Despite calls and fatwas by some Sunni groups forbidding the fight alongside Hezbollah, the Lebanese Sunni Islamic resistance has joined Hezbollah in fighting the Israeli intervention. The biggest Islamic Sunni movement in Lebanon, Jamaa Islamiya, is fighting alongside Hezbollah to fend off Israel’s incursion into Lebanon, sending the al-Fajr Forces (Dawn Forces), its military wing, to engage in combat with the Israeli Defense Forces. According to Faisal Mawlawi, a prominent Islamic scholar and the chairman of Jamaa Islamiya in Lebanon, “it is time Sunnis participate in the defense of Lebanon as they do in Palestine. They have been marginalized for decades because the circumstances weren’t suitable for everyone to participate in the honorable resistance” (http://news.maktoob.com/?q=node/29774, July 26).
Sheikh Ibrahim al-Masri, the deputy chairman of Jamaa Islamiya, revealed the presence of Jamaa Islamiya’s military wing in some Lebanese southern villages; al-Fajr Forces are operating jointly with Hezbollah in some locations and separately in others. Al-Masri did not specify the size of the al-Fajr Forces, but he reiterated that they mainly operate near the Israeli-Lebanese border in Arqoub, Shabaa, al-Habariya and Kafr Shuba villages. On the western side of the border with Israel, al-Fajr fighters are active in Marwahin, al-Bustan and al-Dhairah villages (Islam-Online.net, July 28). In addition, the al-Fajr Forces are present in the suburbs of Saida city. Al-Masri added that Jamaa Islamiya was founded in 1975 as a political entity. As a result of the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982, Jamaa Islamiya established its own military arm called Tanzim al-Mujahideen (the Mujahideen Organization) that deployed and controlled some villages in southern Lebanon after Israel’s pullout in 1985. Later, they handed those villages back to the Lebanese regular army and dismantled Tanzim al-Mujahideen. In 1990, Jamaa Islamiyya established a new military wing called the al-Fajr Forces and joined sides with Hezbollah in liberating the remaining Lebanese southern territories (Islam-Online.net, July 28). They remained active until Israel pulled out completely from Lebanon in May 2000.
Concerning the military capabilities of the al-Fajr Forces, al-Masri said al-Fajr is a self-funded group with limited weaponry, automatic rifles and mortar canons. Militarily, the al-Fajr Forces are no match for Hezbollah, which is why they abide by the latter’s decisions pertinent to armed resistance operations in the battlefield (http://www.muslm.net/vb/showthread.php?t=168025, August 2). In light of the conflicting fatwas about cooperation with Hezbollah in the fight against Israel, it is not clear whether more Sunni Jihadists will seek to join Hezbollah in southern Lebanon.