Warring Factions of the War in Lebanon

This is just a cursory look at the armed groups in the period of the Lebanese Civil War (1975+) through the 1982 Lebanon War and who was fighting who.

Armed Group Political backers Ideology Support from Comments
Lebanese Army Predominantly Christian officers.
Lebanese Arab Army Muslims In 1976 the army divided along religious lines.
South Lebanese Army (SLA) Israel Pro-Israel Assad Germanos emailed to say the SLA was composed by 72% non-Christian (Druze, Shia, and some Sunni) 28% of Christian (Maronite in majority)” Militia formed in 1978 by ex-Lebanese army officer Maj. Saad Haddad from men of the Phalange, NLP and Guardians of the Cedars. Called SLA from 1978.
Phalange Phalange Maronite Nationalism Maronite Catholic Formed late 60s.
Force 75 Phalange Maronite Nationalism Maronite Catholic Militia of President Gemayel from mid 80s. Merged into Lebanese Forces in 1988.
Tigers National Liberal Party (NLP Lebanese Nationalism Christian both Maronite and other Formed late 60s.
Zghartan Liberation Army Maronite Maronite Catholic 1,000 fighters in 1974. Included the Giants Brigade.
Marada (“Giants”) Brigade Maronite Maronite Catholic Assad Germanos emailed to say “Marada = is a historic name of maronite who live in north of lebanon not geant (=mared)”, however, my reading associates the term “Giants” with this group.
Guardians of the Cedars Extreme Lebanese Nationalism and anti-Palestinian Maronite Catholic Formed Apr 1975. Had open links with Israel from start.
Order of Maronite Monks ? Maronite Catholic Militant Monks no less.
Al Tanzim (“The Organisation”) Maronite League Maronite Nationalism Maronite Catholic Formed after Apr 1975.
Lebanese Forces Lebanese Front Maronite Maronite Catholic Formed 1976. Combined forces of Phalange, NLP, Guardians of the Cedars, Al Tanzim.
Lebanese Forces Executive Command (LFEC) Lebanese Front Maronite Maronite Catholic Splintered from Lebanese Forces in late 1986. Under Hobeika.
Syrian Social Nationalist Party (SSNP) Greater Syrian Nationalist (Pro-Syrian) Secular minded non-Maronite Christians
Popular Nasserist Organisation Progressive socialists (?) Sunni
Progressive Socialist Party (PSP) Leftist Arab Nationalist Predominantly Druze but some Sunni, Shia, and Christians
Druze Militia Druze Druze Had high motivation and martial skills. Includes PSP
People’s Guards Communist Party of Lebanon (CPL) Communist 50% Shia and 33% Greek Orthodox, plus other Christian. After 1970.
Communist Action Organization (CAO) Communist As CPL Radical splinter group from CPL
Murabitoun (“Faithful of the Sermon” / “Sentinels”) Independent Nasserists Nasserist Progressive socialists Sunni Based in Beirut?
Firqat an Nasr (“Victory Divisions”) Union of Toiling Peoples’ Forces Nasserist Progressive socialists
Quwwat an Nasir (“Nasser’s Forces”) Nasserite Correctionist Movement Nasserist Progressive socialists
Popular Nasserist Organization Nasserist Progressive socialists Sunni Tripoli & Sidon
Sunni Militia Sunni Mentioned in Tripoli in 1975-76 with no other name or political affiliation given. I suspect they are the militia for the Popular Nasserist Organisation.
Amal (“Hope”) Movement of the Disinherited Lebanese Nationalist (Pro-Syrian) Shia Amal is an acronym for Afwaj al-Muqawama al Lubnaniya (“Lebanese Resistance Detachments”)
Islamic Amal Islamic Amal Movement Militant Islamic (Pro-Iranian) Shia Splintered from Amal in 1982.
Hizbollah (“Party of God”) Militant Islamic (Pro-Iranian) Shia Associated with Islamic Amal. Included Islamic Jihad Organisation, Revolutionary Justice Organisation, Holy Strugglers for Justice, etc. Formed 1982+.
Arab Baath (“Resurrecton”) Party Pan Arab Nationalist (Pro-Iraqi) Muslim
Organisation of the Baath (“Resurrecton”) Party Pan Arab Nationalist (Pro-Syrian) Muslim
Lebanese National Movement (LNM) Pan Arabic Muslim Included PSP, SSNP, People’s Guards, Murabitoun, Popular Nasserist Organization, and Arab Baath party.
El-Fatah Moderate PLO (Anti-Syrian) Palestinian Yasser Arafat
Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) Moderate Marxist PLO Palestinian
As-Saiqa Organisation PLO (Pro Syrian) Palestinian Terrorist army of Syrian Baath party.
Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) Radical Pan Arabic Marxist PLO (Pro Syrian) Palestinian
Arab Liberation Front Radical PLO (Pro-Iraqi) Palestinian
Populist Struggle Front Radical Marxist PLO Palestinian Small
Palestinian National Salvation Front (PNSF) Palestinian (Pro-Syrian) Palestinian
Arab Deterrent Force (ADF) Arab League Created in 1976. 25,000 Syrians, 2,000 Saudis, 1,000 Sudanese, 1,000 South Yemeni, 600 Libyans, and 500 from UAE. Only Syrians stayed more than a few months.
IDF Israel Israel Israeli Army
Palestinian Liberation Army (PLA) Syria Pro-Syrian Syrian Palestinian Syrian officered Palestinian units of the Syrian Army.
Syrian Army Syria Syria
UN Interim force in Lebanon (Unifil) UN France, Iran, Norway, & Sweden.
Iraqi Volunteers Iraq Iraq 600 turned up in 1978 to help the PLO fight the IDF.
Armenian Militia Tashnak Party Right wing Armenian
Multi-National Force (MNF) UN America, Britain, France, Italy
Iranian Revolutionary Guards Iran Iran 2,000 were based in Baalbek in northern Beqaa from 1982.

The Library of Congress, Federal Research Division has a description of some of the Opposing Forces in the Lebanese Civil War

Who fought who and when

Just to get an feel for the period here’s a list of the combinations that fought with and against each other and when. In all cases the & symbol means and/or; for example Phalange and/or Tigers fought PLO and/or LNM militias in 1975.

Who Against When Comments
Lebanese Army, Phalange & Tigers PLO 1970-72
Phalange & Tigers PLO 1973-75
Phalange & Tigers: PLO & LNM 1975
Phalange PLO & Amal 1975
Zghartan Liberation Army & Lebanese Army PLO & Sunni Militia 1975
Lebanese Arab Army & LNM Lebanese Forces & PLA 1976
Lebanese Arab Army, LNM, & PLO Lebanese Forces, PLA, & Syrian Army 1976
IDF & South Lebanese Army PLO 1977
IDF & Tigers PLO 1977
Lebanese Forces ADF 1977
Lebanese Army ADF 1978
Lebanese Army SLA 1978
PLO (Saiqa Organisation and allies) SLA 1978
IDF PLO & Iraqi Volunteers 1978 Operation Litani
Phalange Giants 1978 End the of previous Alliance between these factions. Conflict mainly mutual assassinations, involving up to 100 attackers in a particular incident.
Phalange Tigers 1979
Phalange Armenian Militia 1979
Phalange Giants 1980
PLO Amal 1980
Phalange Tigers 1980 “Day of Long Knives” – Tigers effectively wiped out.
Phalange Lebanese Army 1980
Lebanese Forces ADF 1980
Lebanese Forces ADF, PLO, & LNM 1981
IDF Lebanese Army, PLO, & LNM 1981
IDF ADF, PLA, PLO & LNM 1982 Peace for Galilee
Lebanese Forces PLO 1982
Lebanese Forces Druze Militia 1982
Islamic Amal & Iranian Revolutionary Guards Lebanese Army 1982
Islamic Amal & Iranian Revolutionary Guards IDF 1982
Lebanese Army Amal 1983
Lebanese Forces, Lebanese Army, & MNF Druze Militia, Amal, PLO, & Syrians 1983 War of the Shouf
PLO PLO 1983 Pro-Arafat versus Pro-Syrian.
Hizbollah IDF 1983-84
Lebanese Forces, Lebanese Army, & MNF Druze Militia, Amal, Hizbollah, PLO, & Syrians 1984
Druze Militia Amal 1984
Druze Militia Sunni Militia 1984
Amal Sunni Militia 1984
Amal IDF 1984
Amal & 6th Brigade Lebanese Army PLO & Druze Militia 1985 War of the Camps. Druze provide artillery support. 6th Brigade predominantly Shia.
Lebanese Forces Lebanese Forces Executive Command 1986 A Chrisitan civil war between Geagea versus Hobeika.
Amal & 6th Brigade Lebanese Army PLO, Druze Militia, People’s Guards, SSNP 1986-87 6th Brigade predominantly Shia.
Amal & 6th Brigade Lebanese Army Hizbollah 1986-87
Syrian Army Hizbollah 1987
Amal PLO & Sunni Militia 1987-88
Lebanese Forces Force 75 & Lebanese Army 1987
IDF & SLA Hizbollah 1986+
Amal Hizbollah 1988
Lebanese Army Lebanese Forces 1989
Lebanese Army & Lebanese Forces Druze Militia, Lebanese Arab Army, Amal, Hizbollah, Pro-Syrian PLO & Syrians 1989 Aoun’s War of Liberation
Lebanese Army Lebanese Forces 1990 War of Brothers. Civil war in Christian enclave between General Aoun and Geagea.
Lebanese Army & Syrian Army Lebanese Army 1990 Army units of the West Bank government versus General Aoun’s forces.
Lebanese Army PLO 1991

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