Lebanon: Liberation, Conflict, and Crisis by Barry Rubin (eds.)

By Barry Rubin (eds.)

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Those two important features, the geographical and demographic, mark Lebanese history and have somehow distinguished this nation from its surroundings. The many events to unfold in the region have a special and different resonance in Lebanese society, precisely because of that country’s special and particular features. H ISTORIC A L B ACKGROUND The Lebanese state in its present form was not recognized as independent and sovereign until 1920, when France declared the formation of Grand WH AT M A K ES L EBA NON A DIST I NC T I V E C OU N T RY ?

What is underlying these features? How is the country distinctive in the region? S OCI A L C OMPOSITION One of the features that distinguishes Lebanon in the region is its social composition, a spectrum of different religious minorities. It thus gained the reputation of being a safe haven for them. As early as the tenth century, a new historical era for Lebanon began as Maronite monks migrated to the northern Lebanese highlands, Druze reached and controlled the Shuf district southeast of Beirut, and Shi’a populated south Lebanon and the Biqa Valley.

183. 8. Hitti, Lebanon in History, p. 376. 9. Salibi, The Modern History of Lebanon, p. 121. 10. , p. 122. 11. , pp. 122–124. 12. , p. xxi. 13. Ibid. 14. Leila Fawaz Tarazi, An Occasion for War (London: Centre for Lebanese Studies, 1994), p. 15. 15. Will Harris, “Pluralistic Politics,” unpublished paper, 2007. 16. Asher Kauffman, Phoenicianism (London: I. B. Tauris, 2004), p. 197. 17. Ibid. 18. Kais Ferro, Inventing Lebanon (London: I. B. Tauris, 2003), p. 31. 19. , p. 33. 3 L E B A N O N ’S M I L I T I A W A R S Tony Badran Lebanon’s civil war has been one of the most complex, multifaceted wars of modern times due to its hybrid nature, multiple participants (both state and non-state actors), and its impact on regional, and even global balances of power.

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