Information recruitment activities of the Lahad Christian militia. [LBN2825]

The South Lebanon Army (SLA) is one of four militias with "effective" control of the southern region of Lebanon. [ Amnesty International, Amnesty International Report 1988, p. 245.] The SLA operates in the southern security corridor, an eighty by twenty kilometre strip of land along the Israeli border, and is supported by the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF). The SLA is a predominantly Christian militia, but recruitment of Shi'a and Druze civilians found within the SLA territory was reported during the eighties, in an apparent effort to broaden the communal base of the militia. [ Henry Degenhardt, ed, Revolutionary and Dissident Movements, (Essex: Longman, 1988), p. 213.] The SLA is under the control of Antoine Lahad (Lahd). In an interview with the Washington Post on 9 October 1984, he mentioned that he would have to double the 1984 SLA strength of 2,200 men if it were to meet its security objectives. ["Southern Militia Accused in Deaths", Facts on File, 12 October 1984, p. 756.]

Despite recent attempts to reassert its authority, the government of Lebanon has not yet regained effective control of the country; each militia exercises de facto governmental powers within the territory it claims. Legal conscription by the militias does not exist. However, it is generally acknowledged that many of the militias recruit members through a combination of psychological and peer pressures, as well as through financial inducements or outright forced recruitment. The South Lebanon Army has followed similar practices in the (Israeli) Security Zone in southern Lebanon.

Please see the attached article entitled "Christian-Israeli Rift in Lebanon `Security Zone'", (Ihsan Hijazi, The New York Times, 28 May 1989). In addition to forced recruitment, this article discusses the deportation, from the enclave, of the inhabitants of mainly Sunni Muslim villages for refusal to join the SLA.

For additional information on the South Lebanon Army, please consult Henry Degenhardt, Revolutionary and Dissident Movements, London: Longman Group UK Ltd., 1988, which is available in the Toronto IRB Documentation Centre.