Sectarianism and the Modern State
The war in Syria, next door to Lebanon, combined with the regional sectarian conflicts after the Arab uprisings exacerbated the sectarian conflict in Lebanon. The Syrian war empowered Hezbollah in Lebanon and across the region. It is common to hear complaints from Lebanese that Hezbollah controls the country. The movement holds great sway in many key institutions, not only the Lebanese Armed Forces, but in the intelligence ministry as well. As Lebanese scholar Bassel F. Salloukh and other authors wrote in 2015: “Hezbollah’s actions tell a story different from the one often portrayed in its official discourse. The party actively sought to infiltrate and/or appropriate causes and institutions that did not initially advocate for narrow sectarian interests, created partisan institutions to shadow and rival those of the state and civil society, and turned co-opted individuals and institutions into mouthpieces of sectarian party politics.”
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