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November 6, 2018

Internal and External Challenges to the Druzes of Lebanon

Introduction

Throughout the history of Lebanon, the Druzes have played a fundamental role in shaping the country’s political system and culture, despite the fact that they only represent a small minority among Lebanon’s 18 recognised confessional groups. Even in the second half of the 20th Century, the role of the Druzes within Lebanese politics had been quite remarkable considering their numbers, and this prominence can be linked to the presence of two extremely charismatic and skilful politicians: Kamal Jumblatt and his heir and son Walid. Nevertheless, in more recent times, the Druzes of Lebanon, and Walid Jumblatt in particular, have started to face multiple challenges, stemming both from internal as well as external dynamics that have threatened their status as an important, albeit small, minority in the Lebanese political system and society. The secrecy and exclusivity of the Druze community and faith has long prevented scholars from undertaking in-dept research around this sect. With this in mind, this article has the aim of presenting a much-needed, although very brief, analysis of the recent challenges faced by the Druzes in Lebanon. The first part of this article will function as an introduction to the Druze faith, its history and main features. Besides the necessity to provide the reader with background information regarding the topic under discussion, this first part will also bring to light one of the first possible challenges for the Druzes as a whole, which is the intrinsic secrecy of the community in front of a globalised world that is rarely lenient towards its most isolated minorities. The second and main section of the article will deal with the threats posed to the Lebanese Druzes by internal, as well as external, developments, which contributed to the formation of a rift within the community that can further damage its cohesiveness and cause the demise of Walid Jumblatt’s prominence. The last part will include in the picture the relationship between the Lebanese Druzes and their Syrian and Israeli counterparts in order to explain how the generally pro-Assad Syrian and Israeli Druzes can deepen the aforementioned rift and threaten the community’s solidarity.

The History of the Druzes and a First Inherent Challenge

The Druze faith, which is allegedly an offshoot of the Ismailiyya branch of Shia Islam[1], was founded in Egypt during the Caliphate of the Fatimid Emir al-Hakim in the 11th Century.[2] Shortly afterwards, however, the adherents to this new religion were heavily persecuted due to the heterodoxy of their faith (which combines elements of all the Abrahamitic religions as well as Greek philosophy and Hinduism) and were forced to go underground and become a closed sect.[3] As a result, from the early 11th Century onwards, the act of proselytising (Da’wa in Arabic) has been severely forbidden for Druzes all over the world[4], whose prospects for expansion rely solely on the birth rates of their communities. This itself represents a worrisome aspect as Lebanese Druzes’ fertility rate dropped from 3.55 to 1.5 between 1971 and 2004, and it is a lower rate than that of Shi’a, Sunnis and Maronites.[5] Nowadays, Druzes reside mainly in the Levant and, more specifically, in Lebanon, Syria, Israel, the Golan Heights and parts of Jordan.[6]

Map Source: Institute of Druze Studies

In Lebanon, the Druzes managed to establish a self-ruling “Emirate” within the Ottoman Empire and, according to many, under the rule of Fakhr al-Din II (1590-1635), the Emirate witnessed its golden age, characterised by territorial expansion and peaceful cooperation and coexistence between the Druzes and the Maronites of the area.[7] Ever since the death of Fakhr al-Din II, however, the prominence of the Druze community in Lebanon decreased steadily, while the Maronites, strongly supported by the French, started to play the role of the hegemon in the Emirate and in the future Independent Lebanon and its First Republic (1943-1975). Today, there are approximately 260,000 Druzes in Lebanon, who live predominantly in the areas of the Chouf, Aley, Metn and Wadi al-Taym and make up roughly 5.5% of the Lebanese population.[8]

The Druze community is an extremely closed and secret one, characterised by the principle of taqiyya (dissimulation), which allows them to hide their religious affiliation in the face of possible persecutions. Two other concepts typical of the Druze faith, which will surface again throughout the article, are the so-called Hifz al-Ikhwan and Istitar bil-Ma’louf. The former, which translates to “protection of brothers and sisters” refers to cross-boundary solidarity among Druzes in case one of the communities is threatened. The Istitar bil-Ma’louf on the other hand, consists of the efforts of most of the Druzes (although the Lebanese might represent an exception at times) to align themselves with state powers in order to ensure the survival of their communities.[9] Furthermore, among the principles that lie at the basis of the Druze faith there are the prohibition of intermarriage and, as anticipated, the act of proselytising, since one can only be born a Druze and never become one.[10] Due to these strict rules pertaining to their religion, as well as because of their history of persecution, Druzes are very wary about interacting with other communities in Lebanon and equally reluctant to develop close ties with major cities and economic hubs (maybe with the exception of Beirut), like Sidon, Tyre and Tripoli, but prefer remaining in rural and mountainous areas inhabited by a Druze majority.[11]

While the practice of endogamous marriage within the Druze community might suggest that, by doing so, the Druzes can further their sense of solidarity and the separateness of their faith[12], it is this same separateness that threatens their survival within a globalised world that often has no mercy for those minorities not interested in interacting with “the other”, which run the risk of becoming even more marginalised.[13] This aspect must be taken into consideration also when making the case for the creation of a Lebanese nation state (which is per se a very contentious topic). The sense of national unity among Lebanese is already lagging behind, and if the people of Lebanon are willing to see the emergence of a stronger Lebanese state, the attachment to a given community should be given less relevance in order to make way for an enhanced sense of belonging to the nation.

Walid Jumblatt, “Kingmaker” no More

One of the most recurring names in the history of contemporary Lebanon is Jumblatt. A very important family in Druze history, ever since the 1950s, the Jumblatt family became a crucial player in Lebanese politics as well, first with Kamal Jumblatt and then with his son, Walid. Despite possessing a different personality from his father’s, whose interests lied mainly in philosophy and socialism[14], Walid Jumblatt had managed to represent the Lebanese Druzes somehow successfully since the death of Kamal in 1977. In the last few years, however, the prominence of Walid Bek has shrunk in the face of internal and external developments that threaten to challenge his position within the Druze community in Lebanon. For an extended period of time, the political career of Walid Jumblatt can be said to have perfectly embodied the aforementioned concept of taqiyya, which is one of the pillars of the Druze faith. Taqiyya does not merely mean “dissimulation” as, according to Layish, this principle has different facets and one of them is that of adopting a neutral standpoint (“fence sitting”) whenever it is possible, and if not, supporting the stronger side.[15]

Walid Jumblatt succeeded his father immediately after he was assassinated in 1977 and, despite the fact that almost everyone in Lebanon (including Walid Bek) was certain that Syria was behind the death of Kamal Jumblatt due to his unwillingness to accommodate Hafez al-Asad’s demands during the early years of the civil war, he decided to nurture a more cordial relationship with Damascus and become one of its staunchest allies in Lebanon.[16] Jumblatt’s choice paid off when, after the civil war ended and the Ta’if Accord was signed in 1990, the presence of Syrian troops and security apparatuses in Lebanon guaranteed him a significant oversized share of seats in parliament, achieved through tailor-made and ever-changing electoral laws.[17]

After the withdrawal of the Israelis in 2000, Jumblatt’s alliances shifted again as he, along with Rafiq al-Hariri and Patriarch Sfeir started to give voice to an ever-growing anti-Syrian sentiment in Lebanon. Hafez al-Asad had died and his successor, his son Bashar, soon managed to worsen Syria’s position in the eyes of the international community, first by opposing the Anglo-American invasion of Iraq, and then by intervening in Lebanese politics and amending the constitution in order to extend the presidential term of Syrian protégé Emile Lahoud for three years in 2004.[18] Sensing that the balance of power was beginning to tilt in favour of the anti-Assad camp, Jumblatt decided to support the growing political agenda calling for the withdrawal of Syrian troops from Lebanon.[19] Jumblatt’s move proved to be the right one once again as Syria left Lebanon in the spring of 2005, and in the parliamentary elections held shortly afterwards his bloc gained 15 seats.[20]

In the long-term, however, the departure of Syrian troops from Lebanon and the deteriorating relationship between al-Asad and Jumblatt did not bode well for the Druze leader, whose decision-making power declined steadily, as so did the number of seats in parliament won by his Progressive Socialist Party (PSP) from 2005 until the last round of elections in 2018.[21] The difficulties faced by the son of Kamal in recent years can be explained via two main framework of analysis: first, by the return of Christian politicians and parties that were banned from operating during the Syrian occupation, such as Samir Geagea’s Lebanese Forces and Michel Aoun’s Free Patriotic Movement (FPM), and their success in the last rounds of elections; and second, by the increased power of pro-Syrian allies, namely Hezbollah, especially in the aftermath of the 2008 crisis.

The successful return to politics of parties such as the Lebanese Forces and the FPM following the Syrian withdrawal implied that the pie (i.e. the number of seats in parliament) needed to be shared between more players after 2005. Jumblatt, along with Saad al-Hariri, seemed to have been the most damaged by this, as they used to have large number of Christian deputies in their parliamentary blocs. Furthermore, the new electoral law played its part in undermining Jumblatt’s stance by introducing a Proportional Representation system (albeit a hybrid one).[22] On the other hand, after the 2008 crisis, during which Hezbollah’s armed men stormed and took over West Beirut[23], the Party of God established itself as a major player within Lebanese politics, and one whose opinion cannot be ignored when it comes to cabinet formation.  Once again, Jumblatt was quick to realise that Hezbollah would become a crucial actor in Lebanon and immediately changed his political affiliation by leaving the 14th March alliance and reconciled with Hezbollah, as well as with Damascus.[24]

While it might seem that Jumblatt made the best choice for his political interests, the outbreak of the civil war in Syria made Walid Bek change his mind yet again, as he decided to criticise the regime of Bashar al-Asad and the role Hezbollah started to play in the conflict in support of the dictator.[25] As the war in neighbouring Syria dragged on, and Damascus started to gain the upper-hand in the conflict, Jumblatt’s rivals within the Druze community, namely Talal Arslan and Wiam Wahhab, who both have stronger ties with al-Asad and Hezbollah, began challenging his leadership more seriously. In the aftermath of the 2018 elections, the leader of the Arab Tawhid Party, Wiam Wahhab, denounced vote-rigging in the Chouf-Aley district, verbally attacking Walid Jumblatt and claiming that he got more preferential votes than PSP candidate Marwan Hamade (7340 vs 7226), who was elected to parliament.[26] As for Talal Arslan, leader of the Lebanese Democratic Party (LDP), he managed to obtain only one seat in parliament in the last round of elections, mainly because Jumblatt decided to leave it vacant. Tensions between the PSP and the LDP started to flare up immediately after the 2018 elections as supporters of each party clashed in Choueifat and Aley, leaving one PSP member dead before the Army could intervene to stop the fighting.[27]

The decision to “allow” Arslan to gain a seat in parliament has backfired against Jumblatt and the rift within the Druze community continues to deepen despite the fact that the six-month-long crisis over cabinet formation is coming to an end. One of the issues that lied at the basis of this government-formation crisis was exactly the assignment of ministerial posts to the Druzes. In fact, Talal Arslan, despite gaining only one seat in parliament, in accordance with the FPM and its leader Gebran Bassil, will be allowed to advance five candidates for the ministerial post he was hoping for. Speaker of Parliament Nabih Berri and President Aoun will be in charge of deciding which name to pick.[28] On the other hand, Jumblatt, who, in spite of all the efforts made not to lose ground in the face of his rivals for the leadership of the Druze community, decided to give up the nomination of the third Druze minister after holding talks with Michel Aoun.[29] Ultimately, Arslan’s prominence among the Druzes of Lebanon at the expanses of Jumblatt is becoming more and more likely as the war in neighbouring Syria sees al-Asad, a long-time ally of Arslan, winning on all fronts and increasing his chances for maintaining his position as president in post-war Syria.[30]

Deepening Tensions Amidst Lebanese Druzes vis-à-vis Regional Developments

As seen in the previous paragraph, the recent developments of the war in Syria might put at risk the already precarious cohesiveness of the Lebanese Druzes, as well as Jumblatt’s salience, as their leaders have diverging opinions on the role their Syrian counterparts should play in the conflict. The aforementioned concept of Hifz al-Ikhwan, and the sense of solidarity between all the Druzes of the region that derives from it, has pushed the leaders of the Lebanese Druze community, namely Jumblatt, Arslan and Wahhab, to express their views with regard to which side the Druzes of Syria should support in the civil war. Syria is home to the largest share of Druzes in the Middle East, 800,000, who live in the province of as-Suwayda, south-east of Damascus.[31] Contrary to Lebanon however, the Druzes of Syria do not have strong political figures and, as a result, whoever manages, among Lebanese Druzes, to win their trust, is likely to be perceived as the undisputed leader of the entire Druze community in the Middle East, let alone Lebanon.

Having decided to re-join the anti-Assad camp in Lebanon, Walid Jumblatt has been urging the Druzes of the Hawran region (south-east of Syria) to take up arms against the dictatorial regime and to join the rebel forces fighting it.[32] In the initial stages of the conflict, Jumblatt came as far as endorsing the struggle of Jabhat an-Nusra (now Hayat Tahrir as-Sham) against the regime, before the group pledged allegiance to al-Qaeda. This move, Jumblatt acknowledged later, costed him the support of many fellow Druzes and served a first blow to his regional leadership.[33] On the other hand, Jumblatt’s rivals, Talal Arslan and Wiam Wahhab, two long-time allies of Assad, invited the Druzes of Syria to side with government forces in order to defeat the rebels.[34] The majority of Syrian Druzes did not respond to Jumblatt’s calls to fight Damascus and largely remained loyal to al-Asad.[35] With Jumblatt unable to persuade the Druzes in Syria to espouse his proposal of siding with the rebels, and the al-Asad regime on the verge of winning the war, Walid Bek’s popularity among the Druzes of the region run the risk of plummeting and so does his influence in the future Lebanese decision-making process.[36]

Furthermore, not only the Druzes of Syria seem to support the al-Asad regime (and hence be more prone to side with Arslan or Wahhab in Lebanon), but also the recent developments in Israel have made its Druzes question their loyalty to the State of Israel. The Druzes have always been one of the best integrated minorities in Israel, often occupying prestigious position in the army and, by respecting the concept of Istitar bil-Ma’louf, they managed to fit well in the Israeli society.[37] However, the recently-passed nation-state law, which de facto considers every non-Jewish inhabitant of Israel as a second-class citizen, has enraged the Druze community, which feels betrayed by the country they have always fought for, ever since 1948.[38] As a result, the Druzes of Israel are feeling more and more alienated and have started to look elsewhere for solidarity, and Syria, with its 800,000 pro-Assad Druzes seems to be the most natural ally. With the final stages of the civil war approaching, many Druzes of the occupied Golan Heights have become more vocal about their support for the Syrian President, gathering at the border with Syria and proclaiming their loyalty to Bashar al-Asad.[39] The support shown to al-Asad by the Druzes in the Golan Heights is likely to have repercussions on Lebanon too, as the pro-Assad camp of the Lebanese Druzes can rely on a much more solid and regional basis than the anti-Assad side sponsored by Walid Jumblatt.

Ultimately, Jumblatt recently announced that his son Taymour will succeed him in parliament and passed down to him his political authority.[40] This move might represent an attempt to revitalise the PSP with new lifeblood necessary to confront its pro-Syrian rivals and, at the same time, a farewell to politics by Walid Jumblatt, who is realising that his leadership among the Druzes of Lebanon (and the entire region) is waning. Nevertheless, the passing of the relay baton to his less-experienced son Taymour in such a difficult time for the cohesiveness of the Lebanese Druzes and in the face of the challenges faced by Jumblatt and his supporters, does not seem to be the wisest choice for Walid bek, who, in fact, is still the one conducting negotiations with prominent politicians.

Conclusion

Despite the fact that the Druze community is overrepresented in the Lebanese Parliament (they have 8 seats, which do not respect the principle of proportionality among confessional groups for the distribution of seats, established by the Lebanese Constitution)[41], the relevance of this sect within Lebanon’s political landscape has had to face multiple challenges over the last few years. While the secrecy and separateness of the community might represent an inherent threat to the survival of the Druzes of Lebanon, whose fertility rate has decreased sharply and is one of the lowest among Lebanese sects[42], the major factors that risk to endanger their role seem to be political. More specifically, the leadership of Walid Jumblatt and his ability to change political alliances very quickly, while having borne its fruits for some time, looks likely to suffer a major blow in the near future, especially after the recent developments in neighbouring Syria and the consequential bolstered positions of pro-Syrian Lebanese Druze leaders such as Talal Arslan and Wiam Wahhab. While Arslan managed to win only one seat in the last round of elections, Jumblatt’s rival has always cultivated stronger ties with Damascus and his allies in Lebanon, like the FPM and Hezbollah, can easily facilitate the deepening of the already existing rift within the Lebanese Druzes community by backing Talal Arslan in his claims for a ministerial post in the next government. Along the same line, the Druzes of the entire region too (i.e. Syria and Israel) have shown a tendency to support the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Asad, whose relationship with Jumblatt seems damaged beyond repair after the latter invited the Druzes of Syria to join the rebel forces fighting the dictator. As a result, Walid Bek runs the risk of losing the necessary power base that he used to rely on in the past and that enabled him to play a prominent role in Lebanese politics ever since the early phases of the Lebanese Civil War. Although there is generally a lack of scholarship around the Druzes, mainly due to their secrecy as a sect, this piece serves the purpose of stimulating further research with regard to the multiple challenges facing the Druzes of Lebanon, especially in the aftermath of the Syrian Civil War.

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Alam, Kamal. “Sweida attacks: Syria’s Druze will not be turned against Assad.” Middle East Eye, 31 July 2018, Available at: https://www.middleeasteye.net/columns/sweida-perspective-syrias-druze-are-anything-isolated-minority-187650889

Andoni, Lamis. “Walid Jumblatt: Kingmaker.” Al-Jazeera, 22 January 2011, Available at: https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2011/01/2011122114332223683.html

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[1] Nina Landfield Ostrovitz, “Who Are the Druze?,” World Affairs, Vol. 146, No. 3, SUBNATIONAL CONFLICT (Winter 1983-84), p. 272

[2] Yusri Hazran, “Between Authenticity and Alienation: The Druzes and Lebanon’s History,” Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, Vol.72, No. 3 (2009), p. 463

[3] Judith P. Harik, “’Shaykh al-‘Aql’ and the Druze of Mount Lebanon: Conflict and Accommodation,” Middle Eastern Studies, Vol. 30, No. 3 (Jul., 1994), p. 463

[4] Nina Landfield Ostrovitz, “Who Are the Druze?,” World Affairs, Vol. 146, No. 3, SUBNATIONAL CONFLICT (Winter 1983-84), p. 272

[5] “The Lebanese Demographic Reality,” Lebanese Information Center, January 14, 2013, pp. 10-11, Available at: https://www.lstatic.org/PDF/demographenglish.pdf

[6] “Who are the Druzes?,” Institute of Druze Studies, Updated 2013, Available at: http://druzestudies.info/index.php/druzes

[7] Yusri Hazran, “Between Authenticity and Alienation: The Druzes and Lebanon’s History,” Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, Vol.72, No. 3 (2009), p. 464

[8] “Druze,” Minority Rights Group International, Available at: https://minorityrights.org/minorities/druze-2/

[9] Chad K. Radwan, “Economic adversities and cultural coping strategies: Impacts on identity boundaries among Druzes in Lebanon,” Economic Anthropology 2018, 5, pp. 116, 118

[10] Nina Landfield Ostrovitz, “Who Are the Druze?,” World Affairs, Vol. 146, No. 3, SUBNATIONAL CONFLICT (Winter 1983-84), p. 272-273

[11] Chad K. Radwan, “Economic adversities and cultural coping strategies: Impacts on identity boundaries among Druzes in Lebanon,” Economic Anthropology 2018, 5, pp. 113-115

[12] Judith P. Harik, “Perceptions of Community and State among Lebanon’s Druze Youth,” Middle East Journal, Vol. 47, No. 1, (Winter 1993), p. 45

[13] Hurriyet Babacan, “Challenges of inclusion: cultural diversity, citizenship and engagement,” In: Proceedings of International Conference on Engaging Communities, pp. 1-18. From: International Conference on Engaging Communities, 14-17 August 2005, Brisbane, QLD, Australia

[14] Lamis Andoni, “Walid Jumblatt: Kingmaker,” Al-Jazeera, 22 January 2011, Available at: https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2011/01/2011122114332223683.html

[15] Aharon Layish, “Taqiyya among the Druzes,” Asian and African Studies, 19, 1985, pp. 246, 275-277

[16] Marwan G. Rowayheb, “Walid Jumblat and Political Alliances: The Politics of Adaptation,” Middle East Critique, 20:01, pp. 50-51

[17] Farid el-Khazen, “The Postwar Political Process: Authoritarianism by Diffusion,” in Lebanon in limbo, eds. Hanf and Salam

[18] Julia Choucair, “Lebanon’s New Political Moment,” Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, March 2005, p. 1

[19] Marwan G. Rowayheb, “Walid Jumblat and Political Alliances: The Politics of Adaptation,” Middle East Critique, 20:01, pp. 56, 59

[20] Simon Haddad, “The Lebanese Parliamentary Elections of 2005,” The Journal of Social, Political, and Economic Studies; Fall 2005; 30, 3, p. 327

[21] Jumblatt’s share of seats decreased from 15 in 2005, to 11 in 2009, to 9 in 2018. See: “Lebanon’s Election 2009: A Hostage Situation & Myopic Observers,” The Monthly, No. 84, July 2009, p. 4, Available at: http://monthlymagazine.com/cms/upload/magazine/84-en.pdf; Carla E. Humud, “Lebanon’s 2018 Elections,” CRS Insight, May 11, 2018, Available at: https://fas.org/sgp/crs/mideast/IN10900.pdf

[22] “Lebanon’s draft new election law explained,” an-Nahar, June 3, 2017, available at: https://en.annahar.com/article/594740-lebanons-new-election-law-explained

[23] “Lebanon: Hizbollah’s Weapons Turn Inward,” Crisis Group Middle East Briefing, No. 23, 15 May 2008

[24] Marwan G. Rowayheb, “Walid Jumblat and Political Alliances: The Politics of Adaptation,” Middle East Critique, 20:01, pp. 61-64

[25] Sebastian Gerlach, “Political Leadership in Lebanon and the Jumblatt Phenomenon: Tipping the Scales of Lebanese Politics,” The SAIS Europe Journal of Global Affairs, May 5, 2017, Available at: http://www.saisjournal.org/posts/political-leadership-in-lebanon-and-the-jumblatt-phenomenon#close

[26] Wiam Wahab, Interview with Joanna Naser el-Din, “REPORT: Wiam Wahhab to LBCI reporter: Go away!,” LBCI News Bulletin Reports, 7 May 2018, Available at: https://www.lbcgroup.tv/news/d/news-bulletin-reports/377641/report-wiam-wahhab-to-lbci-reporter-go-away/en; See also: “Wahhab: 7340 ṣawtan wa nāla al-fa’iz marwān hamade 7266 ṣawtan wa ‘alaihi shukr hizbullah,” Elnashra, 7 May 2018, Available at: https://bit.ly/2DaJDN0

[27] “Clashes between PSP and LDP supporters leave one dead,” an-Nahar, 8 May 2018, Available at: https://en.annahar.com/article/801525-clashes-between-psp-and-ldp-supporters-leave-one-dead

[28] “MP Arslan agrees to compromise on Druze representation,” The Daily Star, October 9, 2018, Available at: http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Lebanon-News/2018/Oct-09/465815-arslan-agrees-to-compromise-on-druze-representation.ashx

[29] Georgi Azar, “Cabinet to be formed shortly after LF cedes grounds,” an-Nahar, 29 October, 2018, Available at: https://en.annahar.com/article/888913-cabinet-to-be-formed-shortly-after-lf-cedes-grounds

[30] Mazen ‘Azzi, “Durūz al-Sharq: al-Azmah al-Wujūdiyya al-Akbar,” Al-Modon, 9 August 2018, Available at: https://bit.ly/2EMOwNS

[31] Dmitry Minin, “The Secrets of the Syrian War: the Druze Factor,” Strategic Culture Foundation, 21 July 2017, Available at: https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2017/07/21/secrets-syrian-war-druze-factor.html

[32] Gary C. Gambill, “Syrian Druze: Toward Defiant Neutrality,” Foreign Policy Research Institute, March 2013

[33] Dmitry Minin, “The Secrets of the Syrian War: the Druze Factor,” Strategic Culture Foundation, 21 July 2017, Available at: https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2017/07/21/secrets-syrian-war-druze-factor.html

[34] Noam Raydan, “A Druze Divided: Can Walid Jumblatt Hold the Group Together?,” Foreign Affairs, July 6, 2015, Available at: https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/lebanon/2015-07-06/druze-divided

[35] Kamal Alam, “Sweida attacks: Syria’s Druze will not be turned against Assad,” Middle East Eye, 31 July 2018, Available at: https://www.middleeasteye.net/columns/sweida-perspective-syrias-druze-are-anything-isolated-minority-187650889

[36] “Arslan firm on naming third Druze minister,” The Daily Star, 10 October 2018, Available at: http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Lebanon-News/2018/Oct-10/465912-arslan-firm-on-naming-third-druze-minister.ashx

[37] Chad K. Radwan, “Economic adversities and cultural coping strategies: Impacts on identity boundaries among Druzes in Lebanon,” Economic Anthropology 2018, 5, p. 118

[38] Noga Tarnopolsky, “Israel’s Druze say the country they helped create has turned its back on them,” LA Times, 5 August 2018, Available at: http://www.latimes.com/world/la-fg-israel-druze-20180805-story.html

[39] “Golan Druze Gather at Israel-Syria Border, Chanting Loyalty to Assad,” Haaretz, 6 October 2018, Available at: https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/golan-druze-gather-at-israel-syria-border-chanting-loyalty-to-assad-1.6532049

[40] “Lebanon’s Jumblatt affirms son Taymour as political heir,” Middle East Eye, 19 March 2017, Available at: https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/lebanons-jumblatt-affirms-son-taymour-political-heir-997403557

[41] Lebanese Constitution, Art. 24; The Druzes in Lebanon make up 5.5% of the entire population, hence, roughly 260,000 out of a total of 4,800,000 Lebanese. Muslims are said to represent around 60% of the Lebanese populace, i.e. 2,900,000 people. 260,000 Druzes equals 9% of the total number of Muslims in Lebanon. By following the simple proportion “9 : 100 = X : 64” (where 64 is the No. of seats allocated to Muslims in the Lebanese Parliament), Druzes should be entitled to 6 seats in the parliament.

[42] “The Lebanese Demographic Reality,” Lebanese Information Center, January 14, 2013, pp. 10-11, Available at: https://www.lstatic.org/PDF/demographenglish.pdf

[1] Nina Landfield Ostrovitz, “Who Are the Druze?,” World Affairs, Vol. 146, No. 3, SUBNATIONAL CONFLICT (Winter 1983-84), p. 272

[2] Yusri Hazran, “Between Authenticity and Alienation: The Druzes and Lebanon’s History,” Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, Vol.72, No. 3 (2009), p. 463

[3] Judith P. Harik, “’Shaykh al-‘Aql’ and the Druze of Mount Lebanon: Conflict and Accommodation,” Middle Eastern Studies, Vol. 30, No. 3 (Jul., 1994), p. 463

[4] Nina Landfield Ostrovitz, “Who Are the Druze?,” World Affairs, Vol. 146, No. 3, SUBNATIONAL CONFLICT (Winter 1983-84), p. 272

[5] “The Lebanese Demographic Reality,” Lebanese Information Center, January 14, 2013, pp. 10-11, Available at: https://www.lstatic.org/PDF/demographenglish.pdf

[6] “Who are the Druzes?,” Institute of Druze Studies, Updated 2013, Available at: http://druzestudies.info/index.php/druzes

[7] Yusri Hazran, “Between Authenticity and Alienation: The Druzes and Lebanon’s History,” Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, Vol.72, No. 3 (2009), p. 464

[8] “Druze,” Minority Rights Group International, Available at: https://minorityrights.org/minorities/druze-2/

[9] Chad K. Radwan, “Economic adversities and cultural coping strategies: Impacts on identity boundaries among Druzes in Lebanon,” Economic Anthropology 2018, 5, pp. 116, 118

[10] Nina Landfield Ostrovitz, “Who Are the Druze?,” World Affairs, Vol. 146, No. 3, SUBNATIONAL CONFLICT (Winter 1983-84), p. 272-273

[11] Chad K. Radwan, “Economic adversities and cultural coping strategies: Impacts on identity boundaries among Druzes in Lebanon,” Economic Anthropology 2018, 5, pp. 113-115

[12] Judith P. Harik, “Perceptions of Community and State among Lebanon’s Druze Youth,” Middle East Journal, Vol. 47, No. 1, (Winter 1993), p. 45

[13] Hurriyet Babacan, “Challenges of inclusion: cultural diversity, citizenship and engagement,” In: Proceedings of International Conference on Engaging Communities, pp. 1-18. From: International Conference on Engaging Communities, 14-17 August 2005, Brisbane, QLD, Australia

[14] Lamis Andoni, “Walid Jumblatt: Kingmaker,” Al-Jazeera, 22 January 2011, Available at: https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2011/01/2011122114332223683.html

[15] Aharon Layish, “Taqiyya among the Druzes,” Asian and African Studies, 19, 1985, pp. 246, 275-277

[16] Marwan G. Rowayheb, “Walid Jumblat and Political Alliances: The Politics of Adaptation,” Middle East Critique, 20:01, pp. 50-51

[17] Farid el-Khazen, “The Postwar Political Process: Authoritarianism by Diffusion,” in Lebanon in limbo, eds. Hanf and Salam

[18] Julia Choucair, “Lebanon’s New Political Moment,” Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, March 2005, p. 1

[19] Marwan G. Rowayheb, “Walid Jumblat and Political Alliances: The Politics of Adaptation,” Middle East Critique, 20:01, pp. 56, 59

[20] Simon Haddad, “The Lebanese Parliamentary Elections of 2005,” The Journal of Social, Political, and Economic Studies; Fall 2005; 30, 3, p. 327

[21] Jumblatt’s share of seats decreased from 15 in 2005, to 11 in 2009, to 9 in 2018. See: “Lebanon’s Election 2009: A Hostage Situation & Myopic Observers,” The Monthly, No. 84, July 2009, p. 4, Available at: http://monthlymagazine.com/cms/upload/magazine/84-en.pdf; Carla E. Humud, “Lebanon’s 2018 Elections,” CRS Insight, May 11, 2018, Available at: https://fas.org/sgp/crs/mideast/IN10900.pdf

[22] “Lebanon’s draft new election law explained,” an-Nahar, June 3, 2017, available at: https://en.annahar.com/article/594740-lebanons-new-election-law-explained

[23] “Lebanon: Hizbollah’s Weapons Turn Inward,” Crisis Group Middle East Briefing, No. 23, 15 May 2008

[24] Marwan G. Rowayheb, “Walid Jumblat and Political Alliances: The Politics of Adaptation,” Middle East Critique, 20:01, pp. 61-64

[25] Sebastian Gerlach, “Political Leadership in Lebanon and the Jumblatt Phenomenon: Tipping the Scales of Lebanese Politics,” The SAIS Europe Journal of Global Affairs, May 5, 2017, Available at: http://www.saisjournal.org/posts/political-leadership-in-lebanon-and-the-jumblatt-phenomenon#close

[26] Wiam Wahab, Interview with Joanna Naser el-Din, “REPORT: Wiam Wahhab to LBCI reporter: Go away!,” LBCI News Bulletin Reports, 7 May 2018, Available at: https://www.lbcgroup.tv/news/d/news-bulletin-reports/377641/report-wiam-wahhab-to-lbci-reporter-go-away/en; See also: “Wahhab: 7340 ṣawtan wa nāla al-fa’iz marwān hamade 7266 ṣawtan wa ‘alaihi shukr hizbullah,” Elnashra, 7 May 2018, Available at: https://bit.ly/2DaJDN0

[27] “Clashes between PSP and LDP supporters leave one dead,” an-Nahar, 8 May 2018, Available at: https://en.annahar.com/article/801525-clashes-between-psp-and-ldp-supporters-leave-one-dead

[28] “MP Arslan agrees to compromise on Druze representation,” The Daily Star, October 9, 2018, Available at: http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Lebanon-News/2018/Oct-09/465815-arslan-agrees-to-compromise-on-druze-representation.ashx

[29] Georgi Azar, “Cabinet to be formed shortly after LF cedes grounds,” an-Nahar, 29 October, 2018, Available at: https://en.annahar.com/article/888913-cabinet-to-be-formed-shortly-after-lf-cedes-grounds

[30] Mazen ‘Azzi, “Durūz al-Sharq: al-Azmah al-Wujūdiyya al-Akbar,” Al-Modon, 9 August 2018, Available at: https://bit.ly/2EMOwNS

[31] Dmitry Minin, “The Secrets of the Syrian War: the Druze Factor,” Strategic Culture Foundation, 21 July 2017, Available at: https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2017/07/21/secrets-syrian-war-druze-factor.html

[32] Gary C. Gambill, “Syrian Druze: Toward Defiant Neutrality,” Foreign Policy Research Institute, March 2013

[33] Dmitry Minin, “The Secrets of the Syrian War: the Druze Factor,” Strategic Culture Foundation, 21 July 2017, Available at: https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2017/07/21/secrets-syrian-war-druze-factor.html

[34] Noam Raydan, “A Druze Divided: Can Walid Jumblatt Hold the Group Together?,” Foreign Affairs, July 6, 2015, Available at: https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/lebanon/2015-07-06/druze-divided

[35] Kamal Alam, “Sweida attacks: Syria’s Druze will not be turned against Assad,” Middle East Eye, 31 July 2018, Available at: https://www.middleeasteye.net/columns/sweida-perspective-syrias-druze-are-anything-isolated-minority-187650889

[36] “Arslan firm on naming third Druze minister,” The Daily Star, 10 October 2018, Available at: http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Lebanon-News/2018/Oct-10/465912-arslan-firm-on-naming-third-druze-minister.ashx

[37] Chad K. Radwan, “Economic adversities and cultural coping strategies: Impacts on identity boundaries among Druzes in Lebanon,” Economic Anthropology 2018, 5, p. 118

[38] Noga Tarnopolsky, “Israel’s Druze say the country they helped create has turned its back on them,” LA Times, 5 August 2018, Available at: http://www.latimes.com/world/la-fg-israel-druze-20180805-story.html

[39] “Golan Druze Gather at Israel-Syria Border, Chanting Loyalty to Assad,” Haaretz, 6 October 2018, Available at: https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/golan-druze-gather-at-israel-syria-border-chanting-loyalty-to-assad-1.6532049

[40] “Lebanon’s Jumblatt affirms son Taymour as political heir,” Middle East Eye, 19 March 2017, Available at: https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/lebanons-jumblatt-affirms-son-taymour-political-heir-997403557

[41] Lebanese Constitution, Art. 24; The Druzes in Lebanon make up 5.5% of the entire population, hence, roughly 260,000 out of a total of 4,800,000 Lebanese. Muslims are said to represent around 60% of the Lebanese populace, i.e. 2,900,000 people. 260,000 Druzes equals 9% of the total number of Muslims in Lebanon. By following the simple proportion “9 : 100 = X : 64” (where 64 is the No. of seats allocated to Muslims in the Lebanese Parliament), Druzes should be entitled to 6 seats in the parliament.

[42] “The Lebanese Demographic Reality,” Lebanese Information Center, January 14, 2013, pp. 10-11, Available at: https://www.lstatic.org/PDF/demographenglish.pdf

Emanuele Mainetti
Emanuele Mainetti
Emanuele Mainetti is a MA student of Middle Eastern Studies at King’s College London. He has written his MA thesis on Lebanon, titled “Democracy in Lebanon After Ta’if: A Comparative Analysis of Lebanon’s Democratic Features Before and After 2005.” For the purpose of the dissertation, he conducted fieldwork in Lebanon in July 2018, interviewing civil society members, activists, academics, journalists and politicians. He holds a BA in Languages and International Relations from Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Milan, Italy. After studying Arabic for three years as part of his bachelor’s, he attended an intensive course in Modern Standard Arabic and Jordanian Colloquial Arabic in a language centre in Amman, Jordan. He is also planning to continue his academic career by undertaking a PhD. He is currently an intern at the Middle East Institute for Research and Strategic Studies (MEIRSS).