Berri Reorganizes Amal Militia
BEIRUT, Lebanon (AP) _ Nabih Berri, the leader of Lebanon’s Moslem Shiite Amal militia, Saturday expelled a former deputy chairman and dismissed the entire command structure of the movement in south Lebanon.
The shakeup came in the wake of an abortive attempt by the former deputy, Hasan Hashem, to wrest control of the movement in south Lebanon last Sunday.
An official Amal statement said Hashem was expelled, and four other regional Amal commanders in the south were dismissed from their posts.
In what was seen as the most serious internal shakeup in more than three years, Amal also dissolved its current command structure in the south, headed by Mahmoud Faqih and Daoud Daoud.
Faqih is Hashem’s rival in south Lebanon.
The leftist newspaper as-Safir said Faqih and Daoud were nevertheless asked to continue operating ″while the situation is reviewed.″
Hashem, 32, was demoted as Amal’s deputy chairman last summer. He called his abortive attempt to seize control a ″corrective movement,″ without elaboration. His move collapsed through lack of support from Amal’s wider ranks.
It is believed Hashem’s move stemmed from disagreement over Amal’s 4-month- old siege of Palestinian refugee camps on the outskirts of Beirut, to prevent a resurgence of Yasser Arafat’s guerrillas in Lebanon.
Arafat, the leader of the Palestine Liberation Organization, was forced to leave Lebanon with his supporters by Syria by the 1982 Israeli invasion.
Amal earlier was a close Arafat ally in the 11-year-old Lebanese civil war. But following Arafat’s expulsion it has been increasingly dependent on Syria.