Divided Lebanon

Archive Report

Continuing Bloodshed and Chaos

Religious Factionalism; Khomeini's Impact

The question is whether Lebanon, like Humpty Dumpty, can be put back together again. The answer to that question will determine more than the survival of a strife-torn nation once acclaimed as the “Switzerland of the Middle East.” Lebanon long has been prey to acute religious conflicts, which now are also convulsing Iran and creating destabilizing influences elsewhere in the Middle East.1 The passage of time since the 1975–76 Lebanese civil war has not improved the prospects for accommodation among the many embittered factions and the outside interventionists in Lebanon. It thus remains, apart from Iran, the most volatile country in the most volatile area of the world.

Religious and sectarian factionalism has a long history in Lebanon. Christians ...

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