By Rodger Shanahan
The Shi'a of Lebanon have emerged within the final two decades to turn into a tremendous strength in Lebanese politics having lengthy been a marginalized political group. Rodger Shanahan's booklet examines the explanations in the back of this change from a principally rural inhabitants ruled through a handful of elite households, to an assertive sectarian strength whose new came across energy is exemplified by means of the emergence of Shi'a events resembling Amal and Hizballah.
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Additional info for The Shi'a of Lebanon: Clans, Parties and Clerics
13 Al-As‘ad clan, who were descendants of the Banu ‘Ali alSaghir,14 had emerged initially as minor iqta‘ holders from at-Tayyiba. 15 Whilst these two families could be considered the ‘landed aristocracy’ of Jabal ‘Amil, other wujaha’ also emerged after the introduction of the Ottoman land reforms led to an increase in the number of owners of significant land holdings. Many of these came from Saida, Sur (Tyre), Nabatiyya and Bint Jubayl. 16 The timing of the ‘Usayrans rise to power according to Khalidi is, however, doubtful.
Consequently there is little mention of those individual members elected to parliament who influenced Lebanese Shi‘a politics in their own right but who lacked the traditional authority to make an impact past their own term in office. Indeed, since continued electoral success depended on their ability to maintain a position on their political patron’s electoral ticket, their tenure in parliament was itself often 38 THE SHI‘A OF LEBANON dependent on the relationship they had with the dominant regional za‘im.
Their ability to advance themselves economically through land ownership could go some way to explaining why the Shi‘a of the Mountain were less tied to the traditional sectarian patron-client system and were more likely to adopt an independent course of political action. THE SHI‘A AND LEBANON 29 Mandatory Power and the Creation of the Republic Partly as a result of their long-standing links with the Maronites, the French sought a mandate at the end of the First World War over Syrian territories that had been part of the Ottoman Empire.
The Shi'a of Lebanon: Clans, Parties and Clerics by Rodger Shanahan