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Untangling the Mayhem: Crises and Prospects of the Middle East

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Edited By Radka Havlová

The volume discusses the recent developments in selected countries of the Middle East and North Africa. Theoretical chapter presents the internal and external factors influencing the development and democratization processes. Based on these factors the authors analyze in depth the recent development in Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Palestine, Syria, Turkey and Yemen. The authors demonstrate that the recent development in these countries varied significantly, mostly due to the difference of the historical, political, economic, security or religious conditions in the relevant countries.

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Lebanon (Yvona Novotná / Jana Samadová)

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Yvona Novotná and Jana Samadová

Lebanon

Lebanon, which was called the “Switzerland of the Middle East” in the 1960s, is an exceptional country. Lebanon is an Arab state, but it is not a typical Islamic state. It is characterized by a multicultural, multi-confessional society where individual religious communities live in coexistence. There are 18 officially recognized confessional groups with different religious, political, and cultural views in Lebanon.

Lebanon witnessed several crucial moments through its history. It was under the reign of the Ottoman Empire before being ruled by yet another foreign power since the French got a mandate over the country. Lebanon became an independent state and was designated as a formal democracy on November 22, 1943 with a multi-confessional society of pluralist character. Lebanon always had a strong commitment to Europe, especially to countries such as France, Italy, and the United Kingdom. Later it turned to the United States. From these sources Lebanon took and developed a model of republicanism, parliamentarism, and democracy with a mosaic of political cultures. Lebanon has never established a cantonal system on its territory, such as Switzerland, and the Lebanese territorial units are still religiously heterogeneous.

Then, a civil war took place in Lebanon as the tension grew between the Palestinian refugees fleeing their country and the government, as well as between Lebanon and Syria on one hand, and Israel on the other. The war lasted almost 15 years and damaged the...

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