Lebanese Forces (LF)

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LEBANESE FORCES (LF)

Lebanese Christian militia created in 1976 as the militia of the Lebanese Front, an alliance of several right-wing Christian parties, dominated by the Phalange. Its first commander was Bashir Jumayyil, younger son of Phalange boss Pierre Jumayyil. Under his guidance, and with substantial military and financial assistance from Israel and from the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the LF became the largest Maronite paramilitary force in Lebanon and a major factor in the Lebanese Civil War. After the Lebanese Front alliance fell apart in 1978, the Lebanese Forces were primarily an arm of the Phalange (and are sometimes referred to as "the Phalange militia"). After the Israeli invasion of June 1982, the LF worked closely, and after Bashir Jumayyil's assassination in September 1982, openly, with Israeli forces, carrying out the brutal Sabra and Shatila massacre in September 1982 and fighting various Palestinian and Lebanese Muslim and leftist factions. Jumayyil was succeeded as commander by Fadi Afram, by Fuʾad Abu Nadr in 1984, and by Samir Geagea in 1985. In 1989–1990 the LF fought the Lebanese Army, then commanded by Michel Aoun, over the Taʾif Accords and the presence of the Syrians in the country, which Aoun opposed. Because of his support of the government, Geagea was included in the first post–civil war government in December 1990. He failed to become Phalange leader, however, and led the LF on a course separate from the party. In 1991, under the terms of the Taʾif Accords, all sectarian militias—with the exception of those in South Lebanon, under Israeli control—were officially dissolved; about two-thirds of the LF's troops were absorbed into the army. The Lebanese Forces then reconstituted itself as a political party, but was discovered to be hoarding weapons. It was banned in 1994 after the bombing of a church in Junieh in which ten people were killed, and the assassination of Dany Chamoun, a rival Maronite militia leader, and a number of other people, were traced to Geagea. Geagea received a death sentence, commuted to life imprisonment, for the Chamoun killing. A rump Lebanese Forces organization remains in the Lebanese Christian community, animated by Strida Geagea, the wife of Samir Geagea. In 2001–2002, Fuʾad Malik attempted to reconstitute the LF as a legal party, but as that necessarily meant accommodating the Syrians, he alienated many LF followers. In 2001 it was reported that LF was still in contact with the Israelis.


SEE ALSO Aoun, Michel; Geagea, Samir; Jumayyil, Bashir; Lebanese Front; Phalange; Sabra and Shatila; Taʾif Accords.

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