This book explores the rise of Hizbullah as a direct consequence of both the Iranian Revolution and the entanglement of Lebanon in the Arab-Israeli conflict. Protracted civil war and overwhelming foreign intervention by Lebanon's neighbors enabled Hizbullah to emerge as the country's dominant politico-military force. Hizbullah disabled the Lebanese political system and, in its capacity as Iran's premier foreign proxy, allowed the Islamic Republic to take the lead in the regional tug of war with Israel. In its quest for achieving a distinguished regional status commensurate with its ambitions, Iran used Hizbullah to abort the Syrian uprising, actively contribute to its burgeoning influence in Iraq, and participate in its propaganda war against Saudi Arabia on a range of issues. The renewed U.S. sanctions on Iran coincided with a worldwide campaign to dry up Hizbullah's sources of funding and compromised its integrity as a critical provider of patronage to its Lebanese Shi'ite base of support. The emergence of Russia as the real power player in Syria made it extremely difficult for Hizbullah to justify the high human cost it incurred to salvage the regime of Bashar Asad. This book examines the rise of Hizbullah and the marginalization and repression of Shi'ites that made them susceptible to exploitation by their sectarian leaders.
About the Author
Hilal Khashan is professor of political science at the American University of Beirut.