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11 Mechanized Infantry Brigades

Traditionally, Lebanon's Army was structured in battalions, without larger formations. Beginning in 1978, plans have been under way to create a system of brigades (all light mechanized infantry). The nuclei of eight brigades (plus a Headquarters Brigade and a Republican Guard brigade) had been created. As of early 1983, most were well below strength, but the US planned to equip them, combined with the manpower provided by conscription, were expected to allow for rapid expansion. Today Brigade command is the gateway to command of the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF). A reduction in the number of brigade commands would force earlier decisions on the future leadership of the LAF.

In 1983 Fourth Brigade (Mount Lebanon) was commanded by Col. Jurj Haruq. The Fourth Brigade disintegrated during the Mountain War in February 1984 as Druze militiamen attempted to create a salient from Alayh to the coast at Khaldah, south of Beirut. Half of the soldiers deserted and joined the Druze forces, while the remainder fled to Christian East Beirut and enrolled in Christian-dominated brigades. Evidently this Brigade was not reformed, and is not presently part of the Lebanese order of battle.
The 7th Infantry Brigade [Light] was founded on the Scout City Batroun on 20 June 1983. In 1983 Seventh Brigade (Logistics) was commanded by Col. Faris Lahud. The Seventh Brigade was composed of 1,700 men in 1987. A contingent of the Seventh Brigade was stationed in the Jubayl district, north of Beirut. This contingent was regarded as loyal to former President Sulayman Franjiyah, whose feudal seat, Zgharta, is a few kilometer southwest of Tripoli. Consequently, the central government equipped this contingent with light weapons only. The brigade's headquarters was located in Amshit, just north of Juniyah. Units at Amshit were well equipped with United States-made tanks and armored personnel carriers but were regarded as being under the sway of LF head Samir Jaja, who maintained his retinue in Amshit.

The present status of this unit is unclear. Plans were announced in 2007 to draw down the Light Infantry Brigades to provide personnel for an enlarged Special Forces Command. reports this unit in service as of 2009, and the official Lebanese Army website reports this unit as of early 2013. The Austrian Army omits this unit from its order of battle for Lebanon as of 2010.

Mechanized Infantry Brigades

The 1st Infantry Brigade was founded on 1 January 1983. In 1983 First Brigade (Baqa'a Valley) was commanded by Brig. Gen Ibrahim Shahin, a colonel when appointed: his small force in the Baqa'a clashed with Iranian-backed Shi'ites of the al-Amal militia in early 1983 and Shahin was wounded, after which he received his promotion. As of 1987, the First Brigade, which was 100-percent Shia in composition, was stationed in the Syriancontrolled Biqa Valley, where it has been assimilated by the Syrian Army and Shia militias.
The 2nd Infantry Brigade was founded on 18 January 1983. In 1983 Second Brigade (Northern Lebanon) was commanded by Col. Assam Abu Jamra. As of 1987, the Second Brigade, which had been a mostly Sunni unit stationed in Tripoli, had dispersed.
The 3rd Infantry Brigade was founded on 18 January 1983. In 1983 Third Brigade (Sidon) was commanded by Col. Sa'id alQa'qur. At that time is was presumed that this brigade would eventually patrol in the South along the Israeli border. Until early 1983, units in Sidon assigned to this brigade could not leave Israeli-controlled areas for training, but that was no longer the case by mid-1983. As of 1987, the Third Brigade had disbanded.
Prior to the declaration of Lebanon's independence on November 22nd 1943, the various military units were combined into the fifth Brigade under the command of Colonel Fouad Chehab. The 5th Infantry Brigade was re-founded on 1 January 1983. In 1983 Fifth Brigade (Mount Lebanon) was commanded by Col. Gabriel Arsuni. The Fifth Brigade in 1987 consisted of approximately 2,000 mostly Maronite troops under the command of Colonel Khalil Kanaan. The brigade's administrative headquarters was located in Sarba, north of Juniyah, an LF stronghold. It consisted of three infantry battalions and an artillery unit stationed in Brumanna, east of Beirut. In 1987 Fifth Brigade units were deployed in the strategic town of Suq al Gharb to prevent Druze militiamen from shelling the capital. The Fifth Brigade was regarded as loyal to the president, but observers believed that if called upon to fight a Christian militia, it might remain neutral.
The 6th Infantry Brigade was founded on 6 February 1983. In 1983 Sixth Brigade (Beirut) was commanded by Col. Lutfi Jabir, who was formerly attached to the Syrian-dominated Arab Deterrent Force. The mainly Shia Muslim Sixth Brigade had been commanded by a Christian officer, Colonel Lufti Jabar, and consisted of 1,600 soldiers and officers. Its mission had been to maintain order in West Beirut. It refused to participate in the February 1986 combat between the Shia Amal militia and the Lebanese Army, however; as a result, the Fifth Brigade was expelled from West Beirut. After the Sixth Brigade split off from the army command structure, it was taken over by a new officer, Major General Abd al Halim Kanj, and its ranks swelled to 6,000 men as Muslims from other army brigades deserted to join their coreligionists. In 1987 the Sixth Brigade was stationed in Shihab barracks in the southern suburbs of Beirut and was under the operational control of the Amal militia.

Infantry Brigades / Light Brigades

The 8th Infantry Brigade was founded on 1 January 1983. In 1983 Eighth Brigade (Mount Lebanon near Beirut) was commanded by Col. Michel'Awn. The newest brigade organization, three battalions were designated as its nucleus in early 1983. The Eighth Brigade, commanded by Colonel Salim Kassis, was the strongest, best equipped, best trained, and most elite unit in the Lebanese Army in 1987. It was regarded as loyal to the president and the government. It consisted of 2,000 men, about 80 percent of whom were Christians from the northern region of Akkar, with the remaining 20 percent Sunni Muslims. It included a mechanized battalion equipped with ninety United States-made armored personnel carriers, an armored battalion with thirty-three United States-made M-48 tanks, and a missile battalion equipped with eighteen pieces of field artillery. It was stationed at the Presidential Palace at Babda and at the Ministry of Defense in the Yarzah section of Beirut. In 1983 the Eighth Brigade bore the brunt of fighting against Druze militia in Suq al Gharb and against leftist militia in West Beirut.
The General Support Brigade was founded on 1 Marach 1983 and included the Anti Tank Regiment, the Engineering Regiment and battalion 801. On 30/10/1983, the name was changed and became the 9th Brigade. The Ninth Brigade, established in 1983, was commanded in 1987 by Colonel Sami Rihana, a Greek Orthodox. The majority of his soldiers were Christians from northern Lebanese cities, such as Tripoli, although the brigade also contained Sunni and Shia soldiers and officers. It was headquartered in Al Hazimiyah, and one of its battalions was deployed in the Beirut port area. The Ninth Brigade was regarded as being totally loyal to the government, and it fought successfully against Phalangist forces in East Beirut in January 1986.
The 10th Infantry Brigade was founded on 11 January 1984 under the name of the 10th Airborne Brigade and on 21/10/1984 was changed to become the 10th Infantry Brigade. The Tenth Brigade consisted of 1,800 soldiers, most of whom were Christians, under the command of Colonel Nassib Eid, and in 1987 it was stationed along the Green Line. Its troops manned the Beirut-Damascus highway to the Kafr Shima-Ash Shuwayfat front. The brigade was enlarged in 1984 when some soldiers and officers defecting from the Fourth Brigade joined it. The Tenth Brigade was composed of three airborne battalions and an artillery unit. The army's commando forces under Lieutenant Colonel Yusuf Tahan were attached to the Tenth Brigade. Tahan was an LF supporter, and observers doubted his loyalty to the government.
The 11th Infantry Brigade was founded on 7 August 1984 and its headquarters was in the barracks of Hammana. The Eleventh Brigade, composed primarily of Druzes, had a strength in 1987 of about 900 men. Its commander, Colonel Amin Qadi, ordered the unit confined to its Hammana garrison during the fighting between the Lebanese Army and the Druze militia in the Shuf in 1983 Mountains and 1984; this action was in response to a request from Druze leader Walid Jumblatt to neutralize the army. The Eleventh Brigade controlled the Hammana garrison and guarded the government radio station in West Beirut.
The 12Th Infantry Brigade was founded on 1 December 1984. Little was known in 1987 about the mostly Shia 1,300-man strong Twelfth Brigade. It was commanded by Colonel Muhammad Saad and was deployed in various positions in southern Lebanon, particularly along the coastal highway between Khaldah and Sidon.

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Page last modified: 08-04-2013 14:40:15 ZULU