Saturday, April 19, 2008

History of Foreign Intervention in the Lebanese Civil War (Part I & Introduction)

Please Check: Causes of the Lebanese Civil War, Lebanon and Democracy: Doomed to Repeat the Past, Investigating Lebanon: Investigating the Ethnic Dilemma

On the memory of the ignition of the Lebanese Civil War, I decided to write these several series of posts... and hopefully will have the time to finish them.

For a tiny country whose area is 10420 KM2 and a population of 4,000,000, Lebanon sure took the attention of the world, or almost the world. I will not argue what Ghassan Tuieni once described our Civil War as the War of others, rather , I will record each foreign intervention as they occurred. This will give a highlight on Syria, PLO, Israel, USA, among the countries involved.

To be honest if you want to count the number of foreign powers involved in our civil war, they can be counted as follows: Unites States of America, Palestinian Liberation Organization – Egypt – Syria – Jordan – Israel – Saudi Arabia – Libya – Soviet Union – Iran – Iraq – France – Italy – Eastern Europe – Tunis – Cyprus – China – Kuwait – Others. For a tiny country as Lebanon, it sure took a focal point of foreign powers to be interested in this country. Each power had its own foreign cliental, and supplier of funds/arms.

The Case of Lebanon

As I explained in an earlier post "Causes of the Civil War", Lebanon had several situations for having a war. Some were innate due to failed 1943 Pact, and others involved regional interest in the war. The Saddest part of the story, that all the war criminals (ie all the party figureheads) are not locked up in prisons, and their audiences still believe they are fighting for their Lebanon. For me, I think Aoun, Berri, Jaajaa should be locked up in prison and throw the key in a bucket of acid. Actually, I can't exclude anyone. They all deserve to be locked up in prison, they all are well-funded while the victims voices remain screaming from the graves unpunished. This concludes that the ones who inflicted maximum butcheries on the Lebanese were the Israelis, then invited by different Christian powers to come and rid them from the PLO. Now of course, the Israelis killed more Lebanese rather than harming PLO warriors. The Lebanese Front cadres failed to mention that there are also the Lebanese National Movement, which was strictly Lebanese raising arms in front of their "Christian-like" Lebanon.

The war to be clear, didn’t start as several Western (and even local) scholars like to describe between the Muslims and the Christians. As a matter of fact, several Shiite and Sunni leadership supported the Christians, while others supported the Left. Hence on a local level, it will be rather naïve and childish to say that the war broke out between these two religious sects. Other downsized it as the war between the PLO and the Christians, which again suits a lot of Western audience to believe so, but again, that is a bogus 'humbug' truth. The war broke out between the Lebanese among themselves. The Palestinian military became severely involved in post 1975 towards the end of it, when Tel Za'atar Camp was severely surrounded. The combatant coalitions were:

The Lebanese Front (Christian Extreme Parties):

The Phalange Party (Spearheaded by Pierre Gemayel Sr.) – The Partisan Liberation Party (Spear headed by Camille Shamoun) – The Marada (Spearheaded by Suleiman Franjieh Sr.), Guardians of the Cedars (Spearheaded by Etienne Sakr) – The Organization aka Tanzeem (Spearheaded by George Adwan).

The Lebanese National Movement included:

The Progressive Socialist Party (Spearheaded by Kamal Junblatt) - The Lebanese Communist Party (Spearheaded by George Hawi) – The Order for Communist Action (Spearheaded by Mohsen Ibrahim) – Syrian Social Nationalist Party (Spearheaded by Inaam Raad) .

Now both parties had mini-militias supporting them, such as AMAL Movement (which in fact fluctuated between both coalitions). They were part of the Lebanese National Movement, then switched sides when the Christians begged the Syrians to enter Lebanon.

Nature of the Civil War

Now the question to ask: "Was the Lebanese Civil war the same when the War broke out and it ended?" The answer is definitely not. The Progressive Socialist Party for example underwent drastic changes with the assassination of Kamal Junblatt and becoming more Durzi in nature in post 1982 era. There are of course new parties/players that changed the form of the war. The Morabitoun for example became a powerful militia then was destroyed by four parties allying briefly with each other into a single coalition. The fact it took four powerful militias in the 1980s to annihilate them shows their strength: The Lebanese Communist Party – The Progressive Socialist Party – AMAL Movement - Order for Communist Action. New parties/players would include the rise of Nabih Berri on a new more militant AMAL movement, Michel Aoun with the Lebanese Army, Samir Jaajaa for the Lebanese Forces, and Hezbollah as a whole. The war between the Left and the Christians ended up with the Christians battling each other, the Shiites battling each other, and the Left Wing battling the Shiites and Christians alike. Israel and the United States seized to be powerful players in Lebanon after 1985, and loyalties changed. Iraq and Iran became integral players in the war, while Egypt's role got marginalized.

Finally, only the stupid members of the Lebanese Forces would argue that is due to the Palestinians that the war broke out; the Palestinians lost politicially and most of their major powers in 1982 and ended up battling a Muslim Party = AMAL Movement. In fact, AMAL Movement opened fronts on all levels against almost everyone on a separate front. They battled Hezbollah on one wide, they battled the Lebanese Communist Party and the Progressive Party on another, and they battled the PLO on a third front. As for the Sunnis, there were two separate parties that were tagged Sunnis. The first is called "The Mourabitoun" while the other was the Islamist Movement of Unification (in Tripoli). Other than that, they were severely marginalized during the war. The Shiites almost lacked any organization prior to the war, eventually they immerged with two powerful Parties: Hezbollah and AMAL. Someone may ask why I write AMAL Movement in capital letters because AMAL is an abbreviation in Arabic to Affwaj Mouaqawa el Lebanieh (which means Legions of the Lebanese Resistance, which is ironic because they killed more Lebanese and Palestinians than they killed Israelis).


To fully comprehed the civil war, the Marxist dialect has to be followed. This includes objectivity. The Sciences of Marxism are based on re-constructing history as it happened. This means as far as trashing the Soviet Union and anything else because they already happened. In the case of Lebanon, we have to document each event as it happened. Understand how we jumped from one phase to another, and of course liberate ourselves from the War mythes we inherited from our parents/friends/relatives. The core of Marxism states that the present cannot be understood unless we understand the past and how we arrived. This means I will mention the Communist parties same as I mention the other. This also means it is not enough to say there was only a Sabra - Chatila Massacre, there were massacres at Saida, Damour, Chicca, Port Beirut, Ba'abda, West Beirut, and several others equally. In the end, to carry arms in the name of the Proletariat is one thing, but shooting innocent citizens and take away 15 years of their lives means that all parties are all accountable in the civil war.

This means that the Phalange or AMAL Movement should come out clean and say: "Yes, we butchered people based on Sect". This means that the supporters of Bashir Gemayel or Camille Shamoun should admit they invited the Israelis to enter, the US archives prove so. This leads me to analyze the sources of information. We are lucky that a lot of key players displayed their information to the public, the most recent would be Joseph Abu Khalil's memoirs. Others would include the CIA archives (we have full knowledge of what happened in 1975-1976 on the party-leadership levels). Other sources would be the Israelis (yes, you read me right, their archives also are important despite the fact several Zionist scholars try to distort history to satisfy their extremist readers). Other information would be the media, documentaries, and first person witnesses. A lot of information might involve deducation, but if deducation can be avoided and reach the truth as it happened from a fixed reference, then by all means that what should happen. Finally the current politicians shouldnt impose a bad case of amnesia on the Lebanese because they shouldnt be selfish to defend their politicial interests and expose for real what they have done to a tiny country called Lebanon.


Now mentioning so many political parties means one thing: so many foreign cliental involved in the Lebanese Civil War, and it would be interesting to investigate (as much as possible) their role in the Lebanese Civil War.


Renegade Eye said...

Lebanon's politics are way more complicated, than implied in Western popular culture. The world is simple to them, it's Christians vs Muslims.

For the sake of your blog, you should keep the posts short. People don't read really long posts at blogs.

I strongly believe your posts in the long form should be for a book.

Anonymous said...

hey mfl
check this article for fawwaz traboulsi

omar said...

I disagree with renegade eye. I'm a Marxist (a left-trotskyist to be exact) living in Australia with lebanese parents... I read every post, long or short!

Keep it up comrade.

PS. I'll be heading over to lebanon again either this winter or next, will definitely seek to get in touch.

Renegade Eye said...

Mayday Greetings