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.
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.
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.
Since the end of the Cold War, academic debate over the nature of war in the contemporary world has focused upon the asymmetric nature of conflict among a raft of failed or failing states, often held together by only a fragile notion of a shared communal destiny. Little scholarly attention has been paid, however, to one such conflict that predates the ending of the Cold War, yet still appears as intractable as ever: Israel’s hostile relationship with Lebanon and in particular, its standoff with the Lebanese Shi’a militia group, Hizbollah. As events surrounding the ‘Second Lebanon War’ in the summer of 2006 demonstrate, the clear potential for further cross border violence as well as the potential for a wider regional conflagration that embraces Damascus and Tehran remains as acute as ever.
This book focuses on the historical background of the conflict, while also considering the role that other external actors, most notably Syria, Iran and the United Nations, play in influencing the conduct and outcomes of the Israeli-Lebanese conflict. In addition, it also looks at Hizbollah’s increasing sway in Lebanese domestic politics, its increased military cooperation with Iran and Syria, and the implications of such developments.
This book will be of much interest to students of Middle Eastern politics, War and Conflict Studies, International Security and International Relations in general.
Clive Jones is Professor of Middle East Studies and International Politics in the School of Politics and International Studies (POLIS), University of Leeds, UK. His books include Soviet Jewish Aliyah 1989-92 (1996), Israel: Challenges to Democracy, Identity and the State (with Emma Murphy, 2002), and co-editor The al-Aqsa Intifada: Between Terrorism and Civil War (2005).
Sergio Catignani is Lecturer in Security and Strategic Studies and MA Programme Director for the MA in Security and Strategic Studies at the Department of Politics, University of Sussex. He is the author of Israeli Counter-Insurgency and the Intifadas: Dilemmas of a Conventional Army (2008).
Michael Young, who was taken to Lebanon at age seven by his Lebanese mother after the death of his American father and who has worked most of his career as a journalist there for American publications, brings to life a country in the crossfire of invasions, war, domestic division, incessant sectarian scheming, and often living in fear of its neighbors. Young knows or has known many of the players, politicians, writers, and religious leaders.
A country riven by domestic tensions that have often resulted in assassinations, under the considerable sway of Hezbollah (in alliance with Iran and Syria), frequently set upon by Israel and Syria, nearly destroyed by civil war, Lebanon remains an exception among Arab countries because it is a place where liberal instincts and tolerance struggle to stay alive.
An important and enduring symbol, Lebanon was once the outstanding example of an (almost) democratic society in an inhospitable, dangerous region—a laboratory both for modernity and violence, as a Lebanese intellectual who was later assassinated once put it.
Young relates the growing tension between a domineering Syria and a Lebanese opposition in which charismatic leader and politician Rafiq al-Hariri was assassinated and the Independence Intifada—the Cedar Revolution—broke out. His searing account of his country’s confrontation with its domestic and regional demons is one of hope found and possibly lost.
In this stunning narrative, Young tells us what might have been his country’s history, and what it may yet be.
Some images inside the book are unavailable due to digital copyright restrictions.