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Maren Milligan

Reviews Co-Editor

Making Sense of Tripoli II: The Institutional Catch 22

[Tripoli. Image by author]

Root Causes: What They Are Not Tripoli’s conflict is not well understood. Media, and even many policy accounts, often focus on either a simplistic sectarian explanation or “Syrian spillover.” Yet, these two explanations are as inaccurate as they are common. Neither of them accounts for the timing of the conflicts. Part 1 of this two-part series explained why neither sectarianism nor spillover adequately explain the conflict. It also challenged the emphasis on militias, ...

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Making Sense of Tripoli I: The Security Trap or Conflating Cause and Effect

[Lebanese flag graffiti. Image by Bilal Kamoon via Flickr]

Although there are periodic respites, the conflict in Tripoli, Lebanon has become almost routinized with sporadic outbreaks in clashes—some more intense than others. Coverage of “the conflict” has also become routinized, with bursts of reporting, some stronger than others. Generally, analysis revolves around the three S’s: Spillover, Sectarianism, and Salafists. This trifecta of reductionist analysis problematically misrepresents the unfolding situation in Tripoli. To the ...

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Maren Milligan


Maren Milligan is a Visiting Assistant Professor of Political Science at Davidson College. Her manuscript, "Power-sharing or Power-hoarding? Conflict and Democratic Breakdown in Nigeria and Lebanon," argues that rather than mitigating conflict, power-sharing actually causes conflict and prevents democratization. Her work on institutions, identity, democratization and conflict appears in Comparative Politics, Middle East Report, ISIM, and Sada. She has worked for a variety of NGOs in the US and overseas including the Middle East Research and Information Project (MERIP) and the National Democratic Institute (NDI) as well as consulted for the UN. She was co-editor of Jadaliyya's Reviews and NEWTON pages.