Free Lebanon State
دولة لبنان الحر
Dawlat Lubnān al-Ḥurr
|Common languages||Arabic · French|
|Religion||Islam · Christianity · Druze faith|
|Historical era||Lebanese Civil War|
• State declared
|18 April 1979|
• Death of Saad Haddad
|14 January 1984|
|Currency||Lebanese Pound, Old Israeli Shekel|
|Today part of||Lebanon|
The Free Lebanon State (Arabic: دولة لبنان الحر Dawlat Lubnān al-Ḥurr), also known as the State of Free Lebanon was a de facto unrecognized state, announced by Saad Haddad, Lebanese politician and commander of the Maronite-Christian dominated South Lebanon Army on the course of the Lebanese Civil War. The announcement was made on 18 April 1979, exercising authority in parts of Southern Lebanon. The state failed to gain international recognition and its authority deteriorated with the death of Saad Haddad in 1984, retaining only a provisional administration and an associated SLA militia.
The Free Lebanon State existence relied on Israeli logistic and (after 1982) also military support, effectively making it a client-state of Israel according to some opinions. The Free Lebanon State functioned for several years as a semi-independent authority in South Lebanon, being in a complete political disconnection with the internationally recognized Lebanese government in Beirut. The government of Free Lebanon under Haddad's leadership had never received international recognition. Following the 1982 Lebanon War, much of the claimed territory of the Free Lebanon State became part of the South Lebanon Security Belt, under joint control of the Israeli Army and the Free Lebanon Army. The authority of the Free Lebanon State further deteriorated with the death of Saad Haddad on January 1984, following which only the military force of the self-proclaimed state continued to function, rebranded as the South Lebanon Army (SLA).
During the South Lebanon conflict (1982–2000), Saad Haddad headed the Christian radio station "Voice of Hope", initially set up and funded by George Otis of High Adventure Ministries. The Voice of Hope was set up as a charitable endeavor to help the Christian enclave in Southern Lebanon, but it quickly became politicized, when Hadaad used it for political diatribes aimed at his many enemies. High Adventure billed it as the only privately owned radio station in the Middle East that was broadcasting the Gospel, but its message was often tainted by the necessary affiliation with Hadaad's militia, as its operation depended upon his protection and authority, resulting in a very curious blend of scripture lessons and political commentary which the staff at the station could not control or regulate.
The beginning of the Good Fence coincides with the beginning of the civil war in Lebanon in 1976 and Israeli support for the predominantly-Maronite militias in southern Lebanon in their battle with the PLO. From 1977, Israel allowed the Maronites and their allies to find employment in Israel and provided assistance in exporting their goods through the Israeli port city of Haifa. The main border crossing through which goods and workers crossed was the Fatima Gate crossing near Metula. This provided essential economic stability to the administration of the Free Lebanon State and the later South Lebanon security belt administration.
Relations with UN personnel
The freedom of movement of UNIFIL personnel and UNTSO observers within the Free Lebanon enclave remained restricted due to the actions of Amal and the Free Lebanon Army under Major Saad Haddad's leadership with the backing of Israeli military forces. During the 1982 Lebanon War, UN positions were overrun, primarily by the South Lebanon Army forces under Saad Haddad.
The Free Lebanon State did not succeed in gaining recognition from any state with the exception of unofficial recognition by the State of Israel. It also earned some support from the United States.
- Jabbra, Joseph G.; Jabbra, Nancy W. (10 August 1983). "Lebanon: Gateway to Peace in the Middle East?". International Journal. 38 (4): 577–612. doi:10.2307/40202202. JSTOR 40202202.
- Barak, Oren. "Ambiguity and Conflict in Israeli-Lebanese Relations." Israel Studies 15, no. 3 (2010): 163-88. doi:10.2979/isr.2010.15.3.163.
- Arab Mass Media: Newspapers, Radio, and Television in Arab Politics By William A. Rugh p. 197
- UN Doc S/15194 Archived December 2, 2008, at the Wayback Machine of 10 June 1982 Report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon
- "Extracts relating to Article 98 of the Charter of the United Nations: Supplement No 6 (1979–1984)" (PDF). Repertory of Practice of United Nations Organs. United Nations. pp. §185–§199. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-10-19. Retrieved 6 August 2006.