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Kanaan, Claude B. (1995) Intercommunal relations and the 1958 crisis in Lebanon. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

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The 1958 crisis in Lebanon was a significant event in modern Middle Eastern and international history. Interpretations, however, overlook or subordinate the Lebanese dimensions and how the Lebanese interpreted crisis and causation, through the lens of established community mythologies. Lebanon contains different, confessionally-defined communities, with a long history of tensions and clashes between them. Examination of these enables the Lebanese dimensions to the 1958 crisis to be given due weight. While regional and international dimensions are of clear importance, the crisis resulted from internal Lebanese factors, long and short term, relating to the different communities, rather than to the impact of international issues such as Nasserism. Where such issues were significant it was because they were not imposed, but invoked by Lebanese elements in the name of Lebanese foreign policy, in order to further their own cause and agendas for Lebanon. The mythologies surrounding the 'historical' evolution of the communities helped shape the differing agendas for Lebanon. Of the communities, the Maronite community and its invocation of mythology has played a consistently significant role. The Druze and Sunni, were, at different times, of significance also, particularly in terms of relations with the Maronites. These groups used their interpretations of the 'history' of Lebanon to justify their agendas for the future of Lebanon, and in so doing, helped to precipitate a crisis. The political compromise set up to administer Lebanon was based on 'historical' assumptions and differences, and was consequently vulnerable. In this context, the role of Chamoun in escalating the ever-present level of intercommunal tension, in 1957 and 1958, is another major element in the study. The study uses a range of sources, including official and private papers, unpublished memoirs, oral evidence and newspapers, to map communal feelings and tensions leading to the crisis itself, and its resolution.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2018 15:13

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