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Lebanon's Sunnis and the Civil War
Lebanon's Sunnis and the Civil War
Published by Watser?
Tablet Syria


Syria’s motives were mostly strategic. After the 1973 Yom Kippur War it became increasingly clear that Egypt would sign a separate peace treaty with Israel. That meant that Syria’s position was seriously weakened. President Assad’s answer to this development was to strive for a common front by the remaining states bordering Israel plus the PLO, under Syrian command. He also wanted to avoid a direct confrontation with Israel and build up his military power to compensate for the loss of Egypt.

The civil war in Lebanon could end in three ways that would all be a threat to Syria’s strategy:
  • If the rightists were to win, Lebanon would be lost to the common front that Assad had in mind.
  • If the leftist and Palestinian forces initially supported by Syria won, Israel might be tempted to intervene. It could also lead to a pro-Iraqi regime which would also stay out of Assad’s common front.
  • An even more dangerous outcome would be a Lebanon divided into a right-wing Maronite state and a left-wing Muslim state. That would mean Syria would get a pro-Israeli mini-state on its western border. It could also set a precedent for a fragmentation of Syria into mini-states based on religious sects.79

From the start of the civil war, Syria tried to end the fighting by negotiations, all the while supporting the leftist parties. After al-Fatah had sided with the left however, a military victory for the left seemed inevitable. Syria decided to intervene in favour of the Maronites. Since then it has made sure that no party would get the upper hand. Syria also managed to get the Lebanese foreign policy under its control so that Lebanon ended up in the Syrian camp in negotiations.

At first Syria did not commit any troops of its own but operated through Palestinian and Lebanese allies (varying from parties sharing the same interest like Amal to puppets completely under Syrian control like as-Sa’iqa). The reason was that this form of intervention did not arouse as much resistance with Israel.80 This also explains the deployment of Syrian troops in PLA and as-Sa’iqa uniforms.81 When this turned out to be insufficient, regular Syrian troops were deployed.

As a result of the conflict between the PLO and Syria, members of as-Sa’iqa and the Hittin brigade of the PLA defected in large numbers.82 Syria preferred to work through proxies throughout the civil war. The Syrian support usually limited itself to supplying weapons and, if necessary, artillery support.


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Thanks, from:
curses (08-02-2008), Sophia (01-22-2011), Stormlight (08-01-2008)
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.
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, 02:10 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, 03:36 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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