Coping with Syria : international relations theory and the case of Lebanon from civil war to indirect rule (1975-2002)
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This thesis is a study of international relations theory and the case of the Lebanese state's relations with Syria between 1975 and 2002. It aims to answer the following questions: (1) Why has Lebanon generally "bandwagoned" with Syria, a country which has managed to intervene in and subdue it at the expense of Lebanese sovereignty. (2) How have Lebanese state officials, along with other political actors, tried to manipulate Syria for their own interests, whether to defend Lebanese sovereignty, to maintain and increase their status, or to contain and appease their rivals and opponents. (3) Parallel to the discussions generated by these two questions, which kinds of theory are relevant to or best explain Lebanese relations with Syria. Specifically this study demonstrates that the behavior of a penetrated weak state, Lebanon, toward a regional middle power, Syria, cannot usefully be explained by simple realism's state-to-state power balancing model. Rather, it is necessary to differentiate the multitude of state (office-holders) and sub-state actors. In addition, their behavior can only be explained by a combination of factors identified in a variety of theories: reaction to an external threat (simple realism) which explain a very few cases; "omni-alignments" against interrelated threats (complex realism) which result from the weaknesses of the Lebanese state and which explain much more; still powerful transstate ties (constructivism) which themselves needed to be understood in terms of the contradiction between sovereignty and identity and which have some impact; and complex interdependence and shared interests (pluralism) which generally exist between Lebanese and Syrian elites.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
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