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The making of Lebanese foreign policy: The case of the 2006 Hizballah-Israeli war

WILKINS, HENRIETTA,CHARLOTTE (2011) The making of Lebanese foreign policy: The case of the 2006 Hizballah-Israeli war. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.



This thesis assesses the relevance of Waltz and Wendt’s systemic theories of international relations for understanding Lebanon’s international political behaviour during the 2006 war. It tests the hypothesis that substate factors, especially identity, are more important than systemic factors for affecting the conditions against which states make foreign policy-decisions. Using data collected from interviews and the analysis of primary and secondary sources, it looks at the decisions made by the Lebanese government in the context of the 2006 war between Israel and Hizballah. It seeks to identify whether factors at the systemic, state or sub-state levels were the main influence on Lebanese foreign policy-making during this period. It concludes that sub-state identities were a crucial factor affecting Lebanon’s international political behaviour and foreign policy-making capacity because they fractured the state from below and compromised its ability to act like a united, rational and coherent security-maximising actor. As a result the state was unable to react to systemic structures in the way systemic theories of international relations assume. However, as the war progressed and Lebanon came under increasing threat from Israel, different internal groups united together and the state, temporarily, began to act like a rational, security maximising actor as Waltz and Wendt assume. This means that Waltz and Wendt’s theories of international relations are unable to fully account for the conditions affecting Lebanese foreign policy making during the initial stages of the war. This highlights the need for a more pluralistic approach to fully understand the conditions that affect the foreign policy-making of the Lebanese state.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:Lebanon, Hizballah, Hezballah, foreign policy, 2006 war, Israel
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Social Sciences and Health > Government and International Affairs, School of
Thesis Date:2011
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:16 May 2011 15:58

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