Academic journal article Arab Studies Quarterly (ASQ)

Khalaf, Samir. Civil and Uncivil Violence in Lebanon: A History of the Internationalization of Communal Conflict

Academic journal article Arab Studies Quarterly (ASQ)

Khalaf, Samir. Civil and Uncivil Violence in Lebanon: A History of the Internationalization of Communal Conflict

Article excerpt

Khalaf, Samir. Civil and Uncivil Violence in Lebanon: A History of the Internationalization of Communal Conflict. New York, NY: Columbia University Press, 2002. Hardcover $32.50.

This is a comparative work about the various episodes of communal violence in Lebanon from 1820 to the 1975-1992 civil war. Khalaf discusses the relationship between internal and external factors that led to conflict. He posits that Lebanon's inherent deficiencies, such as its "fragile confessional democracy," civility and such, made it "vulnerable to inter-Arab and superpower rivalries" (p. 1). The book is well researched and critical of much of the earlier literature about Lebanon. Khalaf argues that such writings either depict Lebanon as bent on "'self-destruction,' 'self-dismantling' ... [while other writers] dismiss Lebanon as a myth ... artificial entity, created from the outset on shaky and flimsy foundations and therefore doomed to self-destruction" (p. 152). He is of the opinion that such writings suffer because of their misunderstanding of the relationship between the internal and external factors that led to violence. He sides in a significant way with another set of writers who view the period from 1943-1975 "as a rather fortunate interlude, a testimony to the resourcefulness and ingenuity of its people" (p. 152). …

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