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Arab Liberation Front (Palestine)

Jabhat al-Tahrir al-'Arabiyya

Last modified: 2008-01-19 by eugene ipavec
Keywords: palestine | politics | fatah | arab liberation front |
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جبهة التحرير العربية, Jabhat al-Tahrir al-'Arabiyya (Arab Liberation Front)

[Arab Liberation Front (Palestine)]
image by Eugene Ipavec, 15 May 2007

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In a recent television report showing the funeral of a victim of Israeli violence, the relatives and friends began running from Israeli bullets crying Allahu Akbar, and in that run the camera focused for a while one of them who was flying a white flag charged with a triangle made with three unconnected trapezoids in the Palestinian colours (black, green and red) enclosing a firearm, probably a Kalashnikov, in black. There was some Arabic writing around the symbol.

Jorge Candeias, 25 Apr 2001

The white flag must be the flag of the Arab Liberation Front, according possible identification from Lucien Philippe of a draw image of this flag in Flag Report some years ago.

Jaume Ollé, 27 Mar 2003

That is the flag of the Arab Liberation Front (ALF, Jabha al-Tahrir al-Arabiya), which is or was the Palestinian branch of the Iraqi Baa'th party. It was founded (1969), financed and completely controlled by Iraq, and it is probably defunct now, or will be in a matter of years, since the government of Saddam Hussein has fallen. The writing under the symbol is the name of the group.

Pictures here and here.

Aron L., 29 Jan 2006



The Arab Liberation Front (Jabhat al-Tahrir al-‘Arabiyya) was established as a guerrilla group on 6/11 April 1969 by Iraqi Ba‘thists. It was constitued as an alliance between Fatah, Egypt & Syria developed, and after Sa‘iqa was formed it continued to be sponsored by Iraq. It was Pan-Arabist in orientation, and initially aimed at reversing the 'Palestinianization' of the conflict. But the ALF joined the PLO nevertheless in July 1969). It was led initially by Zayd Haydar (Secretary General in 1970), Munif al-Razzaz (a Jordanian; 60s/70s), ‘Abd al-Wahhab al-Kayyali (at least 72-74), ‘Abd al-Rahim Ahmad (at least from 1975-91), Mahmud Isma’il (93). Current Secretary-General is Rakad Salem (b.1944); Husayn Rahhal also prominent.

In the 1970s, the ALF played an important role in the Rejection Front, a loose affiliation of groups that vocally opposed the PLO's peace efforts. The ALF was opposed to Oslo, but maintained participation in PLO (eg in 1984 Amman PNC), and participates in NIF. It shares an office floor in Ramallah with the PLF, and also has offices in Lebanon & Iraq.

The Arab Liberation Front also publishes a monthly journal (on high-quality paper) called "the Voice of the Masses" ( Sawt al-Jamahir ). The chief editor is (naturally) Rakad Salem. The editorial offices are in the Ramun building, Ramallah (where the Arab Liberation Front and Ba'ath leadership bureau is located).

The ALF remained a small, marginalized group, lacking either the secular support base of al-Fatah and the Islamist support base of Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. By 2002 much of its work was distributing grants from the Iraqi government to families of "martyrs" in Palestine.

An archive consisting of documents, video cassettes and computer disks was captured by the IDF in the “Arab Liberation Front” (an organization under Iraqi patronage) and the Iraqi Ba'ath organization HQ in Ramallah. Other documents and videocassettes were captured during Operation Defensive Shield. The captured materials shed light on the Iraqi aid to the Palestinian confrontation in the PA, with emphasis on the encouragement of terrorist attacks.

From the Terrorism Knowledge Base website:

The Arab Liberation Front (ALF) is a secular, leftist, Palestinian nationalist terror group. The group was founded in April 1969 by Iraqi Ba'athist party members as an alliance among Iraq, Fatah (of the Palestinian Liberation Organization), Egypt, and Syria. Like most Palestinian terror groups, ALF's goal is to destroy Israel and establish an Arab state in its place. The organization was founded as a pan-Arab counterweight to the PLO, designed to reverse the "Palestinianization" of the Arab-Israeli conflict. Due to Iraq's primary role in establishing the group, the ALF functioned as a proxy for the Iraqi regime, actively seeking to extend Iraqi influence within the Palestinian Territories and Lebanon. Despite its pan-Arab roots, the organization joined the PLO in July 1969. In the 1970s, the ALF played an important role in the Rejection Front, a loose affiliation of groups that vocally opposed the PLO's peace efforts.

The ALF has remained a small, marginalized group within the Palestinian conflict, lacking both the secular support base of al-Fatah and the Islamist support base of Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. While ALF has continued to conduct small attacks against Israeli targets, the group has shifted away from conducting its own operations to financing Palestinian suicide bombers. With open financial and political assistance from Saddam Hussein's Iraqi regime, the ALF disbursed millions of dollars to the families of Palestinian "martyrs" who attacked Israeli targets. With the removal of the Iraqi Ba'athist regime, it remains unclear what role the ALF will play in the broader Palestinian conflict.

Eugene Ipavec, 15 May 2007