Arab nationalist parties
MAN and its successors
The most influential parties among the Sunnis were the Arab nationalist parties. One of them was the Movement of Arab Nationalists (MAN, Harakat al-Qawmiyin al-Arab) that was founded in Beirut in 1954. It was a pan-Arab party with branches in the entire Mashriq (the eastern part of the Arab world). From 1962 onward it had two branches: the one that considered itself the left wing had a Shi’ite Lebanese called Muhsin Ibrahim and a Greek Orthodox Jordanian named Nayef Hawatmeh as members, the other wing had a Greek Orthodox Palestinian called George Habash. MAN worked with Nasser and the Nasserist movements in the early 1960s. The movement radicalised however and after the 1967 June War it fell apart in a number of Marxist-Leninist parties, among others:
The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP
, al-Jabha al-Shaabiya li-Tahrir Filastin), a Palestinian resistance group led by George Habash.
The Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (formerly Popular Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, PDFLP, al-Jabha ad-Dimuqratiya al-Shaabiya li-Tahrir Filastin, change its name to DFLP
, al-Jabha ad-Dimuqratiya li-Tahrir Filastin in August 1974), led by Nayef Hawatmeh.
The Organisation of Lebanese Socialists (OLS, Munazzamat al-Ishtirakiyin al-Lubnaniyin), this would join a leftist spinter of the Baath Party, Socialist Lebanon (SL, Lubnan al-Ishtiraki) in 1971 to become the Organisation of Communist Action (OCA
, Munazzamat al-‘Amal ash-Shuyu’i) led by Muhsin Ibrahim.
The Party of Arab Socialist Action (PASA
, Hizb al-’Amal al-Ishtiraki al-Arabi) also led by George Habash. This party considered itself an ally of the CPL and other Arab communist parties.30
Other Arab nationalist parties
The Baath (Renaissance) Party (Hizb al-Baath
) was founded in 1944 by a Syrian Christian named Michel Aflaq who was influenced by marxism and nationalism. The Baath party slogan was One Arab Nation with an Eternal Mission and its objectives were Freedom, Unity and Socialism. The Baath was the first party to adopt pan-Arab unity. It had branches in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and Jordan from the 1950s. In 1963 the Baath came to power in Syria but also split into two factions and in 1966 the main branch, led by Salah Jadid forced the minority wing led by Michel Aflaq into exile. After this wing of the Baath took over there in 1968, this branch would move to Iraq and become known as the Iraqi branch of the Baath. In Lebanon both branches were active.
The chairman of the pro-Iraqi Baath
was Abd al-Majid al-Rafi’i who was elected to parliament in 1972 for the district of Tripoli. The party line was set in Baghdad.
The pro-Syrian Baath
was led by Issam Qansi and party policy for this one was set in Damascus.
The Movement of Independent Nasserists (MIN
, Harakat an-Nasiriyin al Mustaqillin) was founded in 1958 and led by a collective leadership chaired by Ibrahim Qulaylat. Qulaylat was a qabaday who had fought against Chamoun in the civil war of 1958 and was later recruited by Egypt and then the Deuxième Bureay (see above). Of its followers 60% were from Beirut and 10% were Druze and the rest about as many Shi’ites as Sunnis.31
The MIN also had a militia called al-Murabitun
(named after the medieval movement that is known in the West as the Almoravids) which leaned on the Palestinian al-Fatah militarily.
The 24 October Movement
(24 OM, Harakat ‘Arba wa ‘Ishrin Tishrin) was founded in 1969 and led by Farouq al-Moqaddam. It was active in the Tripoli region and was an Arab nationalist party, radical leftist party which followed a pro-Algerian line.
The Nasserist Organisation/Union of Working Forces (NO/UWF
, al-Tanzim an’Nasiri/Ittihad Qiwa ash-Shaab al ‘Amil) was founded in 1970 and led by Kamal Shatilla. It was active in Beirut and the Shouf mountains mainly. Its ideology was Nasserist, leftist and pro-Syrian. In 1974 a split occurred and a new splinter group appeared, the NO/UWF Corrective Movement (NO/UWF CM) which was pro-Libyan.
The Nasserist People’s Organisation (NPO
, at-Tanzim ash-Shaabi an-Nasiri) founded by Maarouf Saad in 1958. Maarouf Saad occupied the Sunni seat for Sidon from 1957 till 1972. After he was killed in 1975 his son Mustapha took over the party.