Contending notions of terrorism in Lebanon
Politico-legal manoeuvres and political Islam
in Non-Western responses to terrorism
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Bombings, armed action and other militant phenomena have been a recurrent feature of Lebanese politics. The divided political landscape across sects and party formations, in the absence of a strong executive institutional mechanism, in the aftermath of a protracted ‘civil’ war and a hashed-up cessation of hostilities in a turbulent regional environment, has contributed to a climate where violent acts are a way to conduct politics. As a result, the struggle over meaning and naming significantly shapes political struggles and the possibility for compromise in the Lebanon. There have been conflicting claims as to which acts are labelled terrorism, and this war over words is integral to the different political struggles plaguing the country, involving other regional state and non-state actors. This chapter will look at two important battles at managing claims of terrorism, one regarding the assassination of Prime Minister Rafic Hariri and the establishment of an international tribunal, and the other involving a Islamist targeted campaign waged by Hizbullah against takfiri groups such as al Qaeda and IS (the Islamic State).

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