In the midst of the Lebanese civil war (1975-1991), two of Lebanon's main confessional communities, the Druzes and the Maronites, clashed in Al Chouf region in the southern area of Mount Lebanon. This sectarian rivalry became known as: The Mountain War or Harb Al Jabal. This was not the first violent sectarian encounter between both communities who fought fiercely in the same geographical area in 1841 and 1860. When Harb Al Jabal occurred, the political leaderships of both communities deployed the discourse of the 1860 sectarian rivalries to fuel their communities to fight against each other. Most of the literature that covered the Mountain War placed it either in the wider context of the Lebanese civil war and its dynamics or reduced it to the prevalence of primordialism and the lack of modernity in Lebanon; relying on previous violent encounters between both groups in the mid-nineteenth century to justify this argument. This thesis attempts to unpack the Maronite-Druze inter-sectarian rivalries in the mid-nineteenth century to be able to understand how the specific history of the Druze-Maronite inter-sectarian relations in the mid-nineteenth century in Mount Lebanon, with a specific focus on their sectarian rivalries, could help in the understanding of the dynamics and consequences of the Mountain War.


Middle East Studies Center

Degree Name

MA in Middle East Studies

Graduation Date


Submission Date

January 2019

First Advisor

Hojairi, Mouannes

Committee Member 1

Ghazaleh, Pascale

Committee Member 2

Khayyat, Munira



Document Type

Master's Thesis


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Institutional Review Board (IRB) Approval

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I would not have reached this stage in my thesis without the help and guidance of Dr. Mouannes Hojairi (my supervisor), Dr. Pascale Ghazaleh (my first reader) and Dr. Munira Khayyat (my second reader). It was a great pleasure to work with you and learn from your comments. I want to use this occasion to thank Dr. Pascale Ghazaleh for her time and remarkable comments that not only helped me improve the content of my thesis, but also assisted me in changing the way I conduct my research; especially on ethnic and religious communities in the Middle East. Thank you for teaching me how to be cautious while choosing the sources that inform the reader about certain communities in the Middle East, how to distance myself as a researcher from the research I am conducting and how to be quite precise with the choice of words. I owe you this progress that I witnessed in my research and writing skills from the beginning of the writing process till now. I would also love to thank the American University in Beirut (AUB) for letting me have access to its microfilms, which were quite essential as primary data for my research on Harb Al Jabal. As for Fighters for Peace NGO in Lebanon, I could not have been able to conduct interviews with ex-fighters in the Mountain War without your help and support. Special thanks goes to Mr. Asaad Chaftari, vice president of Fighters for Peace, and Racha El Amin who put me in contact with a number of Maronite and Druze ex-fighters and were quite helpful whenever I needed help. I am so grateful for my family, my father, mother and sister, for their continuous help and support. Thank you for everything. As for my mum, I would not have reached this stage in my life without your constant support, encouragement and help. You never ceased to push me to do my best. I owe you my life. As for my friends, I would like to thank my best friends Aida Yehia, Aliaa Soliman and Mariam Mecky for proof-reading my work and for constantly providing me with constructive feedback on my thesis. As for Ivette Idrobbo, thank you for believing in me and pushing me to do my best in my thesis.