Lebanon in Syria

The fates of the modern states of Lebanon and Syria are inextricably linked. It is important to read their history not just as was done conventionally that is Syria never fully recognizing Lebanon as an independent state but also the reverse, as Lebanon, or particular segments of the Lebanese political establishment involving and using Syria for its own survival as a small state. During the first half of the twentieth century and until the 1970s, Muslims and pan-Arabists of all creed had difficulty recognizing that Lebanon should be a separate state as such. The civil war forced the Christians to realize that they needed help from the Syrians first when the Phalangists risked defeat against pro Palestinian forces around the second half of the 1970s, second when a section of the Christian establishment had allied with the Syrian help after 1982 Israeli invasion, and third after the Taif agreement of 1982. Even Michel Aoun the staunchest opponent to Taif and the Syrian regime realized that such categorical attitude was detrimental to Lebanon’s strategic advantage.

In the beginning of the 1990s, and after bitter clashes with the Syrian regime, it was Hizbullah’s turn to realize that they could not survive and strive as a resistance force without Syrian geographical strategic positioning, as well as security and logistical support. This brought them closer to other political groups in the country during the 1990s. Then events unfolding after 2005 when the former prime minister Rafic Hariri was assassinated should be understood as a struggle to fill the security vaccum left by the withdrawal of the Syrian army and more importantly the removal of the Lebanese-Syrian security nexus that was built during the post-war period. Hizbullah’s recent intervention in Syria and in Qalamoun in particular should be read in this light, as an effort to create a protective boundary around the small state of Lebanon that the Syrian regime once provided.

Likewise Sunni politics in the post-war period should be read in this way. Hariri needed pax-Syriana to implement his reconstruction program and the various economic (and oh so social) changes that ensued. It is only when he was constantly paralyzed by his political counterpart the President Emile Lahoud, that he urged the Syrians to intervene on his behalf. The Syrians refused given that Lahoud represented the security complex which helped build the pax-Syriana. And yet, it is not even clear if Hariri was fully convinced that Lebanon did not need the Syrian regime. The Hariri-Hizbullah negotiations that took place before he was killed attest to this ambivalence. After 2005, Sunni politics was slowly driven to increased intervention in Syria in trying to work for regime change. This process involved many groups from “moderate” to radical all the way to al-Qaeda and ISIS type. The Arsal episode is a perfect example of the blurred political boundaries between Lebanon and Syria.

The whole point here is to recognize that overall, various Lebanese actors strived to change things to their advantage in Syria just as it was done by Syria in Lebanon. Some day the history of this “intervention” should be written through that lens.

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Christian desperation to be "different"

A disproportionate number of the Middle Eastern country’s Christian men carry a Y chromosome that is clearly of Western European origin, which scientists believe was carried to the region by Crusaders and pilgrims between the 11th and 13th centuries.
This genetic signature is more often seen among Christians, and more rarely in Lebanon’s Muslim or Druze communities. The Y chromosomes of many Muslim men trace their ancestry to earlier migrations from the Arabian Peninsula, as Islam spread during the 7th and 8th centuries.
The findings, from a study of 926 Lebanese men, suggest that both Christian and Muslim communities in Lebanon owe their origins, at least in part, to different founding events.
Study co-leader Pierre Zalloua, of the Lebanese American University in Beirut, said: ‘This (has) revealed new insights into the complex history of my country.’
The research, published in the American Journal of Human Genetics, focused on the male Y chromosome, which can be used to chart patrilineal descent. It found 10 per cent of Lebanese Christian men belong to a Y group known as R1b, which is of Western European origin. Just 6per cent of non-Christians had this kind of chromosome.
This indicates that more Christians than non-Christians have at least one male ancestor from Western Europe, and fits with the region’s history.
More than 250,000 men from Europe travelled to the Middle East during the four Crusades.

Now ok this is a very funny article treating a very pathetic concern but there are things important to note here:

1- The study was conducted by some Christian ‘academic’ from a public university in Lebanon. This tells you a lot about the presence of a knowledge industry that searches and elaborates through scientific legitimating methods the presence of particularities.
2- I really love how this contradicts a lot of Christian claims saying that those who really ‘made out’ with the crusaders were the Shi’a (la’ano keno feltenin) who obviously have a higher intensity of blonds, blue eyed and round cheeks (of course this is another bullshit theory but in this case not being pushed for legitimation).
3- Maronite Christians historically come from the Arab peninsula whether you want it or not. Now in the process was there any fornication that followed that I am sure it sometimes happened with whomever was on the way and depending on a case by case basis. But Maronite Christians are the most Arab types of Christians through their rites, their use of the language, their social practices, etc. (I’m talking historically, because today and especially since the civil war, they changed a lot in all these practices).