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Saad Haddad

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Saad Haddad
Haddad in 1983
President of the State of Free Lebanon
In office
18 April 1979 – 14 January 1984
Preceded byPosition established
Succeeded byPosition abolished
Personal details
Born1936 (1936)
Marjayoun, French Lebanon
Died14 January 1984(1984-01-14) (aged 47–48)
Marjayoun, Lebanon
ChildrenArza
OccupationMilitary officer
Military service
Allegiance Free Lebanon Army
Battles/warsLebanese Civil War

Saad Haddad (Arabic: سعد حداد; 1936 – 14 January 1984) was a Lebanese military officer who was the founder and head of the South Lebanon Army (SLA) during the Lebanese Civil War. Originally a Major in the Lebanese Army, he defected and formed the South Lebanon Army and created the separatist State of Free Lebanon backed by Israel. For years Haddad closely collaborated with and received arms and political support from Israel against Lebanese government forces, Hezbollah, and the Syrian Army. Haddad died of cancer in his house in Marjayoun.[1]

Early life

Haddad was born to a Greek Catholic family in Marjayoun. He received part of his training at Fort Benning in the United States.[2]

Lebanese Civil War

During the 1970s, there was a cyclical pattern of guerrilla attacks carried out by Palestinian militants on Israel and by the Israel Defense Forces on Palestinian targets in Lebanon. In the aftermath of the Lebanese Civil War, Lebanese-generated security concerns grew for Israel. At the same time, the breakdown of Lebanon's central government provided opportunities for Israel to act. Around 1975, Israel sponsored the creation of a surrogate force, Lebanese Christian (Melkite[3]) Major Saad Haddad was the first officer to defect from the Lebanese Army to ally himself with Israel,[4] a defection which led to the formation of the pro-Israel Free Lebanon Army, based in a corridor, the "Security Zone" along Lebanon's southern border from 1982 after Israel's invasion of Lebanon. This force, which called itself the Free Lebanon Army (but was later renamed the South Lebanon Army (SLA) under leader Antoine Lahad in May 1980), was intended to prevent infiltration into Israel of Palestinian guerrillas. In 1978, Israel invaded Lebanon, clearing out Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) strongholds as far north as the Litani River.

On 18 April 1979, Haddad proclaimed the area controlled by his force Independent Free Lebanon.[5] The following day, he was branded a traitor to the Lebanese government and officially dismissed from the Lebanese Army. [citation needed]

Another consequence of the Israeli invasion was the establishment in southern Lebanon of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon, whose mission was to separate the various combatants. Haddad's militia collaborated with Israel and received the bulk of its arms, equipment, supplies and ordnance from Israel. There are eyewitness accounts that support the claim that Saad Haddad's troops were involved in the massacres of Sabra and Shatila in 1982.[6] In the massacre an estimated 763 - 3,500 civilians were killed.[7][8] Though Hadad and his men were exonerated by an Israeli panel, the SLA was still known to engage in ruthless behavior, such as the "brutal conditions" of Palestinian and Lebanese prisoners at the infamous al-Khiam prison.[9] In 1984, Haddad died of cancer. His successor as the head of the SLA was general Antoine Lahad.

With the Israeli retreat the SLA quickly collapsed. On 24 May 2000, the sight of Saad Haddad's statue being dragged through the streets of the Lebanese town of Marjayoun was a sure sign that the South Lebanon Army was gone.[10]

During the South Lebanon conflict (1982–2000), Saad Haddad headed the Christian radio station "Voice of Hope",[11] 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 Haddad 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 Haddad'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.[citation needed]

Descendants

On 7 June 2012, Lebanese daily newspaper As Safir reported on the progress of Saad Haddad's daughter Arza (meaning "Cedar Tree" in Arabic) as a researcher in ballistics and rocket science at the Technion University in Haifa.[12] She obtained master's degree in aeronautics in June 2012.[13]

References

  1. ^ Walsh, Edward. "Lebanese Militia Leader, Saad Haddad, Dead at 47". Washington Post. Retrieved 10 June 2018.
  2. ^ "Saad Haddad and the South Lebanon Army - Who Was Saad Haddad and the South Lebanon Army (SLA)". Middleeast.about. 14 January 1984. Archived from the original on 18 November 2012. Retrieved 19 October 2012.
  3. ^ Noam Chomsky, Fateful Triangle: The United States, Israel and the Palestinians, updated edition (Cambridge, MA: South End Press, 1999; orig. ed. 1983), 416.
  4. ^ The War on Lebanon Edited by Nubar Hovesepian 19. Travels in Israel by Gabriel Piterberg p. 267
  5. ^ feb2b
  6. ^ Noam Chomsky, Fateful Triangle: The United States, Israel and the Palestinians, updated edition (Cambridge, MA: South End Press, 1999; orig. ed. 1983), 373.
  7. ^ "Saad Haddad and the South Lebanon Army - Who Was Saad Haddad and the South Lebanon Army (SLA)". Middleeast.about. 14 January 1984. Archived from the original on 18 November 2012. Retrieved 19 October 2012.
  8. ^ Robert Fisk: Pity the Nation – Lebanon at War (1990) p. 365
  9. ^ "Saad Haddad and the South Lebanon Army - Who Was Saad Haddad and the South Lebanon Army (SLA)". Middleeast.about. 14 January 1984. Archived from the original on 18 November 2012. Retrieved 19 October 2012.
  10. ^ BBC News|MIDDLE EAST|Bitter retreat for the SLA
  11. ^ Arab Mass Media: Newspapers, Radio, and Television in Arab Politics By William A. Rugh p. 197
  12. ^ حلمي موسى. "As-Safir Newspaper - حلمي موسى : صواريخ إسرائيل الموجهة نحو لبنان تحمل بصمات أرزة سعد حداد!". As safir. Retrieved 19 October 2012.
  13. ^ "From Lebanese refugee to Israeli rocket scientist". The Times of Israel. 6 June 2012. Retrieved 19 October 2012.
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Saad Haddad
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