In This Review

Hezbollah: Mobilization and Power
Hezbollah: Mobilization and Power
By Aurélie Daher
Hurst, 2019, 432 pp

Daher considers how the Shiite militant group Hezbollah gained legitimacy through its resistance to Israeli incursions in Lebanon. Hezbollah went from strength to strength after Israel withdrew from southern Lebanon in 2000 and after its partial victory against an Israeli incursion in the summer of 2006. Her book was first published in French in 2014 and does not investigate how Hezbollah decided to go to war in Syria on behalf of Bashar al-Assad in 2011. It takes some mental gymnastics to see how Hezbollah’s role in Syria either mounts resistance to Israel or defends the territory of Lebanon. Daher has spent years in the Bekaa Valley close to Hezbollah strongholds. Her portrayal of the organization is rather sympathetic. The book’s strongest feature is its analysis of the charismatic appeal of Hezbollah’s secretary-general, Hassan Nasrallah. Daher’s superficial treatment of the organization’s finances—and the group’s consequent ability to eschew corruption and rent seeking—is less satisfying. The author refutes accusations of terrorism leveled at Hezbollah, particularly the findings of the international tribunal that investigated the 2005 assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri. She challenges the evidence that Hezbollah was behind this killing and other violent incidents.