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Phoenicians

Chapter 28 The Civil War – 1st Phase (1975)
There is no dispute that economic growth within a single state creates sound political and social relationships, this through the creation of common interests among its citizens from all regions and sects. In the same way, attempts at balanced regional economic development, which the Lebanese state undertook during the 1950s, and which gained in momentum in the 1960s, that included the peripheral regions, and including the Muslim majorities increased the state’s legitimacy and status in those areas. As the economic conditions improved so did their populations knowledge base of their social conditions and as they moved forward, they began to realize that the inplace economic mechanisms were not sufficient in their share of the wealth of Lebanon. In their (even if only partial) exposure to the disparities between Lebanon and its neighbors and observing their growth only brought the matters closer to the surface. Thrown into this mix of dissatisfaction and the feeling of being left-behind, was the PLO, who were granted full control over the refugee camps in southern Lebanon, and as seen they soon had the effective rule of the entire region. As fighters in the PLO fled Jordan after the Black September destruction of the PLO’s apparatus there, the PLO’s presence became overbearing too many of the inhabitants of the region. The PLO operated as a law unto themselves and quickly alienated the conservative Shi’a villagers. In this manner, same as in Jordan where they had lost their welcome, Muslim support in Lebanon began to erode. A left-wing opposition also began evolving within “Fatah1”, as radical veteran fighters from Jordan flooded into the PLO’s ranks, so much so this caused worry even for Yasser Arafat. Not to be deterred Arafat set about building a “state-within-the-state” in southern Lebanon, his goal? To create a “secure” base for his PLO headquartered in the Bekaa Valley and West Beirut. Gradually but surely the Lebanese authorities were being pushed into “irrelevancy” when it came to his actions. Harsh Israeli retribution after the Palestinian “raids” from what was now termed “FatahLand” did
1

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fatah

nothing to endear the civilian Shi’a and Christian population to the Palestine guerrillas. The PLO was welcomed by the Sunnis – who equated them as a natural ally in sectarian terms – and by the Druze. As a matter of record, a personal friendship developed between Yasser Arafat and the charismatic Druze leader “Kamal Jumblatt”, who not only headed the “Progressive Socialist Party2”, he also organized the Lebanese National Movement (“LNM”). Many of the Rejectionist Front 3 organizations joined the leftist “LNM” as soon as possible, with even some of the “Fatah” joining. It is noted that Arafat was not willing to commit his Palestinians to any intra-Lebanese conflict – and to alienate potential supporters among the Christians and their foreign allies. In my opinion to call the upcoming conflict in Lebanon a “Civil War” in a sense that it was contained within the political base of the Lebanese Government and its citizens prompting, is not a fair or correct statement. It was a war that was the direct result of the unrest in the entire Middle East, and as in the past – the countries involved in the unrest chose to do their battling in Lebanon. In addressing the “conflict” in my day-to-day accounting of the action I have included news items from around the globe (concerning the Middle East), whereas you’ll notice that Egypt and it’s “negotiations” with Israel play an important role in the political climate in the region. This ongoing political relationship as it progresses becomes a major issue with Syria, who from the beginning has been mixing it up in Lebanon since its independence in 1943 whereas they feel they were shortchanged in the political divisions of the land by the British and the French. Throughout the spring of 1975, minor clashes between the “LNM” and the “Phalange4”, and the ineffective national government wavering between the need to maintain order and cater to its constituency. The pot spilled over during a late morning in the month of April in Beirut. On April 13th, 1975, it is said in most records, that PLO gunmen in a speeding car fired on a group of Phalangist leaders leaving Church in Christian suburb of Ayn
2

The party was founded on 5 January 1949, and registered on 17 March the same year, under notification N°789. The founders comprised six individuals, all of different backgrounds. The most notable of these was Kamal Jumblatt (Walid Jumblatt's father). The others were Farid Joubran, Albert Adeeb, Abdallah Alayli, Fouad Rizk, and Georges Hanna
3 4

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rejectionist_Front http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kataeb_Party

ar-Rummeneh, in Beirut killing four people, in what was believed to be an attempt on Pierre Gemayel. They blamed the attack on the Palestinians. Hours later, led by members of the Gemayel family the Phalangists’ pulled a bus to the side of the road carrying Palestinian workers back to the refuges camps, they were ordered from the bus at gunpoint and then had their throats slit; 27 died that afternoon. BBC news filed a report on the incident as quoted: At least 17 people have been killed and 30 wounded in an “ambush” by rightwing Lebanese forces on a bus carrying Palestinians in Beirut. Reports are confused but it appears the Lebanese Phalangist gunmen attacked the bus, killing at least 14 and injuring about 20 more, as it drove through a Christian suburb of Beirut, The trouble began earlier when Palestinian guerrillas, driving jeeps through the district of Ain al-Roummaneh reportedly opened fire on the congregation outside a Maronite Christian Church. Christian Phalangist leader, Pierre Gemayel, was attending Mass at the church and his Phalangist supporters on guard outside “seized” one of the jeeps and a scuffle broke out. When the “bus” passed, the Phalangist gunmen who were staked out around the church raked it with gunfire. Most of the dead were Palestinians. Another report gives the following account by Robert Maroun Hatem. The entire “eastern” neighborhood of Ain al-Roummaneh/Furn el Shebbak was excited at the fact the “Chief Sheikh Pierre Gemayel” was scheduled to inaugurate a new Church. To the Christian population, “Sheikh Pierre” was the figurehead of the Christian Lebanese people, the man who opposed the “Cairo Agreement” and stood up against in the Palestinian That armed Sunday presence Lebanon.

morning was under heavy fog and a warm-hot day promised. At 11 A.M. that morning, as the ceremony ended and people were leaving the Church, a “white Fiat” sped by from the Muslim Shiite side of the sector, light machine gun fire racked the departing crowd killing these two men. “Joseph Abou Assi”, the Sheikh’s personal bodyguard – Abou was a notable Kataeb member, loved and respected by all. He was called

the “Chief of Al Sakhra” (The Rock Group) that was assigned to protect the “inner circle”, including Pierre Gemayel, and Pierre, Faud and Hilmy El Shartouni. crowd fled the area, leaving the streets deserted. At 12:30 PM, a bus filled with armed Palestinians defiantly drove down the same street, windows down and heads out the windows they were “scoffing” at our disarray and anger, inviting provocation. The silence was shattered by machine gun fire, windows shattered in the bus, its metal side punched with holes and the passengers on the bus dead, when it finally stopped. The War in Lebanon had been born. On December 28th, 1986, “Abd al-Rahim Ahmad” of the Palestinian ALF did confirm that those on the bus were indeed armed Palestinian ALF members. As news of the killing flowed through the streets of Beirut, Palestinian militias including the radical “Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine 5” (“PFLP”) went on a rampage through Beirut. Armed clashes with the Phalange flared up across the city and soon the Lebanese National Movement militias entered the battle fighting alongside the Palestinians. During this 1st week of fighting, at one particular Palestinian checkpoint with hundreds of people (cars were backed up) watching, a single man was executed. The man and his executors stood on open ground at the side of “Avenue Sami alSolh”, along with another Lebanese Maronite guarded by the Fedayeen armed with AK47s. The captive’s hands were tied behind their back, the one that was singled out for special attention. Around his neck with caution, they hung sticks of explosives, the motorists looked on with uneasy terror, praying and waiting for the special police in their “red berets” to make an appearance – they never showed. One witness amongst the hundreds, Janet Wakin (American wife of businessman George Wakin) said, “the victim stood still, with a strange quietness and dignity.” Done with their placement of the explosives, they set the fuse going and ran from the man, who continued to stand there, quite still, until the explosion. Not only was he decapitated, but the rest of his body was blown to pieces. The

5

The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) is a Marxist-Leninist, nationalist Palestinian political and military organization, founded in 1967.

Into the middle of the crisis stepped “Elias Sarkis” becoming the newly elected President on Sept 23rd, 1976 – and as can be seen with very limited power or authority over the war raging inside his country. On December 6th, 1975 (Saturday), the four bodies of members of the Phalange Party were found in an abandoned car outside the state-owned electric plant in Christian-dominated East Beirut. They had been killed with axes, and their bodies mutilated. The Phalange’s militia in the city went into a frenzied rage, blaming the killings on the LNM. Phalange forces attacked the Muslims throughout Christian-dominated East Beirut, indiscriminately firing into crowds. Tens or hundreds of Muslim hostages were snatched off the streets of Beirut, killed or later released for ransom. Fighters said to be led by “Joseph Saad”, whose son was one of the four found murdered, began erecting checkpoints on major roads across the city, passing cars and pedestrians were stopped and ordered to show identification cards. cards at the time showed religious affiliations) were killed on the spot. In this action, several hundred people were killed in over a period of a few hours, most of them civilians. Estimations put the total from anywhere between 200 and 600 victims. The Phalange headquarters released a communiqué the next day claiming the revenge was supposed to have been “limited” to hostage-taking, but had escalated into a mass killing because of “hysteria” and “elements who would not listen to orders of their superiors.” End of statement! Immediately following the LNM attacked the Phalange checkpoints, major battles spread like wildfire across the capital and over much of the surrounding countryside – it was a real war. There were many of these militias’ involved in the Lebanon Civil War, and some at times switched flags during the term of the “conflict”, as it is sometimes labeled in kinder circles in-country. In that respect as late as January 10th, 2007 an article published in the “International Herald Tribune”, written by Hassan M. Fattah screamed the headline, “Lebanon’s history textbooks sidestep its civil war.” In his article he quotes the former director of the Education Center for Research and Development “Nemer Frayha” as saying, “America used the school to create a Any Palestinians (who were stateless and had no ID cards, or Muslims (Lebanese ID

melting pot; we use it to reinforce sectarian identity at the expense of national identify.” In support of this statement, “Nabil Haydar” put forth the same thought when he said, “people must become self-starters instead of blaming their government, civic responsibilities and rights must be taught to students at the ‘elementary’ and ‘secondary’ levels. Universities can only play a complementary role in continuing the civic educational process” In an article published in the Beirut Daily Star on January 22 nd, 2007 with a glaring title, “Schools in Lebanon get a failing grade”, you ought to look it up. In the news account, the World Bank is quoted as stating, “Even the highestquality schools in Lebanon are not producing competitive students at the international levels – evidence suggests that Lebanon might be losing its human capital edge. The trend, if true, can be reversed, however, through a long and deep reform of the educational section.” I was equally surprised to find out that Lebanon is one of the only middle-income societies that “does not” offer free compulsory primary schooling to all citizens for 9-years. And that over 60% of the Lebanese students are currently enrolled in private schools – with an annual fee of $1,800 and that according to government figures the average family in Lebanon pays between 11 and 25% of their annual household income on education for their children. In other words, nothing has changed, in some cases they still have their head in the sand. Pre-civil war, continuing, militias were born like wildflowers after a spring rain, I start with the big ones and how they morphed into fighting machines the government had no control of, but first the reason for their birth. Constitutionally guaranteed, Christian control of the government had come under increasing fire from Muslims and other secular left-wind groups in the 1960s, leading the Muslims to join forces as the Lebanese National Movement (“LNM”). The LNM called for taking a new “census” (last one in 1932) and the subsequent drafting of a new governmental structure that would reflect the actual population balance. This was seen as a mortal threat for the Christians (especially the Maronite) power structure in Lebanon. It must be pointed out that the “alliances” were much more complicated and complex than just the “Muslims” against/versus “Christians”, and is perceived by many outside of the politics in Lebanon.

The two sides were “unable” to reconcile their conflicts of interest and this was the beginning of the militias, first for self-protection, but as things escalated (and the differences and split showed up in the Lebanese regular army), the events rapidly eroded the authority of the central government. Remember, the Lebanese army was from the start of the “conflict”, not only being the smallest in the Middle East, it was also made up of troops based on a “fixed-ratio” of religions. And, it was a Christian controlled army, with Christian officers and its troops split on the fixed-ratio between Muslims and Christians. Later on it was the “desertion” of the Muslim contingents who had lost their trust in the Christian officers that caused its complete disintegration. Throughout the war most (or) all militias operated with little regard for human rights and the sectarian character of some battle, made “non-combatant” civilians a frequent target. As the war progressed the militias fell further into a mafia-style operation with some commanders slipping into a life of crime as their primary preoccupation, rather then engaging in the war. Finances for the war effort were obtained in one or all of the following ways: 1. Outside support (Alliances would shift frequently) a. b. a. b. c. d. 1d. e. a. b. 3. Smuggling During the war Lebanon morphed into the worlds largest narcotics produces – such as “hashish” from the Bekaa Valley Guns and supplies, and other kinds of stolen goods, War or no War, it seemed Lebanon would not give up its role as the middleman in European-Arab business. c. Many battle were fought over the control of Lebanon’s “access” ports Rivaling Arab governments – Iran or Israel Super Powers, with strings attached Extortion Theft Bank Robberies Random Check Points Customs would be collected (common practice on all sides) During “cease-fires) most militias operated as the local mafia

2. Local population

Christian Militias They acquired their arms from Romania, Bulgaria as well as from West Germany, Belgium and Israel, and drew their supporters from the larger and poorer Christian population located in the northern section of the country. They were “generally” right-wing in their political outlook, where it was found that some militias were formed under “early” impulses from European Fascism. All the “major” Christian militias were Maronite-dominated, with other Christian sects having a secondary role. The most powerful of their militias was that of the “Kataeb Social Democratic Party6” (or) the “Phalange”, led by “Bachir Gemayel”. Geagea” in 1986. A smaller force was the extremist “Guardians of the Cedars”, founded by “Etienne Saqr (Sakr or Sacre), later expelled from the country, tried in absentia and sentenced to death for working with the Israeli’s near the end of the war. These militias quickly established strongholds in the Christian-dominated East Beirut (also at the sites of many government buildings) whereas in the north, the Marada Brigades served as the “private” militia of the Franjieh family and Zgharta8. Shi’a Militias The Shi’s militias were slow to form and participate in the fighting, where, initially many Shi’s had shown sympathies to the Palestinian cause and the Lebanese Communist Party9 these slowly diminished after “Black September”, and there was a sudden influx of armed Palestinians to the Shi’a regions. The radical factions of the Palestinian immigrants ruled by the gun in much of Shi’a inhabited southern Lebanon, and soon wore out their welcome in those regions of the Shi’a having alienated the traditionalist Shi’a community. After years without their own political organization, in 1974-1975 the birth of the “Musa Sadr Amal Movement10” surfaced. (Their origins began with the Lebanese cleric of Iranian origin “Iman Musa al-Sadr11”)
6 7

The Phalange went on to

assist in the founding of the “Lebanese Forces7” in 1977, who were led by “Samir

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kataeb http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lebanese_Forces 8 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zgharta 9 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lebanese_Communist_Party 10 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amal_Movement 11 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Musa_al-Sadr

Its moderate Islamist ideology immediately attracted the urban poor, and its armed ranks grew rapidly. Later, in the early 1980s, a hardliner faction would break away to join with other Shi’a groups fighting Israel to form the “Hezbollah12”, who to this day remain the most powerful militia in Lebanon. Hezbollah was initially aided and trained by Iran and since the late 1980s has been receiving backing from Syria. Sunni Militias Some Sunni groups received their support from Libya and Iraq, and of the number of minor ones, the more prominent ones were considered with a “Nasserist” or otherwise pan-Arab or Arab nationalist direction – and a few Islamist. The primary Sunni-led organization was the “al-Murabitun13” – to compensate for a small force on the battlefield, the Sunni leadership turned early in the war to the PLO, which was dominated by Palestinian Sunnis, keep in mind the PLO had a Greek Orthodox minority. The Druze The Druze, strategically located in the Chouf14 in central Lebanon, had no natural allies, and so put a tremendous effort into building alliances. Under the leadership of the Jumblatt family (1st Kamal Jumblatt-LMN15 leader) and then his son “Walid Jumblatt” the Progressive Socialist Party16 (“PSP”) served as an effective Druze militia, constructing excellent ties to the Soviet Union mainly, and with Israel when it invaded Lebanon, and after Israel withdrew a relationship with Syria was established. Non-Religious Groups Although several Lebanese militias professed to be secular17, most were little than vehicles for their sectarian18 interests. In this there existed a number of nonreligious groups, most setup exclusively on the far-left. One was the pro-Moscow Lebanese Communist Party (“LCP19”) and the more radical and independent Communist Action Organization (“COA20”). Another was,
12 13

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hezbollah http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Al-Murabitun 14 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chouf_District 15 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lebanese_National_Movement 16 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Progressive_Socialist_Party 17 Secularism generally refers to an ideology that promotes the secular (as opposed to the religious) particularly within the public sphere 18 rigidly adhering to a particular set of doctrines and intolerant of other views 19 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lebanese_Communist_Party 20 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Communist_Action_Organization

the Syrian Social National Party, (“SSNP21”), which promoted the concept of a Greater Syria rather than Pan-Arab or Lebanese nationalism. Assad’s” Ba’thist regime. The Palestinians The Palestinian movement had relocated most of its fighting strength to Lebanon by the end of 1970, this after wearing out their welcome in Jordan in the event known as Black September. Within in this movement sat the PLO, by itself Lebanon’s most potent fighting force, and consider it was little more than a “loose” confederation, with its leader “Yasser Arafat22” proving to be “unable” to control some factions within the movement. This condition undermined both the PLO’s operational strength and the sympathy of the Lebanese for the PLO, as the organization’s image in Lebanon was increasingly deterred by the radical forces whose “Communist Revolutionary Order” were no more than forceful rhetoric in support of their “protection rackets”. other words, the PLO could not be considered to be a “coherent organization”. The mainstream PLO, represented by Arafat’s powerful Fatah guerrillas, initially hesitated to take sides in the Lebanese struggle, but was eventually dragged into open conflict by more radical Palestinian groups. The “dragging” into the Civil War of Lebanon was encouraged by a number of different entities that included factions of the radical Arab States, such as Syria, Iraq and Libya – ones that screamed Arab socialist and Marxist-Leninist doctrine. Among the “loudest” was the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (“PFLP 23”) an outgrowth of the Arab Nationalist Movement24 founded in 1953 by Doctor George Habash, a Palestinian Christian from Lydda/Lod in Palestine – the family had been forced into exile after the 1948 Arab-Israeli war --- he received his doctorate at the American University of Beirut graduating in 1951. A splinter of the “PFLP”, the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (“DFLP25”) was also a big encouragement factor in the PLO’s participation in the war. In It was generally aligned with the Syrian government, although it did not approve of “Hafef al-

21 22

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Syrian_Social_Nationalist_Party http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yassir_Arafat 23 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Popular_Front_for_the_Liberation_of_Palestine 24 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arab_Nationalist_Movement 25 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Democratic_Front_for_the_Liberation_of_Palestine

Lesser roles were played by the Palestinian Liberation Front (“PLF”) and another splinter group of the “PFLP”, the Syrian-aligned Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command (“PFLP-GC”), as if things were not already complicated enough the Ba’thist systems of Syria and Iraq both set up Palestinian “puppet” organizations within the PLO. The as-Sa’iqa26 was a Syrian-controlled militia operating in parallel by the Arab Liberation Front (“ALF”) under Iraqi command. The Syrian government could also count on the Syrian brigades of the Palestinian Liberation Army (“PLA”) which was “formally” but not “functionally” the PLO’s regular army. Some PLA units sent by Egypt were under PLO control, but “never” played the same dominant role as the heavily armed “Syrian” backed forces. In 1974, added to Arafat’s multi-problems was the near-formal “breakup” of the PLO, when he and the leadership of the Fatah put forth the “Ten Points Program 27” that had its focus on making a two-state solution, to the Palestinian National Council (“PNC”). Under furious accusations of treason, many of the PLO’s hard line “anti-Israel” parties simply walked out of the organization. These organizations with the backing of the Iraqi’s, and later the Syrian’s and the Libyan’s backing, formed the Rejectionist Front28, screaming a no-compromise line towards Israel. The defectors included the PFLP, the PFLP-GC, the PLF, as-Sa’iqa, ALF and several others, and discontent began to grow in the Fatah – this split effectively prevented any organizational unity in the crucial states of the PLO’s involvement in the Lebanese Civil War. All these different factions can be said to have kept the Civil War alive far past its effective date, turning Lebanon into one large battleground – it is now realized that it is not entirely correct to state that the war pitted these groups against each other just because of the religious beliefs and maybe you’ll be able to see it is a war that really gets it birth after the formation of the state of Israel in 1948 – maybe? A serious confrontation involving the PLO guerrillas erupted on March 25th, 1970 in the Maronite town of “Kahhaleh (on the road to Damascus from Beirut)”
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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/As-Sa%27iqa http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ten_point_plan

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rejectionist_Front

and spread immediately to the suburbs of Beirut – they lasted over three days, and had (up until that time) unprecedented confessional overtones. It all began during a funeral procession that was being escorted by the PLO through the village to Damascus to bury a Palestinian commando officer, was fired on by the villagers. On their way back, the Palestinian had reinforced their convoy with more troops and more arms – they again were attacked in Kahhaleh coming under heavy fire through the main road in town – gunfire was exchanged for 45minutes with several casualties reported. Immediately after the incident – attempts at reconciliation started, with Kamal Jumblatt (in his capacity as Minister of the Interior), conferring with delegations representing the Palestinians and representatives from Kahhaleh. Despite these efforts, the fighting spread to other areas around the Palestinian camps in the areas of “Dikwaneh” and “Harit Hreik”. The locations were populated by middle/lower class Christians, where guerrillas had previously set up roadblocks and harass the Christians as they went to an fro doing their business outside of the regions. In Dikwaneh, where the Tal-Zatar camp was located, Palestinian guerrillas raided the local office of the Phalange Party where they “kidnapped” Pierre Gemayel’s younger son “Bashir”, who at this time was not yet directly involved in party politics. Although Bashir and his two companions were released the same day from a Fatah office on “Hamra Street”, the symbolic significance of the episode was clear. From that day forward Bashir Gemayel would get heavily involved in the politics in Lebanon. September 5th, 1972 – Black September group (PLO) begins the Olympic Games kidnapping.29 September 19th, Black September sends letter bomb to Ami Shechori in London killing him.

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Luttif Afif (1937? or 1945? – September 6, 1972), possible true name Muhammad Massalha, alias Issa, was the leader of the group of Palestinian terrorists who invaded the Munich Olympic Village on September 5, 1972 and took as hostage nine members of Israel’s Olympic team after killing two members who resisted.

On April 10th, 1973, Israeli commandos infiltrated Beirut in a daring raid and attacked Palestinian centers in the heart of the capital, killing three prominent PLO leaders: 1. Kamal Nasir – Poet and the PLO official spokesman 2. Muhammad al-Najjar – Head of the Higher Political Committee for Palestinian Affairs in Lebanon, member of the PLO Executive Committee and Fatah Central Committee 3. Kamal Udwan – Member of the Fatah Central Committee The absence of the Lebanese Army during the Israeli attack angered Lebanese Muslims, whereas Prime Minister “Saib Salam” claimed that Army commander General Alexander Ghanim – a Maronite – had disobeyed orders by not resisting the Israeli raid, and he threatened to resign unless General Ghanim was stripped of his rank – he did retain his rank, (until Sept 1975 being replaced by Hanna Said), Salam did resign and was succeeded by a series of ineffective Prime Ministers. On April 14th, 1973 – the United States-owned oil terminus30 at “Zahrani” (Sidon) was bombed, allegedly by the PFLP-GC, and on April 27th, three men were arrested with explosives at Beirut airport, where an additional bomb was found the next day, and on April 30th several armed DFLP members were arrested as they drove past the US Embassy --- in a nutshell the friction was increasing between the guerrillas and the security forces was rising to a rapid boil. In response to the security forces effective action, two Lebanese soldiers were kidnapped on May 1st, January 1973 which finally forced the Lebanese Army into action with the PLO. The refugee camps are surrounded and attacked by the Army. In response to Palestinian shelling of the airport, the Lebanese Air Force was ordered into action against the “Burj al-Barajina” camp in Beirut. emergency was declared throughout the country. The PLO appealed to international allies for support. Algeria, Libya, and Syria promptly condemned the Lebanese government’s actions, and all three – together with Kuwait, Egypt, Morocco, Iraq, the UAE, and the Arab League offered to mediate. Egypt and Syria – who were planning the October-1973 Arab-Israeli War, put forth an extra plea, being anxious to contain the conflict, and put pressure on
30

A state of

Trans-Arabian Pipeline Company, a joint venture by Standard Oil of New Jersey (Esso), Standard Oil of California (Chevron), The Texas Company (Texaco) and Socony-Vacuum Oil Company (Mobil)

Lebanon. On May 8th the border between Syria and Lebanon was closed by Syria, the two forces inside Syria (Fatah, Sa’iqa) moved from Syria to a few kilometers inside Lebanon. Forcing Lebanon into some serious ways to end the fighting. After some 17-hours of negotiating on May 17th, the two sides had reached an agreement, it was labeled the “Melkart Protocol” – it stated that the PLO had to respect the “Independence, stability, and sovereignty” of Lebanon, and yet it also gave the PLO virtual autonomy, including the right to maintain its own militia in certain areas of Lebanon. This was radically different than the “Cairo Agreement” which preserved the “exercise of full power in all regions and in all circumstanced by ‘Lebanese’ civilian and military authorities.” Lebanese Muslims believed that under the “Melkart Agreement” Palestinian refuges in Lebanon had been accorded a “greater” degree of self-determination than even some Lebanese “citizens”, and inspired by this they organized politically and militarily along with “encouraged” by the Palestinians tried to obtain similar concession from the central government. Druze leader “Kamal Jumblatt” established the Lebanese National Movement (formerly the Front for Progressive Parties and National Forces) as an umbrella group made up of anti-governmental forces. Following the 1969 events, Kataeb (Phalange) Party members were involved in “occasional” military training, this changed in 1973 after the confrontations between them and the PLO forces. They acquired heavy weapons and engaged extensively in organized training – the Phalange Party was the most organized of the Christian-based units having a para-military structure and a large following in various sections of the country – as noted analysis and author “Frank Stoakes” remarked, “it had become a valuable auxiliary of the state,” and was ready to come to its defense in times of crisis.

Other groups began to organize militarily, notably “Chamoun’s” National Liberal Party and a small elitist group of young professionals called “al-Tanzim31”, led by Dr. Fouad Chemail and Georges Adouan. All the participants in Lebanon lagged far beyond the PLO in similar military and security infrastructure as they had limited financial resources. Whereas the leftist and Muslim-based parties that operated closely with the PLO received heavy financial and military support from Arab countries, most notably Libya, Syria and Iraq. Christian-based groups (for the most part) relied mainly on “private” financial support and received (beginning in 1973) military training and light weapons from the Lebanese army. At the beginning of 1975, it is estimated that over 350,000 Palestinian refugees are in Lebanon. Pre-1975 the military balance in the country was in favor of the PLO: 1. PLO organization (22,900 troops) a. Fatah – 7,000 b. Sa’iqa – 4,500 c. Al-Rashidiye camp d. Ayn al-Helweh camp e. Tal al Zaatar camp f. Shatile camp g. Nahr al-Band camp i. Borj al-Barajneh camp 2,500 1,700 1,300 8,000 5,000 5,000 7,300 4,500 3,225

h. Al-Burj al-Shimali camp - 1,625 2. Lebanese Army (19,000) 50% fighting force – rest administrative 3. Kataeb Party 4. Lebanese Communist Party 5. Progressive Socialist Party 6. Syrian Social Nationalist Party - 4,000
31

This small party was founded in 1969 in the wake of major clashes between the Palestinian forces in Lebanon and the Lebanese army (which was aided by right-wing militias). Its founders split off from the Lebanese Phalanges party in protest against its leadership's reluctance to engage in nationwide military training and arming of the Lebanese population to engage in full-scale war against the Palestinians in Lebanon. Since its inception, this party has exhibited a fixation with the militarization of the Lebanese in order to "defend Lebanon." This ostensibly secretive program was made public in 1973 when the Organization participated in clashes between Palestinian forces, on the one hand, and the coalition of Lebanese army troops and rightwing militias, on the other. With the split the Lebanese army early in the war, Al Tanzim attempted to incorporate defectors from the army into its ranks. The Lebanese Al Tanzim also accepted members from outside the army, mostly from the upper and professional classes. It fielded its own military force of about 1500 troops. The Organization was absorbed into the Lebanese Forces in 1977.

7. National Liberal Party -

4,000

8. Leftist/Nationalist/Muslim based parties (LNM) had over 18,700 militiamen coupled with the PLO showed a total of anti-government forces around 41,600 men 9. The Christian-based units made up a total force of 12,000, and after the breakup of the Lebanese Army – this number decreased – the antigovernment forces numbered 46,000 and the Christian-based number was 15,000 – both sides had increased, although the ratio was worse for the Christians. Prior to the spark(s) that set the reality of war on the Lebanese people, other events are said to have added to the upcoming disruption of Lebanon. May 16th – 1974: Israeli Air Force bombed “seven” Palestinian refugee camps and villages in southern Lebanon killing at least 27-people and leaving 138 injured. The attack was in “retaliation” for yesterday’s hostage crisis as a school in “Ma’alot” near the Lebanon border in which 18-teenages were killed and 70 wounded. Worst hit by the Israeli fighter-bombers were the crowded refugee camps of “Ein El Helweh” near the city of Sidon and Nabatieh. An official announcement from the IDF said the planes had been aiming at offices and training bases used by the Popular Democratic Front led by “Nayef Hawatmeh” and the Popular Front under the command of “Ahmed Jibril”. In common references on the Internet there are sites available that lay out some special events happening during the year in Lebanon, I have gone to a universal news archive and went thought each day of each month, noting news worthy items that have to do with the overall conditions in the Middle East. Some news worthy items it can easily be determined of their direct cause and effect on the events in Lebanon – while the recorded instances are noted on the Lebanese Civil War pages, the events leading to these actions are not conclusive in detailing what led to their occurrences. I’m not saying they were left out on purpose just as I’m not saying I am taking the noted references to the event leading up to their happening as noted by the International press is accurate, all I am saying is that the reader must draw his own conclusions or opinion of their effect in Lebanon. Some events (dates) will back track in most times to the event with a correction on a following date – in some instances it may take a week or two before the

correction or another fact is discovered that facilitates the correction – this is common. When I am able to remember (if the events are not too far about, or my family of editors discovered the change) it is made during the day the event happen in “captions” – the constant reference to the Middle East peace process involving Egypt and Israel is noted more often than any other political moves because their peace process, like the war in Lebanon has a lot to do with the fate of the Palestinians, which has been the focal point of most of the Middle East since Israel was made a state in 1948. January 2nd – USA Secretary of State “Henry Kissinger” says military action cannot be ruled out in the Middle East – blames the conditions of the region on oil. Israeli troops cross the Lebanese border and raid two towns, four Arab civilians and one Lebanese soldier are killed during the raid. On January 3rd, 1975 the country of Israel bombed selected areas in South Lebanon, killing six civilians, five wounded and during an excursion of Israel forces, six were taken prisoner and 13-homes were destroyed. The Lebanese army and the Fedayin (Muslim freedom fighters) twice repelled the Israeli incursion attempts. There is also fighting between Israel and Lebanon along the border, Israel reports it lost one officer and seven soldiers are wounded Lebanon protests to UN Security Council and ask other Arab country’s for weapons. Two bombs explode in Egyptian and Jordan embassies in Damascus, Syria four are reported wounded – Arab and Communist group “may be” responsible. On January 6th, 1975 the Lebanese army attack and succeed in controlling the old town of “Tripoli”, where it is said many outlaws has been hiding for the past six months – two civilians died, twelve wounded and seventy-five were arrested. Israel charges “Palestinians” from Syria are “reinforcing” guerrillas in Lebanon – Israeli Defense Minister “Shimon Peres” warns both countries that any Syrian attempt to gain a foothold in Lebanon will an act of aggression. government denies the charge. In the Beirut region on the 7th of January, 25,000 private school teachers went on strike this affected over 200,000 students, they were claiming the “amendment” of their pay scale and teachers’ dismissal law was unfair. The minimum salary for a teacher was 250 Lebanese pounds per month. Lebanese

Jan 8th – Israeli Foreign Minister “Yigal Allon” flies to US to discuss next step in Israel, as Egypt’s President Sadat says Israel must agree to “withdraw” from East Jerusalem of other Israeli-occupied Arab territories before Middle East peace talks can resume in Geneva. Jan 9th – Secretary of State Kissinger (USA) raised the “remote” possibility of United States military intervention in the Middle East – an another surprise announcement the State Department reveals a sale of squadron of Jet Fighters to Saudi Arabia. The Saudis plan to spend $756 million on the transaction. Rival TV network reports a value in the $3/$4 billion range. Jan 10th – Israelis are still making raids across the border against Arab guerrillas. It is also reported that Syrian President Assad is visiting Lebanon with Lebanese President Suleiman Franjieh for mutual defense conferences, both Syria and Lebanon are afraid Israel will take over South Lebanon – it is said the residents are in fear of losing everything, including their lives. The Lebanese Foreign Minister reports his government will ask for a high-level conference of all Arab Nations to discuss problem. The government of “India” recognizes the PLO as the only representatives of Palestinians – they authorize the opening of office in New Delhi. The 70th Patriarch “Paul Peter Meoushi” dies of a heart attack at the age of 81 on January 11th, 1975 – Saturday. Jan 13th – Israeli troops cross border twice – destroying five houses and shelling outskirts of several towns. stop raids. Jan 14th – Saudi Arabia’s “King Faisal” touring Middle East says he’ll help Syria “financially” in its struggle against Israel – UN Secretary General “Kurt Waldheim” warns the Middle East situation is extremely serious, and there may be a withdrawal of fall peace-keeping forces in the region – in DC, Marvin Kalb reports the possibility of further Israeli – Egyptian relations and future agreement looks good. Jan 15th – Israelis cross border once more and fight with PLO, PLO claim that Israelis shell two gunboats in Lebanon – it is said by Israelis that raids will continue considering the situation inside Lebanon. Jan 16th – Another Israeli attack across border against PLO bases. Israeli artillery fires across the Lebanese border for its 5 th consecutive day, Lebanese army returns Two Lebanese are wounded; in nearby town a demonstration is organized protesting the inability of Lebanese Army’s failure to

fire briefly (for the 1st time this year) – whereas they hope to force PLO out of Southern Lebanon. In Damascus a bomb explodes near hotel where “some” of Saudi Arabian King Faisal’s delegation is staying. It is mentioned that King Faisal and President Assad do not agree on methods of running a government – they agree that Arabs must be “unified” in their approach to the Middle East problem. Jan 17th – President Ford White House confirms that U.S. has supplied Lebanon with two-dozen “mobile” rocket launchers in recent months. Lebanese refugees bitter at United States for supplying Israelis with up-to-date modern warfare materials, whereas the small Lebanese Army is reluctant to challenge the Israelis. It is also noted that there is a growing support across the region to supply sophisticated equipment to army upgrading its readiness. Kissinger due back in Middle East accepted invitation (in principle) Israeli Foreign Minister Yigal Allon makes announcement, and he expresses assurances that U.S. won’t sell out Israel. January 20th, Lebanese Army barracks in Tyre is hit by 8-rockets fired from nearby Palestinian camp. United States asking British for occasional use of their airfield facilities on “Masirah Island” – British-run airbase at entrance to Persian Gulf. Jan 23rd – President Anwar Sadat says Egypt and Syria to go to war if attacked by Israel – Israeli Prime Minister “Itzhak Rabin” rejects Sadat’s demands to pull back on three fronts within next 3-months. Jan 24th – Ford White House and Pentagon deny report that three Army divisions are being prepared as “expeditionary” force to the Middle East. After stormy debates and demonstrations most schools reopened their doors on January 27, 1975 in Lebanon. President Sadat goes to France to purchase military supplies, he meets with French President “Valery Giscard d’Estaing” who is more than willing to sell him the newest in rockets, fighter planes, tanks, nuclear reactors –Saudi Arabia says they will assist along with other Arab nations with financial aid for the purchase. Jan 28th – Israel Defense Minister Shimon Peres says Israel has agreed to pull its troops back to new defense line on Sinai, 35-miles east of Suez Canal – but it insists on keeping oil fields and “strategic” mountain passes that Egypt is demanding they turn over.

In South Lebanon the Israelis have stepped up their campaign against the PLO, whereas the Lebanese farmers are caught in the middle –one farmer “Aref Khoury” says, “we live in a constant shadow of fear”. Syria brags that they are in a much “stronger military position” then when the October War broke out, and as a demand for a permanent peace settlement the turning over of the “Golan Heights” – it is note that although there is some progress in Sinai – there is none in reference to Syria. Jan 29th – PLO gives tour of their detention camp in Damascus, where 70 men are being held for discipline – including five-men who tried to hijack a British airliner. On January 30th, 1975 15,000 citizens demonstrated in Beirut expressing their “solidarity” with the people of Southern Lebanon – which had gone through regular attacks. Jan 31st – International news reports on the increase of “Belly Dancing” in Lebanon, contributing it to greater social freedom – they show large Belly Dancing school in Beirut – interview with “Nadia Gamal” who says that Belly Dancing good for women’s body and her mind. The month of January Israel is hard after the PLO’s positions in South Lebanon, and the PLO responds in like fashion…the Israelis accuse Syria of supplying Palestinians (PLO Members) to reinforce the PLO forces in Syria – there is no answer to this accusation. Arab countries. Minister. US Secretary of State Kissinger raises the possibility of the US intervening in the Middle East in the press – the next day Syrian President Assad is meeting with the President of Lebanon (and his government) to have a “mutual defense” conference in dealing with Israel, couching their meeting based on the fear of the residents in Southern Lebanon. In a strange turn of events (maybe) King Faisal pledges to help Syria in financing their military expenditures in fighting Israel, and when he and entourage visit Damascus the hotel where his group is staying is bombed. (Israel-?) After a particular heavy raid by the Israelis the Lebanese government protests to the UN and sends out a general call for “arms” from other The reader should be reminded that when there is a historical reference to the “government” it usually refers to the government of the Prime

And then the US Government acknowledges it has furnished Lebanon with some rocket launchers, three days later the PLO fires three rockets into an Army barracks at Tyre. In Damascus King Faisal goes home and then President Assad’s government “brags” they are stronger than they were during the October war. President Sadat goes to France to buy a military stockpile, and in Israel Peres says that Israel will pull back to old lines in Sinai. What a month!