Author: Ahmad Nizar Hamzeh
196 pages, ISBN 0-8156-3053-0
Copyright 2004 Syracuse University Press
Though classified by many Western nations as a terrorist organization, Hezbollah is a Shi’ite Islamic movement that also acts as a social services agency with a strong cultural influence for the people of Lebanon.
While it’s true tense battles between Israel and Hezbollah have occurred throughout the years, Hezbollah actually formed in 1982 in response to the violent Israeli invasion and occupation of south Lebanon that year. In the recent war, the international community witnessed Hezbollah as a guerilla army whose abilities were misjudged and whose determination was underestimated in withstanding the Israeli Defense Force.
In the book, “In The Path of Hizbullah” Ahmad Nizar Hamzeh, an associate professor in Political Science at the American University of Beirut , offers a political analysis and comprehensive study of Hezbollah. The book deals with all facets of its structure such as the circumstances surrounding its formation and sources of its ideology, leadership and organizational structure, its emergence as an influential political power in Lebanon and establishment of Islamic jurisprudence.
The book describes the ascendancy of Hezbollah’s Secretary General Sheikh Sayeed Hassan Nasrallah, who took the reins at the age of 32. Nasrallah is hailed by friends and foes alike as a shrewd political pragmatist successfully transforming the group from a loosely knit volunteer militia by carefully orchestrating its emergence as a popular political and social services agency supported by the masses of the Lebanese people. No small feat.
Hezbollah consistently and successfully battled the Israeli Defense Force from 1982-2000, which eventually led to Israel ’s swift withdrawal from southern Lebanon in 2000. However, the author does not focus simply on the military capabilities of Hezbollah. He also includes charts, diagrams and carefully researched documentation chronicling the critical moments of advancement in the development of the party.
Professor Hamzeh points out that while it is the desire of Hezbollah to establish an Islamic order, nowhere does it insist that this Islamic order must be established by force. Another compelling bit of information involved the author’s definition and analysis of the often misunderstood concept of jihad.
Readers interested in delving deeply beneath the surface will appreciate the explanation of Hezbollah’s decentralized framework of unity, which maintains ideological consistency and enables Hezbollah to establish operational unity with others who do not share the same religion, political worldview or strategy; which has been effective in increasing their influence beyond Lebanese borders.
After successfully fending off the most recent Israeli aggression, Hezbollah has emerged as an example of successful resistance against the rapacious Israeli government’s formidable military machine that included indiscriminate missile bombing of Lebanon’s civilian infrastructure and a restricted ground offensive. This victory by Hezbollah must be seen in a larger context. More governments are rebelling against the attempted global dominance of the United States government and their proxy Israel. They are losing allies and the friendship of nations.
Observe President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Iran, the ongoing military resistance in Iraq and the landslide victory of Hamas in Palestine. These are all signs pointing to the self-determination of nations and nation-states with the goal of shattering the iron grip and ubiquitous control of the United States/Israel alliance of global supremacy.