Lebanese Armed Revolutionary Factions
|Lebanese Armed Revolutionary Factions|
|Participant in Lebanese civil war (1975-1990)|
Lebanese Armed Revolutionary Factions logo (1979-present).
|Active||Until 1988 and 1990-present|
Lebanese National Salvation Front (LNSF)
|Leaders||Georges Ibrahim Abdallah
|Allies||Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO)
Lebanese National Salvation Front (LNSF)
Israel Defense Forces (IDF)
South Lebanon Army (SLA)
The Lebanese Armed Revolutionary Factions – LARF (Arabic: الفصائل المسلحة الثورية اللبنانية pronounced Al Fasael al-Musallaha al-Thawriyya al-Lubnaniyya) or in French: Factions Armés Révolutionnaires Libanaises (FARL), was a small Marxist-Leninist guerrilla group which played an active role in the Lebanese civil war.
Formed in 1979, the LARF emerged from the break-up of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-External Operations (PFLP-EO), a joint Lebanese/Palestinian radical guerrilla faction, upon the assassination by the Israeli Mossad of its leader and founder Wadie Haddad in March 1978. In the 1980s it was responsible for a series of attacks on French, American, and Israeli officials in Lebanon and Western Europe. LARF's leader, Georges Ibrahim Abdallah, was sentenced to life imprisonment in France in 1987, and the group's attacks ceased soon after.
Structure and organization
Modelled after parent western militant leftist/urban guerrilla organizations, the LARF was made of left-wing Christian activists who had previously fought with the PLO, led by the Maronite Georges Ibrahim Abdallah (noms de guerre “Salih al-Masri”, “Abdul-Qadir Sa’adi”), a former school teacher; after being arrested by the French authorities in 1984, he was replaced by a collective leadership trio formed by his younger brothers’ Robert, Maurice, and Emile. Based at his home town of Kobayat in the Akkar region of northern Lebanon and financed by Syria, the LARF aligned by 1981 some 30 active members specialized in urban guerrilla warfare, organized into scattered cells of three to five militants.
In addition to the Palestinians and Syria, the group forged close ties with other similar groups in Lebanon and abroad, such as the French ‘Direct Action’ (Action Directe), the Italian ‘Red Brigades’ (Brigate Rosse), and the Armenian ASALA, and is also suspected of contacts with Hezbollah and other Iranian-backed elements.
Activities in Europe 1982-1988
Despite its small size, the group not only joined both the Lebanese National Resistance Front - LNRF (Arabic acronym: Jammoul) and the Lebanese National Salvation Front (LNSF) in their guerrilla campaigns against Israeli occupation forces in southern Lebanon, but also played an active role outside the Middle East.
Between 1982 and 1987 they were held responsible for 18 bombings, political assassinations, and kidnappings targeting French, US and Israeli officials in both Lebanon and Western Europe. These include the assassinations in Paris of the assistant US military Attaché to the American embassy, Lieutenant-Colonel Charles R. Ray in January 1982, followed in April of that year by the Israeli diplomat Yaakov Barsimantov. The LARF was also allegedly behind the assassination of US citizen Leamon Hunt, the director of the multinational observer force in the Sinai in February 1984 in Rome, as well as a failed attempt on the US Consul-General in Strasbourg, Robert Homme, and the kidnapping late that year of the director of the French Cultural Center in Beirut, Gilles Peyroles.
Although the capture of Georges Abdallah by French authorities in late 1984 led to a temporary hiatus in LARF activities, it is believed that the group was behind a bombing campaign that rocked the French capital in September 1986, killing 15 people and wounding over 150 others. These bombings were carried out by the so-called Committee for Solidarity with Arab and Middle Eastern Political Prisoners – CSAPP or Comité de soutien avec les prisonniers politiques et arabes et du Moyen-Orient (CSPPA) in French, allegedly a covert ‘working title’ for an alliance that gathered the LARF, ASALA and pro-Iranian Islamic operatives. Led by the Shiite militant Fouad Ben Ali Saleh, it was formed in February 1986 in Paris with the aim of forcing the release of Abdallah from prison.
Decline and demise 1988-1990
However, after Abdallah was sentenced by a French court to life imprisonment in March 1987 his group’s actions in Europe sharply declined, and the subsequent disbandment of the CSAPP forced most of its members to return to Lebanon. By early 1988, the LARF had virtually ceased all external operational activity and it kept a low profile for the remainder of the Lebanese civil war.
Military inactive since 1990, the group appears to have renounced violence and remains politically active in Lebanon, its members now campaigning for the release of Georges Abdallah (held in the Fresnes Prison since September 2002) and Fouad Ben Ali Saleh, along with other Lebanese prisoners still detained in French prisons.
- Denise Ammoun, Histoire du Liban contemporain: Tome 2 1943-1990, Fayard, Paris 2005. ISBN 978-2-213-61521-9 (in French)
- Edgar O'Ballance, Civil War in Lebanon, 1975-92, Palgrave Macmillan, 1998. ISBN 0-333-72975-7
- Jean Sarkis, Histoire de la guerre du Liban, Presses Universitaires de France - PUF, Paris 1993. ISBN 978-2-13-045801-2 (in French)
- Rex Brynen, Sanctuary and Survival: the PLO in Lebanon, Boulder: Westview Press, 1990.
- Robert Fisk, Pity the Nation: Lebanon at War, London: Oxford University Press, (3rd ed. 2001). ISBN 0-19-280130-9