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The Toilers League (Arabic: رابطة الشغيلة| Rabitat al-Shaghila) or Ligue des Travailleurs (LT) in French, is a Lebanese left-wing political party founded in Lebanon at the late 1960s and currently led by former Shouf MP Zaher el-Khatib.
The Toilers League originated from a previous socialist students association formed at the American University of Beirut (AUB) in 1968 by the then student activist and Progressive Socialist Party (PSP) militant Zaher el-Khatib. In 1974 the group broke away from the PSP and re-emerged as a separated political party under Khatib's leadership, who succeeded to be elected to the Lebanese Parliament as the socialist deputy for the Iqlim al-Kharrub district of the Shouf.
Marxist-Leninist and Pan-Arab nationalist in ideology, the League joined Kamal Jumblatt's Lebanese National Movement (LNM) in early 1975, even raising a militia named the Zafer el-Khatib Forces – ZKF (Arabic: Al-Quwwat Zafer el-Khatib), also known as Les Forces de Zafer el-Khatib (FZK) in French. After the collapse of the LNM alliance in 1982, the WL/ZKF switched their alligence to Syria and established a close relationship with the Shia Amal Movement.
The Toilers League in the Lebanese Civil War (1975-1990)
During the 1975-76 war the ZKF's strength peaked at about 200-500 male and female fighters who fought in the ranks of the LNM/Joint Forces. Equipped with infantry small-arms pilfered from Lebanese Army barracks and Internal Security Forces Police stations or supplied by the PLO, along with a few armed jeeps, the League/ZKF operated mainly in central West Beirut, but heavy casualties and desertions led to the decline of their military role afterwards. By the late 1980s the League had lost what was left of its political support base, whilst its dwindling ZKF militia was reduced to a neighbourhood defense group confined to their Headquarters at Rue Hamra and adjacent Ras Beirut sector – where they run a joint television service (Al-Machriq), with the Amal Movement until 1990.
The post-war years
After the end of the civilian strife in the early 1990s, the ZKF militia was disbanded although the Workers League remained politically active, even managing to pull some seats in the elections for the Lebanese Parliament on several occasions - from 2000 to 2005 their member of Parliament Nasser Kandil represented Beirut's 3rd electoral district.
The Party is a member of the pro-Syrian March 8 Alliance.
- Amal Movement
- Progressive Socialist Party
- Lebanese Arab Army
- Lebanese National Movement
- Lebanese Civil War
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- Edgar O'Ballance, Civil War in Lebanon, 1975-92, Palgrave Macmillan, London 1998. ISBN 0-333-72975-7
- 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)
- 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