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In the Path of Hizbullah

A. Nizar Hamzeh

Cloth $24.95s    |    0-8156-3053-0    |   2004

The only in-depth analysis of the party’s emergence, ideology, organizational structure and modes of action.

"The majority of books available on Hezbollah often focus primarily on the party’s religious ideology or its military/terrorist activities. However, with In the Path of Hizbullah, political scientist Ahmad Nizar Hamzeh has written a short but detailed and highly readable account of the party’s political structure and strategies. He argues that the emergence of Hezbollah can be directly traced to the political and economic disenfranchisement of the vast majority of Lebanese Shìah, the military crisis posed by Israel’s 1982 invasion of their country, and the influence on the community that followed the triumph of revolutionary Shìsm during the 1978-79 Iranian Revolution.

Although Hezbollah’s religious and military ideologies are amply covered, the author is primarily interested in the hierarchical structure of the party and the method in which it carries out its political operations. Despite its successes up to this point, Hamzeh believes that the future of Hezbollah remains unclear and may be largely tied to the future evolution of international relations between Israel and the Arab and Muslim world and the United States and Iran."
The Muslim World Book Review

"This illuminating and timely book looks objectively at the dynamics of one of the most important yet least understood forces in contemporary Lebanon and the Middle East. . . .Essential."

The Nation

"This book provides the concise comprehensiveness of a good handbook. A short historical sketch of the emergence of Hezbollah is followed by a presentation of the group’s religio-political ideology, which includes acceptance of the velayat (guardianship) of the Iranian faqih (first Khomeini and then Khamenei). Thereafter, with copious charts and tables, Hamzeh presents Hezbollah’s organizational structure, its social service activities, its terrorist and military acts over the years, and its political role in Lebanon. At the same time, he addresses the larger question of concern to all: Can an armed organization that has militant, terrorist roots and is bent on establishing an Islamist state evolve into a play-by-the-rules actor in a pluralistic polity? Hezbollah, Hamzeh concludes, truly believes in the possibility of eventually achieving its Islamic republic (thanks to the inexorable demographic weapon) but has shown remarkable pragmatism and adaptability en route to that goal. Thus, prudent policies pushed by others both from within Lebanon and beyond just might tie it to pluralistic politics and keep its Islamist dream at bay."
—Foreign Affairs

"Of all the studies of Hizbullah that I have read in Arabic, English, or French, this book is by far the most informative and most analytical. . . . The author provides a wealth of new and original information. If you read one book about Hizbullah, read this one. It is by far the best source on the subject."
—As`ad AbuKhalil, author of The Battle for Saudi Arabia: Royalty, Fundamentalism, and Global Power

"This is the first comprehensive study of Hizbullah that addresses the historical dynamics of its emergence, its ideology, leadership, organizational structure, and operational policies toward Israel and within the Lebanese political system. The very few articles and monographic studies that exist, focus on the externalities and militant actions of Hizbullah. This book, on the other hand, uniquely explores Hizbullah ‘from the inside out,’ providing readers with a rare glimpse into the inner workings of Hizbullah’s multifaceted organs and activities as well as the causes of its phenomenal success as a fighting organization, as a political party, and as a philanthropic agency."
—R. H. Dekmejian, author of Islam in Revolution: Fundamentalism in the Arab World

Of the many Islamist groups that have emerged within the Muslim world over the last two decades, perhaps none has had so great an impact on Middle Eastern and International affairs as Hizbullah, the Party of God. This group of mainly Lebanese Shìte Muslims gained both infamy and fame by its resort to militancy mixed with political pragmatism in the pursuit of its goals. The oscillation between these two extremes has left most scholars and policymakers perplexed.

This book serves as a pathway for understanding not only Hizbullah but also for other Islamist groups and their challenges to contemporary politics. A. Nizar Hamzeh examines the Hizbullah of Lebanon through a structural analysis using original and archival sources. Based on a constructed theoretical framework from a number of theories on crisis conditions, leadership, political parties and guerrilla warfare, In the Path of Hizbullah stands alone in its qualitative and quantitative treatment of one of the most complex contemporary Islamist organizations and provides a view of the party's future.

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A. Nizar Hamzeh is associate professor of history and international relations at the American University of Kuwait. He has written numerous articles on Islamic movements and is the coauthor of 1998 Lebanese Municipal Elections (in Arabic).

6 x 9, 242 pages, glossary, endnotes, bibliography

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