Mobilisation and Power
Social movement, liberation party or terrorist group? With Hezbollah’s growing involvement in the war in Syria, this study of its impact on Lebanon, drawing heavily on first-hand interviews, could not be more timely.
Almost thirty years after its foundation, Hezbollah remains an enigma. Is it an Islamist terrorist group dedicated to destroying Israel or the first Arab national resistance to have ever defeated Tel Aviv’s troops? Should we look at it as a patriotic and respectable party or a fascist network at the centre of Lebanese political life? Hezbollah intrigues all the more for the difficulty involved in studying it. Its weakening, if not demise, has been announced many times since its inception in the early 1980s. But the fact is that Hezbollah has never stopped growing in power, on the national stage as well as in a regional context.
This book has three purposes. It first gives a clear definition of Hezbollah, presenting a thorough history of the party, describing its established internal structure, and the scope of its social and political action. It then explains the evolution of the party’s mobilisation. Finally, it illustrates another path, political but mainly identity-related — that of the Shiite community, today the main constituent of Lebanese society.
This rigorous and richly documented study, drawing on primary sources and hundreds of interviews with members, executives and officials of the party, unveils new aspects of this organisation, of the ‘Hezbollah phenomenon’ and of Lebanese politics of the last two decades.
Aurélie Daher is Assistant Professor at Université Paris-Dauphine and at Sciences Po, Paris. She was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Oxford in 2010–2011 and 2016–2017, and a postdoctoral research associate at Princeton University in 2012–2013. Her work focuses on Hezbollah, Shiism, and Lebanese and Middle Eastern politics.
‘Daher dispels a number of myths: that Hezbollah would be a state within a Lebanese state or that its principal goal is Islamic rule. Daher redefines the roles we traditionally attribute to Hezbollah, mouthpiece for the Shiite community, and dwells on its partners’ or adversaries’ perceptions of its activities. Offers a very complete picture.’ — Le Monde Diplomatique
‘A long-awaited book, which turns the body of literature on Hezbollah on its head. From now on it will be impossible to study Lebanon’s “Party of God” without taking into account the findings exposed in this groundbreaking volume.’ — Bernard Rougier, Professor of Arab Civilisation, Université Sorbonne-Nouvelle and author of Everyday Jihad
‘Daher shares exceptional insights into the origins, structure, leadership and popularity of Hezbollah. This book is admirable for its nuance and richness of detail about the contention for power amongst Shi’i figures, and the party’s central role in resistance to Israel. I highly recommend it.’ — Augustus Richard Norton, Professor Emeritus, Boston University and author of Hezbollah: A Short History
‘An encyclopaedic effort at writing what is arguably the richest and most rigorous account of Hezbollah’s political history. This is a must-read for anyone interested in understanding the party.’ — Bashir Saade, Lecturer of Religion and Politics, University of Stirling and author of Hizbullah and the Politics of Remembrance: Writing the Lebanese Nation
‘Brilliant, original and engaging, this book is essential reading for generalists and specialists alike.’ — Dale F. Eickelman, Ralph and Richard Lazarus Professor of Anthropology and Human Relations Emeritus, Dartmouth College and co-author of Muslim Politics