US Foreign Policy in Lebanon
Baylouny, Anne Marie
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For Americans, Lebanon conjures up images of terrorism and Israeli invasions. More recently, Lebanon's mass demonstrations to rid the country of its Syrian occupation swept the media in 2005. Often called the Cedar revolution, the West saw contrasting images of Western-looking women and black-dad Islamists. The perspective of Lebanese politics neatly divided into two--one western, Lebanese, and democratic, the other lslamist, non-Lebanese, and antidemocratic- has permeated US perspectives of the country. Moreover, this divided view of Lebanese domestic politics is usually equated with international and regional alignments and conflicts. Domestic actors here are viewed as reflecting regional ambitions and not their own political priorities. Throughout Lebanon's history, actors have been seen to represent the opposing forces in the cold war, civilizational divisions, or neighboring hostile states. These lenses, obscuring the domestic players' interests, transmit a skewed interpretation of Lebanese politics and hinder a complete understanding of the effects of US foreign policy in Lebanon.
In Robert Looney ed, Handbook on US. Middle East Relations, Routledge, pp. 310-323, 2009.
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