Civil and Uncivil Violence in Lebanon: A History of the Internationalization of Communal Conflict

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Columbia University Press, 2002 - History - 368 pages
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In this long-awaited work, Samir Khalaf analyzes the history of civil strife and political violence in Lebanon and reveals the inherent contradictions that have plagued that country and made it so vulnerable to both inter-Arab and superpower rivalries. How did a

fairly peaceful and resourceful society, with an impressive history of viable

pluralism, coexistence, and republicanism, become the site of so much

barbarism and incivility? Khalaf argues that historically internal grievances have been magnified or deflected to become the source of international conflict. From the beginning, he shows, foreign interventions have consistently exacerbated internal problems.

Lebanon's fragmented political culture is a byproduct of two general features. First, it reflects the traditional forces and political conflicts caused by striking differences in religious beliefs and communal and sectarian loyalties that continue to split the society and reinforce its factional character. Second, and superimposed on these, are new forms of socioeconomic and cultural stress caused by Lebanon's role in the continuing international conflicts in the region.

Khalaf concludes that Lebanon is now at a crossroads in its process of political and social transformation, and proposes some strategies to re-create a vibrant civil and political culture that can accommodate profound transformations in the internal, domestic sphere as well as mediate developments taking place internationally. Throughout, Khalaf demonstrates how the internal and external currents must be considered simultaneously in order to understand the complex and tragic history of the country. This deeply considered and subtle analysis of the interplay of complex historical forces helps us to imagine a viable future not only for Lebanon but also for the Middle East as a whole.

  

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Contents

III
1
IV
23
V
38
VI
62
VII
103
VIII
104
IX
151
X
204
XI
273
XII
304
XIII
329
XIV
335
XV
353
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About the author (2002)

Erwin Fleissner is professor emeritus of biology and former dean of sciences and mathematics (1987-1998) at Hunter College, City University of New York. Before Hunter, he was a member of the Sloan-Kettering Institute for Cancer Research where he discovered the protein composition of retroviruses and researched the roles of cell-derived genes in cancers caused by such viruses in animals.

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