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Religion, National Identity, and Confessional Politics in Lebanon: The Challenge of Islamism (The Middle East in Focus) Hardcover – July 15, 2011

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Product Details

  • Series: The Middle East in Focus
  • Hardcover: 230 pages
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan (July 15, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 023011654X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0230116542
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,919,815 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"Highly recommended." - Choice

"Robert Rabil's Religion, National Identity and Confessional Politics in Lebanon: The Challenge of Islamism offers readers an extremely timely appraisal of Islamist movements in Lebanon. Relying on Arabic, French, and English sources as well as his own interviews with Lebanese elites, Rabil navigates the complex political history of Lebanon to form an unflinching, candid, and objective analysis of Lebanon's past, present, and future. The book will prove especially useful for anyone interested in understanding how and why Hezballah, the Shiite 'Party of God,' came to play such a determinative role in Lebanese politics. Rabil's work clearly explains why other Lebanese never managed to disarm Hezballah and place it under the authority of the Lebanese state. Instead of seeing itself disarmed, Hezballah managed to determine the fate of the whole Lebanese nation - bringing down governments, facilitating Syrian and Iranian penetration of the country, and sparking devastating Israeli attacks. Readers will also understand why Hezballah's role seems unlikely to wane any time soon, especially in light of the myriad divisions amongst those Lebanese opposing the movement." - David Romano, Thomas G. Strong Professor of Middle East Politics, Missouri State University and author, The Kurdish Nationalist Movement (2006)

"Robert G. Rabil's Religion, National Identity, and Confessional Politics in Lebanon is the most comprehensive, up-to-date comparative book on Hezbollah and the Islamic Association. It includes new revelations and insightful, sharp analyses based on a thorough reading of primary sources and key documents, some of which are translated in full with adequate footnoting and commentary. Rabil offers invaluable background information on the modern history of Lebanon and the workings of its political system. The book is breathtaking, easy to read, brief, straight to the point, enlightening, and revealing to both academics and policy makers." - Joseph Alagha, Associate Professor of Islamic Studies, Radboud University Nijmegen

About the Author

Robert G. Rabil is an Associate Professor of Political Science at Florida Atlantic University. He is the author of Embattled Neighbors: Syria, Israel and Lebanon (2003) and Syria, the United States, and the War on Terror in the Middle East (2006). 

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Once again, Dr. Rabil, has provided his reader with a comprehensive yet easy to follow view into the complex relationship between Lebanon, Syria & Iran. He details the rise of Hezbollah and its effect on the politics of Lebanon and the stability of the region. Beginning with the history of the Confessional system, with a spotlight on the various religions and sects, Dr. Rabil takes his reader through the fascinating labyrinth of Lebanese politics and the continuing influence of Iran and Syria. In light of the fragility of Middle East politics this is a must read for anyone interested or concerned with the region.
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Format: Hardcover
Once again, from one of the foremost minds in comparative Middle Eastern scholarship comes a fantastic contribution to the study of Lebanon. Following his comprehensive analysis of the difficult relationship between Lebanon, Syria and Israel in Embattled Neighbors, Robert Rabil sets out to tackle the no-less-daunting task of describing the complex political landscape of Lebanon's confessional government and how Islamism has managed to infiltrate itself into a system at times torn between pan-Arabism and what he terms Lebanonism. And he does a spectacular job!
Rabil is able to take a difficult subject like the interplay between religious identity and a national confessional system and make it very clear to the reader through a close historical analysis of the unfolding of events in Lebanon, from Francophone mandate to present day. In addition, Rabil is meticulous about including many primary sources and enlightening analysis of them, for which I highly recommend this book to any serious student of comparative Middle Eastern politics. The book is no less appealing, however, to readers who might be less familiar with the historical/political framework of Lebanon, as Rabil's prose is at once informative and accessible.
Rabil's years of experience, both as an academic and as a political analyst, clearly come through in his writing and in his passion for the subjects he treats. In addition, having lived through one of the most turbulent periods in Lebanon's recent history, Rabil is especially in touch with the immediacy of the problems facing the country.
There is no substitute for being in an actual classroom with him, but for those of you who are unable to do so, read his book and you will be no less rewarded!
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