tawhid who was murdered Saturday in the Palestinian camp Ain al Hilweh, near Sidon.
Quote:
Located on the outskirts of the coastal city of Sidon, Ain al-Hilweh, like most other Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon, does not fall under the control of the Lebanese government but under that of local Palestinian armed factions.

The camp saw normal activity Sunday morning, one day after the body of Ghandi Sahmarani, a member in the disbanded Jund al-Sham Islamist group was found.

Security sources said that Sahmarani, who is a Lebanese citizen wanted by Lebanese authorities, was found hand cuffed, leg cuffed and struck by a sharp device on the head. Sahmarani who hasn稚 shown up for a long time, used to live in the Taamir neighborhood, which lies to the north of the camp, and which is considered a stronghold for Salafi Islamists. The area falls under the influence of Osbat al-Ansar, an Islamist group.

The fugitive was a member of Al-Tawhid al-Islami movement in the 1980痴, during which he participated in the fierce battles that broke out between the movement and the Syrian Army in Tripoli. He left Tripoli in 1987 and moved to Sidon where he joined a number of fundamentalist movements including Osbat al-Ansar and Jund al-Sham. After the disbandment of Jund al-Sham, Sahmarani joined Fatah al-Islam.

Sahmarani reportedly sheltered a number of Islamists who fled the northern Dinnieh district after taking part in the clashes that erupted between their comrades and the Lebanese Army in the district in 2000.

As a member of Jund al-Sham, the group fought the Lebanese Army several times. Armed clashes broke out between the two around Ain al-Hilweh in 2007, when the army was fighting Fatah al-Islam in the northern Palestinian refugee camp of Nahr al-Bared.
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  #2  
By Watser? on 10-28-2014, 01:10 PM
Default Re: Lebanon's Sunnis and the Civil War

Quote:
"The army has taken over Bab al-Tebbaneh," said the spokesman, adding that troops had captured 162 fighters since Friday.

The army urged other fighters still at large to turn themselves in.

The soldiers carried out house-to-house searches and made several weapons seizures.

A 72-year-old woman said she had never before been forced out of Bab al-Tebbaneh, "not even during the civil war. But this time, I had to flee my house, along with my five grandchildren. I am in charge of them, because their father is in jail", said Umm Mohammed Jaaburi. "The violence was unprecedented," she said.
Lebanon army back in control of Tripoli
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  #3  
By Watser? on 10-30-2014, 02:36 PM
Default Re: Lebanon's Sunnis and the Civil War

Quote:
No two people would disagree about the outcome of the most recent round of clashes in Tripoli. The army was able to defeat the gunmen. The outcome is unambiguous, at least in terms of appearances. The Lebanese army succeeded in driving the gunmen underground and removed all signs of their former existence. It set up checkpoints and carried out raids in areas that were forbidden to it in the past even if it cost the lives of 12 officers and soldiers, while there were no heavy casualties among the gunmen.
Jihadi groups in north Lebanon admit to defeat in battle against the army | Al Akhbar English
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