Rex Brynen, Sanctuary and Survival: The PLO in Lebanon (Boulder: Westview Press, 1990).




Since December 1987 and the eruption of a widespread and sustained Palestinian uprising (intifada) in the Israeli-occupied territories, the focus of political and diplomatic attention in the continuing Palestinian-Israeli conflict has shifted decisively to the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The declaration of a yet-to-be-realized independent Palestinian state by the Palestine Liberation Organization in November 1988 reflected this, ushering in a new phase in the history and development of the Palestinian nationalist movement. Yet the occupied territories have not always represented the practical center-of-gravity of the Palestinian movement-a movement much of whose political evolution has necessarily occurred in exile. After the June 1967 Arab-Israeli war, and even more so after the suppression of the PLO in Jordan in 1970, it was Lebanon that emerged as the primary political and military headquarters of the Palestine Liberation Organization.

As a consequence, Lebanon would come to occupy an important place in the evolution of Palestinian political strategy and discourse. At the same time, however, the Palestinian presence in Lebanon would also have an important impact on that country's precarious social order. The PLO would serve to catalyze internal challenges to the Lebanese status quo, becoming a part (unwilling or otherwise) in Lebanon's mounting internal political struggles. The Palestinian armed presence would also attract increasing external intervention in Lebanon by both Arab regimes and Israel, culminating in Israel's 1982 invasion and the consequent withdrawal of PLO personnel from Beirut.

This study is an analysis of the PLO's "Lebanese era" and its aftermath, of the changing position of the Palestinian nationalist movement in Lebanon from its initial emergence in the late 1960s through the 1982 war to the present. It focuses on the PLO's efforts to maintain for itself a secure political and military base of operations in Lebanon, and on the broader impact of Lebanon on the political dynamics and development of the Palestinian movement. It attempts to do so in a theoretical context that highlights the dilemmas intrinsic in all relationships between insurgent movements and those third-party states that may provide them shelter and sanctuary. This latter issue is the explicit focus of Chapter 1, wherein dilemmas of insurgent-sanctuary relations are outlined, and a number of possible insurgent responses identified. The chapter also discusses how insurgent policy-formation and the protection of sanctuary itself are likely to be tied to inherent problems of insurgent authority and decision-making. Chapters 2 through 6 examine in detail the PLO's experiences in Lebanon from the 1960s through to 1982. Chapter 7 evaluates the strengths, weaknesses and evolution of PLO policy in Lebanon during this critical period. Finally, Chapter 8 surveys the PLO's post-1982 position in Lebanon. It illuminates the extent to which the Palestinian movement's current challenges in Lebanon are rooted in the legacies of earlier behavior and policy. And it discusses the interrelationship between the PLO's "Lebanese era," the intifada, and current Palestinian efforts to achieve self-determination and an independent state.

This study derives data from a number of sources, but especially from fieldwork in the Middle East in 1986-87 and 1989. It would not have been possible without the help of numerous institutions and individuals. The American University in Cairo, University of Calgary and McGill University each offered in turn invaluable facilities and positive research environments; the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, and the Alberta Heritage Scholarship Fund provided the necessary research funds. I am particularly grateful to Paul Noble, Ibrahim Abu Lughod, Walid Kazziha, As'ad 'Abd al-Rahman and Lamis Andoni for their comments and advice, and to Barbara Ellington at Westview Press. I also wish to thank all those who consented to grant research interviews, some of whom are listed in the bibliography. A great many others must unfortunately remain unnamed; my gratitude to them is in no way diminished by that fact. None, of course, bear responsibility for any errors, omissions or conclusions herein; those remain the sole responsibility of the author.

Finally, my largest debt of gratitude is due my wife, Alex, for her unflagging encouragement, creative criticism, and practical assistance. Long may our collaborations continue.



Rex Brynen