OK, but still not entirely true. The elites were both Maronite and Sunni Muslim. You’re ignoring the disproportionate hold the Sunni and Druze elite had on the Muslim side of the state and their full willingness to partake in the system as is. Ghandour, Spinneys, countless others were companies owned and managed by Sunni Beiruti elite families. It wasn't just the Maronites who prevented development in the South and Beqaa, in fact, they most likely played a secondary role in that regard.
Yes some prominent Sunni families were allowed to partake in the power structure. But the way Lebanon was set up by the French dictated Maronite supremacy in the hierarchy of sectarian rule. This rule isn't just about control of the state but of the country's resources and points of trade. This is still reflected in the way the social and economic capital is distributed in the country today. For instance the Maronite Church alone is the biggest landowner in Lebanon. That's discounting all the other land owned by the sectarian aristocracies.
If the state was so disproportionately in the hands of the Maronites, how was it possible that many Sunni Muslims and Druze openly benefitted from it as well?
Because that was the nature of the power 'sharing' agreement.
It serves to ask this question because there was no straightforward hegemonic culture in the Lebanese state, but competing ideologies.
We're not talking about a hegemonic ideology but a hegemonic sectarian ruling class that was artificially implanted by the French.
It doesn't stand to reason, then, that the the National Movement militias were fighting against "systemic injustice" when they simultaneously benefitted from it. Maybe the best sign of the Maronites’ inability to fully control the state was their lack of control over the army and the ease with which it was split and its elements aligning with the National Movement.
This broaches a different topic that we could delve into on its own.
Tangentially, the sectarian formulation is not solely a manifestation of French colonialism, but of 400+ years of developments in Ottoman administration. Our analysis wouldn’t be complete if we divorced Lebanon’s politics from the region, correct? Lebanon inherited a lot more from the 400+ years of Ottoman rule than it had from the ~25 years of French rule. The entire millet divisions, coupled with the Tanzimat reforms, were the basis of the sectarian divisions in the Lebanese state as well as some of the roots of the economic divide.
I would be inclined to disagree here as the notion of the sectarian bureaucratic state that france tried to implement in Lebanon was to be modeled along the nation building experiment that it underwent during the 19th century. Would you have supporting sources that delve into the issue with more detail?