Lebanese Front

Lebanese Front

The Lebanese Front ( _ar. الجبهة اللبنانية) was a right-wing coalition of mainly Christian parties formed in 1976, during the Lebanese Civil War. It was intended to act as a counter force to the Lebanese National Movement (LNM) of Kamal Jumblatt and others.

Its main participants were the Kataeb Party (Phalange) of Pierre Gemayel, Suleiman Franjieh and his Marada Brigade, the National Liberal Party (NLP) of Camille Chamoun and it's Tigers Militia, the Guardians of the Cedars of Etienne Saqr, and the Al-Tanzim of Obad Zouein. The founders of the coalition worked fine together for many years until the events of 1978. The alliance was destroyed after Israel interfered and Bashir Gemayel came into the scene of Lebanese politics and his actions to unify the militias by force.

At the beginning of the war, the then not yet formally established Front totaled roughly 18,000 militiamen, but this number changed as many elements were non full-time militiamen.

Suleiman Franjieh's Marada ended its connection with the Lebanese Front in 1978, the year his son Tony Frangieh and his family were killed. Bashir Gemayel and the Lebanese Forces unsuccessfully tried to take over the Marada by force. The Lebanese Forces violently took over their allies' militia component, the Tigers Militia in July 1980. Dany Chamoun who led the Tigers ended his connection with the Lebanese Front after the collapse of his militia, although his father Camille Chamoun adopted a conciliatory position. There were times where Bashir Gemayel would exercise his powers over his brother Amin and his men.

The Lebanese Front was a loose political coalition and the strongest force in Lebanon back in its time. The members of this coalition broke off as Bashir Gemayel tried to absorb all members under his wing which lead to bloody attacks on his allies. Many believe this caused the breakup of the United Christian Lebanese Front as Bashir Gemayel also had fall outs with the prominent Christian families which led to violence. The members of this coalition created a strong political alliance before the breakup.

The Lebanese Forces developed since August 1976 as the military wing of the Front, under the command of Bashir Gemayel. Later in 1986 Samir Geagea became leader after years of infighting treachery. Then Geagea fought off Syrian supported LF faction of Elie Hobeika for years with the goal of taking over the wholy LF. In 1990 army commander and acting prime minister General Michel Aoun started war with the LF (so called Elimination War). Samir Geagea was found guilty of assassinating his former ally Dany Chamoun and his family who was also a supporter of Michel Aoun in a Syrian dominated court which was widely regarded as unfair. The relatives of Chamoun believe that Chamoun was assassinated by Syria. Geagea was also charged with other war crimes by the Syrian-dominated court. The Lebanese Forces is presently a political party in the Lebanese Parliament and it holds 5 seats (they control 4.0% in parliament) of the 128 seats available in the Lebanese Parliament.

In the last few years there have been continual attempts to rebuild the coalition that existed before the incidents of 1978.

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