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ALF symbol

Arab Liberation Front (Arabic: جبهة التحرير العربية, jabha at-tahrir al-arabiya‎) is a minor Palestinian political faction of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), politically tied to the Iraqi Ba'ath Party formerly headed by Saddam Hussein.

Contents

Historical background

The ALF was founded in April 1969, as a front of the Iraqi-led faction of the Ba'th Party. In June 1969 it became a member of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). The first leader of ALF was its Secretary-General Zeid Heidar. Other leaders have included Munif al-Razzaz, Abd al-Wahhab al-Kayyali and Abd al-Rahim Ahmad. Today the Secretary-General is Rakad Salem (Abu Mahmoud), who is held in Israeli jail. The ALF has a seat in the PLO Executive Committee, held by Mahmoud Ismael.

Ideology and relations to PLO

The ALF has always followed Iraqi government policy on all matters. In line with the Pan-Arab ideology of the Ba'ath, the ALF was initially opposed to "Palestinization" of the conflict, preferring to argue in terms of the wider Arab World's war with Israel, which it regarded as under the natural leadership of Iraq. During the 1970s, ALF became a member of the Rejectionist Front, initially backed by Iraq and formed by hard-line Palestinian factions to counter what they perceived as the increasing moderation of the PLO. The ALF later opposed the Oslo Accords, as did the Iraqi government. This brought about a split in the organization, with a pro-Arafat/Oslo faction based inside the Occupied Palestinian Territories leaving the group to found the Palestinian Arab Front.

ALF poster in Qalqiliya

Present situation

The ALF was the main faction active in Iraq's small Palestinian population of approximately 40,000, but a very minor group in all other Palestinian communities. It has maintained a small following in the refugee camps of Lebanon, and has a minuscule presence in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Its headquarter there, is in the city of Ramallah in the central West Bank.

The ALF gained some degree of importance during the al-Aqsa Intifada, as a distributor of financial contributions from the Iraqi government, to families of "martyrs", with extra grants for the families of suicide bombers.[1][2]

The ALF published the monthly newspaper Sawt al-Jamahir (Arabic, Voice of the Masses), edited by Rakad Salem.

Samir Sanunu is the representative of ALF in Lebanon.[3]

Militant activities

The group has not been involved in armed attacks on Israel since at least the early 1990s, and it is no longer believed to possess any significant military capabilities. It is not designated a Foreign Terrorist Organization by the USA, and is not on the terrorist lists of the UN or the EU.

External links

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