1 September 1941|
Zgharta, Greater Lebanon, French Mandate for Syria and the Lebanon, French colonial empire
|Died||13 June 1978
|Political party||Marada Brigade|
Antoine Frangieh (1 September 1941 – 13 June 1978), better known by his diminutive, Tony Frangieh, طوني فرنجية ) was a Lebanese politician and militia leader during the early years of the Lebanese Civil War.
Education and early political career
Frangieh began his career dealing with his family business. On 25 October 1970, he succeeded his father, Suleiman Frangieh, as a member of the Lebanese Parliament for Zgharta, following his father's election to the Presidency. He was also appointed the Minister of Posts and Telecommunications in his father's government.
At the end of the 1960s, when factions within Lebanon started to form militias, the Frangieh clan formed the Marada Brigade, also known as the Zghorta Liberation Army, under the command of Tony Frangieh. The Marada mainly operated out of Tripoli and northern Lebanon, the base of the Frangieh family.
The Lebanese Civil War witnessed many shifting alliances where the allies of today became the enemies of tomorrow. One such falling out occurred between two of the leading Maronite clans, the Frangiehs and the Gemayels. The Frangiehs, who were close to Syria, were critical of Phalangist Kataeb Regulatory Forces' militia leader Bachir Gemayel's growing alliance with Israel. Militiamen from the Phalange RF and Marada also clashed over protection rackets.
This conflict led to the murder of Tony Frangieh, his wife, Vera (née el Kordahi), and his three-year-old daughter Jihane by Phalangist militiamen, known as the Ehden massacre. His son, Suleiman II, was in Beirut during the murder.
Under cover of darkness on 13 June 1978, a combined force of 1,200 Phalangists led by Elie Hobeika and Samir Geagea, attacked and killed Tony Frangieh and his immediate family, thereby eliminating one of the protagonists vying for political power in the Christian Lebanese community.
Suleiman Frangieh never vowed revenge. As he stated in a documentary on a Lebanese political channel called 'OTV', "That was the past and it must be forgotten, I do not seek revenge because God is the only judge, thus their conscience will haunt them for the rest of their lives."
Many commentators consider the murder of Tony Frangieh to be one of the factors in the longevity of the Lebanese Civil War and as the starting point of a deep divide between Lebanese Christians. Some 20,000 mourners attended his funeral, including then Lebanese Prime Minister Salim Hoss on 14 June 1978.
Frangieh had two children, Suleiman Frangieh, Jr. and Jihane, with Vera Frangieh, whom he married in 1962. His son Suleiman first became the Minister of Public Health at the age of 22, and he served as the Ministry of Interior from 2004 to 2005. He is known to have served with the Marada Brigade in the 1980s.
- Itamar Rabinovich (1985). The War for Lebanon, 1970-1985. Cornell University Press. pp. 8–. ISBN 978-0-8014-9313-3. Retrieved 22 October 2012.
- "Antoine (Tony) Frangieh". PWIP Database. Retrieved 15 June 2012.
- P. Edward Haley; Lewis W. Snider; M. Graeme Bannerman (1979). Lebanon in Crisis: Participants and Issues. Syracuse University Press. p. 4. ISBN 978-0-8156-2210-9. Retrieved 23 October 2012.
- Hoy and Ostrovsky, By Way of Deception (1990), p. 302.
- Katz, Russel, and Volstad, Armies in Lebanon (1985), p. 8.
- O'Ballance, Civil War in Lebanon (1998), p. 79.
- William Darymple, From the Holy Mountain, Harper Press, ISBN 978-0-00-654774-7, p. 253
- "Lebanon's ex-leader vows retribution for slain son". The Palm Beach Post. Zagharta. AP. 15 June 1978. Retrieved 6 November 2012.
- O'Ballance, Edgar (1998). Civil War in Lebanon, 1975-92. Palgrave.
- Denise Ammoun, Histoire du Liban contemporain: Tome 2 1943-1990, Fayard, Paris 2005. ISBN 978-2-213-61521-9 (in French)
- Robert Fisk, Pity the Nation: Lebanon at War, London: Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-280130-9 (3rd ed. 2001).
- Samuel M. Katz, Lee E. Russel, and Ron Volstad, Armies in Lebanon 1982-84, Men-at-Arms series 165, Osprey Publishing, London 1985. ISBN 0-85045-602-9
- Matthew S. Gordon, The Gemayels (World Leaders Past & Present), Chelsea House Publishers, 1988. ISBN 1-55546-834-9