Lebanese Front

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Lebanese Front
الجبهة اللبنانية
Participant in Lebanese Civil War (1975–1986)
Lebanese Front.
Lebanese Front.
IdeologyLebanese nationalism
Group(s) Kataeb Party
National Liberal Party
Marada Movement
Guardians of the Cedars
Al-Tanzim logo.pngAl-Tanzim
Lebanese Youth Movement (MKG)
Tyous Team of Commandos
Zahliote Group
Shuraya Party
Other minor organizations
Leaders Pierre Gemayel
Camille Chamoun
Suleiman Franjieh
Size20,000 (1976)
35000-90000 (1978-1982)
AlliesIsrael Israeli Defense Forces (IDF)
Army of Free Lebanon (AFL)
South Lebanon Army (SLA)
Lebanese Army Revolutionary Command (LARC)
Lebanese Armed Forces (sometimes)
Syrian Armed Forces (until 1976)
Opponent(s)Lebanese National Movement (LNM)
Lebanese Armed Forces (sometimes)
Lebanese National Resistance Front (LNRF)
Palestine Liberation Organization Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO)
Lebanese Communist Party (LCP)
People's Liberation Army (PLA)
Syrian Social National Party (SSNP)
Syria Syrian Armed Forces (1976–1990)

The Lebanese Front (Arabic: الجبهة اللبنانية‎, al-Jabha al-Lubnaniyya) or Front Libanais in French, was a coalition of mainly Lebanese Nationalist parties formed in 1976 by majority Christian intellectuals during the Lebanese Civil War.[1] It was intended to act as a reaction force to the Lebanese National Movement (LNM) of Kamal Jumblatt and other Left-Wing allies.

The Lebanese Front was presided by the former president of Lebanon, Camille Chamoun, and its main participants were Pierre Gemayel, the founder and leader of the then-largest political party in Lebanon, the Kataeb Party, president Suleiman Frangieh, who had just finished his presidential years in office.[1] It also included first class intellectuals, such as distinguished professor of philosophy and eminent diplomat Charles Malik who had been president of the United Nations General Assembly in 1958, and Fouad Frem al-Boustani, the president of the Lebanese University. The front also included religious figures such as Father Charbel Qassis, who was later replaced by Father Bulus Naaman the "head of the permanent congress of the Lebanese monastic orders".[1] For a brief while the poet Said Aql was a member.

As soon as the war erupted in Lebanon, and before the Lebanese Front was formed, many of the future leaders of the Lebanese Front organized their political parties into militias, most notably Camille Chamoun's National Liberal Party, Pierre Gemayel's influential longstanding Kataeb Party, and Suleiman Frangieh's Marada Brigade. The number of men totalled around 18,000, which was a relatively large number given that the total population of Lebanon was less than three million.

However, the relations among the participants became tense mainly due to Frangieh's pro-Syrian approach.[2] In addition, in 1978, Suleiman Frangieh's son Tony and his family were killed by armed Kataeb militiamen trying to kidnap him acting on orders from Bashir Gemayel, the son of Pierre Gemayel.[3] The incident is known as the Ehden massacre. It was this turning point that prompted Suleiman Frangieh to resign from the Front.[3]

In 1982, the Lebanese Front promoted Bachir Gemayel for the presidency. He was elected as president by the Lebanese parliament by 58 out of 62 votes from both Christians and Muslims, only to be assassinated three weeks later.

During the second half of the 1980s, most of the prominent leaders of the Lebanese Front died (Pierre Gemayel in 1984, both Chamoun and Charles Malik in 1987) and were replaced by other leaders like George Saadeh, Amin Gemayel and Karim Pakradouni. The Lebanese Front then lived for a short period only. Dany Chamoun, son of deceased Camille Chamoun, formed a new Lebanese Front, but a week after the end of the Lebanese Civil war in October 1990, Dany was assassinated and the Lebanese Front came to an end.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Itamar Rabinovich (1985). The War for Lebanon, 1970-1985. Cornell University Press. p. 60. ISBN 978-0-8014-9313-3. Retrieved 22 October 2012.
  2. ^ Edgar O'Ballance (15 December 1998). Civil War in Lebanon, 1975-92. Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 7–. ISBN 978-0-312-21593-4. Retrieved 21 October 2012.
  3. ^ a b Pace, Eric (24 July 1992). "Suleiman Franjieh, Lebanese Ex-Chief, Dies at 82". The New York Times. Retrieved 4 July 2012.

Other sources[edit]

  • Edgar O'Ballance, Civil War in Lebanon, 1975-92, Palgrave Macmillan, London 1998. ISBN 0-333-72975-7
  • Rex Brynen, Sanctuary and Survival: the PLO in Lebanon, Boulder: Westview Press, 1990.