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Murabitun

MURABITUN

military arm of harakat al-nasiriyyin al-mustaqillin (independent nasserite movement); largest sunni muslim militia in west beirut from the beginning of lebanon's civil war of 1975 until the arabisrael war of 1982.

Founded by Ibrahim Qulaylat in early 1972, the Murabitun (Arabic for sentinels) of Lebanon maintained a close alliance with al-Fatah (of the Palestine Liberation Organization, PLO) and continuously replenished its arms stockpiles through the largesse of Libya. Qulaylat was a veteran of the Lebanese Civil War of 1958 and had cultivated a personal relationship with his hero, Egypt's President Gamal Abdel Nasser.

During the early stages of the Lebanese Civil War of 1975, the Murabitun expelled the Maronite Christian militias from the hotel district of downtown Beirut, and they maintained a sizable presence in the capital from then on. The dispersal of the PLO and the Murabitun's disarmament by Israel in 1982 greatly weakened the movement; in 1984, Syria's allies, the Shiʿite Amal and the Druze militias of the Progressive Socialist Party conducted a series of multiple strikes against Qulaylat, who increasingly advanced himself as the protector of the Sunni community. Qulaylat now lives in exile in France.

see also fatah, al-; lebanese civil war (1958); nasser, gamal abdel; progressive socialist party.


Bibliography


Johnson, Michael. Class and Client in Beirut: The Sunni Muslim Community and the Lebanese State, 18401985. London: Ithaca Press, 1986.

Salibi, Kamal. Cross Roads to Civil War: Lebanon, 19581976. Delmar, NY: Caravan Books, 1976.

bassam namani

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