Progressive Socialist Party

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Progressive Socialist Party
الحزب التقدمي الإشتراكي
Leader Walid Jumblatt
Founder Kamal Jumblatt
Founded 5 January 1949 (1949-01-05)
Headquarters Lebanon Mokhtara, Mount Lebanon
Ideology Social democracy
Democratic socialism
Progressivism
Political position Centre-left
Religion Officially Secular, predominantly Druze
National affiliation Medial
International affiliation Socialist International,
Progressive Alliance
Parliament of Lebanon
11 / 128
Cabinet of Lebanon
2 / 24
Party flag
Flag of the Progressive Socialist Party.svg

The Progressive Socialist Party or PSP (Arabic: الحزب التقدمي الاشتراكي‎‎, al-hizb al-taqadummi al-ishtiraki), also known as Parti Socialiste Progressiste in French, is a political party in Lebanon. Its current leader is Walid Jumblatt. It is ideologically secular and officially non-sectarian.

Origins[edit]

The party was founded on 5 January 1949, and registered on 17 March the same year, under notification N°789. The founders comprised six individuals, all of different backgrounds. The most notable of these was Kamal Jumblatt (Walid Jumblatt's father). The others were Farid Jubran, Albert Adeeb, Abdallah Alayli, Fouad Rizk, and George Hanna. The PSP held in Beirut the first conference for the Socialist Arab Parties in Lebanon, Syria, Egypt and Iraq in 1951. From 1951 through 1972 the party had between three and six deputies in parliament [1]

The PSP in the Lebanese Civil War (1975-1990)[edit]

Under Kamal Jumblatt's leadership, the PSP was a major element in the Lebanese National Movement (LNM) which supported Lebanon's Arab identity and sympathised with the Palestinians. Despite Jumblatt's initial reluctance to engage in paramilitarism, it built its own powerful military wing, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) which proved to be one of the strongest private armies in the Lebanese Civil War of 1975 to 1990. It conquered much of Mount Lebanon and the Chouf District. Its main adversaries were the Maronite Christian Phalangist Kataeb Regulatory Forces militia, and later the Lebanese Forces militia (which absorbed the Phalangists). The PSP suffered a major setback in 1977, when Kamal Jumblatt was assassinated. His son Walid succeeded him as leader of the party.

From the Israeli withdrawal from the Chouf in 1983 to the end of the civil war, the PSP ran a highly effective civil administration, the Civil Administration of the Mountain, in the area under its control. Tolls levied at PSP militia checkpoints provided a major source of income for the administration, which succeeded in providing a high standard of social and public services.

The PSP played an important role in the so-called "Mountain War" under the lead of Walid Jumblatt: after the Israeli Army retreated from the Lebanese Mountain, important battles took place between the PSP and Christian militias. Both the Phalangist Kataeb Regulatory Forces militia and the PSP were accused of committing massacres and atrocities against one another as tit-for-tat (revenge killing). This was a sad hallmark of the Lebanese Civil War because the innocent people were the ones who paid the highest price.

The post-war years[edit]

Since the restoration of constitutional rule in 1989 PSP was the major ally of Syria in Lebanon and its leader Walid Jumblatt was in close relations with the Syrian Army and intelligence generals in Lebanon, namely Ghazi Kenaan and also with the Syrian Vice President Abdul Halim Khaddam.[1] PSP participated in a number of governments, but, after the Syrian Accountability Act and the UN Resolution 1559 and the change of the balance of powers in the region after the occupation of Iraq, joined the opposition and took up a position opposed to the role of Syria in Lebanon's politics. Unlike some opponents of the Syrian presence, he did not oppose the presence of the Syrian army per se, but contended that the Syrian intelligence services were exerting undue influence.

Following the passage of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1559, calling for a Syrian withdrawal from Lebanon, Jumblatt was particularly prominent in the opposition. However, he was opposed to the demand that Hezbollah be disarmed, and insisted on maintaining relations with the Shia Islamist party. Later, he has drifted into sharp opposition towards the group, and has decided to support their disarmament, claiming that Syria and Iran are trying to take over Lebanon through Hezbollah. After the assassination of Rafik Hariri in February 2005, Jumblatt joined the anti-Syria camp despite his long support to Syria.[2] Being part of the 14 March alliance, PSP won 16 seats in the general elections held in 2005.[3]

Walid Jumblat called for dismantling of the communications system of Hezbollah on 5 May 2008, which created a huge response from Hezbollah and its allies. Clashes took place on 7 May 2008, as Hezbollah militia occupied Beirut.[4] The conflict ended after both parties negotiated and reached an agreement at Doha in Qatar on 16 May 2008.[4]

In late January 2011, Jumblatt declared that he does not support the disarming of Hezbollah.[5] Currently PSP, Hezbollah and several other Lebanese political parties share a "national unity government" in Lebanon. With the onset of the Syrian civil war, Jumblatt and the PSP clearly showed their support for the Syrian opposition, and urged the Syrian Druze community to stand against the Assad government, and join the rebels.[6][7]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "خدام: مواقف دمشق وجنبلاط واحدة في المحطات الرئيسية وستبقى كذلك, أخبــــــار". Asharq Alawsat. Retrieved 17 March 2013. 
  2. ^ Knudsen, Are (2005). "Precarious peacebuilding: Post-war Lebanon, 1990-2005" (PDF). CMI Working Paper. 2. Retrieved 17 March 2013. 
  3. ^ Safa, Oussama (January 2006). "Lebanon springs forward" (PDF). Journal of Democracy. 17 (1). 
  4. ^ a b "News". Al Jazirah. Archived from the original on 14 February 2012. Retrieved 17 March 2013. 
  5. ^ "Nasrallah, Jumblatt talk Lebanon future". PressTV. 22 January 2011. Retrieved 17 March 2013. 
  6. ^ "PSP to Rally in Support of Syrian People, Expulsion of Syrian Ambassador". Retrieved 3 September 2012. 
  7. ^ "PSP Demo Urges Syria Envoy Expulsion, Arrest of Syrians in Samaha Case". Retrieved 3 September 2012. 

References[edit]

  • Edgar O'Ballance, Civil War in Lebanon, 1975-92, Palgrave Macmillan, 1998. ISBN 0-333-72975-7
  • Farid El-Kazen, The Breakdown of the State in Lebanon 1967-1976, I. B. Tauris, London 2000. ISBN 0-674-08105-6
  • 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)
  • Ken Guest, Lebanon, in Flashpoint! At the Front Line of Today’s Wars, Arms and Armour Press, London 1994, pp. 97–111. ISBN 1-85409-247-2
  • Walid Khalidi, Conflict and Violence in Lebanon: Confrontation in the Middle East, fourth printing (Cambridge, MA: Harvard Studies in International Affairs, 1984).

External links[edit]