Lebanon Civil War - The South Lebanon Army (SLA) and Child Recruitment

Lebanon Civil War The South Lebanon Army (SLA) and child recruitment
Parts involved
Lebanon
Cause
Syrian Involvement
Syria
Maronite Christians
Sunni
Shi’a Muslims
Druze
Each of the groups had built up their own power bases and militias outside
the weak central state and the arrival of further Sunnis, in the form of Palestinian
refugees in 1948 and 1970.
uneasy balance.
Syria responded with a major offensive and the
dispatch of troops around most of northern and central Lebanon
Benefits
Detriments
initial stability
regionalize the
conflict, notably in the south, where Israel began to take a far greater interest in
Lebanese affairs
Israeli Involvement
SLA
CHILD SOLDIERS
IOs and NGOs involvement
Stopping child recruitment and use
Maronite Christian militias
against Sunni and Druze militias and their Palestinian allies in the Palestine
Liberation Organization
Israel
Operation Litani 1978
Purpose
an effort to drive Palestinian militants back from the border
and keep Syrian influence at bay.
its first major military
offensive in Lebanon
pulled back its forces in 1985 but continued to occupy a 'security zone'
Israel's inability to either secure the border or defeat its
opponents eventually led to its withdrawal in 2000
Consequences
Hizbullah remained the sole militant group from the civil war era
Consequences
Under continued international
pressure, Syria withdrew all of its military forces from Lebanon in 2005.
“Free Lebanon” militia
SLA
Purpose
preserve or defend what it saw
as the national character of Lebanon, namely the pre-war character where Christians
held the most important positions in a confessional system of government.
carrying out Israel’s
objectives in South Lebanon
” to prevent attacks on Israel by Palestinian militants
and (after their expulsion) by Hizbullah
3,000 fighters at its peak
Israel continued to keep between
1,000 and 3,000 of its own troops in Lebanon, working alongside the SLA, although
the SLA bore the brunt of frontline duties and casualties
CHILD SOLDIERS
belonging to the group brought many benefits to members
and their relatives, including having access to jobs and healthcare in Israel.
'necessity, given limited manpower'
mid-1980s
150-200 minors/1500 soldiers
Requirement: 'bear arms'
some members received up to US$ 600 per month
14yo
1990s
a more formal system of
recruitment came into place
the SLA returned to forcible recruitment of adults and children to maintain troop numbers, as it had done in the late 1970s
“all hands on deck” than systematic policy
1984-1986
17 - the minimum age of
recruitment
“self-regulating” guidelines
“They [the Israelis] didn’t want children”- pragmatic considerations than a
moral position, since some children were able to remain with the group while others
left the organization
Limited dealings with IOs ans NGOs
Israel blocked ICRC access to prisons under
SLA control between 1985 and 1995
ICRC
israel and SLA failed to “respect international humanitarian law"
the SLA felt in the conflict
“betrayed” by the international community and
that it had no obligations to anyone except to some members of the Lebanese
Christian leadership in Beirut and to Israel.
Consequences
With Israel onside it had limited impact on SLA
Human Rights Watch
child recruitment as a major concern in
its reports on South Lebanon
presented the problem of 'forcible child recruitment'
LATE RESPONSE FROM NGOs
lNGOs focused their attention on the issue of child
recruitment by the SLA at a relatively late stage in the conflict, when Israel was close
to withdrawing its troops from the area and when the SLA itself was in disarray
Failures
key political powers at that time to take effective action
against serious human rights violations
hold Israel to account
Impact
the international humanitarian community had very little impact on events in the SLA
limited
external access to South Lebanon by governmental and non-governmental
organizations
international NGOs missed
an opportunity to campaign and take action against child recruitment
campaigning for all
sides to respect the protected status of civilians
children as victims of attacks by the SLA and Israeli forces
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