BOSTON, Nov. 11, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- "Without Christians, there would be no Lebanon," Professor Marius Deeb argued at a lecture at Boston College on Wednesday. In Lebanon, he said, "Christian leaders have fought to preserve a democratic polity in which all the religious groups would be equal and represented at all levels of government, and in which all basic freedoms would be protected." In the election of General Michel Aoun as Lebanon's president last month, ending two years of deadlock in which the office went unfilled, Deeb saw positive signs of a "new dialogue among Lebanese," and expected that Aoun "will accomplish a lot." In his lecture, Professor Deeb traced in detail the history of Christian leadership in Lebanon, from the establishment of Mount Lebanon as an autonomous zone after the massacres of Christians in 1860 to the 1975-1990 Civil War. Deeb argued that the Christians' desire for a "free and open society" helped preserve Lebanese society despite the horrific violence of the war. Deeb described President Aoun as a "remarkable man." He is a Christian who began his career fighting against the Syrian occupation of Lebanon and later aligned himself with Syria's Shi'ite Muslim ally Hezbollah. In Deeb's view, the conditions for the election of Aoun as President were made possible by the declining influence in Lebanon of both Shi'ite Iran and Sunni Saudi Arabia. The energy of Iran and its Lebanese proxy, Hezbollah, is being absorbed in Syria, while Saudi Arabia is bogged down in Yemen.