Marada Movement

Marada Movement
Marada Movement
تيار المردة
Leader Suleiman Frangieh, Jr.
Founder Suleiman Frangieh
Tony Frangieh
Founded 1967
Headquarters Lebanon Zgharta, Lebanon
Ideology Feudalism
Social conservatism
Political position Right-wing
Religion Christian, predominantly Maronites
Parliament of Lebanon
3 / 128
Cabinet of Lebanon
2 / 30
Official Site
Politics of Lebanon
Political parties

The Marada Movement (Arabic: تيار المردة‎ | Tayyar Al-Marada) is a Lebanese political party and a former militia active during the Lebanese civil war, named after the legendary Syriac Marada or Mardaites warriors of the early Middle Ages. Designated the Marada Brigade (Arabic: Katibatun al-Marada), they were the personal militia of Suleiman Franjieh, president of Lebanon at the outbreak of the war, otherwise known as the Zgharta Liberation Army – ZLA (Arabic: Zgharta Jayish al-Tahrir) or Armée de Liberation de Zgharta (ALZ) in French, after Franjieh's home town of Zgharta in northern Lebanon.



El Marada: The modernity of heritage The evolving legacy Clarity of purpose Firm attitude Pride, glory, potency, depth

Flag Explanation

The Sword: Symbol of justice

Lighting: Creativity and sharpness

Red Color: Symbol of Sacrifice

Green Color: Cedar of Lebanon

Blue Color: Blue Horizon [1]

Old Marada Brigade/ZLA logo

Logo Explanation

Pi: Unity of purpose, Depth in justice, Core values, Perseverance through adversity, Resilient stands,

Circle: Unshakable loyalty, Evolving dynamism, Genuine relations, Eternity of being,

Compass: Right direction, Clear decision, Safety value, Genuine legacy

Green Color: Eternity of life, Versatility of nature, Promise of prosperity, Power of giving, Color of safety, Bounty flow.[2]

Marada in Lebanese History

During the Lebanese civil war, Zgharta being the frontline and Christian stronghold of the north, it was the frontline in the war for northern Lebanon as the Zgharta-based Marada Brigade militia successfully repulsed and responded with attacks on Muslim LNM and PLO militias from neighboring Tripoli.

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

They were initially allied with the Kataeb but in 1978 the year when Suleiman Franjieh's son Tony Frangieh was murdered, Franjieh became firmly pro-Syrian and stopped attending meetings with the Lebanese Front. After the killing of a Kataeb member in the district of Zgharta Zawie, the latest being Jude Al-Bayeh, the Kataeb party decided to react (it must be mentioned though that the killing of Jude El-Bayeh was a reaction to the previous murder of the Marada forces' junior commander Jamal Frangieh). On 13 June 1978, at 4am while everyone was sleeping, the Kataeb, launched a surprise attack on Tony's summer mansion in Ehden. About 28 guards were killed. About 10 Kataeb members were killed in the attack. The Marada's top commander, Suleiman Franjieh's son Tony, his wife Vera and their 3-year-old daughter, were also murdered. Kataeb member at the time Samir Geagea was the leader of one of the attacking groups. Samir Geagea denies that he took part in the murder since he was injured in his right hand before getting to the castle and was taken to the hospital. Elie Hobeika has always denied taking part in the killing although this also was never proven. Bashir Gemayel denied being responsible for the killing.

There are many current political identities who admitted to the fact that Bashir Germayel was the one who ordered the attack on their allies[citation needed].

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

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

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

Military structure and organisation

The Marada's ZLA military wing was formed in 1967 and at the outbreak of the war in April 1975, they numbered just 700 men armed with obsolete firearms acquired in the black market.

By January 1976 the Frangieh-controlled militia ranks had swollen to 2,400 troops, a total comprising 800 full-time fighters and 1,500 irregulars. At its height in the late 1970s, the Al-Marada mustered some 3,500 men and women [1] equipped with small-arms drawn from LAF reserves and ISF police stations or supplied by Syria, backed by a small armoured corps made of ex-Lebanese Army M113 APCs and gun-trucks, the latter being commandeered Land-Rover, GMC and Toyota Land Cruiser pickups fitted with heavy machine guns, recoilless rifles and anti-aircraft autocannons.

Structured along semi-conventional lines into mechanized infantry, ‘commando’, signals, medical and military police branches, the ZLA had its military HQ established at the small town of Ehden near Zgharta, home of the Frangieh family’s summer residence. While its membership and command structure was predominantly Maronite, they did included a few Greek-Catholics and Greek-Orthodox into their ranks. They initially allied themselves with the other Christian rightist parties in the Lebanese Front, operating mainly in the northern Lebanon but also fought in East Beirut. After Tony Frangieh was killed in the Ehden massacre perpetrated by the Lebanese Forces (LF) in June 1978,[4][5][6] he was replaced in the militia's command by his younger brother Robert Frangieh, later succeeded by its nephew Suleiman Frangieh, Jr. in 1982.

Pushed to the sidelines for the rest of the war, the ZLA was able to remain active thanks to Syrian support and although its numbers dwindled to 1,600 fighters by the mid-1980s, the Al-Marada managed to hold on to the Frangieh clan fief in the Koura District, the so-called ‘Northern Canton’. It was also alleged that they received the tacit backing from a contingent of unspecified number from the 1,700 men-strong Lebanese Army’s Seventh Brigade stationed at Jbeil, being regarded as loyal to former president Suleiman Frangieh.

The Al-Marada even had a small ‘naval’ branch equipped with some ‘Zodiac’ rubber inflatable boats and converted fishing craft armed with heavy machine guns and anti-aircraft autocannons, being used as a shock force for both military and barratry operations.

List of Marada leaders

  • Tony Frangieh (1967–1978)
  • Robert Frangieh (1978–1982)
  • Suleiman Frangieh, Jr. (1982–1990)

Administrative organisation

The ‘Northern Canton’, which comprised the northern Lebanon districts of Tripoli, Zgharta, Ehden, Bsharri, Batroun, and the illegal ports of Chekka – Lebanon’s industrial hub at the time – and Silatah, was run by the Marada’s own civil administration of 80 public servants. The later were also entrusted of running the militia's own television and radio service, "The Voice of the Marada" (Arabic: Iza’at Sawt al-Marada) or "La Voix des Maradah" in French.

See also

  • Army of Free Lebanon
  • Ehden massacre
  • Lebanese National Salvation Front


  1. ^ El Marada Logo.
  2. ^ El Marada Logo.
  3. ^ O'Ballance, Civil War in Lebanon (1998), pp. 46-47.
  4. ^ Katz, Russel, and Volstad, Armies in Lebanon (1985), p. 8.
  5. ^ Gordon, The Gemayels (1988), p. 55.
  6. ^ O'Ballance, Civil War in Lebanon (1998), p. 79.


  • 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 978-2213615219 (in French)
  • Edgar O'Ballance, Civil War in Lebanon, 1975-92, Palgrave Macmillan, 1998 ISBN 978-0333729757
  • Fawwaz Traboulsi, Identités et solidarités croisées dans les conflits du Liban contemporain; Chapitre 12: L'économie politique des milices: le phénomène mafieux, Thèse de Doctorat d'Histoire – 1993, Université de Paris VIII, 2007 (in French)
  • Moustafa El-Assad, Civil Wars Volume 1: The Gun Trucks, Blue Steel books, Sidon 2008. ISBN 9953-0-1256-8
  • 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 0192801309
  • Samer Kassis, 30 Years of Military Vehicles in Lebanon, Beirut: Elite Group, 2003.
  • 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 978-1555468349

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