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Arabic: afwāju l-muqāwamati l-lubnāniya

Photo by: Yannis Kontos / Corbis Sygma

In the Lebanese Civil War, Amal is short for the Lebanese Resistance Detachments. Amal was the popular name, meaning "hope" in Arabic.
Amal became one of the most important Muslim militias during the Lebanese Civil War. Amal grew strong through its close ties with the Islamic regime of Iran, and the 300,000 Shi'i internal refugees from southern Lebanon after the Israeli bombings in the early 1980's. At its most the militia had 14,000 troops.

1973 February: The Movement of the Disinherited is formed by the radical Shi'i leader Imam Musa s-Sadr.
1975 July: The Lebanese Resistance Detachments are formed as a military wing of The Movement of the Disinherited, and come to be popularly known as Amal.
1978: New leadership of Amal, with Shaykh Muhammad Mahdi Shamsi d-Din and Hussein Husseini, after which Musa s-Sadr disappears.
1979: Following the Islamic revolution in Iran, Amal forges close ties with the new regime of Teheran.
1982: Nabih Berri becomes one of the leaders of Amal. A Shi'i layman, he maintains close relations with Syria.
1991 September: 2,800 Amal troops join the Lebanese army, following the end to the Lebanese Civil War in October the preceding year.

By Tore Kjeilen