Thursday, May 29, 2008

Sami Moubayed via Syria Comment

...For example, in 1976, Tamam Salam created a militia - a common practice during the civil war - called Pioneers of Reform to fight Yasser Arafat's armed men, who had stormed the house of Tamam's father and ex-prime minister Saeb Salam.

When Saeb heard of his son's action he summoned the future parliamentarian and AUB graduate and angrily asked, "What is this you are doing? Use of arms, my son, is a double-edged sword. You will either kill or be killed! Are you willing to carry the burden of someone's blood?"

Tamam disarmed his short-lived militia and spent his days doing charity work for the residents of Beirut.

Whereas in Tripoli, Omar Karameh, another educated statesman from AUB, created his own militia called the Al Farouk Omar Bin Al Khattab Phalange during the war. His brother, prime minister Rashid, was enraged.

He summoned Omar and said, "We have always had faith in the state and its arms, not on the militias! Having blood on your hands is difficult Omar. Go and disband what you started!"

Omar Karameh, who became prime minister in 1992, complied...

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1 comment:

Abdel Halim Hafez said...

I am afraid Sami Moubayed is embellishing reality. The Karame militia was not a real one, just fifty or sixty bodyguards. They did not dismantle it on a matter of principle but because they were overpowered by Fatah.

As for Salam the elder, Saeb Salam, he was very corrupt and not opposed to militias. He had his own ruthless militia in 1958 and it took part in the civil war.

In 1975, he attempted to get Lybian, Egyptian or Saudi money to fund his own militia, but to no avail. They preferred to fund the Murabitun who were more ideological and less concerned with monetary concerns than Salam.
When he couldn't create a real militia, he dismantled his little one (they ended up joining one of Fatah's thuggish offshoots) and he left Lebanon. He came back in 1993 after a trip to Damascus where he thanked Hafez el Assad for all his "good deeds in Lebanon."