Accepted paper:

Interpreting politicial violence in post-civil war Lebanon, 1989-2007

Authors:

Are John Knudsen (Chr. Michelsen Institute (CMI))

Paper short abstract:

This paper analyzes political violence in post-civil war Lebanon (1989–2007). The paper addresses two main questions: how prevalent was political violence in post-civil war Lebanon; and what made Lebanon vulnerable to new outbreaks of political violence?

Paper long abstract:

This paper analyzes political violence in post-civil war Lebanon (1989-2007). The paper addresses two main questions: how prevalent was political violence in post-civil war Lebanon; and what made Lebanon vulnerable to new outbreaks of political violence? While the Lebanese civil war (1975-90) has been thoroughly studied, the post-war period has not. The Taif peace agreement ended the war (1989), but the country did not escape new outbreaks of violence. Political violence ("the use or threat of violence for political ends") did not end but continued in different forms throughout the post-war period. Overt violence against civilians was low, but political leaders and journalists were killed with impunity. Targeted assassinations intensified during the transitional period from war to peace (1989-91), and peaked after the murder of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri in February 2005. From 1989 to the present, about 30 attacks killed and maimed politicians and journalists in addition to innocent bystanders. This confirms the assumption that post-war states are indeed vulnerable to continued or new violence. However, there is no consensus as to why this is the case: institutional failure ("weak state"), socio-cultural traits ("culture of violence") and the "legacies of war and peace" are all used to account for continued violence in "post-war states". The paper concludes by examining these perspectives against findings from Lebanon for a more nuanced understanding of "post-war violence".

panel W039
Violence expressed