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BlackEagle/BlackEagle Logistics & Procurement Branch, Data Support Section
Results of Criminal Organizations Database Search: Amal Militia
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Amal Militia #CR0000982 (Also... Some alternate names are aliases, other are names for specific subgroups or cells). Afwaj al Muqawama al Lubnaniya Lebanese Resistance Detachments Source: CIA, Interpol Type: Political terrorist organization Scope: Political and military organization carrying out infrequent attacks, on behalf of the Shi'a people of Lebanon, throughout the Middle East, and Europe. Affiliations: Linked with the Syria political structure as such links to Syrian terrorist organizations are suspected, but the Amal Militia are not believed to be linked to other terrorist organizations. [CIA] Personnel: Less than 200 (believed) [Interpol] Operating Since: 1975 Structure: Military hierarchy terrorist cells numbering between ten and twenty operatives each. [CIA] Leaders: Musa Sadr [#LL4026792], leader, disappeared in Libya in 1978. Legitimate Connections: Funding, support and intelligence provided by Syrian government and military. Resources: Smallarms, explosives and military equipment. Excellent funding support and training. Suspected Criminal Activity: By late 1988 Amal had carried out eighteen notable terrorist actions affecting non- Lebanese nationals, including a major bombing, a hijacking, and six kidnappings. Amal's role in assuming custody of the hostages taken in the hijacking of TWA flight 847 in 1985 likewise was secondary to that of Hizbullah in planning and carrying out the original hijacking. Additional Commentary: Amal (Arabic: "Hope,") is a political and paramilitary organization representing the Shi'a of Lebanon. Although a nonstate actor, Amal has a political infrastructure and has gained territorial control over large areas of West Beirut and southern Lebanon during the Lebanese civil war. After the 1978-1979 revolution in Iran, Amal enjoyed some support from the Iranian revolutionary government. After 1982, however, Iran began to form the rival Hizbullah [#CR0001132] militia under its sponsorship and Amal turned to Syrian sponsorship instead. Since Amal seeks to change the terms of power in Lebanon in favor of the Shi'a by setting aside the 1946 "national covenant" between Lebanon's Christians and Sunnite Muslims it may be considered a revolutionary actor. Yet it has neither sought to exclude other confessional groups from participation in Lebanese politics nor has it sought to create a full-scale Islamic state in Lebanon after the Iranian model. For these very reasons more militant Amal members deserted Amal for stronger groups. Most of these defectors were absorbed later into Hizbullah, a Shiite militia created under Iranian sponsorship that seeks to establish an exclusively Islamic state in Lebanon. While Amal is indigenous to Lebanon it was founded by an Iranian clergyman, Musa Sadr, who arrived in Lebanon in 1957 and established the "Movement of the Deprived" in 1974 to help the Lebanese Shi'a gain political power. With the outbreak of civil war in 1975 Musa Sadr authorized the creation of a military branch, which properly was the organization called "Amal." The Israeli invasion of southern Lebanon in 1978 and continual Palestinian-Israeli clashes in the largely Shi'i south of Lebanon increased the Shi'a's acceptance of Amal as representing and protecting their community. The subsequent victory of an Islamic revolution in Shi'i Iran also bolstered the confidence of Lebanon's Shi'a and their support for Amal. Amal's relationship with Iran's revolutionary government was initially friendly but deteriorated rapidly. With the disappearance of Imam Musa Sadr during a visit to Libya in August 1978, Amal's leadership had passed into the hands of more secular nationalistic Shi'i politicians who had less sympathy for the ideal of creating a theocratic Islamic state in Lebanon. Due to the enmity that had grown between the Lebanese Shi'a and Palestinian guerrillas operating in the south of Lebanon, Amal, in effect, welcomed the 1982 Israeli invasion in the naive hope that Israeli forces would shortly leave and return the south of Lebanon to Shi'i control. Iran's diplomatic overtures to Libya also antagonized Amal members who believed that the Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi was responsible for Imam Musa Sadr's disappearance. The falling out between the Iranian government and Amal as well as the defection from Amal of more militant fundamentalists led Iran to sponsor the creation of the Hizbullah militia, which absorbed much of the strength of Amal's following. Amal's notoriety as a terrorist group stems largely from a mistaken association between it and the rival Hezbollah which carried out a highly visible campaign of vehicle bombings, assassinations and hostage takings against U.S. and other western targets in Lebanon. Amal's role in assuming custody of the hostages taken in the hijacking of TWA flight 847 in 1985 likewise was secondary to that of Hizbullah in planning and carrying out the original hijacking. Following the TWA 874 incident, open warfare erupted between Hizbullah and Amal. Amal has since then accepted Syria as its main foreign sponsor in place of Iran and has acted more like one Lebanese communal militia among many than as a Pan-Islamic revolutionary vanguard.