8. The International Affairs of Lebanon
This chapter addresses the issue of domestic realignments in light of shifting foreign allegiances. National identity has undergone major transformations as the public has repositioned its alliances. This came amid dramatic global and regional power shifts, which had a significant and resounding impact on the formation of Lebanese nationalism. After all, the country needed to cope with different regional and international struggles for influence. Syria, directly and indirectly, has played the most determinant role in shaping Lebanese politics and institutions. Its hegemony has been backed and supported by other regional and international powers, such as Iran and Russia (and previously the USSR). Confronting Syrian influence in Lebanon have been Israel, France, the United States, and Saudi Arabia, among others. The international struggle over Lebanon has manifested in a variety of ways, ranging from economic, cultural, and political influence to that of direct military intervention. This chapter examines Lebanon’s relations vis-à-vis key player countries.
The Geopolitics of Lebanon
Lebanon draws the interest of regional and international powers because of its geopolitical positions. It has historically stood in the midst of various struggling ←117 | 118→civilizations that have torn its domestic landscape between different loyalties. As far back as the Phoenician civilization (1550–300BC), which thrived on commerce throughout the eastern coast of the Mediterranean and included the geographic terrain of modern Lebanon, cities and regions were subjugated to different regional political and religious influences (Persian, Egyptian, Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Arab, Ottoman, and European). Its geographic location...
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