Aiming to contribute to the reader’s greater understanding of Lebanese government and politics, this book provides a comprehensive examination of the origin, development, and institutionalization of sectarian consociationalism in Lebanon.
A recurrent proposition advanced in this book is that Lebanese sectarian consociationalism has been both a cure and a curse in the formulation of political settlements and institution building. On the one hand, and in contrast to many surrounding Arab regimes, consociational arrangements have provided the country with a relative democratic political life. A limited government with a strong confessional division of power and a built-in checks and balance mechanism prevented the emergence of dictatorship or monarchy. On the other hand, a chronic weak state has complicated efforts for nation building in favour of sectarian fragmentation, external interventions, and strong polarization that periodically brought the country to the verge of total collapse and civil war.
While examining Lebanese sectarian politics of conflict and concession during different historic junctures many revelations are made that underlie the role of domestic and international forces shaping the country’s future. Presenting an implicit description of the power and functions of the various branches of government within the context of sectarian consociationalism, this book is an important introductory text for students of Lebanese Politics and Middle Eastern politics more broadly.