The foreign hostages in Lebanon are living reminders of the challenge posed to the West by Hezbollah, the Iranian-backed movement of fundamentalist Lebanese Shi’ites. Hezbollah has conducted its operational campaign with a great measure of strategic and tactical savvy. Yet its ideologues understand and represent its struggle as a war without borders whose aim is to redraw the map of the Middle East and ultimately fashion an Islamic world order.
In this Policy Paper, Martin Kramer ascribes the origin of Hezbollah’s hostile vision of the West not only to the policies of Western governments, but to Hezbollah’s own ideological and theological tenets. Kramer offers a broad discussion of authority in Hezbollah; an analysis of Hezbollah’s vision of an Islamic world order; an account of its presentation of the United States, Israel, Western Europe, and the Soviet Union; and reflection on the centrality of ideas in Hezbollah’s rise and subsequent development.