, Volume 91, Number 1

Michael C. Williams

The two studies under review, by Matthew Levitt and Lina Khatib et al., present very different pictures of Hezbollah, pictures which are not necessarily conflicting and are indeed, in many ways, complementary. Levitt focuses on the group’s long record of terrorism dating back more than 30 years to the early 1980s and its violent attacks on US marines and French forces then based in Lebanon. Over that period, of course, as Lina Khatib and her co-authors demonstrate, Hezbollah has grown in stature as a political party. Khatib and her colleagues portray a party that has deliberately sought to keep Lebanon a weak and divided country, despite the efforts of the West and Gulf Arab states to strengthen the Lebanese state. These two studies add immensely to our knowledge of Hezbollah and its extraordinary rise over the past three decades to become one of the major political and military actors in the Middle East.