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Profile photo of Rola El-Husseini Dean

Rola El-Husseini Dean


Profile photo of Rola El-Husseini Dean

Politics Makes for Strange Bedfellows : Exigency and Sectarian Politics in Lebanon


  • Rola El-Husseini Dean


  • Imad Salamey

Summary, in English

The alliance between the seemingly disparate Lebanese Christian party Free Patriotic Movement and the Shi’a organization Hezbollah has survived many local and regional upheavals since the signing of the memorandum of understanding (MoU) in February 2006. The pact was strengthened after the 2006 summer war and has stood for 15 years - despite political assassinations and low-intensity conflict in Lebanon and a civil war in neighboring Syria. I argue against a conventional understanding of sectarian politics and propose instead that the stable relationship between the two organizations, including Hezbollah’s support of Michel Aoun and his son-in-law Gebran Bassil, are rooted in political exigency. We should see Hezbollah’s actions as those of a rational actor acting in its own interest while balancing the interests of other groups on the political scene. I will define political exigency and develop a theoretical framework before giving a short primer on both political parties. I then examine the ups and downs of the relationship between the FPM and Hezbollah between February 2006 and February 2021 through the lens of events such as the May 2008 clashes between Hezbollah supporters and opponents, Hezbollah’s involvement in the Syrian civil war, the 2016 election of Michel Aoun to the presidency, the October 2019 uprising, and the 2020 Beirut Port explosion.


  • Centre for Advanced Middle Eastern Studies (CMES)
  • MECW: The Middle East in the Contemporary World
  • Department of Political Science

Publishing year







The Communitarian Nation-State Paradox in Lebanon

Document type

Book chapter


Nova Science Publishers, Inc.


  • Political Science


  • Lebanon
  • consociational
  • divided society
  • elites




  • ISBN: 9781685072933
  • ISBN: 978-1-68507-223-0