Title Page
 Table of Contents
 List of Tables
 The beginnings of consociationalism:...
 The operation of the Lebanese political...
 Consociationalism put to the test:...
 Breakdown of consociational principles...
 The external factor -- the...
 The 1975-76 civil war
 Appendix A: The Cairo Agreement:...
 Appendix B: Composition of opposing...
 Appendix C: Lebanese political...
 Biographical sketch

Group Title: crisis in Lebanon
Title: The crisis in Lebanon
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00099525/00001
 Material Information
Title: The crisis in Lebanon a test of consociational theory
Physical Description: xi, 275 leaves : ; 28 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Chalouhi, Robert George, 1949-
Publication Date: 1978
Copyright Date: 1978
Subject: Cultural pluralism   ( lcsh )
Politics and government -- Lebanon   ( lcsh )
History -- Lebanon   ( lcsh )
Political Science thesis Ph. D   ( lcsh )
Dissertations, Academic -- Political Science -- UF   ( lcsh )
Genre: bibliography   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Thesis: Thesis--University of Florida.
Bibliography: Bibliography: leaves 263-273.
General Note: Typescript.
General Note: Vita.
Statement of Responsibility: by Robert G. Chalouhi.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00099525
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: alephbibnum - 000095908
oclc - 06363890
notis - AAL1340


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Table of Contents
    Title Page
        Page i
        Page ii
        Page iii
    Table of Contents
        Page iv
        Page v
        Page vi
    List of Tables
        Page vii
        Page viii
        Page ix
        Page x
        Page xi
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    The beginnings of consociationalism: Lebanon in historical perspective
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    The operation of the Lebanese political system
        Page 72
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    Consociationalism put to the test: Lebanon in the fifties and sixties
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    Breakdown of consociational principles -- the internal factor
        Page 146
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    The external factor -- the Palestinians
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    The 1975-76 civil war
        Page 220
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    Appendix A: The Cairo Agreement: Signed by Lebanese army commander Emil Bustani and Palestinian leader Yesir Arafat, November 3, 1969
        Page 253
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    Appendix B: Composition of opposing forces in Lebanese Civil War, 1975-76
        Page 255
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    Appendix C: Lebanese political parties
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    Biographical sketch
        Page 275
        Page 276
        Page 277
        Page 278
Full Text







Copyright 1978


Robert G. Chalouhi


I would like to express my thanks to the members

of my committee, especially to my adviser, Dr. Keith

Legg, to whom I am deeply indebted for his invaluable

assistance and guidance. This work is dedicated to my

parents, brother, sister and families for continued

encouragement and support and great confidence in me;

to my parents-in-law for their kindness and concern;

and especially to my wife Janie for her patient and

skillful typing of this manuscript and for her much-

needed energy and enthusiasm.


ACKNOWLEDGMENTS . . . . . . . . .

LIST OF TABLES . . . . . . . . .

ABSTRACT . . . . . . . . . .






Applicability of the Model . .
Problems of System Change . .
Assumption of Subcultural
Isolation and Uniformity. . .
The Consociational Model Applied
to Lebanon . . . . .
Notes . . . . . . .

. 5
. 8

. . 11

. . 12
. . 22


The Phoenicians . . . . . .. 27
The Birth of Islam. . . . . .. 29
The Crusaders . . . . . ... 31
The Ottoman Empire. . . . . .. 33
Bashir II and the Role of External
Powers. ............... . 38
The Qaim Maqamiya . . . . . .. 41
The Mutasarrifiyah:Confessional
Representation Institutionalized. ... . 46
The French Mandate, 1918-1943: The
Consolidation of Consociational
Principles. . . . . . . .. 52
Notes . . . . . . . . .. 63

POLITICAL SYSTEM. . . . . .. 72

Confessionalism and Proportionality:
Nominal Actors and Formal Rules .. ..
The National Pact . . . . . .
The Formal Institutions . . . . .
Political Clientelism: "Real" Actors
and Informal Rules . . . . .
The Politics of Preferment and
Patronage . . . . . . . .
Notes . . . . . . . . .


Elite Disunity . . . . . . .. 99
The "Rosewater" Revolution of 1952 ... . 99
President Chamoun and the the Crisis
of 1958. ... . . . . . . . 104
Policy Causes and Consequences . . .. 109
The Crisis Proper: No Victor, No
Vanquished . . . . . . . .. 118
Shihab: 1958-1964 . . . . . .. 126
External and Internal Issues in the
1958 Crisis. . . . . . . . .. 130
Violation of Consociational Principles . 134
Notes. . . . . . . . . .. 140

THE INTERNAL FACTOR. . . . . .. 146

Social Mobilization. . . . . . .. 148
Uneven Economic Development. . . . .. 151
The Principle of Proportionality . . .. 158
The Lebanese Economy . . . . . .. 163
Planning and the Governmental Role ... . 173
Notes. .. . . . . . . . . 183


Emergence of the Palestinian Resistance. .. 192
The 1969 Clashes . . . . . . .. 197
The Christian Response . . . . .. 202
Slide toward Civil War . . . . .. 205
Notes. . . . . . . . . ... 214

CHAPTER VII: THE 1975-76 CIVIL WAR. . . . .. 220

Notes. . . . . . . . . ... 231

CHAPTER VIII: CONCLUSION. . . . . . . .. 233

Revision of the Consociational Model . .. 242
Social Mobilization. .. . . . . 243
The Elite Cartel . . . . . .. 245
The Palestinian Dimension. . . . .. 249
Notes. . . . . . . . . .. 252

APPENDIX A: The Cairo Agreement . . . . .. 253

APPENDIX B: Composition of Opposing Forces in
Lebanese Civil War, 1975-76 . . .. 255

APPENDIX C: Lebanese Political Parties . . . .. 257

BIBLIOGRAPHY. . . . . . . . . ... .. . 263

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH .................. 275


Table Page



FIVE OR MORE TIMES: 1926-1972 . . . . .. 75

LEBANON: 1951-1972 . . . . . . .. 78



1947-1972 . . . . . . . . ... . 85

1943-1961 . . . . . . . . ... . 86



IN LEBANON. . . . . . . . . .. .149


XIII INCOME DISTRIBUTION, 1959 . . . . . .. 153



GROUP: LEBANON, 1971 . . . . . .. 156

AFFILIATION: LEBANON, 1971 . . . . .. 160

LEBANON, 1971 . . . . . . . .. 161


PRODUCT 1954-1966 . . . . . . .. 167

1972 BY SECTOR. . . . . . . . .. 169

AND 1972. . . . . . . ... : .... 170

SECTOR. . . . . . . . . ... . 175

1964-1967 . . . . . . . . ... 178


Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate Council
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of
the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy



Robert G. Chalouhi

December, 1978

Chairman: Keith R. Legg
Major Department: Political Science

This dissertation focuses on the Lebanese political

system, which prior to the destructive civil war of 1975-76,

represented one of the few examples of a culturally divided,

developing country that was able, for a period, to maintain

a stable system of representative democracy. To study the

nature of democracy in Lebanon, we used a framework provided

by Arend Lijphart and his elaboration of the concept of

Consociational democracy. This allowed us to examine to a

more accurate degree the relationship between the country's

political culture, social structure and political stability.

Consociational democracy is essentially rule by an "elite

cartel," where cooperation by the elite is able to circum-

vent the culturally and politically fragmented society and

thus maintain stability. Lebanon exhibits a complex

"balance of power" system among traditional, autonomous

groups in which religion represents the major line of

division, allied closely with strong regional, client and

family group affiliations or loyalties. Religion and

politics are inextricably intertwined. It is the purpose

of this study to discuss the operation of the Lebanese

political system under this broad theme and in the process

to suggest the underlying causes for the breakdown of the


The introduction takes a look at the extent of

applicability of Lebanon to the consociational system,

surveying the literature on the subject and highlighting

the shortcomings of the model. Chapter II examines the

beginnings of the consociational system by surveying

Lebanon in historical perspective. The next chapter looks

at the operation of consociational democracy in independent

Lebanon, which includes the formal institutions of the state

and the all-important but less evident operation of the

extensive patron-client network based on religious and

family rivalries. The internal and external factors

which weakened the structure in the fifties, with a

specific focus on the crisis of 1958, are the concern of the

next section. This conflict represented the beginning of

the end for a stable consociational system in Lebanon. The

next two chapters focus on the two major factors responsible

for the ultimate collapse of the system. First, the internal

cause involved a breakdown of elite unity, where

changes could not be peacefully made to redress Moslem

grievances involving preponderant Christian economic and

political power. The external factor is the role of the

Palestinians in Lebanon, who helped polarize the population

and add to the existing socio-economic cleavage. The final

chapter presents conclusions derived from the study.

The paper finds that the system could not cope, through

peaceful means, with this combination of internal and

external factors. The introduction of a new actor, wielding

great influence on the system, upset the confessional

balance. This was allied with a dissatisfied internal

element, linked to the process of a change in the nature of

the clientelist system.

The study concludes that consociational theory

proved inadequate in predicting and explaining the interaction

of internal and external pressures. More attention should

be focused on the conditions under which internal conflicts

are exacerbated by external factors, as happened in the

case of Lebanon. The measure of intensity of certain

cleavages should be given more attention, as well as to the

factors producing them. In this instance, the issue of

support for the Palestinians sharply divided the two communities.

The lesser privileged Moslem elements whom modernization

had not benefitted as much as it had the Christians were

able to use the Palestinian guerrillas in Lebanon as a tool

with which to attempt to overturn a system characterized by

a Christian dominance of the elite, plus a Christian

dominance of the resources of the state, which was largely

a result of the role played by the clientelist network in




The relationship between political culture (defined

as the attitudes, beliefs, values and political orientations

of a people) and social structure on the one hand and the

nature of the political system on the other is a highly

relevant one for political scientists. One of the more

interesting aspects of this subject is the relationship

between a heterogeneous political culture (fragmented along

racial, linguistic, regional or religious lines) and the

prospects for a viable, stable democratic system.

Many theorists assume that a democracy cannot operate

in a society characterized by strong subcultural divisions,

but rather that stability requires a homogeneous political

culture where cross-cutting cleavages exist to moderate

conflict.2 The continued co-existence of plural societies

and democracy in a number of states around the world

negates this generally-held contention. The degree of

stability varies from the democratic models exemplified by

the Anglo-American models to the more conflictual democratic

systems found in, say, Italy and France. Lebanon is one

country that prior to the 1975-76 civil was displayed an

interesting example of democracy in a plural society.

Gabriel Almond follows the traditionalist classification

of democratic states into the Anglo-American system

(a homogeneous, secular political and a differentiated role

structure) on the one hand, and the Continental European

(fragmented political culture with distinct subsystems of

roles) on the other. However, the universe of real

democratic systems was larger. Consequently a new

category, which included the Scandinavian and Low countries

(vaguely described as a combination of the first two) was

established. This category, which includes stable multi-

party systems, was not elaborated upon.3 In a later work

the Scandinavian, Low countries and Switzerland were

classified as "Stable democracies," again with little

elaboration.4 These political systems, which exhibit

mutually-reinforcing cleavages, received little attention,

bearing in mind that considerable diversity exists within

the category. One group within this category has been

termed "deviant cases" by Arend Lijphart who identified them

as "Consociational Democracies," defined as "democracies

with subcultural cleavages and with tendencies toward

immobilism and instability which are deliberately turned into

more stable systems by the leaders of the major subcultures."5

As examples, he cites Switzerland, the Benelux countries,

Lebanon and Colombia. The Consociational model, as Daalder

points out, increases our ability to better understand

different forms of democratic rule, adding that social

divisions need not imply that political conflicts will result.6

Lijphart's model for a stable, culturally and politically

fragmented democracy rests largely on his argument that

mutually-reinforcing cleavages do not necessarily produce

instability. Rather, he maintains that cross-cutting

cleavages are not a necessity as long as there is cooperation

at the elite level. The other conditions favorable to

consociational democracy, in addition to the distinct lines

of cleavage between subcultures, are a balance of power

among the subcultures, popular acceptance of coalition

government, the existence of external threats and moderate

nationalism. The latter is particularly important, as it

is contrary to the generally accepted belief that

development requires a transfer of loyalties from the local

to the national level. Milton Esman argues that there is

no need or desire to overcome local loyalties, arguing

"there is no reason to deny moral legitimacy to plural


In an elaboration of his model, derived mainly from his
work on the Netherlands, Lijphart argues that isolation

and self-containment of the groups can be conducive to

democracy. The system remains stable because the political

elites are consciously aware of the need to circumvent the

divided society by cooperation at the elite level. Rather

than compete with each other they must form an "elite

cartel" in order to successfully regulate the political

process. The emphasis is on the ability of the elite to

maintain stability. Consociational democracy, which is

basically rule by the elite cartel, requires:

(1) That the elites have the ability to
accommodate the divergent interests and
demands of the subcultures.

(2) This requires that they have the
ability to transcend cleavages and to
join in a common effort with the elites
of rival subcultures.

(3) This in turn depends on their
commitment to the maintenance of the
system and to the improvement of its
cohesion and stability.

(4) Finally, all of the above
requirements are based on the assumption
that the elites understand the perils
of political fragmentation. 0

The theory, then, proceeds from the contention that

culturally divided societies and stable democratic systems

are not necessarily incompatible; that democracy is not the

exclusive preserve of countries that exhibit homogeneous

political cultures. It is a rather different form of

democracy, differing from the classic examples of the Anglo-

American models. While both types essentially provide for

rule by consent of the governed and with accountability of

the governors, the consociational model has certain features

that distinguish it from the mainstream of western democratic

systems. In a consociational system, security must be

guaranteed for each subculture by allowing it a share in the

governing process.

Proportional representation, and not majority rule,

becomes the norm, and coalition governments, in which

no one group can dominate become a necessity.1 Mutual

vetoes and concurrent majorities go hand in hand with

the arrangement whereby governmental power is curtailed

in order for the subgroups to autonomously handle their own

affairs. Though, ideologically, groups may remain

intransigent, political bargaining takes place in an

atmosphere of toleration, moderation, compromise and prag-

matism. Interests are carefully adjusted between groups

mainly through structured bargaining processes by the

leaders. Because of the strong strain of ideology,issues,

in order to be resolved to every group's satisfaction,

have to be depoliticized or discussed in less ideological,

and more technical, terms.

In sum, underlying the stability of such systems is a

fundamental consensus on the most basic aspects of the

structure, where the desire to preserve the system is found

among all subgroups. Boundaries exist within which the

groups may defend and promote their interests in a peaceful


Applicability of the Model

The assumption exists that democracies cannot operate

in culturally divided societies of the developing world.

How relevant is this Western-based consociational model for

non-Western countries? Communal attachments as religion,

region, kinship and language, what Geertz calls "primordial

ties"l2 are seen as impediments to the effective functioning

of a stable democracy, and the argument is made that states

have to achieve a degree of homogeneity before a democratic

system can work. Western states are not completely

homogeneous; however, many continental European democracies

exhibit fragmented political cultures.

While democracy along the Anglo-American model may not

be fully relevant for developing states, a specific form of

democracy--the consociational model--may be one method of

overcoming the deep cleavages characteristic of these systems.

Though the divisions are deeper and wider than those in

the Western democracies, the gaps can be bridged if the

countries satisfy certain conditions. Where communal or

segmental isolation exists, and little contact takes place

between the segments, agreement on the structure of the state

can be made by the segments' leaders.

Van Den Berghe cites several conditions necessary for

consociational democracy, which include basic agreements on

the essential values, agreement on the structure of the

government, acceptance of pluralism, that is, of cultural and

regional autonomy, where a monopoly over the means of violence

does not exist.13 The model will be suitable especially

where a balance of power exists between autonomous segments,

and where there has been some history of elite (coalescent)


Size also appears to be a favorable factor in the

functioning of consociational democracies. Frequent

interaction leads to accommodation and good will.14

Smallness also involves a fear of larger neighbors and this

supposedly leads to more elite solidarity. This is effective

where the danger is seen by all groups, and not by just one

or more segments. A plural society, then, will find the

consociational model the most viable in view of the deep

cleavages present in the society. Unity will be achieved and

the likelihood of violence decreased if the problem of

primordial loyalties is overcome.15

Kuper expounds on two models of democratic pluralism,

neither of which really apply to our study of Lebanon. The

"equilibrium" model he defines as "a dispersion of power

between groups which are bound together by cross-cutting

loyalties and by common values," presupposes a rather

homogeneous society.16 The "conflict" model states the

necessity for domination of society by a minority group.17

In answer to the question of whether of how applicable the

consociational model, developed for the small West European

democracies, is for an understanding of the prospects for

stable democracy in culturally divided, developing countries,

we may quote Lijphart:


For many of the plural societies of the
non-Western world. . the realistic
choice is not between the British
normative model of democracy and the
consociational model, but between
consociational democracy and no democracy
at all.18

The consociational model, in short, may be applicable

to different countries in various degrees, and it is our

purpose to explain Lebanon's system and its demise with the

aid of consociational theory and in the process to identify

extra variables that may serve to strengthen the theory's

explanatory potential and applicability, helping to over-

come some of its limitations. One important aspect of this

model which we must address ourselves to is the problem of

system change. How well does this model accommodate change?

Problems of System Change

One of the drawbacks of the model is the detrimental

effects brought about by modernization, or more specifically

social mobilization. Competition for scarce resources leads

to the emergence of new values. Different rates of

mobilization, moreover, engender conflict by making

cleavages more reinforcing. Melson and Wolpe show that

modernization in Nigeria led to more conflicts plus the

emergence of new groups. The groups' communal identity

becomes the basis for their advancement. They "perceive

their competitive world through a communal prism."9

Conflict arises when certain groups are not able to acquire

desired values as wealth, power and status. As Dew puts it,

" . with the system's capabilities perceived as static,

the increased satisfaction of one group implies an increased

dissatisfaction for the other groups) with a heightened

sense of relative deprivation and an increased prospect

for political conflict."20

Social mobilization leads to a greater awareness of

communal identity, generating conflict over distribution

of resources, which can lead then to an uneven communal

distribution of the society's wealth. Where opportunities

exist for advancing or sharing in values without encroaching

on the rewards of another group, the likelihood of conflict

will be decreased. Where one group does not advance as

rapidly as another, a sense of deprivation sets in. In

brief, different rates of mobilization lead to a more

apparent division among the communities, a growing of

socio-political cleavages which can lead to conflict.

Because of the question of wealth and redistribution, it

becomes a conflict of class. Where communal and class

cleavages coincide, the changes for conflict and polarization

increase. The reasons for the differences, Melson and Wolpe

point out, include the nature of Western contact, environ-

mental opportunities, and variations in cultural dispositions.21

The ability to successfully overcome these problems

of modernization is one major weakness of this democratic

model. The attitude of the elite is important in this regard.

Where elites do not have a common perception of

the distribution of rewards in a society, conflict among

members of the elite may set in. Demands for a change in the

methods of allocation arise after the resources of groups and

their leaders change over time, again due to political

or economic changes. But, as Esman points out, "the

conflict management perspective has an inevitable bias

toward conservatism and system maintenance, toward the orderly

and peaceful continuity of a conflict-ridden or violence-

prone political system."22 A serious problem with

structured elite predominance is its conservative bias, "where

elite predominance tends to freeze the social status quo

and to limit policy options for economic growth,distribution

and participation."23 Priority is given to stability and

peaceful relations between the society's communities.

Agreement on objectives and values of the system

becomes difficult. Apter argues that what he calls a

"consociation" is subject to "immobilism because of

the need to find agreement on common action before action

itself is possible. Hence, it is given to crisis, fission
and recombination as part of its natural history."24 It

is a static system that does not easily accommodate change.

The modernization process, it appears, leads to a

rejection of regulatory practices by non-elites, or as

Nordlinger contends . the continuing impact of modernization

upon the non-elite detracts from the possibility of

regulatory outcomes."25 The consociational system is,

therefore, of a rather static character. Lorwin argues

that "segmented pluralism" is breaking down in the Nether-

lands because of youth unhappiness with the ideological

blocs and with the compromises of the system.26 Dutter

takes issue with this contention, maintaining that

consociational democracy in the Netherlands is not changing

to a homogeneous political culture, as Lijphart asserts,

and he further questions whether the growth of secular

blocs will continue.27

Assumption of Subcultural Isolation and Uniformity

In his discussion of the relation between the

communities and the elite, Lijphart essentially neglects

the possibility of linkage between the two, as was the

case in Lebanon. Though the communities are more or less

isolated or segmented, links between members of the elites

and members of the different communities existed through the

patronage network.

Besides having contacts with each other, the members

of the ruling elite have contact with regional leaders or

notables. These coalitions may be with members of other

religions, and not necessarily with members of the same

community. The President and the other members of the

elite, in short, serve their political interests and those

of their clients by cooperating with notables from other

communities. This creates an arena where different sub-

elite coalitions are important.

While legitimacy of the elite in the Netherlands is

legal-rational, in Lebanon it is more of a quid pro quo,

traditional legitimacy. Problems of recruitment are also

related to the nature, and legitimacy, of the elite.

In Lebanon bargaining takes place among notables,with the

individual's name and family figuring importantly. A

member of the ruling elite is usually able to recruit a

member of his family, or even allies of his region, into

the elite structure.

In sum, the picture is not one of complete isolation

of the elite from the blocs. Rather, contacts are main-

tained between members of the elite, plus they with

leaders of the different communities. The continual

bargaining that takes place between the elites and the

"sub-elites" is a central aspect of Lebanese politics.

Our purpose at this stage is to establish first whether

Lebanon falls into Almond's third category, or more

specifically, into Lijphart's consociational model.

The Consociational Model applied to Lebanon

Lebanon is a small country (4,000 square miles,

3 million people) which, since independence in 1943,

exhibited a stable formula of pluralism and democracy.

Under Ottoman rule, an autonomous Lebanese province was

administered along confessional lines, with Christians

constituting the majority of the inhabitants. Following

World War I, Lebanon became a French Mandate. The French

added more areas, forming a Greater Lebanon and in the

process increasing the Moslem population. The French

emphasized the traditional practice of a system based on

proportional representation based on religious and regional

divisions. In essence, the country exhibits a complex

balance of power system among traditional autonomous

groups in which religion represents the major line of

division, allied closely with strong regional, client

and family group affiliations or loyalties. Religion and

politics are inextricably intertwined.

Did Lebanon ever fit the Consociational model?

Lijphart lists what he calls the "rules of the game"

necessary for accommodation between the subcultures28

and it will be our task to apply these propositions to

Lebanon as it existed before the crisis, note any deviations

which will allow us to suggest modifications and short-

comings of the model. A comparison with consociationalism

in the Netherlands will hopefully highlight the operation

of the model in Lebanon and allow us to discuss the

deviations, and thus modifications of the model.

(1) The Business of Politics: Politics should be seen as a

type of business (rather than a type of game) in which the

elite are oriented toward the maintaining of stability.

Lijphart notes this is in keeping with the Netherlands'

tradition as a merchant state, which, incidentally, applies

also to Lebanon. While Lebanon sustained many minor crises

(37 governments in the first twenty years of independence)

major conflicts have been avoided due to the skillful

bargaining procedures and practices of the country's

politicians. There was a deliberate effort by the elite

to stabilize the system as it was apparent that the

alternative to this arrangement was intergroup strife.

No agreements could be made unless all groups approved

(mutual vote), with decisions often being made by granting

concessions to dissatisfied groups. In this way the

distribution of "values" could be allocated on an

objective basis. As we shall see in more detail later,

the Lebanese government, until the sixties, interfered

very little in the economy, until increased modernization29

led to demands for an increased governmental role. Still,

Lebanon's pluralistic society did not prove to be an

obstacle to development. Due largely to the work-oriented

nature of the elite, the country was able to make great

strides in economic development, giving Lebanon one of the

highest per capital rates in the Middle East.

(2) The Agreement to Disagree: This implies respect and

toleration for ideological and political differences.

Major decisions had to be compromises, with concessions being

made to opposing blocs. The concept of concurrent majority,

rather than majority rule, was practiced. This rule can

only be applied to issues that are not pressing, but when

issues of importance cannot be resolved they are usually

"frozen," as was Dutch disagreement over the Colonial

question in 1951. In Lebanon, the second decade of

independence saw the emergence of several issues upon which

the elites could not agree, and these in essence were left

unresolved. The divisive issues included development and

fortification of the South, strengthening of the army,

social justice and the Palestinian question.

(3) Summit Diplomacy: The politics of accommodation

presuppose rule by the elite. The more pressing and crucial

an issue, the more likely it is that it will be resolved

at the highest level. This entails elite cooperation

on the fundamentals of domestic and foreign policy.

The Dutch "compromise" of 1917 is a good example, where the

Socialists obtained their demand for universal suffrage,

while the Catholics and Protestants received state aid

for education,while the Liberals were satisfied by the

introduction of proportional representation. The Lebanese

elite was able to keep conflict within manageable proportions,

able to solve the Presidential crisis of 1952, but divided

in 1958. The latter two cases highlight the role of the

external factor and as we shall see in more detail politics

in Lebanon could not be viewed in isolation from events

outside its borders. Because of the Christian political

orientation toward the West and the Moslems toward the Arab

world, issues of Middle East politics have tended to divide

the populace. Internally, increased modernization led to

conflict, and lessened the elite's ability to solve emerging


(4) Depoliticization: Sensitive issues are neutralized by

presenting them to the blocs in a non-political form,

helping in the process to justify compromises made. One

method used in depoliticization is the use of legal and

constitutional principles. The principle was not fully

effective in Lebanon. Issues concerned with the Arab-

Israeli conflict were not so easily depoliticized; nor

was the question of social justice or distribution of

resources. This latter issue became increasingly imbued

with political overtones and consequently became a bone

of contention between the two communities. That is,

as social mobilization proceeded, it became increasingly

difficult to keep issues depoliticized.

(5) Secrecy: In order to be able to put aside religious and

ideological differences and successfully arrive at

compromises, and in general to practice pragmatism, bloc

leaders have to practice accommodation in secret,away from

the scrutiny of the public. This applies well in Lebanon

where, after heated elections in which popular interest is

high, bargaining takes place in secret. Approval by the

population of government by the elite cartel favors a

consociational democracy, and this has been the case in

Lebanon. Compromises by the elites are largely dependent

on the allegiance and support of the non-elites.

(6) The Government's Right to Govern: The government

(or Cabinet) has to be allowed a large degree of independence,

in view of the fact that it alone has the right to govern.

Lebanon's institutional structure allows the Cabinet the

preeminent role in policy-making. A popularly-elected

Parliament elects a President who names a Prime Minister

who then forms a Cabinet which has to win Parliament's

vote of confidence. The President, who is himself head of

a family, client and regional group, is often the balancer

in the balance of power. The government for the most

part was the medium whereby the competing interests of the

various groups could be adjusted. Membership in the

Cabinet was a means of preserving a group's security and

interests. Parliament as such was not a check on the

Cabinet, but rather a forum where issues and facts could be

aired and discussed after the Cabinet had made the decisions.

(7) Proportionality: Sectarian considerations have been

the basis for Lebanon's political life in that power is

distributed among the country's religious sects, resulting in

a system where diverse interests are tolerated and accommodated.

The unique form of confessionalism produced a democratic

state in which all traditional groups were allowed a share

in governing the country. This opportunity for participation

by all groups imparted legitimacy to the institutions of

the state.

The system is based on the National Pact of 1943

which in effect recognized the division of the country into

religious communities. The Pact allocated administrative

posts to the various communities in proportion to their

numerical strength. A census taken in 1932 revealed the

Christians to be in a slight majority and thus were given

six seats in Parliament for every five Moslem seats. No

one sect constituted more than 30% of the population. In

this sense it was similar to the classic balance of power

system in which no one participant could gain hegemony

or predominance.

On the Christian side, the Maronite Catholics comprised

29% of the population, and being the largest single sect,

were allowed the top executive post, the Presidency. Other

Christian groups include the Greek-Orthodox (9%), Greek-

Catholic (6%), and smaller Christian denominations (7%).

On the Moslem side the Sunni represented 22% of the population

and accordingly were given the second position, the

Premiership. The other Moslem group, and third overall

largest, the Shiites (20%) were given the post of Speaker

of the House. The Druze (an off-shoot of the Moslems)

represented the remaining 7%.

We return, then, to the question of how applicable the

model is for a study of Lebanon. Did Lebanon ever fit the

model? Certainly, prior to the crisis of 1958 the model,

by and large, did apply to Lebanon. Lebanese consociationalism

gradually began to weaken in the sixties and seventies,

leading to the collapse of the Lebanese political system in

1975-76. The reasons for the failure of the consociational

model in Lebanon are a central concern of this paper and will

be discussed fully in subsequent chpaters. Essentially,

socio-economic modernization in Lebanon had resulted in

a greater share of wealth accruing to the Christians of

Lebanon, by and large, while the poorer elements of the

population were for the most part Moslems. In addition,

population changes had, it was widely believed, resulted in

the Moslems now constituting a majority and in the process

demands were made for a change in the apportionment of

political power, which since 1943 was based on a fixed ratio

favoring the Christians.

Demands for a reorganization of Lebanon's political

and economic structure were resisted by the more privileged

Christian elements. Added to this "internal" cause of the

breakdown was the "external" factor,namely the role of the

Palestinian guerrillas. The presence of the Palestinians in

Lebanon, and more specifically the question of their freedom

of action, divided the population with the conservative

Christian elements staunchly opposing their presence in

Lebanon. The Palestinians fought alongside the Moslems in

order to safeguard their position in Lebanon, while the

Moslems fought for a change in Lebanon's political and

economic structure. The Christians fought to maintain the

privileges they had attained in Lebanon and to weaken,

destroy, or bring the Palestinian movement under control,thus

removing what they perceived as a threat to Lebanon.

This paper, then, will be concerned with an under-

standing of how Lebanon's experiment in consociational

democracy failed, with a violent breakdown of the political

system. The paper will begin with a historical overview

of the country focusing specifically on the evolution or

development of the consociational system. We will then

move to a focus on the operation of consociational principles

in Lebanon, showing the relation of these principles to

religion, the family and more importantly to the patron-

client network that has historically been a part of

Lebanese politics. Chapter III deals with the crisis of

1958, when the first cracks in the consociational structure

began to appear. This section will include a survey of

the interplay of internal and external factors and a

discussion of the deviation from consociational principles.

The next two chapters take a closer look at the basic causes

for the collapse. The first discusses the internal problems--

which in essence is a discussion of the violation of the

principles of consociationalism. We will attempt to

indicate whether and to what extent changes have arisen

between the two communities, which led to a call for a

change in the "rules of the game". Then a look at the

external cause will be in order. This entails a tracing

of the rise of the Palestinians as a factor in domestic

politics, and their influence on the system will be shown.

Since the first mainfestation of hostility between

the state and the Palestinians erupted in 1969, the focus

will be on this confrontation. The following section

focuses on the 1975-76 civil war itself while, finally, the

last chapter will be an analytical summary of the breakdown of


the Lebanese system in relation to the consociational

model. Hopefully, this section will tie together the

main themes of the paper and concentrate on the theoretical

aspects of the discussion.


1. The term "stability" in this context refers to a situation
resulting from a system's ability to continually solve
new, emerging problems and to respond effectively to
demands made upon it by groups of the society. Where
channels exist for the articulation of demands and where
conflict is successfully resolved the polity will
maintain stability. "Legitimacy", an important under-
pinning of stability, implies the acceptance of the
political structure and its institutions by all groups.
A successful regulation of political conflict is a plus
for a state's political "performance". The term
"democracy" refers to the opportunity for representation
and participation in decision-making by all groups,
which includes political competition, rule by consent
of the governed and the assurance of basic civil liberties
to all.

2. Where social cleavages coincide (mutually-reinforcing)
divisions among the population are deep and likely to
produce conflict, while overlapping lines of social
cleavage (cross-cutting) produce numerous affiliations
by an individual and moderation is likely to result,
with little change of polarization and thus conflict.

3. Gabriel Almond,"Comparative Political System," Journal
of Politics (August, 1956), pp. 392-394. A secular
political culture is"rational-calculating,bargaining
and experimental.. ."The role structure is organized,
bureaucratized with stability in the function of the
roles and a dispersion of power throughout the system.

4. Gabriel Almond,"Political Systems and Political Change,"
American Behavioral Scientist (June, 1963), p. 10.

5. Arend Lijphart, "Typologies of Democratic Systems,"
Comparitive Political Studies (April, 1968), p. 20.

6. Hans Daalder, "The Consociational Democracy Theme,"
World Politics (July, 1974), p. 609.

7. Lijphart, op. cit., p. 29.

8. Milton Esman, "The Management of Communal Conflict,"
Public Policy (Winter, 1973), p. 77. The concept of
"pluralism" as used here has more a "sociological"

basis than a "political" one. It is concerned mainly
with the relationship between social structure and
political behavior where different power centers
exist--different elites--as a result of subcultural
divisions in a stable democracy. Pluralism is defined
by Kuper as "societies characterized by certain conditions
of cultural diversity and social cleavage in whatever
way these conditions of social and cultural pluralism
arise from the contact of different peoples and
cultures within a single society." Leo Kuper,
"Plural Societies: Perspectives and Problems," in
Leo Kuper and M.G. Smith, eds., Pluralism in Africa,
(Berkeley: University of California Press, 1969), p. 7.

9. Arend Lijphart, The Politics of Accomodation (Berkeley:
University of California, 1968).

10. Arend Lijphart, "Consociational Democracy," World
Politics (January, 1969), p. 216. Also on elites
see Eric Nordlinger, Conflict Regulation in Divided
Countries (Cambridge: Center for International Affairs,
1972), pp. 54-72.

11. Jurg Steinger argues that proportionality results in
the citizens lacking the means to articulate their
dissatisfaction, and this lowers the "learning
capacity of the system" in that there is little
communication between elites and citizens. "Principles
of Majority and Proportionality," British Journal of
Political Science (January, 1971), p. 68.

12. Clifford Geertz, "The Integrative Revolution: New States,"
in Clifford Geetz, ed., Old Societies and New States
(New York: Free Press, 1963),p. 109.

13. Pierre Van Den Berghe, "Pluralism and the Polity:
A Theoretical Explanation," in Kuper, op. cit.,
pp. 76-78.

14. Jurg Steiner, op. cit., p. 65.

15. Eric Nordlinger, op. cit., pp. 36-39.

16. Kuper, op. cit., p. 3.

17. Ibid., p. 12.

18. Arend Lijphart, Democracy in Plural Societies, (New Haven:
Yale University Press, 1977), p. 238.

19. Robert Melson and Howard Wolpe, "Modernization and the
Politics of Communalism: A Theoretical Perspective,"
American Political Science Review (December, 1970),
p. 1115.

20. Edward Dew, "Testing Elite Perceptions of Deprivation
and Satisfaction in a Culturally Plural Society,"
Comparative Politics (January, 1971), p. 273.

21. Melson and Wolpe, op. cit., p. 1115.

22. Milton Esman, "The Management of Communal Conflict,"
Public Policy (Winter, 1973), p. 50.

23. Ibid., p. 74.

24. David Apter, The Political Kingdom in Uganda: A Study
in Bureaucratic Nationalism (Princeton: Princeton
University Press, 1961), p. 24.

25. Nordlinger, op. cit., p. 112.

26. Val Lorwin, "Segmented Pluralism," Comparative Politics
(January, 1971), p. 159.

27. Lee Dutter, "The Netherlands as a Plural Society,"
Comparative Political Studies (January, 1978),
p. 567.

28. Lijphart, Politics of Accommodation,op. cit., pp. 122-138.

29. Modernization in this case refers more to socio-economic
development than political development. As we shall see
later Lebanon has developed while maintaining its
traditional patterns of life. But Lebanon does not
rank highly on indicators of political development,
whose aspects include "a high level of institutionalized
mass participation, typically through the election
process and the party system, high government administrative
capabilities, indicative of a response to demands
engendered by social mobilization, and flexible
complex, autonomous and coherent political institutions."
The indicators of political development include:
voting participation (non-communist secular party vote),
central government expenditures as percentage of GNP,
executive stability index, deaths from domestic group
violence per million inhabitants, and the Cutright
political development index. In sum, socio-economic
modernization is ahead of political development in
Lebanon. See Michael Hudson, "A Case of Political
Underdevelopment," Journal of Politics (November, 1967),
pp. 827-832. Also Samuel Huntington, "Political
Development and Political Decay," World Politics
(April, 1965), pp. 386-405.



The origins of the problems that have plagued modern

day Lebanon are deeply embedded in the country's history. An

appreciation and a clearer understanding of these problems

can be made by reference to the political, economic and social

forces which have shaped the structure and form of twentieth

century Lebanon, characterized by a unique brand of confess-

ionalism.1 Moreover, a study of the evolution of the country's

confessional system will enable us to focus more clearly on

the background to the emergence of a consociational democracy

in Lebanon, as well the nature and extent of conflict

exhibited by the system. As we shall see, the birth of

confessionalism was due to both internal and external factors,

perhaps more so to the latter, in view of the fact that other

countries had such a profound influence on the development

of the country.

Lebanon has had a highly complex history which is today

reflected in its widely diverse religious and social mosaic.

The number and variety of conquerors that have passed through

Lebanon and which have left their own distinct imprints and

influences have helped mold a country which today has not

differed significantly in terms of both its strategic and

commercial importance. Indeed, twentieth century Lebanon

performed functions which it did throughout history, acting as

an East-West bridge, a center for trade, and an arena in which

rivalries of numerous nations were contested. Many authors

have echoed this theme in their works, and the following by

a noted Lebanese historian perhaps best illustrates this idea:

Clearly Lebanon can vie with any other
land of comparable size not only in the
value of events enacted on its stage but
in their meaningfulness in terms of world
values and in importance. It is one of
those lands that could be described as
microscopic in size but macroscopic in

Lebanon's geography has played an integral part in

shaping its history. Situated on the Eastern Mediterranean,

it extends about 130 miles along the coast, and averages 35

miles in width. Its area of 4000 square miles thus makes it

smaller than the state of Connecticut. The coastal strip

merges into a mountain range which is separated by another,

parallel, range (the anti-Lebanon range) by the fertile

Bekaa valley. It is the snow-covered mountain peaks that give

Lebanon its name.

Because of this rough mountainous terrain, Lebanon was

never completely controlled by an invading army, but rather

managed, throughout its history, to maintain its own distinct

characteristics and identity: "They learnt from their

conquerors trades and industries; they adopted some of their

myths; they certainly acquired a few of their administrative

measures, but generally speaking they kept their own

personality."3 The social make-up and political nature of

twentieth century Lebanon were determined largely by the role

played by Mount Lebanon4 or the "Mountain". This area

became a place of refuge for religious minorities, and it is

perhaps this factor more than any other that gave Lebanon its

unique characteristics, allowing for the creation later of

a most unusual type of consociational democracy. This section

of the paper will deal with a survey of historical Lebanon,

focusing on the forces that helped shape Lebanon's political

system as it emerged in the twentieth century. This brief

account will include Lebanon's early history, proceed

through the Islamic and Ottoman periods, and end in the period

of the French Mandate, which culminated in independence for

Lebanon in 1943.

The Phoenicians

Around 4000 B.C. a group of Semitic tribes moved into

the Levant5 from the Persian Gulf area. This people,

subsequently known as Canaanites, settled with a group of

Aegeans who were driven from Greece by invaders around the

year 3000 B.C.6 The race of Phoenicians which emerged lived

in thickly wooded areas and excelled in trade, art, metallurgy

and textile industries, and in navigation.

Taking advantage of their strategic location, and since the

mountains posed an obstacle to effective opportunities in the

East, the Phoenicians proved to be intelligent traders and

found much prosperity in these endeavors. By the ninth


century they had established a flourishing empire in the

Mediterranean area, setting up colonies of which the most

famous was Carthage. The Phoenician cities, which collectively

never consisted of more than a loose organization of city-

states, traded with the Pharoahs of Egypt, selling them

cedarwood, used to build their boats and temples, plus

wine, olive oil and white gum, used for the Egyptian practice

of mummification. Byblos (later Jubeil) established itself

as the leading city in terms of trade and overall influence.

The Phoenicians' invention of the alphabet boosted their

trading opportunities by improving communications.7

The Phoenicians' activities, however, were interrupted

by frequent invasions. Following several decades of Hyksos

rule, the Eighteenth Dynasty under the Amenhoteps8 ruled

the area until it was conquered by the Hittites, who, after

several military campaigns with the Egyptians, finally

allowed Ramses to retain control over the Phoenician coast.

It was in the following 400 years (1279-879) that Phoenicia

established its colonies and became prosperous. Assyrian

rule (875-608) was followed by the Babylonians (608-536)

whole ruled under Nebuchadnezzar until the Persians managed to

attain a firm grip on the area (531-333).10

Unlike the previous periods, during which numerous revolts

took place, relations between the Persians and Phoenicians

were cordial, even though the area for the first time came under

a highly centralized administration. The Greco-Roman period

was ushered in when Alexander the Great defeated the Persians

at the Battle of Issus in 333B.C. The Phoenicians were

receptive to Greek civilization and soon the Greek language

became widely spoken.

Upon Alexander's death internal squabbling among his

senior generals led to a division of the area and the Seleucids

moved in and ruled the area for over a century. It was under

Roman rule, which began in 64 B.C. under Pompey, that

Phoenicia attained new fame. Berytus (Beirut) achieved great

intellectual heights, becoming a noted center of learning

for the Roman empire and boasting the prestigious Roman

School of Law, while IIeliopolis (Baalbek) also stood out with

its fine temples.11

In the beginning of the fourth century Christianity became

the recognized religion of the Levant. Toward the end of

this century the Roman empire split up into a Roman Western

part and a Byzantine Eastern part, with Constantinople as its

capital.12 The empire was further weakened by both

internal dissensions and war with the Persians, laying it

open to attack by new invaders from the Arabian Peninsula,

carrying with them new religious teachings which they were

intent on spreading to the entire area.

The Birth of Islam

Preaching a religious war (Jihad) and . sanctified by

the consciousness that they were the chosen vehicles of a new

and final divine revelation,"3 the Arab invaders encountered

and defeated the Byzantine armies at the Battle of Yarmuk

in 636. Islam spread quickly, reaching Spain and Morocco

in the West and central Asia in the East. The reasons were

varied. Besides the lack of a clear demarcation line between

it and the Monotheistic religions, "the few and precise

basic demands of Islam, the simplicity of the cult, and the

prestige attaching to it, would attract numerous converts.

Furthermore, adherence to Islam promised relief in taxation

and entry into the governing elite."14

Lebanon came under the rule of the Damascus-centered

Ummayad Dynasty from 660 to 750, and from 750-1258 it lived

under the repressive rule of the Baghdad-based Abbasid

Dynasty. Arabic became the predominant language, Islam the

predominant religion. It was in this period that the

Lebanese mountains provided a sanctuary for many fleeing

Christians. From this time on Lebanon became increasingly

recognized as a place of refuge for different minority groups

of the area, and in the process sowing the seeds of the /

present day confessional state. Opposition to the new rule

came not only from the Christians, but from other groups who

for one reason or another found it in their interests to resist

incorporation into the Islamic empire. Religious minorities

as the Christians and the Jews were ruled as Millets, distinct

communities that were subject to a different tax system, and

who were excluded from military service. In addition they were

not to bear arms, intermarry with Moslems, but could continue

to live under their own customs and retain freedom of worship.16

The main religious communities to settle in the Mountain

in this period were the Maronites17 and the Druze,18 who were

labelled as heretics by the new rulers. Though Islam and the


Arabic language moved at a slow pace into the Mountain, by

the ninth and tenth centuries, Arab tribes started settling

near Beirut, in the the process chipping away at Lebanon's

Christian character. Despite this Arab influence Aramaic,

and a derivative Syriac, continued to be spoken in the Maronite

areas until about the seventeenth century.

In the tenth and early eleventh centuries, numerous

emirates and principalities began to appear, the relations
between which were based on mutual distrust and suspicion.9

This was to facilitate the military campaigns of the Crusaders

in the eleventh century.

The Crusaders

In 1095 Pope Urban II initiated the first of eight

European expeditions aimed at wresting the Holy Land from the

Moslems.20 By 1124 most of Lebanon was in Crusader hands.

They had established feudal states in Tripoli, Edessa, Antioch

and a central one in Jerusalem; most of the Crusader rulers
were French. The initial successes of the Crusaders were

dampened by internal rivalries, which led to a division of

Lebanon into different areas making it easier for Moslem armies

to regain some lost land. More Crusader campaigns accomplished

little. With Saladin leading the Moslem armies to further

victories over the Crusaders, Europe sent a new Crusade under

Frederick Barbarossa, Philip Augustus and Richard I, Coeur

de Lion. This campaign managed to win control of the coast,

with the Moslems controlling the interior. The Islamic empire


lost its unity following Saladin's death, and the Europeans

seized the opportunity to win back lands lost to the Arab

leader, only to finally be driven out of the area by the

Mamluks of Egypt, led by Baybars. The last Crusader

fortress fell in 1291.22

The Crusader period signalled the beginning of a long

friendship between France and the Maronites of Lebanon. The

Maronites had welcomed the Crusaders and had cooperated fully

with them in their military campaigns. While the Maronites

proved to be eager recipients of Western ideas, similarly

France's interest in the area and its Catholic inhabitants

grew and was to continue through the next several centuries.

The Mamluk period (1282-1516), described as "a time of

decay and unrest,"23 was characterized partly by several
revolts by Maronites, Druze and Shiites,4 which were put down

with much brutality. The Mamluks harbored much ill-feeling

toward the Maronites, dating from the Crusader conquests, and

this they quickly demonstrated by attacking and decimating

Maronite towns and villages, killing thousands and forcing

thousands more to flee.25 The Druze also suffered considerably

under the Mamluks, and together with the Maronites sought

refuge in the mountains of Lebanon, where they settled with

their co-religionists. There the two communities lived

peacefully side by side, and through their deft manuverings,

managed to obtain concessions concerning autonomous rule.

Despite the repressive nature of Mamluk rule, and the

accompanying wars, famine and plagues, contacts were maintained

between the area and Europe. Trade and commercial ties were

established, and Lebanon especially experienced increasing

prosperity plus an increasing intellectual activity. This

ended with the appearance of the Ottoman Turks, who established

an empire which was to last approximately 400 years, from

1516 until the First World War.

The Ottoman Empire

Having consolidated his power in the area, Ottoman Sultan

Selim I chose to leave the notables of Lebanon in power, both

Christian and Moslem, demanding only token payments in return.

He designated certain areas were to be administered by

notable Lebanese families whose duties included collection of

taxes, providing soldiers and acting as arbitrators in dis-

putes. This practice continued after him, and until the

middle of the eighteenth century, the Ottomans ruled

Lebanon through two prominent families, the Maans and the

Shihabs. The autonomy of the local leaders, the system of

lordship and the population were three elements of Lebanese

society that were present at the beginning of Ottoman rule.26

The Maans, Druze by faith, were led first by Fakhr Al

Din I followed by the more colorful and controversial

Fakhr Al Din II, who ruled from 1585 to 1635. He ended the

feuds that had gone on under his predecessor and sought to

integrate the whole of Lebanon, plus parts of Palestine,27

into a more independent area, under his leadership. Very

flexible on religious matters, he established close cooperation

between the Druze and the Maronites.28 In addition he set about

economically developing the country, making significant

strides in agriculture and trade.

Fakhr Al Din's ambition for total autonomy led him to

enter into agreements with the Duke of Tuscany, directed

against the Ottomans. He fled to Tuscany, however, upon

hearing the Ottomans were intent on sending an army against

him. Five years later, in 1618, he received amnesty from

the Ottoman government and returned to Lebanon.29 No sooner

had he returned, however, than he set about rebuilding his

army, this time into a more efficient, 40,000 man force,

which proceeded to defeat the Ottoman troops sent against

him. Rather than seek revenge, the Sultan of Constantinople,

involved in fighting in Persia and Anatolia at the time,

accepted the fait accompli and conferred upon Fakhr Al Din

the title of Sultan of the Continent.3

Fakhr Al Din now sought closer ties with Italy,

establishing diplomatic relations with the Dukes of Tuscany

and Florence, and brought over Italian engineers and agri-

culturists to help further develop the country. These

measures were short-lived however, as the new Sultan Murad IV

moved against him in a final attempt to end the complete

autonomy of Lebanon under Fakr Al Din.31 The Lebanese leader

was exiled to Istanbul where he was put to death in 1635.

With the absence of a strong leader, the country

returned to internal feuds and general restlessness. The

Porte appointed Ali Alam-Al-Din as governor. However,

a nephew of Fakhr Al Din, the Amir Mulhim aspired to the

position of leader, which he finally won after much struggle.

His son Ahmad continued to rule until 1697, when he died

leaving no children. For the whole of the next century

another family was to dominate the area, the Shihabs, under

whom a large measure of autonomy continued for the region.

As Hitti describes it:

The Shihabis ruled Lebanon through an
intricate system of feudal hierarchy of
prices and shayks. Like their predecessors
they followed the principle of hereditary
succession and home rule, exercising even
the power of life and death on their

Allowed to elect a leader from among themselves, the

local chiefs chose Bashir Al Shihabi I, under whom Lebanon

remained relatively calm. Heydar succeeded Bashir I as

governor until 1732, after conflicts with the Porte, when

he abdicated to allow his son Mulhim to assume power. An

ailing Mulhim, in turn, abdicated in 1754 leaving his brothers

Mansur and Ahmad to contest the vacant seat. Finally, Mulhim's

son Yusuf became governor in 1770.3

Yusuf's power was challenged by Ahmad Al Jazzar,

governor of Sidon and later Damascus, who had won the goodwill

of the Porte for his help in putting down a local revolt on

Sidon by Zahir Al Umar. Jazzar incited members of Yusuf's

family against him, and also encouraged Druze families,

as the Jumblatts and the Yazbakis, to oppose the emir Yusif,

all in an effort to increase his control over the Lebanese

emirate. Taking advantage of the resulting strife, Jazzar

moved against Yusuf, who was then forced to abdicate.

Jazzar appointed in his place Bashir Shihab, a cousin of

Yusif's, who was to dominate Lebanese affairs until 1841.3

Throughout the eighteenth century Maronite peasants

had moved south, occupying areas vacated by a large number

of Druze who had moved to Jabal Druze near Damascus. As

mentioned above, the Druze community had weakened somewhat,

owing partly to divisions within the ranks of the Druze

nobility, and the rise in Maronite influence. Maronites

worked in the Shuf with Druzes who, mindful of the need for

laborers, encouraged this trend. Soon the Maronites

became part of the feudal system.35

Also at this time a close relationship was developing

between the Maronite Patriarch and the House of Shihab.

The Maronite church had minimal influence in the early

period of the Ottoman empire although relations with Europe

underscored the importance the Vatican and other Western

countries attached to relations with the Maronites.

Relations with the Vatican began to strengthen after Pope

Gregory III sent the Jesuit Monk Eliana Batista to the Levant

in 1578. This was followed by the establishment of a college

in Rome for the education of Maronite36 clerics. The Maronites

thus came to contribute significantly to the growth of


intellectual achievements in Lebanon, and it is suggested that

it was in the seventeenth century that Lebanon's distinct

identity emerged.37 Toward the end of the eighteenth century

the Maronite Church had established itself as the largest

and most wealthy organization in Ht.Lebanon, much to the

dismay of the previously prominent Khazen family who could

do little to prevent the Church slipping from their influence

and closer to the Shihabs.

The clergy were instrumental in arousing a feeling of

nationalism among the Maronites, who now sought a separate

Maronite entity, in a period in which communal loyalties

appeared to be growing stronger. Their newly-acquired

wealth and power, plus their education, gave them leadership

qualities, aiding in the growth of the Church's religious
and social influence.

Toward the end of the eighteenth century, then, certain

tendencies appeared which served ultimately to disrupt

relations between communities living in the Mountain. These


the spread of the Maronite peasantry
southwards, the increase in the power of
their hierarchy, the gradual transfer of
Shihabi favour from Druzes to Maronites
and the growth in influence of the great
Druze families, Jumblatt and Bellama 39

Bashir II and the Role of External Powers

When Al Jazzar joined the Ottomans in successfully

resisting Napolean's siege of Acre, Bashir remained neutral

although both, especially the French leader, had sought his
help.40 In spite of this, however, Napolean did receive

support from the Maronites, who did not attempt to hide their

joy at seeing the Europeans reappear in the Levant. The

Druzes on this occasion became apprehensive, and began to see

the quarrel as a religious conflict. They began increasingly

to ambush Maronite convoys taking supplies to Napoleon's

Jazzar died in 1804 leaving Bashir to rule the area

unopposed. Bashir set out to consolidate his rule under a

centralized government, and to realize his reforms he

encroached upon some hereditary privileges of certain feudal

families and imposed heavy taxation, both of which caused some

unrest. He contributed to later strife by reducing the

power of Druze leaders and emphasing the distinction between

the sects, both aimed at securing his own position.

Nonetheless, Lebanon under Bashir continued as a refuge for

minorities, and in general experienced a strong system of law

and order. Indeed, Mt. Lebanon in this period has been

described as "an oasis of order amid the chaos."42

In the last decade of Bashir's rule, Egyptian ruler

Mohammad Ali occupied Syria. Bashir aided this conquest, much

to the indignation of the Druze, which led to an increase in

religious tension and an embittering of Maronite-Druze

relations. This episode led to the Lebanese situation

becoming the focus of international concern for the first


The period of occupation lasted from 1831-40 and the area

was administered by Ibraham Pasha, Ali's son. Bashir's

motive in aiding the Egyptians lay in his desire to strengthen

his own position at home, especially against a perceived

threat to his power from the Druze Jumblatts.43 Druze

resentment grew deeper with Ali's plans to establish full

political and social equality between the two communities,

compounded by the imposition of burdens including higher taxes,

forced labor, and a program of mandatory military service.44

Bashir assisted Ali in suppressing Druze uprisings, even

to the point, albeit reluctantly, of providing conscripts

from among the Druze. Christians were exempt from conscription,

partly because of Bashir's resistance to the plan and partly

because of the role played by European consuls in pressuring
Ali to leave the Christians alone.4

The cooperation between the Egyptian ruler and Bashir did

not last however. It became clear that Ali was set upon

disarming and conscripting the Christians, as well as the Druze.

In an attempt to rid the country of Egyptian rule, insurrections

broke out with both Maronites and Druze allying themselves

against Ali's army. In this they were aided by the Ottomans

and the British, as well as other European powers, who had no

interest in seeing the Empire collapse. Thus, seizing the chance,

the Ottomans, aided by British, Russian and Austrian troops,46

succeeded in defeating Ali's army and forcing Bashir into


The united stand of Lebanon's religious communities

during the campaign to oust Ali proved to be short-lived, and

soon started to erode, with the Turks and to a lesser extent

the British doing much to encourage this split.48 Druze

discontent was of course rooted in Bashir's collusion with

Ali in putting down their revolts, and in the subsequent

exiling of prominent Druze chiefs. Thus, with the fabric

beginning to fall apart, numerous feuds arose or were revived.

The following two decades saw a period of great unrest which

culminated in the bloodshed of 1860.

The Ottomans worked to keep the situation tense, in the

hope of demonstrating that direct Ottoman control was the

only solution for the troubled Lebanese province. They

received some rather unexpected assistance in the person of

Bashir III, whom they had nominated and who proved to be a

weak ruler. Religious tensions continued to grow under

Bashir III, who had little of the competence or could

command the allegiance of his subjects as well as his

predecessor. He was unsympathetic to Druze demands that he

return their lands and former privileges.

In October, 1841, Bashir III found himself under siege by

Druze notables and their followers after they had invited by

him to discuss pressing tax issues. Maronite-Druze fighting

ensued, with the Ottomans, in seeking revenge against France

for support of Mohammad Ali's occupation of Syria, openly

aiding the Druze against the Christians. The Druze also

received support from the Greek-Orthodox, who resented Maronite

strength, and who were also urged on by the Russian Consul.49

European consuls pressured the Ottomans to end the

fighting. Bashir was deposed in January, 1841, and exiled

to Constantinople and with him went the end of the Shihabi

era. Umar Pasha was the Porte's choice for direct rule which,

after only three months, proved unable to contain the unrest,

which had claimed about 300 lives.

The Qaim Maqamiya

At the suggestion of Austrian Chancellor Metternich,

Lebanon was divided into two administrative districts, the

qaim maqamiyah, each headed by a qa'im maqam (Lt. governor or

administrative deputy), a Christian in the North and a

Druze in the South. The Beirut-Damascus road was to be the

dividing line between the two areas. The mixed districts

in both caused problems, and consequently wakils (agents)

of both faiths were appointed for each district, with

responsibility to the qa'im maqam of his own religion.50

The significance of this arrangement was that, since

allegiance was to one's religious community, a confessional

structure was introduced for the first time, which went

beyond the Millet system considerably. The Turks were not

confident of its success. It is suggested, moreover, that it

was again an effort on their part to show the European

powers the futility of indirect Ottoman rule.51 Indeed,

the division served only to exacerbate religious tensions,

and hostilities again erupted in 1845, with the Turks again

aiding the Druze, resulting in many Christian deaths.

The Porte, again reacting to European pressure dispatched

Foreign Minister Shakib Effendi to the area to investigate

the situation first-hand. Upon his recommendation a

majlis (council) was added to the existing administration,

more specifically to each qa'im maqam. The Council was to

consist of 12 members representing the religious sects.

Besides serving the qa'im maqam the Council would decide on

tax questions, as well as certain judicial cases. The power

of traditional families was severely curtailed under this

arrangement; thus, both Christian and Druze leaders opposed

it. In addition to signalling the erosion of their power,

it also meant the weakening of the feudal system in Lebanon.

In sum, the Church's influence was seen in its weakening

of the Christian aristocracy, attaining the loyalty of the

peasants, and in general weakening the institution of

feudalism. The ideals of freedom and equality which the

Church espoused contributed to the peasant uprisings and which

in turn led to an increase in power for the already wealthy

and influential church. The 1845 conflict "started as a

politico-economic struggle between a dying feudal system and

an aggressive Church bureaucracy supported by a rising

peasantry along sectarian lines.52 Rivalry between feudal

families also took on religious overtones in the mid-

nineteenth century.

The feudal system of Mount Lebanon in the eighteenth

and nineteenth centuries was, along with the Maronite Church,

a political force shaping the nature of modern Lebanon. The

feudal (Iqta) system persists today in the patronage network.

The feudal families ran their own districts (muqata'as) and were

given a large amount of autonomy by the Sultan. Loyalty was

not really of a religious nature, but more a personal loyalty

to the families (muqatijis) and their amir, as the feudal

leader's district compromised different religious groups.

Patronage existed here, with protection accorded to the

family's followers, the support of whom was necessary for the

muqatijis' power. There was little coercion involved in this

relationship. Elsewhere in the empire, this type of

relationship was not common.

In addition to the religious diversity of these villages,

the patronage network was strengthened by the nature of these

communities. Isolated and tightly-knit communities, these

villages sought protection from central authority and other

villages. Loyalty to the family and religion was matched by

loyalty to the village. Under the Maans and Shihabis conflicts

among the feudal families were common.

The Troubled "Inter-War" Years

Lebanon lived relatively quietly under this system

until the disturbances of 1860, with the Ottomans working

to make the area more subservient to the Porte. In the

interim years, however, the Maronite community in the

North was internally troubled. The conflict involved the

powerful Khazin family, the Church and the Maronite peasants,

who opposed the excessive taxes levied on them, demanding that
some of the reforms instituted by Ibraham Pasha be continued.5

Supported by the Maronite clergy, who in the 1840's

"exhibited an unparalleled zeal towards independence from the

Porte,"55 the peasants revolted against their feudal chiefs

in 1858. Led by Taniyus Shaheen, by 1859 they had seized the

land and had set up a peasant republic in the Kisrawan

region, further complicating the relations between the

communities.5 "By 1858 the Lebanese question had become so

involved that scarcely an incident took place which did not have

repercussions in the Chanceries of Europe, particularly

London and Paris."57

What was essentially a social conflict soon spread and

assumed a religious nature. The success of the peasants in the

North was an encouraging sign to other peasants, especially

those living in the mixed Druze districts of the South.

Maronite and Druze peasants in the South rose against their

Druze Lords, but soon the Druze peasants, ever suspicious of

Maronite intentions, began to side with their lords against the

Maronites. The Druze had in fact waited for an opportune

moment to strike at the Maronites, and in early 1860 they

discussed with the Ottomans military measures to be taken
against the Maronites. The Ottomans wanted, for their

part, to stem the Maronite drive for independence.

The fighting which broke out resulted in "a massacre of

the Maronites almost unparalleled in its brutality and the
zeal with which it was conducted." Four weeks of fighting

left 15,000 Christians dead, plus 100,000 refugees. The

Christians looked to outside powers as their only salvation

(a stand they were to take a century later in both the 1958

and 1975-76 crises). With the collusion of the Ottomans, the

Moslems of Damascus fell upon the Christians, killing over

5,000 in one day. Ultimately 25,000 were killed in Damascus,

including the American and Dutch consuls 60-more reason to

involve the major powers. In all, over 300 villages, 500

churches, 40 monasteries and 30 schools were destroyed.61

The European powers reacted with shock. They agreed to

send 12,000 troops, but France, under Napoleon III, on its

own initiative sent 7,000 troops. Fuad Pasha, Ottoman Foreign

Minister, had, in anticipation of foreign intervention, set

about apprehending and executing many of the perpetrators

of the massacres, including the governor of Damascus, and

providing relief funds for Christians.62


After eight months of intense discussions with the

European powers (France, Britain, Austria, Prussia and Russia)

a statute was signed on June 9, 1861, known as the Reglement

Organique, "the first truly organic law of the Lebanon."63

The Statute stipulated that Mt. Lebanon was to be an autonomous

part of the Ottoman empire. The entity, known as the

Mutasarrifiyah, was to be administered by a non-Lebanese

Christian, approved by both the Porte and the Great Powers.

Thus, with the Mutasarrifiyah a new era began in Lebanese

politics. Under this new arrangement Lebanon was to

experience peace and stability until the outbreak of World

War One.

The Mutasarrifiyah--Confessional Representation Institutionalized

The Statute established something which was to affect

Lebanese politics for the next century, and this was the

consolidation of the principle of confessional apportionment

of seats in the governmental institutions. As in the case of

the later Covenant of 1943, this provided for a type of checks

and balances system, in which no one community gained

predominance. The Mutasarrifiyah covered essentially what is

present day Mt. Lebanon. It excluded Beirut, Tripoli, Sidon

and the fertile Bekaa valley.

A code of 17 articles was established stipulating the

manner in which the new system was to be administered. The

Mutasarrif (governor or administrator) was to be the direct

representative of the Porte, though he maintained wide-ranging

powers. A Majlis Idarah (the Central Administrative

Council) was set up, consisting of 12 members, two from each
sect. This was later changed in 1864, giving seats in the

Majlis according to community size. These representatives

were to be chosen by the leaders of each religious community,

and they came to consist of 4 Maronites, 3 Druze, 2 Greek-

Orthodox, 1 Greek-Catholic, 1 Shiite and 1 Sunni, as

indicated by Table I.65




Greek Greek
Region Maronite Orthodox Catholic Sunni Shia

Druze Total

Kisrawan 1 1
Batroun 1 1
Jazzin 1 1 1 3
Matn 1 1 1 1 4
Shuf 1 1
Koura 1 1
Zahle 1 1

Total 4 2 1 1 1 3 12

SOURCE: Abdo I. Baaklini, Legislative and Political
Development: Lebanon, 1842-1972 (Durham: Duke
University Press, 1976), p.49.

The Council, which assisted the Mutasarrif in the

administration of Mt. Lebanon, further institutionalized

the principle of proportional religious representation for

the area. The Council had power over taxes, local government,
works projects and land tenure. The Mutasarrif acted

through the Council, as did the different religious factions

in an attempt to increase their power. The Council, it is

important to note, claimed to represent all the Lebanese

people, acting "in many respects as the first truly elected

representative body for the Lebanese people."67

The Council trained administrators allowed for political

change and institutionalized political conflict. It allowed

the feudal aristocracy to engage in business activities, such as

trade, commerce and industry. A degree of tolerance and

cooperation grew between the feudal aristocracy and the new

educated elements who formed a growing middle class.

Economic and religious cleavages were seen as part of Lebanese

life. This open religious, political and economic structure

remained until independence. Competition was within

sects, while a candidate for office needed the support of

different sects leading to moderation and compromise. The

electoral process, in essence, remained the same, with some

minor modifications, in independent Lebanon. It may be said

that the origin of Lebanon's institutions lay with the

Qaim Maqamiya and the Mutasarrifiyah, which made possible

representation for all groups.

In addition the area was sub-divided into 7 districts,

each headed by a qa'im maqam, who was drawn from the largest

community. The Reglement abolished the feudal system and its

privileges, therefore, proclaiming full equality for all.

Lebanon was given its own police force, assured of the

non-interference of Ottoman troops, no military service or

taxes for the Porte.

The Mutasarrifiyah thus contributed directly to the

establishment of confessional representation in Lebanon.

Religious differences were institutionalized making the sects

more conscious of the differences separating them. Religion,

in short, became the basis for the relationship between

individuals and their representatives in the government.

Increased communal loyalty resulted among the peasants,

who were now organized by the Church. This occurred especially

among the Maronites of Mount Lebanon where the Church was

instrumental in cultivating a religious loyalty. The Church,

though, was unhappy that a non-Lebanese rather than a Maronite

headed the new system. In addition it was dissatisfied that

Maronite representation was not commensurate with its numerical

strength. Its influence on the new administration, also, was

minimal since the feudal families were able to maintain their

power through this new vehicle.

Feudalism, however, did not die but rather assumed new

forms. Urban and rural leaders, who formed common bonds of

cooperation, continued to dispense favors from their new

positions in the Mutasarrifiyah, a system moreover that

accorded citizens equal rights, and which signalled the growth

of the concept of confessional representation in the

institutions of the state. In essence the Mutasarrifiyah

gave Lebanon an internationally recognized identity, and gave

the Maronites specifically a political identity and sense of

communal loyalty.

The Reglement, described as a "multifarious dialectic

of rival diplomatic pressures and aims,"68 led to the

appointment of Daud Pasha as the first, and perhaps the most

competent, of seven administrators. He had been a compromise

candidate. Britain had opposed France's demands for a

Maronite candidate, fearing increased French influence in the

area. France did, however, support the administration of

Duad Pasha, hoping both to preserve the autonomy of the Empire

and to show Lebanon as an example for other minorities.

The only opposition to the Mutasarrifiyah came from a

number of Maronites, led by Yusaf Bey Karam, who was active in

protecting Christian areas in the 1860 fighting, and who now

apparently hoped to become governor. Karam, who "represented

the Maronite nationalism of the Northern Lebanese in its

strongest temper"69 was defeated by the forces of the Pasha,

aided by Ottoman troops, and was exiled in 1861 to Egypt. He

returned in 1866, and again was exiled, this time to Italy where

he died in 1889. The Maronites after this ceased to strongly

resist the new Mutasarrifiyah.

Although a supporter of the administration, France registered

its displeasure with Daud, declaring it did not look favorably

on the "spilling of Christian blood."70 European powers in

general took a more active interest in the area after the

establishment of the Mutasarrifiyah. Numerous Jesuit schools

opened, the most famous of which is today the French

St. Joseph University, plus a number of American schools,

particularly the Syrian Protestant Mission, which later became

the American University of Beirut. The Lebanese Christians

embraced these Western overtures more so than did any other


The French were most active in setting up hospitals and

schools in the Mountain, resulting in the spread of the

French language and helping establish a literacy level

unmatched anywhere in the Empire. The Christians, especially

the Maronites, became superior in education, having "none

of the Moslems' religious or political reservations "71

began to develop a strong sense of Lebanese identity. The

Maronites took pride in their friendship and the Papacy.

As Spagnolo explains, they were:

S. imbued with a feeling of cultural
superiority of Christians over non-
Christians . their conviction was not so
much the product of a religious fever, as
of the sophistication of its religious
education. . clergy had also imbied some
of the feeling of contempt towards things
non-Christian which was prevalent in the
Western world.72

This education led to the Maronites being the source a

literary revival that spread to the entire Arabic-speaking


Mt. Lebanon also began to develop agriculturally and

economically. More trade with Europe and large remittances

sent back to relatives by a growing number of mainly Maronite

emigrants helped development considerably. Material

achievements soon equalled the intellectual heights attained.

Perhaps Ilitti's analysis best sums it up:

Despite general incompetence on the part
of its governors, reduction in its area
loss of access to the sea and deprivation
of fertile maritime and inland plains,
Mt. Lebanon--thanks to the resourcefulness,
energy and adaptability of its people--
enjoyed a period of cultural flourish and
economic prosperity and achieved a state
of security and stability unattained by any
Ottoman province, European or Asian.74

The French Mandate, 1918-1943:
The Consolidation of Consociational Principles

With the outbreak of the First World War, the Ottomans,

allied with the Central Powers, imposed direct rule over

Lebanon, abolishing the Mutasarrifiyah. The ruler of Lebanon

in this period, Jamal Pasha, imposed restrictions on assembly,

and the press, tolerated no political expression, and

general imposed dictatorial rule. He discriminated

against the people of the area, especially in the

distribution of food, which led to widespread famine and

disease, leaving over 100,000 dead by the end of the war.

Christians were ill-treated for their alleged sympathy for

the Allies, and Moslems for activities associated with

Arab nationalist groups. In 1916 the Turks executed a

number of Lebanese, including the Mayor of Beirut, for


alleged subversive activities.7

During the war, the British High Commissioner of Egypt

Sir Henry MacMahon had promised Sharif Husayn, Protector

of the Holy Places in Mecca and Medina, independence for

the Arabs in return for their help against the Turks. This

arrangement was complicated by the Sykes-Picot agreement

of 1916 which stated that Britain and France would divide

the area into spheres of influence, with Britain taking

Iraq and Transjordan, and France assuming control over

Lebanon and Syria.77 Palestine was to be put under

international administration and complicating the issue

was the Balfour Declaration, which stated Britain's desire to

establish a Jewish homeland in Palestine.

Despite misunderstandings with the British over the

future status of Lebanon, Sharif Husayn began the revolt

against the Turks in 1916. With the defeat of Turkey in

1918, the time had now come for France to pick up some of

the pieces of the Ottoman empire. It was the aim of the

French to maintain and extend their influence in Lebanon which,

as noted above, had long been established. To do this

they had to put an end to Arab ambitions in Syria, and this

they did by forcefully removing the Arab government

established in Damascus by Faysel, Sharif Iusayn's son.

In an effort to determine the wishes of the people of

the area concerning their future, President Wilson supported

the King-Crane commission sent to the Middle East to

investigate and recommend a course of action. Its

recommendation that Lebanon continue to be an autonomous

part of a larger Syria fell on deaf ears, as France and

Britain did not support the Commission.78 The issue was

taken up by the leaders of the Allied Powers in San Remo

on April 20, 1920. The Treaty of Sevres which followed

on August 10 gave Lebanon to France, while Turkey disclaimed

any of the territory of the former empire.7 The Mandate

was subsequently approved by the League of Nations in

September 1923. France's position in Lebanon was not strongly

disputed by any allied power. Its claim for special right

there, its great influence among the Christians, and the

need to maintain the safety of the Suez Canal all were

recognized as legitimate concerns for the French.80

After World War I the Central Administrative Council

called for a larger, independent Lebanon with a democratic

government with rights for all minorities. The French

abolished the Council on the pretext that some of its

members favored a Greater Syria, and until 1922 the French

ruled with an advisory council of 17 members, drawn from

all sects. In 1922 a Representative Council was formed and

dissolved in 1925. A new Council was formed in 1926 and

this succeeded in adopting a constitution, which called for

the establishment of a legislature made up of both a Senate

and Chamber of Deputies. The Senate was to have 16

members, seven appointed by the President and the rest

elected for six year terms while the Deputies were to

serve a four year term. Both Iouses were to elect a

President who was to choose a Prime Minister. The Senate

was abolished the following year while more powers were

given to the President.

The legislature combined all the country's groups and

gave the new state a constitution. It became a forum for

the calls for independence, and led to the growth of a

feeling of accommodation and cooperation. The legislature,

with its various sects, spoke with one voice in demanding

and achieving the country's independence.

The first French High Commissioner in Beirut, General

Henri Gouraud, announced in 1920 the creation of Greater

Lebanon, adding to the Mutasarrifiyah the areas taken away

in 1861, former areas once ruled by the Ma'ans and Shihabs.

With the addition of Beirut, Tripoli, Sidon, Tyre and the

Bekaa Lebanon lost its religious harmony and homogeneity.

With the new areas came a large Moslem population, which was

the "price" the French and Maronites were willing to pay for

an economically viable state.81

The Christians, mainly Maronites, had worked for the

addition of the other areas, and in the process had become

only a slight majority in a state that now had numerous

disgruntled Moslems. The Maronite Patriarch had been

assured by GeorgesClemenceau in Paris that the enlarged

Lebanese state would become independent.82 France desired a

state where Maronites would be dominant, and its afore-

mentioned ties with the Maronites would be strengthened and

lead to an entrenching of France in the Middle East. As one

author sees it:

France enlarged Lebanon to include
enough Christians to justify setting
up a separate government, but also a
sufficient number of Moslems to assure
the need for continued French protection
of their political hegemony.83

The Moslems, for their part, were unhappy with the new

arrangement and demanded to be included in a greater Syria.

This sentiment was strongest among the Sunnis, and this was to

remain their "favourite theme"84 in the next two decades.

The Shiites, with few co-religionists in Syria, were not

unhappy with their inclusion in the new Lebanese state.

Similarly the Druze, now outnumbered by the Moslems, were not

opposed to the French plan, as they feared becoming part of

a Syrian state that would be overwhelmingly Sunni.85 The

Greek-Orthodox opted for union with Syria rather than life

under Maronite influence.

The allegiance to the new state was strongest among

Maronites, who saw it as their own creation and themselves as

having played the central role in Lebanon's history. "Various

spokesmen for the Lebanese nationalism professed its origins

to lie in Lebanon's Phoenician culture, which they considered

separate and distinct from Moslem Arab culture."86 The

French, in an effort to prevent the growth of a strong Arab

nat-onalism, highlighted the distinction between the Moslem

sects. This distinction was so much clearer, though, between

the two major communities. In the words of one author:

Since for Moslems and Christians alike
consciousness of belonging to a religious
community was the basis of political and
social obligation, both were very
conscious of not belong to other
communities, and the sense of distinctive-
ness led easily to suspicion and dislike.87

To allay Moslem fears that the new state had a

"mainly Christian atmosphere,"88 the French made religion

the basis for participation in the state, establishing a

system of confessional representation that was to take root

and grow during the remainder of the French Mandate.

Despite the alleged "irritating"89 attitude and

behavior of the French in Lebanon, the Lebanese administration

(similar to France's own) grew steadily in the next two

decades. Schools were built, a modern network of roads took

shape, the economy grew, aided considerably by improvements

in communication, agriculture and health.

On May 24, 1926, a Constitution was proclaimed and

Lebanon was made a Republic, amid vociferous protests from

the Moslems who had no desire to discuss a Lebanese con-

stitution,90 especially one that recognized the country's

religious divisions, and one which had more of a Christian

than a Moslem base. The Constitution was approved by the

Lebanese Representative Council (elected in July, 1925),

which thereupon became the Chamber of Deputies (Parliament).

The Chamber elected Charles Debbas the first President of the

Republic,91 whose powers included appointment of a Cabinet.

The Constitution provided for a bicameral legislature of 30

members, 15 to be elected and 15 to be nominated. After the

first elections in 1929 the apportionment of seats was:

Maronites 15, Sunnis 11, Shiites 8, Greek-Orthodox 6,

Druze 3, Greek-Catholic 3, Armenian Catholic 1, Armenian
Orthodox 1.

With regard to the planned confessional system of

Lebanon, Article 95 of the Constitution specifies equal,

that is proportional, apportionment of public posts to the

sects, but not specifying exact ratios. The article

states partly that ". . for the sake of justice and concord,

the communities shall be equitably represented in public

employment and in the Ministry. .93

The mid-twenties also saw a period of unrest among the

Druze. The rebellion which erupted in Syria in 1925

spread to Lebanon the following year, where Moslems began

isolated attacks on Christian villages, leading to an

increase in religious tension. Following bombardment of

Damascus, the French were able to quell the revolt, and by

the end of 1927 the rebellion had completely dissipated.94

Developments in the thirties were also affected by two

prominent politicians, Emile Edde and Bishara El Khoury.

Both Maronites, they were the dominant political figures of

this period. Edde strongly supported the French presence

in Lebanon, asserting Lebanon's independence was contingent

upon it, while Khoury felt the French would only prevent

closer cooperation between Moslems and Christians, which he

felt was needed to give the new state much-needed stability.95

It was the intense competition between these two leaders

which led to the suspension of the Constitution in 1932,

the year in which the first population census was taken

(Table II).



Sunnis ........................175,925
Druzes .. .................. ......53,047
Maronites ..................... 226,378
Greek-Catholics................. 45,999
Armenian Orthodox..............25,462
Armenian Catholics..............5,694
Protestants .....................6,712
Jews ............................3,518

SOURCE: Albert H. Hourani, Syria and Lebanon (London:
Oxford University Press, 1954), p. 121.

Since the Chamber could not decide between Khouri and Edde,

the suggestion was made that Sheikh Mohammad El Jisr, a

Moslem notable from Tripoli, be nominated. The French High

Commissioner stepped in and suspended the Constitution,

rather than allow the Presidency to go to a Moslem. Debbas

was succeeded by Iabib Assad, a Maronite, in 1934, and in

1936 Edde was elected and stayed in power until the

Constitution was again suspended in 1939 with the beginning

of the Second World War.96

Though the Sunnis were quite numerous it was felt that they,b'

the early 1930s, were still not fully assimilated. As one

French newspaper commented, "A Lebanon quite intoxicated

with Arabism and where 45 percent of Lebanon declined to be
Lebanese, is not a viable Lebanon." Isolated clashes

again broke out between Maronites and Sunnis with the

announcement of a French-Lebanese Treaty in 1936. This

provided for Lebanese independence within three years,with

France retaining control over defense and foreign affairs

until 1961.98 The Maronites were happy with the Treaty while

the Sunnis saw it as finally precluding any union with Syria.

The Treaty was never ratified by the French Parliament,

which led to some resentment among Maronite ranks.

Independence for Lebanon took a back seat when World

War Two broke out. The French abrogated the 1936 Treaty and

again suspended the Constitution, dismissing the Cabinet.99

The British and Free French mounted an offensive against the

newly-installed Vichy administration and on June 8, 1941,

General Catroux declared Lebanon and Syria independent.100

Alfred Naccache was appointed President until such time that

elections could be held. The results of the subsequent

elections in the summer of 1943 were a blow to the French,

as Bishara El Khoury's Constitutional Bloc emerged the

winners over Edde's more pro-French National Bloc. Meanwhile,

state services were gradually being turned over to the



Khouri immediately set about amending the Constitution,

removing clauses pertaining to French rights and announcing

the end of the Mandate. Parliament passed these amendments,

and immediately the French Delegate Jean Helleu responded by
arresting and imprisoning the President and his Cabinet.

Helleu's action served to unite Christians and Moslems in a

nation-wide strike. American and British pressure finally

led to their release on November 22, eleven days after they

were imprisoned, and this day has since been celebrated as

Lebanon's day of Independence.

By the end of 1944 Lebanon had taken over all of the

services previously provided by the French, with one notable

exception. The Troupes Speciales were Lebanese soldiers

trained and officered by the French, and which were later to

form the backbone of the Lebanese army. The French held on

to these for the next two years. Although De Gaulle continued

to hold out for rights in military and foreign affairs, France

finally transferred the Troupes Speciales to the Lebanese and

by December 31, 1946 the final French soldier was evacuated.

In 1943 an agreement came into being between President

Khoury and his Sunni Prime Minister, which became known as

the National Pact or Covenant (Al Mithaq Al Watani). This
unwritten agreement stipulated that Lebanon was to maintain

its independence from both the West and the Arab World.

Christians were not to seek protection from the Christian West

and the Moslems were not to seek union with other Moslem Arab

states. Public offices were to be distributed according to


the numerical strength of the communities. The agreement

stated that, accordingly, the President was always to be a

Maronite, the Prime Minister a Sunni, and the Speaker of

the House a Shiite. Parliamentary seats were to follow a

six to five ratio (always a multiple of eleven). The first

post-independence Parliament gave Christians 30 seats and

Moslems 25.

This arrangement was put to the test a number of times

in Lebanon's post-war years, and it is these crises with

which we will be concerned in the following chapters.


1. Confessionalism refers to the system whereby representation
or participation in a state's political process is
accorded to the society's religious sects in proportion
to their numberical strength.

2. Philip K. Hitti, Lebanon in History (London: MacMillan
and Co, Ltd, 1957), p. 4.

3. Nicola A. Ziadeh, Syria and Lebanon (New York:
Frederick A. Praeger, Inc., 1957), pp. 27-8.

4. Mount Lebanon is the historical area inhabited primarily
by Maronites, which existed as an autonomous area under
the Ottoman rulers until World War I when France added
other areas to the Mountain creating the state of
Greater Lebanon.

5. The Eastern Mediterranean region.

6. Albert H. Hourani, Syria and Lebanon (London: Oxford
University Press, 1954-T, p. 15.

7. The alphabet was transferred to the Greeks around 800 B.C.,
who developed it further. See Hitti, op. cit.,
pp. 122-123.

8. Hitti, op. cit., pp. 77-78.

9. Ibid., pp. 88-89.

10. Ibid., pp. 143-151.

11. Philip Hitti, A Short History of the Near East
(Princeton: D. Van Nostrand Co, Inc.,1966), p. 71.

12. Hitti, Lebanon in History, p. 211.

13. P.M. Holt, Egypt and the Fertile Crescent, 1516-1922
(New York: Cornell University Press, 1966 p. 10.

14. Ibid., p. 11.

15. Hourani, op. cit., p. 21.

16. Moslems do not consider Christians to be by their nature
"inferior". Rather they are seen as having gone
"astray", accepting Christ as God Incarnate, and not
as simply a prophet, as the Moslems do. Moslems in
turn see Mohammed as the final prophet. Since
Christians and Jews are "People of the Book", believing
in one God, the scriptures and a Day of Judgement, they
are viewed with toleration. See Hourani, Ibid., pp. 59-62.

17. The Maronites were originally farmers from the Orontes
valley and the area around Antioch. Fleeing the Jacobists,
Byzantines and the Moslems, they moved into the North
Lebanon mountains where they settled permanently and
formed a feeling of nationalism or at least separateness.
The name is taken from St. Maroun (their patron saint),
an ascetic monk who lived in the fourth century. They
were previously Monothelites, that is, they believed
Christ had two natures but one will. Due mainly to
Crusader influence, they became a Uniate church in 1180.
They continue to use the Syriac liturgy, the traditional
language of the Eastern Church, and the clergy are
allowed to marry. The spiritual Head is the Patriarch
of Antioch and All the East, who is elected by local
Bishops and confirmed by the Pope. They comprise the
single largest sect in Lebanon today. See Hitti,
Lebanon in History, op. cit., pp. 247-249 and Iliya
Harik, Politics and Change in a Traditional Society:
Lebanon 1711-1845 Princeton: Princeton University
Press, 196) pp. 18-23.

18. The Druze (sing. and pl.) are an offshoot of Orthodox
Islam. They were originally followers of the Fatimid
Caliph Al Hakim (Egyptian ruler, 996-1021), who claimed
divine origin and final incarnation. The claim is that
God's will is known to only a few, more specifically
ten men, through whom God became man, the most perfect
being Al Hakim. Monotheistic and Monogamous, the Druze
take their name from Mohammed Al Darazi, one of the
main founders of the sect. They are a tightly knit
community and comprise about 7 seven per cent of Lebanon's
population. See Hitti, Lebanon in History, op. cit.,
pp. 23-24 and Kamal Salibi, A Modern History of Lebanon
(New York: Frederick A. Praeger, 1965), p. xviii.

19. Ziadeh, op. cit., p. 31.

20. Hitti, Lebanon in History, op. cit. p. 282.

21. Hourani, op. cit., p. 23.

22. Hitti, Lebanon in History, op. cit., pp. 301-309.

23. Hourani, op. cit., p. 23.

24. Islam split into the Sunni and Shiite branches after the
death of Mohammad in 632. The supporters of All, the
Prophet's son-in-law, lost the succession to a line of
Caliphs whom the Sunnis recognize as the true successors
to Mohammad. The Shiites believe the succession was
passed to a line of Imamas, Ali being the first of
twelve, all of whom they believe had divine revelation.
The Shiites are the most impoverished and least advanced
community in Lebanon. The Sunnis are the majority in
the Arab world, and they consider themselves adherents
to the original orthodox Islam. The four schools of
Sunni Islam are the Maliki, Hambali, Shafii, and the Hanafi.
See Hourani, Ibid., p. 122 and Albert Hourani,
Minorities in the Arab World (London: Oxford University
Press, 1947), pp. 6-7.

25. Thousands of Maronites fled to Cyprus, establishing the
only Maronite community outside Lebanon existing to the
present time.

26. Albert Hourani, "Lebanon: The Development of a
Political Society," in Leonard Binder (ed.), Politics
in Lebanon (New York: John Wiley and Sons, In., 1966)
p. 214.

27. In this light he is seen as having created "the Greater
Lebanon for the first time." Robin Fedden, Syria and
Lebanon (London: John Murray, 1965), p. 214.

28. He went so far as to support the building of churches
and encourage European Missionaries. Holt, op. cit.,
p. 120

29. Ibid., pp. 116-117.

30. A title given to powerful clan leaders.

31. Ibid., pp. 118-119.

32. Hitti, Short History of the Near East, op. cit.,
p. 222. The Shihabis were addressed by the princely
title of 'Emir'.

33. Salibi, The Modern History of Lebanon, op. cit., p. 12.
In 1756 Mulhim's sons converted to Christianity, with
their father's approval. The rule of Yusuf Shihab
signalled the beginning of the decline of Druze political
dominance, and the growth of Maronite power, hitherto
relatively weak. Thus, it is not uncommon to find both
Moslem and Christian Shihabs in Lebanon, the most
prominent of the latter group being Fuad Shihab,
Lebanon's President from 1958-64.

34. Holt, op. cit., p. 123 and Salibi, op. cit., p. 16.

35. Iliya Harik, "The Ethnic Revolution and Political Integration
in the Middle East," International Journal of Middle
East Studies (July, 1972T,p. 313.

36. Harik, Politics and change in a traditional society,
op. cit., p. 96 In an indication of the value placed
on close relations with the Maronites, Pope Leo X had
described the Lebanese Catholics as "roses among thorns".
Ibid., p. 133. Also LouisXIV in 1649 extended protection
to the Maronites and had French representatives treat
them "with all possible charity and gentleness". See
text of proclamation in J.C. Hurewitz, The Middle East
and North Africa in World Politics: A Documentary
Record (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1975), p. 28.

37. Albert Hourani, "Lebanon from Feudalism to Modern State,"
Middle Eastern Studies (April, 1966), p. 256. This
article is a review of Kamal Salibi's book, The Modern
History of Lebanon.

38. For a rather detailed history of the Maronite Church,
see Harik, Politics and Change in a Traditional Society,
op, cit., pp. 74-126 plus Iliya Harik, "The Maronite
Church and Political change in Lebanon", in Binder,
op. cit., pp. 31-55, for the period of the Shihabi
Emirate, 1697-1842.

39. Albert Hourani, A Vision of History (Beirut: Khayats,
1961), p. 42.

40. Holt, op. cit., p. 232

41. Salibi, op. cit., p. 21.

42. Hourani, Syria and Lebanon, op. cit., p. 27.

43. Kamal Jumblatt, who led the Palestinian-Lebanese
Leftist alliance in the civil war, is a direct descendant
of this family.

44. Hitti, Lebanon in History, op. cit., pp. 421-423.
The Egyptian viceroy had demanded Syria from the Ottomans
in return for his aid in fighting the Greek war of
independence and the Wahhabis of Arabia. It is suggested
that he wanted Syria to act as a buffer zone between
his center of power in the Nile valley and the Ottoman
possessions of Anatolia. Holt, op. cit., p. 184.

45. Salibi, op. cit., p. 31. France had consistently
supported the Ottoman empire, so as both to maintain
an ally in this region, and to consolidate and expand
their trade links with the area. In spite of this,
France supported Ali's conquest of Syria "as many
Frenchmen came to regard (Ali) as the spiritual
successor of Bonaparte in Egypt." Ibid., p. 32.

46. Part of the reasons for support outside powers gave to
different communities was probably the hope that they
could divide the area between themselves if and when
the empire collapsed. Russia wanted to continue her
role as protector of the Greek-Orthodox, which she
claimed was implicit in the treaty of Kuchuk-Kaynarja
(1774). Holt, op. cit., p. 238. Also for a discussion
of how Russia sought tofurthur her political interests
in the Levant through its ecclesiastical policy, see
T.G. Stavrou, "Russian interest in the Levant, 1843-48,"
Middle East Journal (Winter-Spring, 1963), pp. 91-103.
Britain, for its part, sought to establish ties with the
Druze. See W.R. Polk (ed.), "The British connections
with the Druzes," Middle East Journal (Winter-Spring, 1963),
154-156. Austria hoped to replace France as protector
of the Maronites, something which never materialized.
See also Leila Meo, Lebanon: Improbable Nation
(Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1965), pp. 24-8.

47. Hitti, Short History of the Near East, op. cit., p. 224.

48. Fedden, op. cit., p. 219.

49. Salibi, op. cit., p. 51. This resentment continues
today, as it is mainly the Greek-Orthodox that support
leftist parties, as the Social Natonalist Party which
espouses a pan-Arab secular state. This party is
anathema to the more right-wing parties, especially the
mainly Maronite Phalange. The Greek-Orthodox are
adherents of the Orthodox Eastern Church, who split
with the Western Church in the eleventh century. They
reject Papal supremacy. The Patriarch of Antioch, whose
seat is in Damascus, is the spiritual leader. The
liturgy used is Arabic.

50. Holt, op. cit., p. 259.

51. Hitti, Lebanon in History, op. cit., p. 435.

52. Abdo Baaklini, Legislative and Political Development:
Lebanon, 1842-1972 (Durham: Duke University Press, 1976)
p. 45.

53. Throughout these conflict-ridden years fearful Maronites
sought stronger ties with France, while Britain, which
had signed an alliance with the Druze in 1842, began
establishing Protestant missions. Opposition to thses
missions by the Maronites soured their relations with
the British, as the Druze opened their doors wider to
the British missions. The Maronites displayed their
affinity for the French by raising French flags on
Church buildings. Salibi, op. cit., p. 58 and
Antoine Abraham, "Lebanese communal relations," The
Muslim World (April, 1977), p. 92.

54. Meo, op. cit., p. 16

55. Abraham, op. cit., p. 91.

56. Hourani, Syria and Lebanon, op. cit., p. 32.

57. Salibi, op. cit., p. 77.

58. Holt, op. cit., p. 240.

59. Abraham, op. cit., p. 97.

60. S.J. Shaw and E.K. Shaw, The History of the Ottoman
Empire and Modern Turkey (New York: Cambridge University
Press, 1977), p. 143.

61. Ibid. For more details on the fighting, see Salibi,
op. cit., pp. 90-105.

62. Britain in 1861 had intervened on behalf of a number of
Druze that had been sentenced to death. Hourani,
"Lebanon from Feudalism to Modern State," op. cit., p. 258.

63. C.G. Hess and H.L. Bodman, "Confessionalism and Feudality
in Lebanese Politics," The Middle East Journal (Winter,
1954), p. 13.

64. For the full text of the Reglement Organique, see
Hurewitz, op. cit., pp. 346-49.

65. Hess and Bodman, op. cit., p. 14. The number of signatories
to the statutes of 1861 and 1864 rose to 7 when Italy
joined in 1867.

66. Baaklini, op. cit., p. 50.

67. Ibid., p. 51.

68. John P. Spagnolo, "Mount Lebanon, France and Daud Pasha:
A study of some aspects of political habituation,"
International Journal of Middle East Studies (April,
1971), p. 148.

69. Harik, Politics and change in a traditional society,
op. cit., p. 151.

70. Spagnolo, op. cit., p. 156.

71. Salibi, op. cit., p. 142.

72. Spagnolo, "Constitutional change in Mt. Lebanon,
1861-1864," Middle East Studies (January, 1971), p. 38.

73. Ibid., p. 26.

74. Hitti, Lebanon in History, op. cit., p. 447.

75. Ziadeh, op. cit., p. 46.

76. George Haddad, Fifty Years of Modern Syria and Lebanon
(Beirut: Dar Al Hayat, 1950), pp. 48-49.

77. Holt, op. cit., pp. 264-266.

78. Longrigg, op. cit., pp. 87-92.

79. Ibid., p. 109.

80. See text of Mandate in Helen Davis, Constitutions,
electoral laws treaties of states in the Near and
Middle East (Durham: Duke University Press, 1947),
pp. 162-170.

81. France had in fact indicated it was in Lebanon to
protect the interests of the Maronites. Salibi,
op. cit., p. 163.

82. Pierre Rondot, "Lebanese Institutions and Arab Nationalism,"
Journal of Contemporary History (July, 1968), p. 40.

83. Don Peretz, The Middle East Today (New York: Holt,
Rinehart and Winston, Inc., 1963Y, p. 322.

84. Meo, op. cit., p. 56.

85. George Kirk, Contemporary Arab Politcs: A Concise
History (New York: F.A. Praeger, Inc., 1961), p. 117.

86. Meo, op. cit., p. 70.

87. Hourani, Syria and Lebanon, op. cit., p. 63.

88. Ibid., p. 184.

89. Ziadeh, op. cit., pp. 50-51. Also, Longrigg, who was
himself a British official in Iraq at the time, writes
that the French regarded the area as its own, with no
visible intention displayed that it was intent on
guiding Lebanon to independence. Longrigg, op. cit.,
p. 110. Also Peretz, op. cit., p. 323.

90. Rondot, op. cit., p. 41.

91. Although the Greek-Orthodox were not the dominant
community, they were given the Presidency to allay
their fears of being overshadowed by the Maronites.
Also it sought to reassure the Moslems that Lebanon
was not simply a homeland for the Maronites. However,
since no Sunni would serve as Prime Minister,
Maronites substituted.

92. Longrigg, op. cit., p. 102. A constitutional amendment
subsequently abolished the Senate in 1937 and specified
Parliament to consist of two-thirds and one-third

93. Full text in Davis, op. cit., pp. 170-185.

94. For a detailed account, see Longrigg, op. cit., pp. 154-169.

95. Salibi, op. cit., p. 175. Edde had publicly declared
that Lebanon was a "Christian island in a Muslim sea",
emphasising its Western culture dating back to the
Phoenicians. Edde had formed the National Bloc in
1934, and Khoury the Constitutional Bloc. Lebanon's
political parties will be discussed in more detail in the
next chapter.

96. Ziadeh, op. cit., p. 53.

97. L'Orient of 5-6 September, 1931, quoted in Rondot,
op. cit., p. 45.

98. Hitti, Lebanon in History, op. cit., p. 492.

99. Hourani, Syria and Lebanon, op. cit., p. 230.

100. General Catroux's full Declaration is in Davis, op. cit.,
pp. 201-202.


101. Haddad, op. cit., p. 93. Two ministers, Habib Abu
Shahla (Orthodox) and Majid Arslan (Druze) escaped and
set up a government.

102. Meo, op. cit., pp. 82-83.



We now turn to a discussion of the nature of the

Lebanese political system, with a specific focus on its

confessional character, and the concept of proportionality

which underlay it. Linked to this will be a survey of

clientelism, an integral part of traditional Lebanese

politics, and its relation to the country's consociational

system. In essence, we are looking here at the "rules of the

game", as applied to Lebanon in the post-independence period.

The main characteristics of the system, on which we will

expound below, are summarized by Hudson:

(1) A particularistic "mosaic" society;
(2) an authoritarian and hierarchical
family structure; (3) religious
institutions that are politically
influential; (4) power dispersed in
religious sect, regional grouping,
economic pressure groups, and ideologically
oriented political movements; (5) foreign
influence in politics. . (6) a cult of
leadership, historically the result of
feudalism which has produced parties of
notables, each with a local clientele. .

Confessionalism and Proportionality:
Nominal Actors and Formal Rules

In general terms, the major actors in the Lebanese

political system are the sects or religious groups, and more

specifically the major families within each community. Religion,

of course, represents the major cleavage in Lebanon. Hourani


The primary divisions inside the Near
East are, as they have been for a
thousand years, religious: whether a
man is Moslem, Christian, or Jew, and
which branch of the Moslem,Christian,
or Jewish community he belongs to.2

Recruitment, family competition and the nature of the

clientage system are directly related to the role played by

religion in Lebanon. Religion as part of the state goes back

to the Mutasarrifiyah. Loyalties to the religious community

increased after the religious strife of 1860, to the extent

that today religion permeates every aspect of the individual's

life. Religion determines his political and social

orientations. As Khalaf puts it, "religious sentiments,

particularly after the decline in feudalism, came to assume

a more intense role in maintaining identity and communal


The division between the two communities is compounded

by divisions within each community where keen rivalry and

competition are evident, and by regional and family divisions

which serve to exacerbate the religious cleavages. As a

result, the country consists of many "nations", separate

groups that feel solidarity, share common values and a common

history. A strong Lebanese identity is lacking, except

perhaps for the Maronites who feel the strongest attachment

to the Lebanese state, identified albeit in Maronite terms.

Shils speaks of the "...incivility of many members of the

elite, the members of the great families, the zuama who

dominate and speak for the primordial and religious


Within the religious groups, then, the central actors

are the traditionally prominent religious families. In

essence, political power is still based on traditional

family influence. Certain families are associated with

specific regions and religions, as the Maronite Shihabs and

Khourys of Mount Lebanon, the Jumblatts of the Shouf,

Karamis of Tripoli, Salams and Yafis of Beirut and the

Franjiehs of Zghorta. By being born into a politically

prominent family, it is highly likely that that power will

be passed on. "Over the entire span of 50 years of

parliamentary life, only 359 deputies representing 210

families, have won parliamentary seats. This amounts to not

more than eight percent of the total number of families in

Lebanon." Of the 359, over 300 have inherited their seat.

Table III reflects this trend.



No. of times in Parliament No. of Deputies

14 1
12 1
11 1
8 1
7 8
6 14
5 16

SOURCE: Baaklini, op. cit., p. 172.

Lebanon's families have helped shape its history. It may be

recalled that the prominent feudal families of the Mutasarrifiyah

were well represented in the administration of the Reglement

Organique following the abolition of feudalism. During
Daud Pasha's rule 16 feudal leaders were given top posts

and this continued into this century. Because of the

personal factor, politics in Lobanon is to a great extent

competition between and within religious sects. Alliances

between families, whenever they took place, were often made

more out of a desire to oppose a certain leader, than out of

ideological or programmatic considerations. In addition,

elections are seen as mainly a contest or a continuance of

conflict between families, with ideology rarely playing a


The influence of the family and religion on the

political nature of the country cannot be underestimated.

As one writer observes, ". the vigor with which the religious

and familial bases of organization continue to affect

political conduct and coalesce political sentiment remains

singularly evident." In sum, the family is important for

an understanding of the political process, partly because of

its role as the main socializing agent--it being the central

social unit--and partly because it represents a means through

which the individual attains political power, and thus

perpetuating that family's prominence. It has traditionally

been an important aspect of the social and political order.

It is again closely connected to a discussion of the

recruitment pattern and the overall patron-client network.

Closely linked to the religious actors are the country's

political parties, which are in essence no more than

groupings led by the leaders of prominent religious

families. Lebanon's political parties do not fall into

any recognizable category. They are parties based on

religion, and the country "offers a very typical and most

complicated example of this." They are similar to Western

parties in that they seek to exercise political power and

share in the decision-making process, but beyond that there

is little similarity. Apter writes:

.we recognize that political parties
offer political choices. They provide
a peaceful selection of alternative
governments. They offer differences in
views and policy priorities. Through
parties, issues can be identified and
preferences indicated by the electorate.10

Clearly this does not apply well to the Lebanese case. The

nature of the party system in Lebanon cannot be divorced

from the intimate link between politics and the influence of

religion and the family that the country exhibits. Political

parties strengthen confessional ties, reflecting the country's

divided culture. Perhaps the concept of "personalismo" is

appropriate in this context. George Blanksten defines this

as the "tendency of the politically active sectors of the

population to follow or oppose a leader for personal,

individual, and family reasons rather than because of the
influence of a political idea, party or program.

Political parties in Lebanon have only an indirect

influence on policy-making. No party has ever won a significant

number of seats (Table IV). In 1960, for example, when the

parties increased their efforts to win more parliamentary

seats, several parties between them could muster no more than

a third of the seats.



Party 1951 1957 1960 1964 1968 1972

Syrian Social 1
Nationalist Party

Baath 1

Arab Nasserite
Coalition 1

Dashnak (Armenian
Party) 2 3 4 4 3 2

Najjada 1 1

Progressive Socialist
Party 3 3 6 6 5 4

National Action
Movement 1 1 1

Kataeb 3 1 6 4 9 7

National Bloc 2 4 6 2 5 3

National Liberals Party Nonexistent 4-5 6 8 7

Democratic Socialist
Party 3

Democratic Party 1

Total 10 12 27-8 23 36 30

Total Members
in Chamber 77 66 99 99 99 99

Per cent Members
in political parties 13% 18% 35% 28% 36% 30%

Baaklini, op. cit., p. 181.

SOURCE: Adapted from

The National Pact

The National Pact, agreed upon by the leaders of

Lebanon's two major communities, established confessionalism

as the basis for the new state. The arrangement was a

reflection of the culturally divided society, a modus

vivendi which appeared to be the most viable and practical

one for the newly-independent country. Confessionalism was

to underlie the entire political process, with the rivalry

of the different sects carried out within this framework.

The system is structured in such a way that recognizes

the preponderance of the Christian community. (Table V)

A ratio of six to five, in the Christians' favor, was to

extend to all governmental and administrative posts, as well

as to Parliament. The system was democratic in the sense that

it accorded representation to all minorities, a system in

which participation by the society's subgroups was guaranteed.

The system" . serves as an adjustment mechanism which

brings particularistic elements of society together into a

working relationship without overriding their interests or

submerging their identitities."12 The country's strength

depended on acceptance by all the communities, with stability

resting on the maintenance of a careful balance between the

country's main religious groups,and this has been partly

accomplished through the representative institutions which

are seen as "an essential condition of its stability, not a

lucky by-product."l3



Maronites 424,000
Sunnis 286,000
Shiites 250,000
Greek Orthodox 149,000
Greek Catholics 91,000
Druze 88,000
Armenian Orthodox 64,000
Armenian Catholics 15,000
Protestants 14,000
Jews 7,000
Syrian Catholics 6,000
Syrian Orthodox 5,000
Latins 4,000
Chaldeans 1,000
Others 7,000

SOURCE: Adapted from Sir Reader Bullard (ed.),
The Middle East: A Political and
Economic Survey (London: Oxford University
Press, 1958), p. 453. The figures are
from the Economic Research Institute of
of the American University of Beirut, and
are based partly on official sources.

The National Pact then, representing Lebanon's politics

of accommodation,was an explicit recognition of the division

of the country into distinct religious groups. As Kerr puts

it, "Lebanese democracy is the distribution of guarantees to

the recognized groups co-existing in the country of the means
to defend their minimum interests". The government, it

is important to note, was not meant to play a major role and

pursue long-term goals. Rather, it was meant to reflect the

division of the society and attempt to regulate and resolve

conflict. In times of conflict or crisis, polarization tended

to replace flexibility and compromise with intransigence.

The crises of 1958 and 1975 are clear examples of this.

The Pact implicitly contained guidelines for the nation's

foreign policy as it was felt, with reason, that there would

exist a close connection between foreign and domestic policy.

Any foreign policy decision had to have the approval of the

major groups. Thus, for the economic and political well-being

of the country, and to prevent polarization of the communities,

it was important for Lebanon to maintain friendly relations

with both the Arab world and the West. It has been evident

in the post-war years that disruption of these links, especially

to the Arab states, had had adverse political and economic

effects on the system. Since the frames of reference lie

in the Arab world and the West for the Moslems and Christians

respectively, a delicate balance, or in a word neutrality,

was necessary. Here, as with domestic policy, the government

to be effective had to continually balance the different

interests. Conversely, the government's effectiveness is

a reflection of the cooperation of local leaders and their

willingness to compromise and reach mutually beneficial

agreements. To help us better understand the principles of

consociational democracy outlined by Lijphart, we need to

survey the nature and operation of the country's institutions

and relate them then to the system of patronage in Lebanon.

The Formal Institutions

Officially, the state of Lebanon is a Parliamentary

Republic divided into five provinces or governerates:

the Bekaa, North Lebanon, South Lebanon, Beirut and Mount

Lebanon. Lebanon's unicameral legislature allows for

proportional representation of the country's religious communities.

Table VI shows the sectarian distribution of seats according

to sect and district.

The electoral system in Lebanon allots a specific

number of seats for each religious sect. On the list system,

a candidate has to be able to gain the support of voters

from different religious communities.15 Mixed areas lead to

competing lists made up of candidates from the sects who are

represented by seats in that area. This system encourages

cooperation and moderation.

Since electoral success depends on
compromise, the ability to join a list
and, most importantly, the ability to
maneuvre politically without losing
one's political base, candidates in
mixed districts who belong to different
sects find that the best strategy is to6
avoid capitalizing on sectarian issues.

The Parliament

Parliament does not in any real sense constitute

an opposition. In theory, Parliament has the right to

dismiss a cabinet, though it has never done so. The legis-

lature is elected every four years, and it in turn elects

a President by a two-thirds majority for a term of six

years. Parliamentary members attempt to cultivate the good-

will of the President, as they aspire to Cabinet positions

and hope also for support during elections. As a policy-

making body, Parliament is not highly regarded, being seen

as "merely a formal setting for clashes between the

communities"17 and the "redoubt of the traditional past."18

As indicated by Table VII Parliament accords representation

to the country's sects on a ratio of six Christians to

five Moslems, provided for in the National Pact.



Sect District Sectarian Distribution Total No.
of seats of seats


Purely Shia

Purely Sunni

Purely Greek


Mixed Chris-


Bint Jbeil

of Tripoli


Beirut First

Beirut Second
Beirit Third




SOURCE: Abdo Baaklini, op. cit., p. 146.

M--Maronite; GO--Greek-Orthodox; GC--Greek Catholics;
S--Sunni; SH--Shiite; D--Druze; AO--Armenian Orthodox;
AC--Armenian Catholic; Mi--Minority; P--Protestant



Sect 1947 1951 1953 1957 1960-72

Christians Maronite 18 23 13 20 30

Greek 6 8 5 7 11

Greek 3 5 3 4 6

Armenian 2 3 2 3 4

Minorities 1 3 1 2 3

Moslems Sunni 11 16 9 14 20

Shiite 10 14 8 12 19

Druze 4 5 3 4 6

Total 55 77 44 66 99

SOURCE: Baaklini, op. cit., p. 142




6 8 9 10 10 10 14 18

1 2 2 2 2 3 3 4

Maronite 1 2 2 3 3 3 3 4







1 1 2 2 1 1 2 2

1 1 1 1 1 1 2 2

1 1 1 2

1 1 1 1 2 1 2 3

No of.
Cabinets 4 11 2 1 2 4 1 1

the Lebanese

Size of


SOURCE: Ralph Crow, "Religious Sectarianism in
Political System", Journal of Politics
p. 504.

The Cabinet

The Cabinet, along with Parliament, is an important

representative body in that it has to reflect both a religious

and regional balance. As Table VIII shows, the size of the

Cabinet varies, depending on circumstances and conditions,

and the particular Premier chosen to form the cabinet.

As can be seen from the table, the Cabinet posts are shared

by the six major sects,with particular ministries going

traditionally to specific sects. The Greek-Orthodox have

usually held the vice-Premiership, the Maronites Education,

Sunnis the Interior, the Druze Defense, and Shiites

Agriculture. The rest alternate--Justice,Public Works,

Finance Health, Economic and Social Affairs. In the

first two decades of independence 35 cabinets were formed,

the majority headed by a handful of Sunnis which included Sami
El Solh, Rashid Karami, Abdullah El Yafi and Saeb Salam.

Because of the nature of the Cabinet and its composition,

stalemates arise when agreements cannot be reached, with

immobilism setting in. Kerr notes that "governments are not

made to create public policy, nor to choose between clear-

cut alternatives entailing the triumph of one set of demands

over another, but to reflect and adjust competing interests
of the various groups. Long-term planning becomes difficult

when policy is not made on a secular, rational basis. In

spite of this, the cabinet has succeeded in bringing about
bureaucratic reforms. Overall, though, the diverse nature

of the cabinet leads to particularistic orientations.

". .. ministers disregard cabinet harmony and collective

responsibility to appeal to their own confessional, regional,

economic, ideological, or personal interests and followers".22

The Presidency

Lebanon's executive power is vested in the Maronite

President, who is elected by Parliament for a six-year term

(renewable after an interim of six years). The President's

powers are pervasive, not unlike those of the emirs of

historical Lebanon, the Ottoman governors and the more

recent French High Commissioners. The President appoints a

Sunni Prime Minister who forms a cabinet to be approved by

the President. He can also dismiss ministers, dissolve

Parliament, has the power of veto and can rule by decree.23

The President often plays the role of arbitrator, and less of

a partisan role. Since he cannot be immediately re-elected

to the Presidency, he is not subservient to the Chamber and

can act independently of it. The extensive powers given him

by the Constitution give the impression of a very powerful

chief executive. However, approval of policy by the Premier

and Cabinet is necessary, and cooperation with the Chamber

with regard to policy is needed. As arbiter the President

must maintain a confessional balance.

Political Clientelism: "Real" Actors and Informal Rules

Central to an understanding of Lebanese politics and more

specifically the operation and functioning of the state's

institutions is a discussion of patron-client relationships.

These relationships meshed closely with the operation of

governmental institutions in Lebanon. The country's patrons

--the zuama(sg. zaim)--constitute the bulk of the country's

political elite. Patronage has survived the last two

centuries in Lebanon, differing in nature at times due to

changing political and economic circumstances.

The "real" actors are these notables whose authority

is traditional, and who belong to traditionally prominent

families.24 In short, as a political actor the zaim

is central. "Because of his wealth or family prestige and

chiefly because of the traditional patriarchal structure of

Lebanese society, the zaim remains one of the most influential

actors in the political process.25 Hottinger defines this

type of leader thus:

A zaim in the specifically Lebanese and
contemporary sense is a political leader
who possesses the support of a locally
circumscribed community and who
retains this support by fostering the
interests of as many2gs possible from
among his clientele.

With regard to recruitment, factors as family, wealth and

religion are important determinants of political opportunity,

with competition taking place within, rather than between,

the different communities. The electoral system is such

that it aids the continued vigor of the zuama. Consisting of

small electoral units the system allows the zaim much

freedom in maintaining his power and influence over local

communities. Election to Parliament depends to a large extent

on getting on a list headed by a prominent zaim, who in fact

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