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


In west Beirut, a large number of small militias were active, with some of them controlling only a few blocks. Many of them were barely politically motivated and consisted of a qabaday and his followers. There were also a lot of militias that were supported by or clients of Arab states.

The difference between organised criminals and militias wasn’t always clear either. Many militia members were drawn by the salary they earned and the possibility of looting rather than political motivation.139

The most important militia in west Beirut at the start of the war was al-Murabitun. In 1975, when there was a battle going on in Beirut for the control of the hotels (very important strategically because they were the highest buildings in town), al-Murabitun brought the other Nasserist party militias under its control. They were forced to merge with al-Murabitun; only the pro-Syrian Nasserists retained their independence.140
Al-Murabitun was not strong enough however to enforce its will upon all the other militias as the Kataeb had done in east Beirut. Al-Murabitun is often considered a Sunni militia, but it is better described as a Muslim militia. Its members were almost exclusively Muslim, mostly Shi’ites and Sunnis, but also some Druze.

There was a large gap between the Movement of Independent Nasserists’ ideology and the ideas of its constituency. The MIN called for the full implementation of the political program of the NM that had secularisation as an important issue. It refused to form a common front with the traditional leaders it meant to replace. Al-Murabitun replaced the traditional leaders in more than just the political sense because it was an important source of patronage in west Beirut. Besides militia members, it had staff at its headquarters, its radio station and its press service. The attacks by Amal changed al-Murabitun’s attitude toward secularism. The second attack in April of 1985, was accompanied by excesses against the Sunni population of west Beirut. This caused great tension between Shi’ites and Sunnis. Prime-minister Rashid Karami threatened to resign. Ibrahim Qulaylat (the MIN’s leader) who fled to Paris, published declarations by the Caliph Yazid; a deliberate provocation of the Shi’ites who consider Yazid the murderer of Imam Hussein, the prophet Mohammed’s grandson. After al-Murabitun was eliminated, new militias arose in the Sunni parts of west Beirut, like the 6 February Movement that was eliminated by Amal in June of 1986.141 On the basis of the disrupted relations between Sunnis and Shi’ites, a few very strongly anti-Shi’ite militias arose. One of them, the Islamic ‘Ulama Society, was headed by Abd al-Hafiz Qasim, whose speeches were broadcast by the Voice of Arab Lebanon, al-Murabitun’s radio station. Another Sunni fundamentalist leader even claimed it is legal, according to Islamic law, to spill a Shi’ite’s blood.142


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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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