Hezbollah: A Short History

Augustus Richard Norton, Author
Augustus Richard Norton, Author . Princeton Univ. $16.95 (168p) ISBN 978-0-691-13124-5
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In this remarkably thorough, articulate portrait of Hezbollah, Norton, a Boston University anthropology and international relations professor and former U.S. Army officer and U.N. military observer, analyzes how the organization was formed, how it evolved and its current role in Lebanese politics. More than just an Iranian-funded terrorist organization, Hezbollah is a comprehensive provider of social services to Lebanon's disenfranchised Shiite masses, and a highly respected political player, known to forswear corruption. Formed in 1982 under Iranian tutelage, and prompted by the Israeli invasion of Lebanon, Hezbollah has made a goal of fomenting Islamic revolution in Lebanon and authorizes violence to this end. In the 1990s, its policies in support of this goal began to include parliamentary participation. After the 2006 war with Israel, Hezbollah has emerged invigorated, flexing its military might and winning support through its rigorous postwar reconstruction. Norton's authoritative account is rooted in such important Middle East themes as the historical division between Sunni and Shiites and the origins of Iranian influence in Arab affairs. It is also personal, speckled with anecdotes from more than three decades of experience. Given the contentious subject, Norton's tone is remarkably even: Hezbollah is an organization he respects, but whose actions he does not condone. 10 b&w photos not seen by PW . (Apr.)

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