By Rodger Shanahan

ISBN-10: 1423744365

ISBN-13: 9781423744368

ISBN-10: 1850437661

ISBN-13: 9781850437666

The Shi'a of Lebanon have emerged within the final two decades to turn into a big strength in Lebanese politics having lengthy been a marginalized political neighborhood. Rodger Shanahan's booklet examines the explanations at the back of this variation from a principally rural inhabitants ruled via a handful of elite households, to an assertive sectarian strength whose new came across strength is exemplified by means of the emergence of Shi'a events equivalent to Amal and Hizballah.

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Political rivalries between Shi‘a from each of these areas were, as a result, played out indirectly through manoeuvrings within parliament rather than as a direct political contest during elections. 40 THE SHI‘A OF LEBANON The image of the Shi‘a as an historically underprivileged group belies the influence that a number of traditional Shi‘a families actually had. Some of these families could trace their lineage back for hundreds of years; and indeed the degree of influence of their ‘feudal’ leadership in part depended on this lineage.

As the iltizam could be a very short-term proposition, the multazim responsible for it tended to influence the locals far less than did a muqata‘ji. e. 36 The multazim ruled his region as a representative of the wali who had appointed him. The wali controlled the means of tax enforcement through his levy of troops. ’37 He was responsible for collecting the miri, for arming his subjects and leading them into battle, and for administering government in his muqata‘a. As a result, he was also the one whom people expected to safeguard their rights.

Consequently they relied on their geographical isolation and a policy of quietism to avoid being dragged into conflicts in which they could only suffer. Avoidance was not always possible, however, and merely illustrated the degree to which the Shi‘a were not traditionally the masters of their own destiny. The tendency towards quietism should not, however, be confused with total silence. Some Shi‘a became involved in the few formal political opportunities open to them during Ottoman rule, although it was often the zu‘ama or their allies who filled these positions in order to reinforce their traditional dominance in Lebanese society.

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The Shi'a of Lebanon: Clans, Parties and Clerics (Library of Modern Middle East Studies) by Rodger Shanahan


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