Mediating security – hybridity and clientelism in Lebanon’s hybrid security sector
This chapter exhibits how the Lebanese state resembles a “mediated state” as one of many configurations of “areas of limited statehood”. States that are limited in their capacity to govern and enforce their authority beyond their centre often compensate for these limitations by reaching out to local authorities. This in turn creates a “mediated state”, in which state and non-state actors work together as partners. It is this process-centred nature of the concept which highlights how “limited states”, such as that in Lebanon, actually centralise authority.
This argument is developed in detail through a paired analysis of Lebanon’s hybrid security sector and clientelism as core elements of the mediated state. Focusing on the hybrid security sector helps transcend strict Weberian notions of exclusive state monopoly on violence and make sense of a context in which non-state actors are not merely spoilers of the state, but often operate in partnership with or with the consent of the state. Power relations upholding this mediated state are in turn shaped and reproduced by clientelism, understood as a system of interpersonal relations between patrons and clients based on exchange of goods or other benefits for loyalty. Clientelism is the organising mechanism of power structures in the mediated Lebanese state, creating a feedback mechanism in which the hybrid security sector serves to reproduce and maintain clientelism and the sectarian– consociational order as well as the mediated state. Interactions of state and non-state actors in Lebanon’s hybrid security sector ultimately canvasses the mediated Lebanese state as a product of intended behaviour, as it shows that the legitimacy of security governance in the mediated state rests on elite bargains and political settlements, and not necessarily on popular legitimacy.