Sectarian Actors in Foreign Policy Making: 2006 Lebanese War Revisited

ULUSLARARASI İLİŞKİLER, CİLT 15, SAYI 59, 2018  

Murat TINAS* and Özlem TÜR**

ABSTRACT

This paper analyses the role of sub-state sectarian actors in foreign policy making in weakly established states by re-visiting the July War of 2006 in Lebanon. It mainly asks how sub-state sectarian actors behave as foreign policy actors in countries where society is divided along sectarian identities and how sectarian identities matter in terms of the definition of the self and the other and the ally and the enemy in weak states. By doing so, the paper analyses the emergence and the consolidation of foreign policy orientations, preferences and behaviour of the Maronite, Sunni, Shi’a and Druze communities in Lebanon, with a specific emphasis on the role of Hezbollah during the war. Building its main findings on various fieldworks in Lebanon, interviewing leaders of major sects; this study concludes that in the absence of a cohesive foreign policy stance in a weak state, the role of sectarian identity in defining self and other becomes central for understanding the foreign policy choices of sectarian actors.

Keywords: Foreign Policy, Sectarian Identity, 2006 Lebanese War, Lebanon

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* Assist. Prof. Dr., Institute of Security Sciences, Turkish National Police Academy, Ankara.

** Prof. Dr., Department of International Relations, Middle East Technical University, Ankara.

 


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