North Lebanon Conflict (2007)  

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North Lebanon Conflict—(May 20, 2007- September 2, 2007)

This conflict began in May, 2007, when the Lebanese Army began a siege of the Nahr al-Bared refugee camp in order to drive out a militant Islamic militia called Fatah Islam. The resulting combat killed 158 Lebanese soldiers, 120 Fatah al-Islam militants and 42 civilians.

This conflict, which came a year after the destructive Israel-Hezbollah War, tested the capacity of the Lebanese government to bring violent militias under control. Most of the fighting took place in the port city of Tripoli and in the nearby Nahr al-Bared refugee camp, which is home to thousands of Palestinian refugees.

Lebanon received military support from the United States in the form of military equipment and ammunition. As such, this conflict can be considered a part of the larger War on Terror led by the U.S. The Fatah al-Islam group is an al-Qaida inspired armed militia which openly challenged the authority of the Lebanese government.

Fatah al-Islam ("Conquest of Islam") formed in November, 2006 in northern Lebanon, drawing members from the largely Sunni Muslim Palestinian refugee community, as well as from veteran foreign fighters from the War in Iraq . Fatah al-Islam's leader, Shaker Abssi, is a Palestinian who fought with jihadist forces in Iraq, and who had connections to the late al-Qaida in Iraq leader, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.Shaker Abbsi was sentenced to death by a Jordanian military court in 2004 for his alleged involvement in the 2002 murder of the American diplomat, Laurence Foley, who was assassinated in Amman, Jordan. The rise of Fatah al-Islam and other Muslim Jihadist groups among the Palestinian refugee community is indicative of the continuing problems the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), has experienced since the formation of the Palestinian Authority, the rise of Hamas, a rival political organization opposed to Fatah, the primary Palestinian party. In the decades prior to the Oslo Peace Accords with Israel, Fatah and the PLO claimed the support of the majority of Palestinians. However, in the process of changing from a liberation army to a governing political party, Fatah (founded by the late Yasser Arafat), lost the allegiance of many young Palestinians, who looked to groups like Hamas and (to a lesser extent), Fatah al-Islam for meaning and leaderhip of a more fundamentalist religous nature. Also, these fundamentalist Islamic groups advocate continued war with Israel , which Fatah is moving away from.

The violence began on May 20, 2007, when Lebanese authorities raided a Fatah al-Islam safe-house in Tripoli, sparking a gunbattle. The fighting spread to the nearby Nahr al-Bared camp, where Fatah al-Islam was based. The Lebanese Army quickly cordoned off the camp and began a siege which ended in September, 2007, as the defeated remnants of Fatah al-Islam attempted to break out of the camp and were destroyed in firefights with the Lebanese military.



2007 Lebanon Conflict--Wikipedia article

A new face of Al Qaeda emerges in Lebanon --International Herald Tribune

Profile: Fatah al-Islam--al-Jazeera article

Lebanon's New War(s)--From Mobile Newsweek

Lebanon: Fatah Islam Fighters Caught--From the Associated Press, Sept. 15, 2007

Are Lebanon and Israel Headed for War?:Word on The Streets of Beirut is That The Drums are Beating for Battle--ABC News, Feb. 15, 2010



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