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Lebanon's Sunnis and the Civil War
Lebanon's Sunnis and the Civil War
Published by Watser?
Tablet The Palestinian fighters

The Palestinian fighters

The largest faction in the PLO is al-Fatah. The name comes from the inversion of the letters of the official name Harakat at-Tahrir al-Filastini (Palestinian Liberation Movement) and means conquest or victory. Although Fatah was founded in 1959, it only started military operations in 1959 under the name of al-‘Asifa (the Storm).43 Al-Fatah is a nationalist group without a specific left or right wing ideology and it accepts members of all kinds of political leanings. Al-Fatah worked with Arab governments according to the principle that Arab states should not meddle in the affairs of the Palestinian resistance and alternately that the Palestinian resistance should not meddle in the affairs of Arab states. This has made it possible for the movement to have ties with different Arab regimes.

In the course of the 1960s a number of other guerrilla groups were founded, among them the PFLP and DFLP (see above). Both those groups are Marxist-Leninist. The PFLP fathered a couple of splinter groups. The only one of any importance here is the PFLP-General Command (PFLP-GC), founded by Ahmad Jibril, a former Palestinian officer of the Syrian army.44 The PFLP-GC has been under Syrian control from the start.

Besides al-Fatah and the descendents of the Movement of Arab Nationalists, there is a third group: movements founded by the Syrian and Iraqi regimes, the largest of which is the Vanguard of the Popular Liberation War, better known under the name of its military wing, as-Sa’iqa. This group was founded in September of 1966 as the Palestinian branch of the (Syrian) Baath Party.45 The name as-Sa’iqa means the Lightning and was probably an answer to al-‘Asifa. Al-Sa’iqa has always been under Syrian control and never followed its own political course. In Lebanon this would lead to a conflict with the other Palestinian groups.

Iraq also founded its ‘own’ Palestinian group in 1969: the Arab Liberation Front (ALF).46

Besides these guerrilla groups there are the brigades of the Palestine Liberation Army (PLA), founded by Arab governments: the ‘Ayn Jallout brigade in Egypt, the Qadisiya brigade and the Hittin brigade in Syria. These brigades were commanded by the PLO officially but by the governments of the country they were stationed in, in practice. In addition, in Lebanon there were the Yarmouk and Karami brigades, founded after the ousting of the guerrillas from Jordan in 1970 by former Jordanian army officers and commanded by al-Fatah.47

The major difference between al-Fatah and the other groups was al-Fatah’s emphasis on non-intervention. The PFLP and DFLP were descended from a pan-Arab movement and saw the liberation of Palestine as part of an Arab revolution. They didn’t just consider Israel to be their enemy but also imperialism and ‘Arab regimes in alliance with imperialism’.48 The PFLP was initially supported by Iraq and the DFLP by Syria. They also worked with the leftist parties in Lebanon as a result of their ideology. Where these groups tended to meddle in the affairs of Arab states, the tables were turned with as-Sa’iqa and the ALF. Both can be considered an extension of the regimes that founded them. This was especially clear for as-Sa’iqa during the Lebanese Civil War.

The numerical strength for the groups in 1970 was between 5,000 and 10,000 for al-Fatah and as-Sa’iqa, between 1,000 and 3,000 for the PFLP and DFLP and between 100 and 500 for the ALF and the PFLP-GC.49

After the 1973 Yom Kippur War Henry Kissinger, the US Secretary of State started negotiations between Egypt, Syria and Israel. This caused a split inside the PLO between proponents and opponents of a Palestinian state consisting of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. The opponents – the PFLP, the PFLP-GC and the ALF – founded the so-called Rejection Front at the end of 1974. This Front stuck to the old PLO ideal of a secular, democratic state in all of Palestine and its members resigned from the executive committee of the PLO. During the Lebanese Civil War the members of the Rejection Front followed the same line. The Rejection Front was disbanded in 1978 because Egypt and Israel had made a separate peace and the raison d’être ceased to be.50


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By Watser? on 12-27-2010, 12:10 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.
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’t 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’s, 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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By Watser? on 10-28-2014, 01:10 PM
Default Re: Lebanon's Sunnis and the Civil War

"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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By Watser? on 10-30-2014, 02:36 PM
Default Re: Lebanon's Sunnis and the Civil War

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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