Is Lebanon under Syrian Hegemony? A Historical Research of the Lebanese Syrian Relations as Portrayed in the Post Lebanese Civil War Bilateral Treaties

University essay from Linköpings universitet/Ekonomiska institutionen


The Syrian military intervention in Lebanon which began in 1976 has impacted the country in many ways. There are numerous reports about the negative impact of that intervention in addition to the ways in which Lebanon is currently being exploited by Syria in the global political arena so that Syria can achieve its goals. Manifestations of this exploitation are the many unfair, unbalanced and unjust bilateral treaties that Lebanon has signed with Syria in the aftermath of the Lebanese civil war.

However, the circumstances under which those treaties were signed as well as their implications have led to numerous debates. The manner in which Syria gained control over the Lebanese political system at the legislative, executive and judicial levels, in addition to the exploitation of Lebanon’s economic resources by means of those treaties has aroused serious concern. Therefore, the central question posed in this study is: Did the post Lebanese civil war bilateral treaties that Lebanon signed with Syria pave the way for Syrian hegemony over Lebanon? By employing the historical research method, I study past events in relation to the circumstances that led Lebanon to signing those treaties and then evaluate their effect and consequences on the present situation in terms of the economic advantages that Syria enjoys as a signatory to those treaties.

I apply a theoretical model based on Robert O Keohane’s definition of the theory of hegemonic stability. The result is that Syria, even though it is considered to be an underdeveloped market economy country, fulfills most of Keohane’s characteristics of hegemonic powers seeking preponderance of material resources. The central finding in this thesis is that the shortcomings of hegemony do apply to the Syrain presence in Lebanon due to the economic exploitation of Lebanon’s resources.

In addition, I employ Keohane’s cooperation theory and examine the “joint committees”, that were formed to regulate the application of the signed treaties, and their modus operandi. I argue tha Syria and Lebanon need to cooperate and that this cooperation needs to be regulated so that the two countries can deal with each other as equals rather than as a hegemon and a hegemonized. I claim that those committees can be the regimes that can enhance cooperation between Lebanon and Syria by means of trading based on the comparative advantages of their economic resources.

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