Marada Movement

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Marada Movement
تيار المردة
President Suleiman Frangieh, Jr.
Founder Suleiman Frangieh
Founded 1967 (1967) (as militia)
1991 (1991) (as party)
Headquarters Lebanon Zgharta, Lebanon
Ideology Lebanese nationalism
Christian democracy
Political position Centre-left
National affiliation March 8 Alliance
Colors           Blue[1] and green[2]
Parliament of Lebanon
3 / 128
Cabinet of Lebanon
1 / 30

The Marada Movement (Arabic: تيار المردة‎‎ Tayyār Al-Marada) is a Lebanese political party and a former militia active during the Lebanese civil war named after the legendary Marada (also called Mardaites) warriors of the early Middle Ages that fought on the external edge of the Byzantine Empire. Originally designated the Marada Brigade (لواء المردة Liwa al-Marada), the group initially emerged as the personal militia of Suleiman Frangieh, president of Lebanon at the outbreak of the war in 1975. They were also initially known as the Zgharta Liberation Army – ZLA (Arabic: Zgharta Jayish al-Tahrir) or Armée de Liberation de Zgharta (ALZ) in French, after Frangieh's hometown of Zgharta in northern Lebanon.

Marada in Lebanese History[edit]

The Marada were a group of independent communities in Lebanon and the surrounding highlands after the conquest of Syria by the Arab Caliph in 630 CE While some historians argue that the Marada "States" were that of a Maronite Aramaic -speaking Christian warrior elite, other historians tend to their downplay importance, and describe a more complex scenario. The Maronites and thus the Marada were given relative autonomy in the Umayyad Caliphate. The Marada were known by some as a fierce warrior group, and according to some, the name was synonymous with the Arabic word for insane or sick.

During the Lebanese civil war was called one of the Maronite militias " Marada Movement ". During the Lebanese civil war, Zgharta was the frontline and Christian stronghold of the north in northern Lebanon. The Zgharta-based Marada Brigade militia successfully repulsed and responded with attacks on armed militias from Tripoli, Danniyeh and Koura districts, and from PLO militias from the neighboring Palestinian refugee camps of Beddawi and Nahr al-Bared.

In March 1976, the Marada Brigade supported the hard-pressed Lebanese Army Republican Guard Battalion in defending the Presidential Palace in Baabda from a two-pronged combined LNM-LAA assault, though prior to the attack the Lebanese President had decamped to the safety of Jounieh.[3]

The Marada were initially allied with the Kataeb until 1978, the year when Suleiman Frangieh refused the Lebanese Front's plan to declare a Christian canton, a Christian enclave separated from the rest of the country. A new alliance was formed between Suleiman Frangieh and Prime Minister Rachid Karami to counter the Lebanese Front's plan that called for separate enclaves/cantons of Christians, Druze and Muslims. Frangieh became firmly set against the onset of a Lebanese federal state that would make an alliance with Israel, promoted instead an Arab pro-Syrian alliance and stopped attending meetings with the Lebanese Front.

To the Lebanese Front, Frangieh's decision represented a traitorous act against uniting Christians in Lebanon. They retaliated by mounting an attack on Ehden and the Christian villages around it. The area is a stronghold of the Maronite and Orthodox Christians of North Lebanon and the summer residence of Suleiman Frangieh. The Lebanese Forces led by Bashir Gemayel and Samir Geagea under a pretext of revenge to the killing of a Kataeb member in the district of Zgharta Zawie Joud Al-Bayeh, launched a murderous attack to quell the Frangiehs' influence. On 13 June 1978, at 4 a.m. a joint force of the Lebanese Forces and Kataeb launched an attack on Tony Frangieh's summer residence in Ehden and the surrounding villages, killing the Marada's top commander, Suleiman Frangieh's son Tony, a member of Parliament and Minister of Communications, his wife Vera, their 3-year-old daughter and about 28 men, women and children. About 11 Lebanese Forces militia men and Kataeb were killed in the attack. Tony Frangieh's son, Suleiman Frangieh, Jr., escaped the massacre as he was not with his family in Ehden at that time.[citation needed].

The incident is known as the Ehden massacre.[4] Kataeb member at the time Samir Geagea, who allegedly headed the Phalangist force responsible for the Ehden massacre, admitted that he was among the "military squad" that was in charge of the Ehden "operation", but he denied taking part in the massacre, claiming that he was shot in his right hand before getting to the area and was taken to a hospital. Elie Hobeika has always denied taking part in the killing.

Many current political figures denied the fact that Bachir Germayel was the one who ordered the attack.[citation needed].

After Tony's assassination, his brother Robert took control of the Marada. Nowadays Suleiman Frangieh, Jr., Tony's son, is in charge of the Marada. He is a close personal friend of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad[citation needed]. He was serving as Interior Minister, in the Lebanese government, when Rafiq al-Hariri was assassinated on 14 February 2005.

After the 2005 legislative elections, the Marada became a member of the opposition alliance (pro-Syrian) together with Hezbollah.

In June 2006, the Marada Movement was officially launched as a political party during a ceremony attended by supporters and representatives from Hezbollah, Amal Movement, the Free Patriotic Movement, and some pro-Syrian political figures.

List of Marada leaders[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ El Marada Logo.
  2. ^ El Marada Logo.
  3. ^ O'Ballance, Civil War in Lebanon (1998), pp. 46-47.
  4. ^ "The Ehden Massacre: This is how the MOSSAD chose Samir Geagea". MARADA. May 14, 2009. Retrieved 15 June 2012. 


  • Claire Hoy and Victor Ostrovsky, By Way of Deception: The Making and Unmaking of a Mossad Officer, St. Martin's Press, New York 1990. ISBN 0-9717595-0-2
  • Denise Ammoun, Histoire du Liban contemporain: Tome 2 1943-1990, Fayard, Paris 2005. ISBN 978-2-213-61521-9 (in French)
  • 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.
  • Robert Fisk, Pity the Nation: Lebanon at War, London: Oxford University Press, (3rd ed. 2001). ISBN 0-19-280130-9
  • Matthew S. Gordon, The Gemayels (World Leaders Past & Present), Chelsea House Publishers, 1988. ISBN 1-55546-834-9

External links[edit]