Commentary | 14 July 2008

Hizbullah: walking the Lebanese tightrope

Hizbullah’s month-long war with Israel in 2006, its withdrawal from and effective blocking of the Lebanese government later that year, and its May 2008 armed takeover of West Beirut has shown how politically and militarily powerful this group is. As a consequence it is often held up as the exemplar of radical Islamist organisations. Despite this, some recent miscalculations have shown that even Hizbullah can be vulnerable politically. In this new Lowy Institute Perspectives paper, Chief of Army Visiting Fellow Rodger Shanahan argues that despite its recent successes, like all political parties it faces challenges in the future. Its ability to face these challenges will determine its future viability, but at the moment they are likely to remain a strong force.

Rodger Shanahan

  • Rodger Shanahan

Hizbullah’s month-long war with Israel in 2006, its withdrawal from and effective blocking of the Lebanese government later that year, and its May 2008 armed takeover of West Beirut has shown how politically and militarily powerful this group is. As a consequence it is often held up as the exemplar of radical Islamist organisations. Despite this, some recent miscalculations have shown that even Hizbullah can be vulnerable politically. In this new Lowy Institute Perspectives paper, Chief of Army Visiting Fellow Rodger Shanahan argues that despite its recent successes, like all political parties it faces challenges in the future. Its ability to face these challenges will determine its future viability, but at the moment they are likely to remain a strong force.

Rodger Shanahan

  • Rodger Shanahan