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Armenians Beyond DiasporaMaking Lebanon their Own$
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Tsolin Nalbantian

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781474458566

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474458566.001.0001

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Cold War, Bottom-up: The 1956 Catholicos Election

Cold War, Bottom-up: The 1956 Catholicos Election

Chapter:
(p.126) 3 Cold War, Bottom-up: The 1956 Catholicos Election
Source:
Armenians Beyond Diaspora
Author(s):

Tsolin Nalbantian

Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9781474458566.003.0004

Chapter 3 examines the 1956 Catholicos election in Lebanon.While the excitement and success of the repatriation movement was a public relations victory for the USSR supported by local Armenian institutions and assisted by Lebanese and Syrian governments, this election became a site of contestation by Cold War powers and by their state and non-state allies and proxies in the Middle East. This analysis allows us to look at the Cold War in the Middle East not from the top down, through the eyes of Washington or Moscow (or Lebanon’s or Egypt’s state authorities, for that matter) during flash points like the 1958 U.S. intervention in Lebanon or the U.S. and Soviet reactions to the Tripartite Aggression against Egypt in 1956. Rather, in that election, Armenians made use of Cold War tensions to designate a leader of the Armenian Church who was seen to suit the community’s interests. That story also expands our understanding of Lebanon’s Armenians: from refugees and outsiders in national politics to true participants, whose own internal politics, moreover, were of interest to Lebanon’s authorities and who by now felt free to invade and use public spaces beyond their own neighborhoods to make political statements.

Keywords:   Armenian Church, Catholicos Election of 1956, Cold War, USSR, Lebanon, United States, Syria, Egypt, Gamal Abdel Nasser, Jordan

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