This article argues that the Lebanese Civil War (1975–90) was in essence a terror of state directed by mercantile economic and political elites (the comprador class) controlling the Lebanese state and society against the middle and poorer classes (the working class). The aim of this terror or organized violence was to subdue the subordinate classes, which in the late 1960s and early 1970s rebelled against the confessional system that operated for the benefit of the comprador class. The rebellion was expressed by members of the working-class joining cross-confessional nationalist and leftist parties. Hence, violence was aimed at reestablishing the confessional order as a means to restore a hegemonic system that served the interests of the comprador class at a time when this class was rehabilitating its economic role by resurrecting the financial system, which had received a severe blow in the late 1960s. It effected this rehabilitation through the Taif Agreement signed between Lebanese parliamentarians in 1989, under the auspices of Syria, Saudi Arabia, and the United States, to favor the new mercantile elite led by Rafiq Hariri.

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