Hezbollah: A Short History

This book begins with what the author claims is a puzzle: the transformation of an
‘Iranian-influenced conspiratorial terrorist group [initially] rejecting participation
in Lebanese politics,’ into ‘a party with considerable autonomy and a talent for
playing politics and winning elections.’ (p. 6) Augustus Richard Norton explains
the makeover as both a consequence of the growing consciousness among the Shi’a
of Lebanon that their religious identity could bring the necessary energy to change
their marginal political and economic status in the country and as a reaction to the
profoundly destructive Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982 that may have weakened
one enemy – the Palestine Liberation Organisation – but that helped bring to life
a far more formidable one another – Hezbollah.

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