Lebanese Front

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Lebanese Front
الجبهة اللبنانية
Participant in Lebanese Civil War (1975–1986)
Active Until 1986
Groups Kataeb Party
National Liberal Party
Marada Movement
Guardians of the Cedars
Al-Tanzim
Other minor Christian organizations
Leaders Pierre Gemayel
Camille Chamoun
Suleiman Franjieh
Headquarters Beirut
Strength 20,000-25,000
Allies Israeli Defense Forces (IDF)
South Lebanon Army
Opponents Lebanese National Movement (LNF)
Lebanese National Resistance Front (LNRF)
Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO)
Lebanese Communist Party (LCP)
Progressive Socialist Party (PSP)
Syrian Social National Party (SSNP)
Syrian Armed Forces1976–1990

The Lebanese Front (Arabic: الجبهة اللبنانية‎| al-Jabha al-Lubnaniyya) or Front libanais in French, was a coalition of mainly Christian parties formed in 1976 during the Lebanese Civil War.[1] It was intended to act as a counter force to the Lebanese National Movement (LNM) of Kamal Jumblatt and others.

The Lebanese Front was presided by the charismatic 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 Franjieh, who had just finished his presidential years in office.[1] It also included first class intellectuals, such as distinguished professor of philosophy and 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 Kataeb Party, and Suleiman Franjieh's Marada Brigade. The total number of men summed to around 18,000, which is a relatively large number given that the total population in Lebanon was close to three million.

However, the relations among the participants became tensed mainly due to Frangieh's pro-Syrian approach.[2] In addition, in 1978, Suleiman Franjieh'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 made Suleiman Franjieh resign from the Front.[3]

In 1982, the Lebanese Front promoted Bashir Gemayel for the presidency. He was elected as president as soon as the Israeli forces invaded Lebanon, 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 leaders of much less influence: George Saadeh and Karim Pakradouni. The Lebanese Front then lived for a short period only, and its new leaders shifted towards Syria. Dany Chamoun, son of deceased Camille Chamoun, formed a new Lebanese Front that was not pro-Syrian, 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.

Notes[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. 

See also[edit]

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.