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Re-defining the Balance of Power in Lebanon: Sunni and Shiites Communities Transformations, the Regional Context and the Arab Uprisings

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The paper analyzes the transformations occurred in the two most active and relevant communities in Lebanon after the end of the civil war, namely the Sunni and the Shiites, in the light of Arab uprisings and of the changes in the regional balance of power. If the meta-narrative of the ‘sectarianization’ of the Middle East, especially after 2011, has powered the interpretation of the regional events as marked by the struggle between Sunni and Shiites, the analysis of the transformations of the above mentioned communities in Lebanon and of their impact on the internal and external level, provides one of the best examples against this simplistic representation: the sectarian contraposition is deeply rooted in Lebanon, a pars constituent of its system, but, despite the rhetoric, both communities tend to have more pragmatic and accommodating attitudes instead of exacerbating sectarian confrontation as the afore-mentioned meta-narrative tends to impose. While it is true that each community has witnessed the radicalization of certain positions and that, over the years, major changes are taking place, those have been fuelled by the meta-narrative that is emerging at the regional level and not by a desire to bring the country to the brink of the abyss.

Affiliations: 1: Università degli Studi di


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