Global Security Watch--Lebanon: A Reference Handbook

By David S. Sorenson | Go to book overview

Preface

Lebanon is one of those countries that too often make headlines, mostly for tragic reasons. In 2006, television news viewers throughout the world watched as Israeli bombs obliterated apartment buildings in Beirut and elsewhere, and as Hezbollah and Israeli forces traded explosives across the border that divides Lebanon from Israel. The screams of ambulance sirens punctuated the scenes, as aid workers laid victims, usually civilians, onto stretchers and rushed them away in ambulances. The casualties in Lebanon’s wars, either inside or adjacent to its borders, usually are civilians, partly because many of Lebanon’s wars are fought in cities such as Beirut. The images of 2006 recalled earlier portraits of Lebanese violence, as rival militias systematically turned much of Beirut to rubble during Lebanon’s civil war in the 1970s and 1980s, or of U.S. Marines digging out their compatriots from the rubble of their barracks near the Beirut airport, attacked by a suicide bomber in 1983.

It is one of Lebanon’s tragedies that it is remembered this way. Lebanon is also a land of white beaches, lofty mountain peaks, and a modern capital that was once regarded as the “Paris of the Orient” by European visitors. Lebanon is also heir to an extraordinary past, whose ancient cities of Baalbek, Sidon, Tyre, Byblos, and others remain as magnets for tourists and historians alike. Lebanon once had a vibrant economy, with a banking infrastructure that moved funds throughout the Middle East and an agricultural sector that supplied everything from apples to silk. It managed to avoid the attraction of Arab nationalism and Arab socialism, which offered so much in the early 1950s and ultimately delivered so little, finally to die in the wake of lost wars and inept political systems too frequently marred by cronyism and corruption. Lebanon certainly had its share of corruption and mismanagement, but it was not shackled to a set of ideas

-ix-

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Global Security Watch--Lebanon: A Reference Handbook
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • Introduction 1
  • Chapter 1 - The Modern History of Lebanon 7
  • Chapter 2 - The Demographics of Lebanon 49
  • Chapter 3 - Political and Economic Development in Lebanon 69
  • Chapter 4 - Hezbollah in Lebanon 103
  • Chapter 5 - The Lebanese Regional Neighborhood 121
  • Chapter 6 - Lebanon’s Military Forces 135
  • Chapter 7 - The United States and Lebanon 145
  • Epilogue 157
  • Appendix A - Biographies 161
  • Appendix B - Chronology 169
  • Appendix C - Documents 171
  • Appendix D - Presidents and Prime Ministers of Lebanon 187
  • Glossary 191
  • Index 193
  • About the Author 197
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