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

The following parties were all more or less ideological:


The oldest political party in Lebanon is the Communist Party of Lebanon (CPL), founded in 1924 or 1925; however, it was illegal until 1970. In 1976 half the members were Shi’ites while Druze and Sunnis combined were 20% of the membership. It was led by George Hawi.26

More important however were two parties that had a following that consisted mainly of Christians: the Kataeb and the Syrian National Party (SNP, al-Hizb as-Suri al-Qawmi).


The SNP was founded in 1932 by Antoun Saada and officially recognised in 1944. The ideology was based on Syrian nationalism - i.e. the pursuit of the unification of geographic Syria - secularism and the opposition of the patron-client system, combined with fascist ideas. The followers were mostly Greek Orthodox as Saada himself was. At the end of the 1940s the SNP changed its name to Syrian Social Nationalist Party (SSNP, al-Hizb as-Suri al-Qawmi al-Ishtiraki). In 1958 they supported Chamoun and in 1961 the party was banned after an attempted coup against president Chehab. In 1967 it changed course and, under the leadership of Inaam Raad, it started cooperating with the left-wing and the Palestinian groups.27
Kataeb (Phalanges)

The Kataeb was founded in 1936 by Pierre Gemayel as a sports club for boys along the lines of the Hitler-Jugend and Franco’s youth movement. Kataeb is a translation of the original name Phalanges (Libanaises). In 1949 it was transformed into a political party but still retained its militia.

The members were mainly Catholics; that is, Maronites and Greek Catholics from the middle classes and lower middle classes. The Kataeb is a very controversial party, its opponents call it fascist and its origins point to that also (the same goes for the SSNP). Though I wouldn’t call them fascists myself (neither their party political program nor their behaviour during the war point to fascist ideology) and although they stress that they favour secularisation, they are the champions of the Maronite cause and Maronite domination.28


As a Sunni response to the Kataeb, an-Narada was founded in 1937 which was also a paramilitary youth club that had the renaissance of Arab/Muslim culture as a goal. An-Narada remained a splinter group however.

Harakat al-Mahrumin/Amal

In March 1974 the Movement of the Deprived (Harakat al-Mahrumin) was founded by Imam Musa al-Sadr. Al-Sadr was an Iranian religious scholar of Lebanese descent who became a Lebanese citizen in 1963. The movement’s goal was to improve the lives of all deprived Lebanese, but had a Shi’ite character from the start. An important reason for the founding of the Movement of the Deprived was the success of the left-wing parties (especially the communists) among the Shi’ites. In July 1975 a militia was founded named Afwaj al-Muqawama al-Lubnaniya (Lebanese Resistance Groups). This militia was the military branch of the Movement of the Deprived and became known under its acronym Amal (which means Hope). In 1978, Musa al-Sadr disappeared during a visit to Libya under mysterious circumstances.


One of the most important left-wing parties was the Progressive Socialist Party (PSP, al-Hizb at-Taqaddumi al-Ishtiraki), founded in 1949 by Kamal Jumblatt. This party is a good example of the mix of ideological and personal/sectarian ties. Though the party very strongly opposed the sectarian system, the followers were predominantly from the Shouf mountains where the Jumblatt family had been in charge of one of the Druze factions for centuries. Despite of the name, the PSP is a liberal rather than a socialist party. Petran calls him ‘an intelligent conservative’.29

Jumblatt supported the uprising against Camille Chamoun and Chehab’s reforms. At the end of the 1960s he started cooperating closely with the leftist parties. These were the only parties that wanted to get rid of the sectarian system; one of the most important points on Jumblatt’s agenda. It is important to realise here that Jumblatt was a Druze and under the sectarian system he could not be president, prime-minister or even speaker of parliament. The only way he could ever be was if the sectarian system would be scrapped. It is therefore hard to say how much his pursuit of an end to the sectarian system was motivated by self-interest and how much was motivated by idealism. After Kamal Jumblatt was killed in 1977, his son Walid succeeded him as leader of the PSP.


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