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Lebanon after the Syrian Withdrawal: External Intervention, Power-Sharing and Political Instability

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Public research seminar


Ohannes Geukjian (American University of Beirut)


Thursday, 20 July 2017, 6-8 pm




Lebanon experienced serious instability and ethno-national conflict following the Syrian withdrawal in 2005, compounded by the Arab Spring, which led to regional instability and civil war in Iraq and Syria. Why did consociational democracy fail? Was failure inevitable? What impact could external powers play in creating an environment where consociationalism might be successfully implemented?


It is important to analyse how internal and external elite relations influence the chances of a successful regulation of ethno-national conflict through power sharing. Exploring the roles played by Syria, Qatar, Iran, Saudi Arabia, the United States and France, we argue that external actors in the Lebanese conflict largely determined whether power sharing was successfully established and show that the consociational democratic model cannot provide long-term conflict regulation in their absence. We further argue that relationships between internal and external actors determine the prospects for successful conflict regulation and pinpoint the crucial role of the external forces in the creation of power sharing agreements in Lebanon, concluding that future success is dependent on the maintenance of positive exogenous pressures.


Short Biography


Ohannes Geukjian is assistant professor in the department of political science and public administration at the American University of Beirut. He received his BA and MA in international relations from AUB, and was awarded the PhD in peace studies from the University of Bradford in the United Kingdom. He teaches comparative politics, conflict resolution, and international conflict regulation. His research interests include ethnic conflict, conflict regulation and resolution, nationalism and nation building, peace in war torn societies, Middle East politics and the south Caucasus. His publications include: Ethnicity, Nationalism and Conflict in the South Caucasus: Nagorno-Karabakh and the Legacy of Soviet Nationalities Policy (London: Ashgate, 2012); Negotiating Armenian-Azerbaijani Peace: Opportunities, Obstacles, Prospects (London: Ashgate, 2014) numerous articles in refereed journals like Nationalities Papers, Middle Eastern Studies, Middle East Journal and Critical Middle Eastern Studies. This presentation is based on his recent publication Lebanon after the Syrian Withdrawal: External Intervention, Power-Sharing and Political Instability (London and New York: Routledge, 2017).