Iraq and Lebanon Conflict

Background Popular protests have shaken Iraq and Lebanon in the past month. Given that both states grew out of the mandate period, and have very diverse populations, sectarian violence in both countries has often been attributed to the interference of outside powers (most notably Iran, the U.S. and the Gulf states) and many historians have relied on this pattern to explain the failure in the rise of popular revolutionary movements. Yet, recent protests in Iraq and Lebanon seem to reflect an opposite phenomenon because they are inter-ethnic, inter-religious, and transcend the politics of sectarian divisions, and reflect a popular rejection against wide-spread corruption and sectarianism. The assignment Write a focused, analytical essay that answers this question: What historical factors explain the current popular revolutionary movements and do you think they will succeed? Explain why or why not by relying on at least two primary and/or secondary sources. Your sources may take any form and range from Twitter tweets to academic journal articles, however, you must analyze these in the context of the question and present your own personal view addressing it. You should have a thesis and main points, supporting your analysis with specific and relevant historical evidence (from the sources you have selected and/or other primary or secondary historical sources).

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