Advertisement

The Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF): A United Army for a Divided Country?

  • Are John KnudsenEmail author
  • Tine Gade
Chapter
  • 322 Downloads

Abstract

Multi-confessional armies are often seen as being weak and prone to disintegration. The Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) is a case in point. From its inception it was formed as a multi-confessional force meant to serve as a neutral political arbiter, but it experienced civil war fragmentation and dissolution (1975–1990). Post-war restructuring and reform rebuilt the force, but the threat of disintegration along confessional lines has remained. However, the LAF is consistently ranked as the country’s most trusted public institution, its last resort amidst repeated government collapse and state failure. The LAF strives to embody a national ideal: a united force, raised above sectarianism. Even so, the Syrian civil war has strained the LAF’s cohesion and threatens its neutrality – its most valued assets in a deeply divided society.

Keywords

Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) Confessional Lines Lebanese Army Confessional Balance Militia Hizbollah 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

References

  1. Aboultaif, Eduardo W. 2016. ‘The Lebanese army: Saviour of the republic?’ The RUSI Journal 161(1): 70–78.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Barak, Oren. 2006. ‘Towards a representative military? The transformation of the Lebanese Officer Corps since 1945’. The Middle East Journal 60: 75–93.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Barak, Oren. 2009. The Lebanese army. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press.Google Scholar
  4. Bollens, Scott. 2012. City and soul in divided societies. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  5. el Khazen, F. 2003. ‘Political parties in postwar Lebanon: Parties in search of partisans’. Middle East Journal 57(4): 605–624.Google Scholar
  6. Gade, Tine. 2007. Fatah al-Islam in Lebanon: Between local and global Jihad. Kjeller: Norwegian Defence Research Establishment (FFI).Google Scholar
  7. Gaub, Florence. 2007. ‘Multi-ethnic armies in the aftermath of civil war: Lessons learned from Lebanon’. Defence Studies 7(1): 5–20.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Gaub, Florence. 2011. Military integration after civil wars: Multiethnic armies, identity and post-conflict reconstruction. Abingdon: Routledge.Google Scholar
  9. Gaub, Florence. 2016. Guardians of the Arab State: When militaries intervene in politics, from Iraq to Mauritania. London: Hurst.Google Scholar
  10. Hamzeh, A. Nizar. 2001. ‘Clientelism, Lebanon: Roots and trends’. Middle Eastern Studies 37(3): 167–178.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Harik, Judith Palmer. 2005. Hizbollah: The changing face of terrorism. London: I. B. Tauris.Google Scholar
  12. Karamé, Kari. 2009. ‘Reintegration and the relevance of social relations: The case of Lebanon’. Conflict, Security and Development 9(4): 495–514.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Knudsen, Are J. 2011. ‘Nahr el-Bared: The political fall-out of a refugee disaster’. In Palestinian refugees: Identity, space and place in the Levant, edited by Are Knudsen and Sari Hanafi, 97–110. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  14. Knudsen, Are J. 2012. ‘Special Tribunal for Lebanon: Homage to Hariri?’. In Lebanon: After the Cedar Revolution, edited by Are Knudsen and Michel Kerr, 219–233. London: Hurst.Google Scholar
  15. Knudsen, Are, and Michael Kerr, eds. 2012. Lebanon: After the Cedar revolution. London: Hurst.Google Scholar
  16. Knudsen, Are J. 2014. ‘Lebanese Armed Forces: A United Army for a Divided Country?’. CMI insight 9, http://www.cmi.no/publications/publication/?5284=lebanese-armed-forces. Accessed 25 September 2016.
  17. Lupo, Nicolas. 2013. ‘Factional politics limit the effectiveness of Lebanon Army’, Al Monitor. http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2013/09/lebanese-armed-forces-limited-effect-factional-politics.html#. Accessed 11 September 2016.
  18. Makdisi, Samir, and Richard Sadaka. 2003. ‘The Lebanese Civil War, 1975–1990. Beirut: American University of Beirut (AUB), Lecture and Working Paper Series, No. 3.Google Scholar
  19. McLaurin, Ronald. 1991. ‘From professional to political: The redecline of the Lebanese Army’. Armed Forces and Society 17(4): 545–568.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Moussa, Nayla. 2014. Armée, communautés et Etat au Liban (1990–2012), PhD thesis, Paris: IEP.Google Scholar
  21. Moussa, Nayla. 2016. Loyalties and group formation in the Lebanese Officer Corps. Carnegie Regional Insight, 3 February 2016. Washington, DC: Carnegie Foundation for International Peace.Google Scholar
  22. Murdon, Simon. 2000. ‘Understanding Israel’s long conflict in Lebanon: The search for an alternative approach to security during the peace process’. British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies 27(1): 25–47.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Nerguizian, Aram. 2009. The Lebanese armed forces: Challenges and opportunities in Post-Syria Lebanon. Washington DC: Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). http://csis.org/files/media/csis/pubs/090210_lafsecurity.pdf. Accessed 25 September 2016.Google Scholar
  24. Picard, Elizabeth. 1994. ‘Les habis neufs du communautarisme libanais’. Culture et conflits 15–16(Autumn/Winter): 49–70.Google Scholar
  25. Picard, Elizabeth. 1999. The demobilisation of the Lebanese militias. Oxford: Centre for Lebanese Studies, Prospects for Lebanon Series, No. 9.Google Scholar
  26. Picard, Elizabeth. 2002. Lebanon – A shattered country: Myths and realities about the wars in Lebanon, rev. edn, New York: Holmes and Meier.Google Scholar
  27. Picard, Elizabeth. 2009. ‘The virtual sovereignty of the Lebanese state: From deviant case to ideal-type’. In The Arab State and neo-liberal globalization: The restructuring of state power in the Middle East, edited by Laura Guazzone and Daniela Pioppi, 247–274. Reading, UK: Ithaca.Google Scholar
  28. Picard, Elizabeth. 2012. ‘Lebanon in search of sovereignty: post-2005 security dilemmas’. In Lebanon: After the Cedar revolution, edited by Are Knudsen and Michel Kerr, 83–104. London: Hurst.Google Scholar
  29. Rougier, Bernard. 2015. The Sunni tragedy in the Middle East: Northern Lebanon from al-Qaeda to ISIS. Princeton: Princeton University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Seeberg, Peter. 2009. ‘The EU as a realist actor in normative clothes: EU democracy promotion in Lebanon and the European Neighbourhood Policy’. Democratization 16(1): 81–99.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Volk, Lucia. 2009. ‘Martyrs at the margins: The politics of neglect in Lebanon’s borderlands’. Middle Eastern Studies 45(2): 263–282.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Zahar, Marie-Joélle. 2012. ‘Foreign interventions, power sharing and the dynamics of conflict and coexistence in Lebanon’. In Lebanon: After the Cedar revolution, edited by Are Knudsen and Michael Kerr, 63–82. London: Hurst.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Christian Michelsen Institute (CMI)BergenNorway
  2. 2.Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies (RSCAS), European University Institute (EUI)FlorenceItaly
  3. 3.Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (NUPI)OsloNorway

Personalised recommendations