[Prev] [Contents] [Next]
3.1 The Rise and the Roar of the Shia

The 18th April in 1983 the American Embassy in Beirut was blown up by a suicide bomber, resulting in 63 killed. On 16th October the same year another suicide bomber with a truck full of explosives blew up the US Marines headquarters in Beirut, causing the death of 241 American soldiers. A few minutes later, a similar attack occured at the French headquarters in an other part of the town, taking the life of 58 French paratroopers. In Tyre, a coastal town down in the Lebanese south, the Israeli military headquarters was turned into rubble by a suicide bomber too, killing 29 Israeli soldiers. Soon, all Western forces, and especially the Israelis, faced a hardened resistance everywhere they moved on Lebanese territory. In the two forthcoming years - before a large-scale withdrawal - an average of one Israeli soldier a day would lose his life on service in Lebanon. This was something new to the Israelis "who had swaggered through the towns and cities in the early days of the occupation", but now "were obliged to make themselves more and more invisible".[34] Those striking events and changed conditions signed the birth of a new kind of resistance, more violent, self-sacrificing and determined than ever the PLO. Indeed, the new resistance contained a wide spectrum of political and communal factions, but, as Ahmad Beydon points out, it "had an undeniably southern and Shiite character".[35]. That is, in large it was a result of a mobilization of the Shiite community in the south which had been going on for years but now bursted out in full bloom.

Therefore, in this chapter I shall try to detect the factors leading to these new forces of resistance and the mobilization of the Shiite community. This is crucial, not only because it brings a new component to the context of Lebanon, but also because the mobilization of the Shiites marks the off-spring to the establishment of Hizballah. In doing this I shall try to answer the questions why and how this mobilization was carried through - what role and status the Shiite community enjoyed in Lebanon, and how the leaders of the Shiites succeeded in making them take to arms.

3.2 Why did the Shia of Lebanon mobilize?

Ever since the reign of the Ottoman empire, the Shiites of Lebanon had had an peripherical role, both geographically and politically. Facing the power and persecution of the Ottomans with their Sunni belonging and the Christian Maronites - who had acquired themselves a special status in the empire due to their connections with Catholic France and Rome - the Shia settled down in the south of Lebanon or Eastern Bekaa. Thus, the relevant centres for trade and finance in post-colonial Lebanon, were no areas of the Shia communities.[36] The Lebanese of the south - of which about 80 percent were Shiites - and their trade connections with the business centers in Palestine were cut off as the state of Israel was declared in 1948, and there would be no substitute; the southerners became forgotten, out of business, "conceptually, politically and economically".[37] In addition, Richard Norton remarks that the Shias of Lebanon since independence was "the most disadvantaged confessional group in the country" and "while the South had about 20 percent of the national population [in 1974], it received less than 0,7 percent of the state budget".[38]

Furthermore, modernization during the sixties brought several impacts along. Firstly, technical progress transformed within the agricultural sector - the main source of income among the Shia of the south - implied that that many peasants faced unemployment and no incomes.[39] Secondly, the infrastructure of the whole of Lebanon, even the south, expanded and improved which facilitated transports, and, due to the emerging harsh conditions, many southerners moved northwards to Beirut, uprooting old demographical structures. However, the bulk of the Shiites did not succed in improving their living standards, merely ending up alongside many Palestinian refugees in the "Belt of Misery", the poor southern surburbs of Beirut. Thirdly, the process of modernization within the media - like access to radio and TV - improved, and together with the escalating urbanization, with a flow of people moving back and forth in the country, an awareness took form among the Shia, even in the most isolated and remote areas of the south. This awareness of the more prosperous parts of Lebanon and its more fortunate citizens, Elizabeth Picard argues, "made their unfavourable situation, and the lack of social mobility, all the more painfully obvious".[40]

Moreover, the infiltration of armed Palestinians in the south, the Israeli incursions following it, often aimed against the Shiites themselves, and the impotence of the Lebanese authorities in handling those traumas, were fuel to the fire of an increasing Shiite perception of being neglected. Nevertheless, it also carried its contribution to further urbanization; conditions in the south became even more unbearable, and the slums in southern Beirut expanded.

However, as Richard Norton argues: "An uprooted population is only potentially significant; its latent significance is only realized when the uprooted are mobilized or recruited for political action."[41] Thus, if above mentioned factors signify why the Shia had a reason to feel deprived and how they became aware of their situation, then there must be other factors that functioned as channels of their frustration. That is, how did the they mobilize? And what means did they use and what demands did these forces bring forward? These are the questions I shall try to answer down below.

3.3 Misery and growing demands

Despite the escalating misery of the south, state-runned education programs at the universities had been provided to Lebanese students of less priviliged communities, of whom a large mount was Shia, during the time of modernization. As a result, a new educated middle-class elite emerged, eager to participate on the Lebanese political, social and economical scene. At the same time, many Shiites who had emigrated during the harsh years in order to start up businesses abroad, still kept in touch with their home villages and relatives. They often brought home new ideas about politics, ideologies, values and societal structures.

However, those new counter-elites, as mentioned in the former chapter, soon realized that the system was blocked, that "the main criterion for social promotion in Lebanon was community-based", and that the feudal structures, the institutional hegemony of the zu'ama, barred the participation of the new-comers.[42] Moreover, the Shia was perceived as the fastest growing community within the demographical Lebanese landscape, and thus the grievances against the the unbalanced proportionalism of the confessionalist structures and its rigidity, not able to cope with those facts, could be strongly felt among the Shiites.

Anyway, according to Joseph Olmert, the "Shiite community lacked a genuinely participatory political tradition".[43] That is, there were no real sectarian parties - representing the community's interests per se - within the Shia community as there were within other communities. Rather, the Shiites were in parliament represented by feudal landlords who rather ackowledged their own interests than of those they were supposed to represent. Thus, the growing political awakening among the Shia implied that many "started to fill the ranks of the Leftist parties".[44] Far away from their local villages, and thus far away from the patronage of the local za'im, they, uprooted, especially in the "Belt of Misery", "formed an economic under-class, or a sort of quasi-proleteriat in the late sixties, when the Lebanese economy was flourishing".[45] As such, those Shiites became fertile ground for the leftist factions and their slogans of equality and social improvements. Moreover, in the south, where the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was escalating, the feeling of "barely existing" to the rest of the country grew even more tangible as the zu'ama became unable to meet the new needs and demands of security of their clients and the Lebanese army was impotent; politically pinioned and unable to get into action.

The Lebanese disorder therefore constituted a tough blow against the Shia as the organizational backbone of their own communtiy could not cope with the prevailing circumstances. Notwithstanding, the alliance of secular left wing forces in Lebanon which challenged the traditional power structures had a tough match surviving in the increasing sectarian environment. Richard Norton argues that secular movements were bound to fail because the essence of Lebanese society is the sect, the confessional belonging. In Lebanon, he points out, the "religious identity defines one's primary social organisation" and "where class consciousness seems to exist, it is overlain (and obscured) by primordial interests".[46] Accordingly, along with the intense fighting and the increasing mobilization along sectarian lines, even the Shia became affected. More and more Shiites started to feel that they, as a confessional community, had paid the highest price of the country's suffering and "with very little to show for their grief".[47]

Hence, as I have shown, a mobilization within the Shia community along confessional lines can easily be regarded as a natural consequence in the context described above. Indeed, such mobilization had been going on for years. Soon, it was to explode.

3.4 Sayyed Musa al-Sadr and the paradigm of the Shia

The most important figure regarding the sectarian awakening and mobilization of the Shiite community in pre-war Lebanon was, without doubt, Sayyed Musa al-Sadr. As a cleric and agitator, Sayyed Musa entered the Lebanese political arena in the early sixties, confronting the prevailing socio-, political-, and economic conditions of the Lebanese context. His fundamental strength, Richard Norton remarks, was that he early "understood the affective potential of religion and its symbols", and that he "shrewdly recognized that his power lay in part in his role as a custodian of symbols", something he was a master in utilizing.[48] The symbols Musa al-Sadr used in mobilizing his community was particulary Shiite, working within a paradigm of Shiite doctrine which constituted a sort of battle cry in order to awaken the Shia and alert it into a posture of activism. Hence, down below I feel obliged to present the most basic and - for this essay- relevant concepts of this doctrine, what symbolism it fostered, and how Sayyed Musa succeeded in using those as tools for mobilization.

The main divide between the Shia and the Sunni doctrines of Islam stems from the power struggle that emerged shortly after the death of the Prophet Muhammad in 632 AD. Who was to be his righteous and justified successor to rule Medina, the first Islamic state, through which the words of God were given to mankind, the people? In the view of Shia doctrine, this authority of the Prophet should have fallen in the hands of his own family, the descendants, the Imamate, "the bearers of Islam's message and truth".[49] However, due to the military inferiority of the Prophet's family, the political kingdom of Medina was overtaken by a long-time rivaling clan, the Ummayads. As the mainstream of the people - later to be known as the Sunnis - accepted these state of affairs, the branch of the Shia (Arab word meaning partisan) never has accepted it. A transmission of power away from the family of the Prophet, was a transmission away from the divine truth, or, as Fouad Ajami remarks, for the Shia "history had become usurpation; the wordly had triumphed over the theocratic ideal".[50] Outside the framework of the political structures however, which were given by the state authorities of the Caliphate, the Shia remained faithful to the descendants of the Prophet, worshipping them as the real and solely intermediators between Man and God.

Some concepts within this doctrine of the Shia are therefore crucial to bear in mind. The first, taqiyya (precautionary dissimulation), is the "white lie" of this doctrine, developed due to the historical persecution of the Shiites. In practice, it implies the justified right for a Shiite in belief to deny his own faith in an environment which is hostile to it, applied if needed to stay alive.[51] Bernard Lewis argues that taqiyya is not only about submission, it can even justify conformation or pretending to belong to the ruling belief - all in order to stay in tune with one's own real faith, without being disturbed by the state authorities.[52] Moreover, closely connected to taqiyya is another Shia concept, ghayba (occultation).[53] The Imams, the righteous successors of the Prophet in the minds of the Shia, were only to be twelve. The last of them dissappeared in front of the eyes of his disciples. As a result, a "messianic" message has developed within Shi'ism: the 12th Imam is still alive; he has only been taken away from the visible sphere to the divine. Someday though, he will return in order to restore the divine justice on earth. Therefore, pending that return, if necessary to preserve their religious identity, the Shi'ites are justified to live in taqiyya.

Here we may have the most crucial divide between the Shi'ism and the Sunnism. Bernard Lewis argues that through this development of the early power struggle following the Prophet's death, the Sunnis have committed themselves to rule, and accordingly, they must accept and justify existing facts, even religiously. Otherwise, he concludes, all of them would be living in sin, "which would be an unacceptable position from a Sunni point of view".[54] The Shia, on the other hand, regards all Islamic governments since the death of the Prophet as "illegitimate or at least provisional".[55] Hence, for them, the concepts of taqiyya and ghayba are some sorts of "safety valves": they provide the possibility for justified living in an unjustified society, when visions and ideals are not in accord with reality.[56]

Equally important in Shi'ism is the role and the impact of martyrdome. As the history of the Shiites is one of persecution and hiding, living in taqiyya, tales have emerged about those faithful who have showed courage and determination in the face of wicked rulers and tyrants. Doubtless, the most famous and cherished of those is the one of the third Imam, Hussein, and his defeat against the ruling Caliph, Yazid, at the battle of Kerbala.[57] In short, the tale tells that Hussein had been invited by the people of Qom to give them his religious guidiance. On their way there, Hussein and the seventy men following him discovered that it was all a trap, a set-up: at the plains of Kerbala they were cut-off by 5000 of the Caliph's troops. Realizing his fate however, Hussein chose to face the enemy's forces with the power he had, only too well aware that he was about to die. Fouad Ajami describes how, after them being killed and beheaded, "the severed heads [of the Imam and his men]...were exhibited as a warning to others: submit, for rebellion does not pay".[58] To the Shia, the story of Hussein and what happened to him at Kerbala - along with the other Imams who all suffered destinies of violent deaths and imprisonments - signify the grandeur of martyrdom; to give oneself in the struggle against the evil and unjust.

Since then, many Shiite leaders have translated the token of Kerbala as one of submission - it did not gain anything in fighting the evil. Through taqiyya their communities could live in peace, undisturbed, in the messianic belief that the 12th Imam one day would return and restore God's rule on earth. Sayyed Musa though, developed another point of view. To him, the events at Kerbala was a fight between "two radically different moral outlooks": Hussein was the just, the pious, and Yazid the mean Caliph, the tyrant, the drinker and horseplayer, the man whose family had fought the Prophet for ages. Thus, it was not a fight about kingdoms and rule; it was deeper; it was a struggle between purely good and purely evil; between the divine and the wordly, the corruptible.[59] In a timeless symbolism, Sayyed Musa transformed the Kerbala tragedy into the present stage of the Lebanese Shiites, branding "those who just wanted to ossify the example of Hussein, to restrict the meaning of his life and martyrdome to tears and lamentations".[60] For too long, Sayeed Musa declared, the Shia had kept quiet, for too long they had been subordinated to injustice, living in taqiyya. By letting the Shiites understand their own religious history, cultural heritage and faith, he served them the fuel they needed for taking on an activist posture; articulating demands in order to improve their status, standards and influence in a society that long ago had left them behind. The symbolism of Kerbala was a powerful tool to handle; its tale and tragedy were something most Shiites knew about and were willing to identify with. At an Ashura gathering in 1974, Sayyed Musa spoke:

The umma was silent, free men were fugitives; fear reduced men to silence. Islam was threatened...A great sacrifice was needed to...stir feelings. The event of Kerbala was that sacrifice. Imam Hussein put his family, his forces, and even his life, in the balance against tyranny and corruption. Then the Islamic world burst forward with this revolution.

This revolution did not die in the sands of Kerbala; it flowed into the life stream of the Islamic world, and passed from generation to generation, even to our day. It is a deposit placed in our hands so that we may profit from it, that we draw out of it a new source of reform, a new position, a new movement, a new revolution, to repel the darkness, to stop tyranny and to pulverize evil.[61]

In 1975, Sayyed Musa formed Amal, a Shiite alternative for their community in an environment that was becoming increasingly sectarian and community focused.[62] Well aware of the challenges and opportunities facing his movement and community, Sayyed Musa moved along a political track which many Shiites could sympathize with. Carefully, he avoided a class-struggeling discourse in order to unify the stratas within the Shia. By using a new sort of political rethoric, appealing to the "wretched of the earth" and the "disinherited", Sayyed Musa circumvent, as Fouad Ajami notes, the leftist slogans such as "class conflicts" and "exploitation". Instead, he turned the paradigm over in a manner that the Shia became a deprived community in itself. In doing this, he was able to address both the poor stratas of the Shiite community - whose support also could fall to the leftist factions - and those more well-off Shiites and the pious who feared the socialist and secular slogans of the left-wing.[63]

Despite the sectarian profile and the Shia attributes however, it is crucial to note that Sayyed Musa did not call for an Islamic state. His posture was one of activism, to demand, involve and participate - opposite to what a life in taqiyya implied. Richard Norton describes Sayyed Musa as a reformist, not a revolutionary; not being "anti-regime". He recognized fully the multitude of the Lebanese population, and even so, Norton adds, the necessity of understanding the Christian's perception of insecurity in an Arab environment. He condemned although the unjust feudal structures of Lebanese society: the arrogance of the Maronites towards the Shiites, the disproportionate share of the Shiites in the Lebanese political and administrative structures, as well as the ignorance shown by the patrons within the zu'ama towards their own people whom they so gravely had failed to help.[64]

Moreover, another source of Sayyed Musa's contempt was the idleness of the Lebanese army in protecting the south. In this matter, it is crucial to note that even though he sympathized with the Palestinians on a political level, he opposed the notion of turning south Lebanon into a surrogate battlefield for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The burdens the population of the south had put up with, Sayyed Musa stated, were pushed to their limits.[65] Deteriorating security and rising numbers of casualities among the southerners due to Israeli bombardments and shellings, along with the Palestinians gunmen's harrying and bullying of the population in the area - acting as if south Lebanon was a country of their own - led to widespread resentment among the Shiites regarding the Palestinian cause. By arming Amal, Sayyed Musa showed the Shiites the green light to start defending themselves. According to Richard Norton, a "reliable source" once heard Sayyed Musa utter: "the PLO is a factor of anarchy in the south. The Shi'a are conquering their inferiority complex with respect to the Palestinian organizations. We have had enough!".[66]

As I see it, one can regard Sayyed Musa's contribution to the Lebanese scene as awakening the Lebanese Shia and turning them conscious as Lebanese Shia. In a society where structures and minds mostly followed confessional patterns, the Shia mobilization created a force which could enter into competition with other sects and trends. As such, sandwiched between the ignorance of Beirut and the violence of the south, Sayyed Musa and Amal filled several vacuums that the Lebanese society and its regional environment had created and that I have presented above. Firstly, the movement was a reaction against the disproportionate distribution of power and influence within the system. As we have seen earlier, the Shia had had no real representatives of their own; no one looked after the interests of the community as whole. Sayyed Musa was the one to unify the Shiites and bring forward their demands exactly as a community. Secondly, Sayyed Musa and Amal represented a reaction against socialist and secular trends: in order to survive as a mobilizing phenomen in the sectarian-ridden Lebanese society, one had to choose a sectarian discourse, especially as conflict and war even functioned as catalyst of this phenomen. Hence, to really improve the status of the unpriviliged Shia community, it was in vain to make a bet on the horse running for the socialist and secularist stables. Sayyed Musa thus offered an alternative, more in uniform with what Richard Norton called the "essence" of the Lebanese environment. Bursting forward within a paradigm of confessional tales, drama and symbolism, he could move with remarkable force and recognition, attracting Shiites from all stratas and degrees of faith. In this matter, it is crucial, I think, to remember that Sayyed Musa and his followers did not call for an overthrow of the regime like the leftist and secular factions did. He preferred to work within the given confessionalist structures of society, aiming at improving the hopeless position of his own community. Thirdly, by forming Amal into an armed militia, Sayyed Musa offered an alternative to the lack of security in the south which had emerged in the absence of the Lebanese army and the presence of Palestinian guerillas. Together, those factors mobilized Sayyed Musa's Amal into a Shiite sectarian mass movement.

3.5 Further radicalization

Several setbacks and spurs contributed to a further radicalization of the Shia in the end of the seventies and beginning of the eighties.

Firstly, in 1978, Sayyed Musa mysteriously disappeared on a visit to President Qadaffi in Libya, and he has not been seen since.[67] Libya, an Arab country with mainly Sunni population, and its president, Qadaffi, who became suspected for being behind the disappearance, implied that the Lebanese Shia over again could feel the rivalry from the Sunni dominated Arab world. An alarming similarity could be traced between Sayyed Musa's invitation to Tripoli and the third Imam's invitation to Qom, and the emptiness after him led Shiite thoughts to the twelth missing Imam. His fate and tradegy accordingly embodied the symbolism of Shia doctrines he himself so successfully had evoked. Due to the perception of standing alone, the Shia strengthened their community loyalities further, tightening the ties within.[68]

Secondly, the Islamic revolution in Iran in 1979, Richard Norton remarks, functioned as a catalyst of inspiration for the Lebanese Shiite community. On the one hand, because it showed what a victory "a pious, mobilized Muslim community could accomplish" in the face of a wicked ruler, and on the other hand because the Shiite character of the revolution boosted the self-confidence of the Shia in Lebanon. He adds although that the mainstream of the Shiites questioned if such a regime would be realistic - or even desirable - in the multitudinous Lebanon.[69]

Thirdly, along with the Israeli invasion in 1978 and the establishment of the "security-zone" in the south, the burdens of the Shia dramatically increased: the SLA intensified a policy of deterring southerners from cooperating with the Palestinians, and the Israelis themselves, Richard Norton points out, "moved far beyond all but the slimmest pretense of retaliation".[70] Instead, they sought to keep the Palestinian guerillas at bay by hunting them down through "airattacks, raids, kidnappings and house-bombings".[71]

Fourthly, as a result, the recruiting ground for the Palestinians and the leftist factions diminished (even more than before) alongside an increasing sympathy and support for Amal.[72] Henceforth, tensions that had arisen between those two camps soon exploded in downright armed battles. In utter despair, one of the highest spiritual leaders of the Lebanese Shia, Muhammad Jawad Mughniyya (dead in 1979), expressed:

Palestinians declare that whatever happens, they will not leave the Lebanese south. This means that they provoke Israel so that Israel destroys and occupies the South....Knowing Israel's aggressive and expansionist goals, is not that a strange Palestinian logic! As if you would tell the peaceful inhabitants of a quiet house: I want to blow up your house over your heads not for any other purpose than to prove my existence in the world".[73]

In 1980, the movement saw a new secular leader in Nabih Berri, a lawyer and not a cleric as Sayyed Musa.[74] This change of leadership is noteworthy as the movement distanced itself from radical sentiments which sought to exploit the events in Iran and advocate an Islamic regime in Lebanon. It exhibits that even though Amal wanted to see the system reformed, it kept itself loyal to the Lebanese state.[75] Richard Norton argues that Amal's commitment to the sovereignity and legitimacy of the regime was due to the perception that any truncation of Lebanon would sever the Shia community. That is, by preserving the state instead of wrecking it, and by working in a discourse of gaining more influence in its national institutions, the Shia could go for the best opportunities of improving their situation. Any other alternative was not regarded as realistic.[76] Amal's confidence in the idea of Lebanon as a state and its need for "communal security" appears quite clearly in a statement by Nabih Berri, who - prior to the Israeli invasion of 1982 - declared his support for the disarming of all militias in Lebanon, and the deployment of regular Lebanese army troops all the way down south, even if they were "100 percent Maronite".[77]

Moreover, another crucial issue is Amal's Syrian connection. Marius Deeb describes Nabih Berri as "inextricably tied" to the regime in Damascus and Amal itself as Syria's "most important proxy" in Lebanon.[78] In addition, Richard Norton points out Sayyed Musa's close contacts with the Syrian president Assad. Nabih Berri "affirmed his movement's relationship with the Damascus government" and the Syrians played a special role in supporting and training the military wing of Amal. In this perspective, Norton concludes, one can see how the movement could serve Syrian interests in the southern areas where Damascus had no direct presence, all due to the stipulations of the "red line"-agreement laid down with Israel.[79] Neither could Syria object to Amal's support for the Lebanese regime, as the institutions in Beirut more or less had become dependent upon Syrian patronage. Accordingly, Amal played along as an actor in Syria's game of "divide and rule" in the Lebanese turmoil.

[34]Beydon (1992) p. 48.

[35]Beydon (1992) p. 47.

[36]See for example, Olmert (1987) p. 189-201.

[37]Charif (1993) p. 151-152.

[38]Norton(1987) p. 17-18. Norton uses statistics from Hasan Sharif, "South Lebanon: Its History and Geopolitics," in South Lebanon, ed. Elaine Hagopian and Samih Farsoun, p 10-11.

[39]See for example Norton (1987) p. 13-59

[40]Picard (1993) p. 7.

[41]Norton (1987) p. 19.

[42]Picard (1993) p. 7-8. In addition, Itamar Rabinovich notes, that the traditional elites at the power were to busy "preserving or achieving influence and position" that they failed to "read the writings on the wall" and understand "the qualitative change that had taken place in Lebanese politics". Rabinovich (1983) p. 40.

[43]Olmert (1987) p. 196.


[45]Picard (1993) p. 7

[46]Norton (1987), p. 26


[48]Norton (1987), p. 40

[49]Ajami (1986) p. 22.


[51]See for example Sachedina (1991) p. 433-434,

[52]Lewis (1987) p. 23.

[53]Sachedina (1991) p. 432-433,

[54]Lewis (1987) p. 30.


[56]See also Esposito (1994) p. 45-47.

[57]A colourful description of the events at Kerbala is to find in Ajami (1986) p. 138-142.

[58]Ibid., p. 141

[59]Ajami (1986) p. 142.

[60]Ibid., p. 144

[61]Ibid., p. 143, quoted from Al Hayat, February 1, 1974. The term Ashura means the tenth day of the month of Muharram; the date of Hussein's death at Kerbala. For pious Shiites, it is a holy-day of profound worship.

[62]In Arabic, Amal means "hope". As a movement in Lebanon, it also was the acronym for the Arabic words meaning the Units of the Lebanese Resistance.

[63] See Ajami (1986) p. 136-137.

[64]Norton (1987) p. 42. Joseph Olmert argues that the "very appearance of [Sayyed Musa] Sadr in the political arena was tantamount to an indictment of the zu'ama for not having done much, if anything at all, to improve the lot of their people." Olmert (1987) p. 198.

[65] See Norton (1987) p. 43.

[66]Ibid. Qouted from Pakradouni, Karim, La paix manquée, p. 106, (Beirut: Editions FMA, 1983). At a later occasion, Sayyed Musa declared that firing from Lebanese soil against Israel is "totally impermissible" and that this "also means that Lebanon is in a state of war with Israel. Who is opening fire? This is not important. The gist of the matter is that the Lebanese territory became a base for launching missiles and grenades". Norton (1987) p. 43. Quoted from al-Dustur (London) June 26-July 2, 1978.

[67]Although several theories have developed in order to explain Sayed Musa's disapperance, I feel obliged to delimit myself from discussing this issue all due to the scope of this essay. For an overview of the matter, see for example, Norton (1987) p. 52-56; Ajami (1986) p. 182-188.

[68]"Men needed saints", Fouad Ajami writes, "and in Sayyed Musa they found the elements out of which militant sainthood could be constructed. His aura hovered over the ruined world of the Shia in Lebanon, and its politics became, in many ways, a fight over the realm of a vanished Imam". Ajami (1986) p.199.

[69]Norton,(1987) p. 58. See also Norton (1990) p. 122

[70]Norton (1987) p. 49-50

[71]Ibid. In addtion, Norton cites the Israeli chief of staff, General Rafael Eytan, who declared Israel's guiding policy in Lebanon: "We will continue to take action where we want, when we want and how we want. Our own self-interest is supreme and will guide us in our actions not to allow terrorists...to return to the border fence". Ibid., p. 50. Qouted from Jerusalem Post, March 25 1981.

[72]See for example Norton (1987) p. 209-210,

[73]Hanf (1993) p. 244-245, n. 111, Tajarib (Trials) (Beirut 1980), quoted from Chibli Mallat, Shi'i Thought from the South of Lebanon (Oxford, 1988), p. 21.

[74]For an overview of this change in leadership, see Norton (1987) p. 214-216,

[75]Richard Norton means that Amal condemned the confessionalist structures, but when down to reality, the movement "seemed to be happy to keep the same pie as long as it was cut a larger slice". See Norton (1990) p.120.

[76]See Norton (1987) p. 73-75. With respect to the question of an Islamic Republic in Lebanon, Nabih Berri stated that "the Shi'is cannot and do not wish to impose that kind of regime, nor would the other Muslims follow us in that adventure". See Bailey (1987) p. 227. Quoted from El Pais, Feb. 1, 1984.

[77]Ibid. p. 75. From an interview with Nabih Berri in Monday Morning, February 1-7 1982.

[78]See Deeb (1988) p. 683-698.

[79]See Norton (1987) p. 68.

[Prev] [Contents] [Next]