Radical Shi'ism in Lebanon: Western government crisis management techniques in dealing with hostage incidents, 1982-1992
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The responses by the American, French, and British governments, in efforts to secure the release of their citizens taken hostage in Lebanon, have demonstrated the difficulty for Western states in reconciling their firmly-held principles of no-negotiations and no-concessions in dealing with either the Hizb'allah or its patrons with the actual and practical realities governing any resolution to the hostage-situations in Lebanon, This case-study on the dynamics of the Hizb'allah and its interaction with Iran and Syria provides a basis for the evaluation of the effectiveness of Western government responses to the hostage-crisis in Lebanon using crisis management techniques. This study shows that the abduction of Western citizens by Hizb'allah was motivated either by internal organisational requirements or in alignment with Syrian and Iranian interests, and that mechanisms for the resolution of the hostage-crisis were subject to continuous interaction between Hizb'allah, Iran, and Syria influenced by internal Lebanese, regional, and international events. The Western responses to the hostage-crisis showed limited effectiveness as the crisis management techniques were poorly adjusted in timing and direction to the actual crisis environment. With the exception of the French response, the overall employment of Western crisis management techniques showed disregard for the opportunities and constraints in the fluctuating relationship between Syria and Iran as well as the political environment within Lebanon which the Hizb'allah operates and exists. This was clear by their failure to rely on either Iran or Syria as the only channel in negotiations over hostages without regard to their individual ability to exert its influence over the movement in accordance with shifts in their ties to Hizb'allah's command leadership between 1987-1991 and to the status of the Iranian-Syrian relationship over time, as displayed by the friction between 1986-92. This study provides a new approach in the study of terrorism by merging a case-study of the dynamics of the hostage-crisis with an evaluation of Western responses through crisis management techniques in order to more closely resolve the dilemma of the fulfillment of these states' duty to protect their citizens taken hostage abroad, without major sacrifices in the conduct of foreign policy.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
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