The Global Footprint of Lebanon's Party of God

October 2013 9781849043335 440pp
September 2024 9781911723431 440pp
Forthcoming Pre-order
EU Customers


Hezbollah — Lebanon’s ‘Party of God’ — is a multifaceted organisation: it is a powerful political party in Lebanon, a Shia religious and social movement, Lebanon’s largest militia, a close ally of Iran, and a terrorist organisation. Drawing on a wide range of sources, including recently declassified government documents, court records, and personal interviews with intelligence officials, Matthew Levitt examines Hezbollah’s beginnings, its first violent forays in Lebanon, and then its terrorist activities and criminal enterprises abroad in Europe, the Middle East, South America, Southeast Asia, Africa, and finally in North America. He also discusses Hezbollah’s unit dedicated to supporting Palestinian militant groups and the group’s involvement in training and supporting insurgents who fought US troops in post-Saddam Iraq. The book concludes with a look at Hezbollah’s integral and ongoing role in Iran’s ‘shadow war’ with Israel and the West, including plots targeting civilians around the world. Levitt shows convincingly that Hezbollah’s willingness to deploy violence at home and abroad, its global reach, and its proxy-patron relationship with the Iranian regime are all matters worthy of the utmost concern.


‘Hezbollah reads more like a thriller than an academic work. Having said that, it is meticulously researched [and] replete with fascinating titbits of information significantly adding to the reader’s growing impression of Hezbollah’s global reach.’ — The Times of Israel

‘[Matthew Levitt] narrates the full history of [Hezbollah] in absorbing detail with an emphasis on its thirty-year history of terrorism. While scholarly in tone and approach, Mr. Levitt’s book delivers suspenseful and even terrifying blow-by-blow accounts of the most infamous of Hezbollah’s attacks.’ — Wall Street Journal

‘Matthew Levitt is a recognised authority on Hezbollah and its activities, both in the Levant and globally. … Hezbollah: The Global Footprint of Lebanon’s Party of God fills a vital gap in understanding the international dimensions of Hezbollah, its reach, and its capacities for terrorism worldwide.’ — Charles Allen, former Assistant Director of Central Intelligence for Collection, CIA

‘Levitt’s Hezbollah: The Global Footprint of Lebanon’s Party of God contain[s] a recurrent and informative narrative on the deep links between Hezbollah and the Iranian regime. These links are detailed in depth, often in the form of meticulous blow-by-blow reconstructions of instances where Hezbollah has surfaced in the Middle East – and as far and wide as Africa, South East Asia and South America.’—Dr Stephen McGlinchey, E-International Relations, 2014

‘Hezbollah is perhaps the world’s most capable group. Terrorism expert Matthew Levitt offers a comprehensive and fascinating assessment of Hezbollah’s network outside the Lebanese theater, exposing its operations and fundraising apparatus in Asia, Latin America, Europe, and even the United States.’ — Daniel Byman, professor, Center for Security Studies, Georgetown University

‘Matthew Levitt has made a significant contribution to public understanding of Hezbollah’s worldwide operations. He has shone a bright light into some of the darkest corners of the group’s activities overseas.’ — Richard Barrett, former head of MI6/SIS/British Intelligence’s Counter Terrorism Department and coordinator of the United Nations Al-Qaeda–Taliban Monitoring Team

‘Matthew Levitt has laid out a timely and relevant history of Hezbollah, a global terrorist organisation often referred to as the “A–Team” of terror. This book comes at the right time as Hezbollah continues its decades-long war against the United States, Israel, and our allies around the globe while it attempts to consolidate political power in Lebanon — on its behalf and for the Iranian regime.’ — Juan Zarate, former Deputy National Security Advisor for Combatting Terrorism and author Treasury’s War (forthcoming)

‘Richard Armitage, then Deputy Secretary of State, once described Hezbollah as the “A–team’ of international terror. In his extraordinary new book, Matthew Levitt explains why Hezbollah is seen as such a global threat. Levitt paints a compelling picture of Hezbollah’s terror activities not just in the Middle East but throughout Europe, Asia, Africa, and North and South America. While Western intelligence and law enforcement agencies have tracked and disrupted Hezbollah’s global activities for years, this highly unsettling story has been largely unknown to wider publics. Thanks to Levitt’s meticulous and well-written book that should no longer be the case.’ — Ambassador Dennis Ross, Counselor at the Washington Institute; former Special Assistant to President Obama and Senior Director for the Central Region at the National Security Council

‘This book tells the sinister story of a highly sophisticated organization that for more than thirty years has been an archetype of world-wide illicit activities. Hezbollah effectively combines its overt social and political activities with covert criminal and terrorist operations on a global scale. Matthew Levitt’s painstaking collection of a rich array of data provides uncomfortable evidence of ‘The Global Footprint of Lebanon’s Party of God’. This book is essential reading for policy-makers and the international intelligence community.’ — Uri Rosenthal, Former Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Netherlands

‘ The book is an important resource for serious scholars of the Middle East and a great read for anyone interested in better understanding the region. No one has catalogued Hezbollah’s clandestine activities in such forensic detail as Levitt.’—The Muslim World Book Review, 2014

‘In Hezbollah: The Global Footprint of Lebanon’s Party of God, Matthew Levitt, through adept storytelling and impressive attention to historical detail, manages to teach even long-time students of the Middle East a great deal about Hezbollah. The book leaves little doubt as to the increasing importance, danger, and international reach of Hezbollah. It will be an important resource for serious scholars of the Middle East and a great read for anyone interested in better understanding the region.’ — Andy Liepman, Senior Policy Analyst, RAND Corporation; former Principal Deputy Director, National Counterterrorism Center

‘Matthew Levitt’s book touches a key point of the growing debate on Hezbollah: the European approach to the phenomenon. It is a reminder for us Europeans that there are threats that might seem distant geographically, but could nevertheless have a strong impact politically on the continent as well.’ — Franco Frattini, Justice and Chamber President of the Italian Conseil d’Etat (Supreme Administrative Court); President of the Italian Society for International Organization (SIOI); former Italian Foreign Minister (2002-2004 and 2008-2011)

‘This book on Lebanese Hezbollah is a unqiue incisive insight into its global terror tentacles around the globe. No one has catalogued these terrorist connections and plots in such forensic detail as Matthew Levitt, especially how the terror nexus between Hezbollah and Iran has continually evolved. It systematically lays bare Hezbollah’s operational capability and its multiple intersections with Iranian intelligence architecture. This should be required reading for every intelligence analyst and terrorism researcher.’ — Magnus Ranstrop, research director, Centre for Asymmetric Threat Studies at the Swedish National Defence College

‘A meticulously detailed examination of Hezbollah’s origins as an Iranian proxy in Lebanon and its forays into terrorism. . . The book sheds new light on the targeting of Western and Israeli interests in Lebanon and abroad, and the consolidation of its power among Lebanon’s Shiite population and the country’s political system – all of which are now big threatened by its controversial involvement in Syria’s civil war.’ — Washington Times

‘If you combine the detective work of an N.C.I.S. episode and the excitement of a Daniel Silva novel with the Mission Impossible theme in the background, you can approximate the narrative provided in this important book. Levitt painstakingly documents every fact and incident. He has access to many sources and uses them effectively. His connections to the intelligence communities around the world provide for an inside look into the workings of Hezbollah. …Although there may be many knowledgeable terrorism experts, Levitt is primus inter pares.’ — The Jewish Voice

‘A detailed and gripping new study of Hezbollah’s global operations … this excellent book should help anyone under any illusions about what Hezbollah really is to come to their senses.’ — Literary Review

‘Levitt’s exhaustive study successfully breaks down the organization’s intricate web of activities, both in and out of the Middle East. His know-how of the Washington Beltway and the intelligence agencies that populate it allows Levitt to cogently and compellingly make the case that the group poses a truly worldwide threat. … In page after page, he lays out convincingly … that Hezbollah’s criminal and terrorist activities cannot be divorced from the larger political whole, and that its “resistance” activities are terrorism, pure and simple. … With the danger of a nuclear Iran looming ever larger on the horizon, Levitt’s book is a timely reminder of how dangerous and widespread the genie of Hezbollah truly is, and why there needs to be a concerted global effort to get it back into the bottle.’ — The Journal of International Security Affairs

‘Matthew Levitt’s refreshing study of the history and development of Hezbollah’s international network and operational track record provides a convincing profile of a highly professional group whose scope extends far beyond the confines of Lebanese politics.’ — Richard Phelps, Quilliam Foundation

‘Levitt’s book makes a major contribution to the literature and we should be grateful to him for his forensic skill in mapping over 426 pages Hezbollah’s 30-year embrace of violence.’ — Michael C. Williams, The Royal Institute of International Affairs, International Affairs 91.


Matthew Levitt is the Fromer-Wexler Fellow at The Washington Institute and Director of its Jeanette and Eli Reinhard Program on Counterterrorism and Intelligence. He teaches at Georgetown University’s Walsh School of Foreign Service and Center for Jewish Civilization. Widely published, he is also the creator of the Lebanese Hezbollah Select Worldwide Activity interactive map and timeline, and host of the podcast Breaking Hezbollah’s Golden Rule.

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