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A House of Many Mansions: History of Lebanon Reconsidered by Kamal Salibi

By Kamal Salibi

This day Lebanon is likely one of the world's so much divided international locations - if it continues to be a rustic in any respect. yet mockingly the faction-ridden Lebanese, either Christians and Muslims, have by no means proven a keener recognition of universal identification. How can this be? The Lebanese historian Kamal S. Salibi examines, within the mild of recent scholarship, the old myths on which his country's warring groups have established their conflicting visions of the Lebanese state. The Lebanese have continually lacked a typical imaginative and prescient in their previous. From the start Muslims and Christians have disagreed essentially over their country's historic legitimacy: Christians ordinarily have affirmed it, Muslims have tended to stress Lebanon's position in a broader Arab heritage. either teams have used nationalist principles in a damaging online game, which at a deeper point comprises archaic loyalties and tribal rivalries. yet Lebanon can't have enough money those conflicting visions whether it is to advance and keep a feeling of political neighborhood. during his energetic exposition, Salibi bargains a big reinterpretation of Lebanese background and offers insights into the dynamic of Lebanon's fresh clash. He additionally supplies an account of ways the pictures of groups which underlie smooth nationalism are created

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Moreover, the older agreement had specified that France would have direct control over the coastal parts of the Vilayet of Aleppo and its share of the Vilayet of Beirut, but only a sphere of influence in inland Syria where an Arab state or states of independent status would be established. Under the new agreement, the French were to have a free hand in the whole area which they were to hold as a mandate under the League of Nations- a continuous stretch of territory extending from the Euphrates river to the Mediterranean coast.

As King of Iraq, Faysal was surrounded by veterans of the Arab Revolt who had followed him to Baghdad in the flight from Damascus, and he himself never forgot his lost Syrian kingdom. His regime was more Arab nationalist than specifically Iraqi in character, dominated by the Sunnite Arab element and resented by the Shiite Arab element as well as by the Kurds. Much was indeed done under Faysal and his successors to assuage these resentments. Nevertheless, to the extent that it did develop, the sense of special nationality among the people of Iraq remained rudimentary and confused.

Finally, there was the Arab rural and tribal population which was in the large majority Islamic, but included a number of communities of varying sizes which were not Sunnite Muslim - most notably, the Twelver Shiites of Iraq and Greater Lebanon; the Nusayris of the Syrian Republic; and the Druzes who were divided between Lebanon, Syria and Palestine. Among these communities, more especially the Twelver Shiites and the Druzes, there were notables and many individuals who had received a modern higher education, and they could appreciate, with varying degrees of sincerity, what Arab nationalism really stood for in principle.

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