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Lebanon Table of Contents


Multisectarian Parties

Multisectarian political groups have been primarily left-wing movements. Some groups have argued against the inertia of the zuama clientele system, while others espoused Marxist causes. Small parties sometimes have been externally controlled. In the 1970s, for example, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, under the leadership of George Habash, controlled the Arab Socialist Action Organization, which also fought on the side of the Lebanese National Movement during the 1975 Civil War. In 1987 the Baath (Arab Socialist Resurrection) parties in power in Syria and Iraq each had a faction operating in Lebanon. The late Egyptian president Nasser left a strong legacy in Lebanon. Many essentially pan-Arab parties have borne his name in their titles.

Although these groups have been characterized as multisectarian, this label may not be entirely accurate. In fact, over the years most have taken on narrower confessional patterns. For instance, Shias were dominant in the Lebanese Communist Party and Organization of Communist Action, whereas the Syrian Socialist Nationalist Party has been heavily represented by Greek Orthodox and Druze (of the Yazbak clan) members.

Data as of December 1987