warsofLEBANON1968 | 2000


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Lebanese Forces  
ideology | founder

The Lebanese Forces (LF) emerged as a political power in 1976 under the leadership of Bashir Gemayel. At that time various Christian militias joined forces to bring about the destruction of the Palestinian refugee camp at Tall Zatar. In August of that year, a joint command council was established to integrate formally the several militias, but also to achieve a higher degree of independence from the traditional political leaders, whom many of the LF rank and file regarded as too moderate. Gemayel first took control of the military wing of his father's Phalange Party and then proceeded to incorporate other Christian militias. Those who resisted were forcibly integrated. In 1978 Gemayel subjugated the Marada Brigade, the militia of former president Sulayman FranJIYAh, killing Frangieh's son, Tony, in the process. In 1980 the same fate befell Camille Shamun's Tigers militia.
Thus, by the early 1980s the LF controlled East Beirut and Mount Lebanon, and Gemayel was its de facto president. But Gemayel did not confine the LF to the military realm only; he created committees within the LF structure that had responsibility for health, information, foreign affairs, education, and other matters of public concern. Gemayel established links with Israeli authorities, and he consistently battled with Syrian forces. Important feature of the LF's operations were its legal (official) and illegal (unofficial) ports and the revenues generated by the transit trade. In this way, the LF took over the traditional role of the state as a provider of public services.
Following the 1982 assassination of Bashir Gemayel, the LF suffered serious organizational cleavages. After numerous succession struggles, Elie Hobeika - notorious for his role in the Sabra and Shatila massacres of 1982 - assumed the leadership of the LF. But when Hobeika signed the Syrian-sponsored Tripartite Accord in December 1985 against the wishes of President Amin Gemayel, LF chief of staff Samir Geagea launched an attack on Hobeika and his loyalists and defeated them. Interestingly, Hobeika, who was once noted for his close ties to Israel, in late 1987 was headquartered in Zahlah, where he headed a separate pro-Syrian "Lebanese Forces".
The LF, under the leadership of Samir Geagea, signed the Taef Agreement and therefore moving from being on the opposition side to becoming in favour of the new goverment.
The LF was one of the most important political and military actors on the Lebanese scene. As leader of the LF, Geagea wielded power rivaling that of President. Geagea embraced a hardline, anti-Syrian position and revived ties with Israel. The LF operated television and radio stations and published a weekly magazine.
Many consider the Lebanese Forces an extreme far right fanatic religious Christian Maronite party, on the other hand a more careful study of the LF might lead to to another conclusion, the Lebanese Forces is indeed a Christian Fundemantal party with deep nationalist ideas and standings, The Lebanese Forces is more opposed to the Arabic Lebanon and consider Lebanon a Pure Lebanese Nation with and are strongly comitted to Lebanese nationalist understandings and concepts Although the LF differs considerably from the Phalange party which is so often considered the beginning and the mother which gave birth to the Lebanese Forces but The Lebanese Forces are more comited to the "strong Christian community" slogan and concept The Lebanese Forces for a confederare Lebanon which was regarded by some parties as a call for the division of Lebanon.
The Lebanese forces are considered the most popular Christian party in Lebanon, althought banned by the state after being accuesed of being the party behibd the Najjat Church explosion and their leader Samir Geagea imprisoned their rallies the hugets masses among the Christians of Lebanon.
After the war the party suffered from inner divisions and multiple wing situations as the parties military leader Fouad Malek aimed to reach a settlement with the state in order to remove the ban from the Forces under his command but Gaegaes wing beyond argument enjoys the much more support among the ranks of the Lebanese Forces.