The emergence and influence of Hezbollah is the subject of numerous studies and books. “Hezbollah: The Political Economy of Lebanon’s Party of God” by Joseph Daher, a Swiss scholar of Syrian origin, asks what is Hezbollah and how did it come about? More specifically, Daher asks, what kind of hegemony does it exercise over the Shiite community in Lebanon? These questions are quite relevant in light of the unfolding Lebanese historical uprising. Hezbollah’s pivotal role in Lebanese politics and several other questions are explored thoroughly in this doctoral dissertation-turned analytical book. As for the Party's ties with Iran, the author cites a revealing statement by a Party's spokesperson: "We are Iran in Lebanon and Lebanon in Iran." Even more telling is the debunking of the party's propagandistic "leftist" claims against Lebanese government policies, while Hezbollah never "actively opposed major neoliberal policies," according to the reviewer. Daher analyzes the divisions between Shiite leadership and communities, the formation of splintered-off Shiite organizations, and their eventual merging into what is now known as Hezbollah. In the words of the reviewer, “Daher’s “Hezbollah” is an indispensable book for students of Lebanon and of the Middle East.” The book “adopts an objective, dispassionate approach to its subject, allowing the facts to speak for themselves.”
“Hezbollah: The Political Economy of Lebanon’s Party of God,” reviewed by Fawaz Azem, is scheduled to appear in the forthcoming Al Jadid, Vol. 23, No. 77, 2019.
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