7th Infantry Brigade (Lebanon)

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7th Infantry Brigade
Active 1983 – present
Country Lebanon
Allegiance  Lebanon
Branch Ground Forces
Type Light Mechanized Infantry
Role Infantry
Size Brigade
Engagements

Lebanese Civil War

Syrian Civil War spillover in Lebanon

Commanders
General Nadim al-Hakim
Colonel Issam Abu Jamra
Colonel Faris Lahud
Colonel Sami Rihana

The 7th Infantry Brigade (Lebanon) is a Lebanese Army unit that fought in the Lebanese Civil War, being active since its creation in June 1983.

Origins[edit]

In the aftermath of the June–September 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon, President Amin Gemayel, convinced that a strong and unified national defense force was a prerequisite to rebuilding the nation, announced plans to raise a 60,000-man army organized into twelve brigades (created from existing infantry regiments), trained and equipped by France and the United States. In late 1982, the 7th Infantry Regiment was therefore re-organized and expanded to a brigade group numbering 2,000 men, most of whom were Maronite Christians from the Akkar and Koura Districts of northern Lebanon, and Shia Muslims and Druzes from the Chouf District, which became on June 20, 1983 at Scout City – Batroun, the 7th Infantry Brigade.[1]

Emblem[edit]

The Brigade's emblem is characterized by an Arabic numeral (7) symbolizing victory, with a green cedar set in the middle and symbol of persistence, both encircled by a rampart representing an historical fortress with the motto "all for Lebanon". The black background is a symbol of endurance.

Structure and organization[edit]

The new unit grew from an understrength battalion comprising three rifle companies to a fully equipped mechanized infantry brigade, capable of aligning a Headquarters' (HQ) battalion, an armoured battalion equipped with Panhard AML-90 armoured cars, AMX-13 light tanks (replaced in the 1990s by T-55A tanks donated by Syria), M48A5 main battle tanks, three mechanized infantry battalions (71st, 72nd, and 73rd) issued with M113 and AMX-VCI armored personnel carriers, plus an artillery battalion (75th) fielding US M198 155 mm howitzers. The Brigade also fielded a logistics battalion, equipped with US M151A2 jeeps, Chevrolet C20 and Dodge Ram (1st generation) pickups and US M35A2 2½-ton military trucks. Initially headquartered at the Nohra Shalouhi Barracks near Batroun, the brigade in 1983 was commanded by the Druze General Nadim al-Hakim, who was concurrently the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) Chief-of-Staff,[2] later replaced by Colonel Issam Abu Jamra, who was in turn succeeded by Col. Faris Lahud, formerly the head of the Brigade's logistics battalion. In 1989, the latter was replaced by Col. Sami Rihana, previously the commander of the 9th Brigade.

Combat history[edit]

Lebanese Civil War[edit]

The Mountain War 1983-1984[edit]

During the Mountain War in early September 1983, 7th Brigade's units were deployed at Achrafieh and Hadath in Beirut, and at Dahr al-Wahsh facing Aley in the Chouf District southeast of the Lebanese Capital, where they faced the offensive of the main anti-government Druze militia, the People's Liberation Army (PLA) of the Progressive Socialist Party (PSP).[3] Close to the end of the battle for Souk El Gharb on September 24, Gen. al-Hakim fled into PSP/PLA-held territory but he would not admit he had actually defected.[4] The Brigade's 72nd battalion positioned at Dahr al-Wahsh was driven out from the Chouf by the Druze PSP/PLA militia and forced to withdraw to East Beirut in February 1984. That same month, the Brigade's predominately Shia Muslim 97th Battalion deserted en bloc to the Shi'ite 6th Infantry Brigade and the Amal Movement militia.[5][6][7]

The post-Chouf years 1984-1990[edit]

By 1987, the 7th Infantry Brigade was composed of 1,700 men under the command of Colonel Faris Lahud. A contingent of the Brigade was stationed in the Jbeil District, north of Beirut. This contingent was regarded as loyal to former President and leader of the Zgharta Liberation Army (ZLA) militia Suleiman Frangieh, whose feudal seat, Zgharta, is a few kilometers southwest of Tripoli. Consequently, the central government equipped this contingent with light weapons only. The brigade's headquarters was relocated to Amsheet, just north of Jounieh. Units at Amsheet were well equipped with US-made M48 tanks and M113 armored personnel carriers but were regarded as being under the sway of Lebanese Forces militia' Supreme Commander Samir Geagea, who maintained there his retinue.[8] During General Michel Aoun's Liberation War in 1989-1990, the 7th Brigade led by Colonel Sami Rihana put a spirited defense of Madfoun and Kfar Abida in the Batroun District on 13-14 August 1989, inflicting heavy losses on attacking Syrian Army armored columns and later on 13 September, the Brigade's units positioned at Mneitra were subjected to heavy mortar fire by the Syrians. To contradict false rumors that some units from the 7th Brigade and the 2nd Brigade were preparing themselves to defect to Syrian-controlled territory and launch an assault on Madfoun, Chebtin and Sghar, Col. Rihana placed the 7th Brigade on full alert and issued a general mobilization order of all the Brigade's armored, infantry, and artillery units held in reserve at Amsheet barracks and at Madfoun. On 16 January 1990, following a chilling of relations between Gen. Aoun's interim military government in East Beirut and the Lebanese Forces militia Command in Amsheet, the former instructed the 7th Brigade to conduct night security patrols with their military vehicles in the region of Jbeil, Amsheet and Nahr Ibrahim to help maintain order.

The post-civil war years 1990-present[edit]

Upon the end of the war in October 1990, the 97th Battalion was returned to the 7th Brigade, which was re-integrated into the structure of the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF).

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ https://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/lebanon/army-orbat-1.htm
  2. ^ O'Ballance, Civil War in Lebanon (1998), pp. 131–132.
  3. ^ Hokayem, L'armée libanaise pendant la guerre: un instrument du pouvoir du président de la République (1975-1985) (2012), p. 86.
  4. ^ O'Ballance, Civil War in Lebanon (1998), pp. 131–132.
  5. ^ O'Ballance, Civil War in Lebanon (1998), p. 137.
  6. ^ Nerguizian, Cordesman & Burke, The Lebanese Armed Forces: Challenges and Opportunities in Post-Syria Lebanon (2009), pp. 56-57.
  7. ^ Hokayem, L'armée libanaise pendant la guerre: un instrument du pouvoir du président de la République (1975-1985) (2012), p. 87.
  8. ^ Collelo, Lebanon: a country study (1989), pp. 223-224.

References[edit]

  • Aram Nerguizian, Anthony H. Cordesman & Arleigh A. Burke, The Lebanese Armed Forces: Challenges and Opportunities in Post-Syria Lebanon, Burke Chair in Strategy, Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS), First Working Draft: 10 February 2009. – [1]
  • Edgar O'Ballance, Civil War in Lebanon, 1975-92, Palgrave Macmillan, London 1998. ISBN 0-333-72975-7
  • Éric Micheletti and Yves Debay, Liban – dix jours aux cœur des combats, RAIDS magazine n.º41, October 1989 issue. ISSN 0769-4814 (in French)
  • Thomas Collelo (ed.), Lebanon: a country study, Library of Congress, Federal Research Division, Headquarters, Department of the Army (DA Pam 550-24), Washington D.C., December 1987 (Third edition 1989). – [2]
  • Joseph Hokayem, L'armée libanaise pendant la guerre: un instrument du pouvoir du président de la République (1975-1985), Lulu.com, Beyrouth 2012. ISBN 9781291036602, 1291036601 (in French) – [3]
  • Oren Barak, The Lebanese Army – A National institution in a divided society, State University of New York Press, Albany 2009. ISBN 978-0-7914-9345-8[4]

External links[edit]