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Lebanese National Movement

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Title: Lebanese National Movement  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
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Subject: Lebanese Civil War, Popular Guard, Lebanese Arab Army, Front of Patriotic and National Parties, Lebanese Communist Party
Collection: Factions in the Lebanese Civil War, Lebanese National Movement
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Lebanese National Movement

The Lebanese National Movement (LNM) (Communist Action Organization in Lebanon.

The LNM was one of two main coalitions during the first round of fighting in the Lebanese Civil War, the other being the militias of mainly Christian Lebanese Front which comprises the Phalange, the National Liberal Party and others; as well as parts of the Maronite-dominated central government.


  • Composition 1
    • Membership 1.1
    • Minor groups 1.2
    • Military strength and organization 1.3
    • Sponsor countries and organizations 1.4
  • Lebanese Civil War participation 2
  • See also 3
  • Notes 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6


The Lebanese National Movement had its genesis in a previous organization, the Front of National and Progressive Parties and Forces – FNPPF (Kamal Jumblatt as the main force on the anti-government side in the early years of the Lebanese Civil War.

Among the members were the Progressive Socialist Party (PSP),the Syrian Social Nationalist Party, the Lebanese Communist Party (LCP) and several Nasserist groups. It was also joined by Palestinian factions based in Lebanon's refugee camps, mainly from the Rejectionist Front.


Its membership was overwhelmingly left-wing and professed to be Lebanon, and increased support for the Palestinians. Soon after the outbreak of the war, it announces the creation of an executive structure, "the central political council".

Among the participants in the LNM were the Rejectionist Front. Both the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) were active participants.

Minor groups

Above and beyond this, an ‘alphabet soup’ of other lesser-known smaller Parties were associated with the LNM, namely the revolutionary or populist trend (Arab nationalist, Libertarian-Anarchist, Liberal-Idealist, radical Socialist, Marxist-Leninist, Trotskyist, or Maoist) that emerged in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and despite their rather limited base of support, they were quite active. Anti-status quo, Pan-Arabist, and pro-Palestinian in policy, they strived for a social revolution that would transform Lebanese society, therefore sharing the same objectives as the leading LNM secular parties – the recognition of Lebanon as an Arab country and unwavering support for the PLO.

However, apart this minority of committed idealists, the vast majority of the remainder ‘movements’ were actually façades or ‘shops’ (criminal street-gangs that engaged in assassinations, theft, smuggling, and extortion. As a result, only a small fraction of the truly ideological-committed groupings did manage to survive the war to re-emerge in the 1990s as politically active organizations.

Military strength and organization

At the beginning of the war in 1975 the different LNM militias were grouped into a military wing, designated the "Common Forces" (Arabic: القوات المشتركة, Al-Quwwat al-Mushtaraka), but best known as "Joint Forces" (LNM-JF), which numbered some 18,700 militiamen (not including allied Palestinian factions). Manpower was distributed as follows: the PSP militia and the LCP militia (the Popular Guard) each had 5,000 men; the SSNP militia had 4,000 men; and the pro-Iraqi Ba'athists, the pro-Syria Ba'athists, and al-Mourabitoun militia 3,000 each. The others militias shared the remainder. Eventually, this number was due to increase in the following months with the inclusion of 23,900 Palestinian guerrilla fighters from both the Rejectionist Front (RF) and mainstream PLO factions, later joined by 4,400 Lebanese regular soldiers from the Lebanese Arab Army (LAA) led by Lt. Ahmed al-Khatib who went over to the LNM-PLO side in January 1976. In the end the LNM-PLO-LAA combined military forces reached an impressive total of 46,900 left-wing troops by March that year, aligned against the 15,000-18,000 right-wing troops their Lebanese Front adversaries were able to muster.

The LNM-JF received financial aid and arms from many countries such as refugee camps in the major cities or at PLO bases in southern Lebanon, mainly in the Beqaa Valley (aka “Fatahland”).

Lebanese Civil War participation

As fighting escalated, the LNM allied itself with the umbrella

  • جبهة المقاومة الوطنية اللبنانية
  • Thesis relating many political and military aspects of the Lebanese war, comprising the LNM positions (in French).
  • The Lebanese Agreement
  • Collection of LNM posters

External links

  • Denise Ammoun, Histoire du Liban contemporain : Tome 2 1943-1990, Fayard, Paris 2005. ISBN 978-2-213-61521-9 (in French)
  • Edgar O'Ballance, Civil War in Lebanon, 1975-92, Palgrave Macmillan, 1998 ISBN 0-333-72975-7
  • Fawwaz Traboulsi, Identités et solidarités croisées dans les conflits du Liban contemporain; Chapitre 12: L'économie politique des milices: le phénomène mafieux, Thèse de Doctorat d'Histoire – 1993, Université de Paris VIII, 2007 (in French)
  • Rex Brynen, Sanctuary and Survival: the PLO in Lebanon, Boulder: Westview Press, 1990.
  • Robert Fisk, Pity the Nation: Lebanon at War, London: Oxford University Press, (3rd ed. 2001). ISBN 0-19-280130-9


  1. ^ Fawwaz Traboulsi, "La réforme par les armes"
  2. ^ Investigating Bashir Gemayel Part I: Bashir and the Israelis


See also

In 1978 the Israeli Operation Litani in southern Lebanon was partly directed against LNM militias, then fighting alongside the PLO after relations improved with Syria. In June 1982, the Movement was virtually dissolved after the Israeli invasion of Lebanon, and replaced by The Lebanese National Resistance Front (Arabic: جبهة المقاومة الوطنية اللبنانية‎, Jabhat al-Muqawama al-Wataniyya al-Lubnaniyya), which commenced resistance operations against the Israeli Army in September of that same year.

In June 1976, the Syrian Army, fearing that a Palestinian victory would weaken its own strategic position, received a request from the Lebanese Front to intervene on their behalf.[2] After strong initial resistance, the LNM/PLO forces began losing ground, and once the Arab countries eventually approved the Syrian intervention after the Cairo and Riyadh conferences, the common forces accepted a cease-fire. The Syrian forces then took on the role of a deterrent force, the "Arab Deterrent Forces" (ADF), between the belligerents. In 1977, Walid Jumblatt became the head of the LNM after the murder of his resigning father, Kamal, in an ambush widely accredited pro-Syria Palestinian militants working for Syrian intelligence. Despite this, Walid aligned himself with Syria, and maintained a good working relationship with Syrian President Hafez Al-Assad (who had shared with his father a mutual distrust).

, and an important SSNP faction left the movement or halted their participation. Amal Movement branch, the pro-Syria Ba'ath deteriorated, the Damascus But as its relations with [1]

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