Brothers in Arms: An Analysis of the Syrian Military and Political Domination of Lebanon
Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Magister)Student thesis
The Syrian de facto occupation of Lebanon since 1976 is usually interpreted as the expression of the Syrian regime's adherence to traditional power considerations, rather than to the ideology of the ruling Ba'th party. In particular since Syria originally intervened on the side of the pro-status quo Lebanese Christians, and helped them defeat the anti-status quo Lebanese Muslims and Palestinians. In other words, they intervened against its traditional allies. The central question posed in this study is: Why is Lebanon so important to Syria that it is willing to make large human and material sacrifices in order to retain its grip on this small strip of territory? The traditional answers to this question are not satisfactory; the need for an alternative approach is apparent. While not refuting the description of Syrian policies as being based on pragmatic considerations, this analysis attempts to show that Syrian policies toward Lebanon in fact originate in the fundamental values promoted by Ba'th ideology. By employing a cognitive theoretical approach, the perceptions held by the Syrian leadership at the time of Syrian intervention are taken into account. This approach allows a number of key images to emerge, notably the image of an external plot against the Arab nation; one of the cornerstones of Ba'th ideology. When studying the modern day relationship between Syria and Lebanon, the same focus on Arab unity and the historical brotherly ties between the two countries can be identified. Hafez al-Asad's death and the rise to power of his son, Bashar al-Asad, has not lead to a radical change in Syrian policy, rather it is apparent that the same considerations and the same underlying images still guide the Syrian decision-makers. The result is that although pragmatism guides Syrian policies, the ideology of the Ba'th party sets the frames for this pragmatism and that a traditional two-state model cannot be applied on the relationship between Syria and Lebanon. The central finding in this study is that the Syrian leadership will go to great lengths to ensure Lebanon stays Arab and preserve the last remains of Arab unity in the face of the Zionist enemy. In the struggle against Israel, Syria and Lebanon are to remain Brothers in Arms.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Ekonomiska institutionen , 2002. , 86 p.
Master Thesis in Political Science, 2002:6
Political science, Syria, Lebanon, Occupation, Domination, Civil War
Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalization Studies)
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-1483OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-1483DiVA: diva2:18807