Recognizing that these two groups are increasingly relevant to U.S. national security, Gleis and Berti provide a comparative analysis of their histories and political missions that moves beyond reductionist portrayals of the organizations' military operations.-- William Martel, The Fletcher School, Tufts University
Recent events have put the spotlight on Syria's policies and actions. After the assassination of a Lebanese politician, protests in Lebanon led to the withdrawal of Syrian troops. While the withdrawal averted an immediate threat of bloodshed, the Bush administration accused Syria of being a source of instability in the Middle East, with Secretary of State Rice charging that Syria was still active in Lebanon and was supporting foreign terrorists fueling the insurgency in Iraq. The U.S.-Syrian relationship is of critical importance to the United States' efforts to promote democracy throughout the Middle East. At the same time, the United States has been pressuring Syria to clamp down on terrorism within its own borders. Rabil provides a history of the modern U.S.-Syrian relationship, putting the latest events in the context of this contemporary history, and placing the relationship in the context of Middle Eastern politics.
Chapters place Hezbollah within the Middle East security environment, analyzing the rise of the Party of God within the context of Iranian-inspired Shi'a activism, examining the ideological underpinnings of the movement, and addressing its dominant political position post Arab Spring. This authoritative volume introduces the party's full range of activities, including resistance, propaganda, organized crime, and educational facilities. The content highlights Hezbollah's role as a social welfare provider—specifically, the types of aid given, the source of financing for the endeavor, and the challenge this role presents to the Lebanese state.
In Global Security Watch—Lebanon, author David Sorenson explores Lebanon's arcane—almost dysfunctional—political structure and economic system, as well as the complex religious makeup of a country that is home to Christians, Jews, and Arabs with no majority faith. Sorenson also looks at how the nation has often served as a focal point of diplomatic and military conflict for other nations, including Syria, Iran, and Israel, as well as how ill-informed American policies toward Lebanon have ultimately harmed American strategic interests in the Middle East.
He sets up camp in a tent city built in downtown Beirut by anti-Syrian dissidents, is bullied and menaced by Hezbollah’s supposedly friendly “media relations” department, crouches under fire on the Lebanese-Israeli border during the six-week war in 2006, witnesses an Israeli ground invasion from behind a line of Merkava tanks, sneaks into Hezbollah’s postwar rubblescape without authorization, and is attacked in Beirut by militiamen who enforce obedience to the “resistance” at the point of a gun.
From the Cedar Revolution that ousted the occupying Syrian military regime in 2005 to the devastating war between Israel and Hezbollah in 2006 to Hezbollah’s slow-motion but violent assault on Lebanon’s elected government and capital, Totten’s account is both personal and comprehensive. He simplifies the bewildering complexity of the Middle East; gains access to major regional players as well as to the man on the street; and personally witnesses most of the events he describes. The Road to Fatima Gate should be indispensable reading for anyone interested in the Middle East, Iran’s expansionist foreign policy, the Arab-Israeli conflict, asymmetric warfare, and terrorism in the aftermath of September 11.
Systematically exploring Lebanon’s history, society and politics, the author stresses the importance of the crucial role of external actors in the Lebanese system. The analysis encompasses:
the formation of the state weaknesses and dynamics of the Lebanese state the civil war post-war government and change the Lebanese economy foreign policy.
Written in a clear and accessible manner, this book fills a conspicuous gap in the existing academic literature on Lebanon. It will be of interest not only to students of international politics and Middle East studies, but also to anyone travelling in or wanting to learn more about the region.
Some images inside the book are unavailable due to digital copyright restrictions.