Lebanon: After the Cedar Revolution by Are Knudsen and Michael Kerr
Lebanon is the prisoner of its geography and its history. It has been a prize for invaders since ancient times and is presently a small multi-denominational state still recovering from a bloody civil war in its search for political autonomy and stability. Lebanon examines the country's recent past since 2005 -- when a mass movement agitated against Syrian dominance in the wake of the assassination of Rafik Hariri, the then President of the country -- and also details the roles of Hezbollah and other political groups.
Sectarian tensions have escalated, predominantly between the Sunni and Shia communities, causing outbursts of street violence and a paralysis in government. This two-bloc system has left Lebanon ungovernable, not simply due to deep-seated political differences, but also because of their external linkages to foreign patrons, namely the USA and Iran. As the Arab Spring develops, it also increases Hezbollah's significance to Iran as the embattled Assad regime struggles to quash the Syrian insurgency.
The authors examine the changes that recent events have brought to Lebanon, whether lasting or ephemeral, and the challenges they represent for a state, which despite the resilience of its power-sharing system of government remains hotly contested and unconsolidated.