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Lebanon's Sunnis and the Civil War
Lebanon's Sunnis and the Civil War
Published by Watser?
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So then, why didn’t the Lebanese Sunnis manage to build a national militia? In a very real sense there were no Lebanese Sunnis. The Sunnis in Lebanon lived in three separate areas: Sidon and its environs, west Beirut and Tripoli with neighbouring Akkar. In the first chapter, I have already shown that the interests of the Sunnis of Beirut did not always coincide with those of the Sunnis of Tripoli or Sidon. Moreover, there was a fierce rivalry between the zu’ama of Beirut and Tripoli for the prime-ministership.

The differences between the three regions were amplified by the very different circumstances in these cities during the civil war. Tripoli was dominated by the Syrian occupation from 1976. The differences between Christians and Muslims barely played a part here, rather, there was the difference between Sunnis and Alawis and the difference between Lebanese and Syrian, partly because some of the Alawis had come from Syria. It is telling that Tawhid focused on Lebanon instead of the Arab World. The traditional leader of Tripoli, Rashid Karami, lost a lot of influence because of his pro-Syrian attitude. Tawhid capitalised on that and took over a lot of his clientele among the lowest classes. By founding clinics and providing jobs (as militia members) it acted, like most militias, as a kind of super-za’im.

Sidon was occupied by Israeli troops from 1982 to 1985. This meant that, like in Tripoli, there was a common enemy. The local leaders, member of parliament, Nazih Bizri, (an ally of Saeb Salam) and militia leader, Mustapha Saad, (son of the former member of parliament, Maarouf Saad), capitalised on that. Although Mustapha Saad was the leader of the People’s Liberation Army, Nazih Bizri maintained his influence because he resisted the Israeli occupation also. While in Tripoli, Syria was considered the main enemy, while in Sidon, Syria was considered an ally and a pro-Syrian coalition was formed. There were no sectarian tensions either, as the local Christians participated in the struggle against Israel.

West Beirut was divided; although there was a common enemy here too - the Lebanese Forces - they were not present as an occupation force. When after the withdrawal of the Israeli troops, the Lebanese army took over west Beirut, there was a concerted uprising by Druze, Shi’ites and Sunnis. Quickly, it became clear though, that Amal did not allow any competition. This meant a Shi’ite domination of west Beirut, and as a result many Sunnis started viewing the Shi’ites as enemies. Although this resulted in a rising fundamentalism amongst the population, they were not susceptible for Tawhid’s ideology which stresses unity between Sunnis and Shi’ites.

Another important reason for the division amongst the Sunnis was that most of them were Arab nationalists. The paradox was that this pursuit of unity among the Arab countries resulted in division. The division of the Arab world was projected onto the Lebanese Sunnis who organised in pro-Iraqi, pro-Syrian, pro-Libyan, pro-Egyptian, and pro-Saudi parties, all of which were supported by the countries whose political line they followed.


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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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