Magazine article Foreign Affairs

Recent Books: Middle East: The Sunni Tragedy in the Middle East: Northern Lebanon from Al-Qaeda to ISIS

Magazine article Foreign Affairs

Recent Books: Middle East: The Sunni Tragedy in the Middle East: Northern Lebanon from Al-Qaeda to ISIS

Article excerpt

Middle East John Waterbury The Sunni Tragedy in the Middle East: Northern Lebanon From al-Qaeda to ISIS BY BERNARD ROUGIER. Princeton University Press, 2015, 288 pp.

Rougier masterfully guides readers deep into the complex terrain of northern Lebanese politics. It is a wondrous, if difficult, voyage. He argues that the convoluted politics of the Sunnidominated northern part of the country and its capital city, Tripoli, serve as a paradigm for the plight of Sunnis throughout the Levant. In 1982, during the Lebanese civil war, Syria asserted control over the region, but it withdrew its forces in 2005 after the assassination of Lebanon's Sunni prime minister, Rafiq Hariri. Soon thereafter, Hariri's son Saad tried to assert what Rougier calls "institutional" Sunni control over the north but was humiliated when the Shiite militant group Hezbollah took over several neighborhoods in West Beirut in 2008. …

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