Hezbollah Augustus Richard Norton's Book Hezbollah: A Book Report

Length: 4 pages Sources: 4 Subject: Terrorism Type: Book Report Paper: #10841789 Related Topics: Augustus, Charity, Book, Novel
Excerpt from Book Report :


Augustus Richard Norton's book Hezbollah: A Short History attempts to provide a balanced and nuanced view of the Shiite Islamic organization. Concerned primarily with the issue of self-rule and self-determination within Lebanon -- at least at the time of its founding -- Hezbollah has come to be labeled as a terrorist organization by many world governments, and Norton critically examines this identification and the events and perspectives that have led to this conclusion. Much of what Norton describes in the book is a simple matter of fact, but his interpretation and analysis of these facts is at times somewhat controversial. This paper will examine Hezbollah: A Short History through the lens of certain critical scholars that reviewed the wor, in order to determine the general consensus (or lack thereof) that exists in the academic community regarding Hezbollah's status.

Defining Terrorism

In order to understand Norton's argument that Hezbollah not be considered a true terrorist organization, an understanding of how he defines terrorism must be achieved. The vast majority of Hezbollah's violent action has taken place, in Norton's view, against military targets, and this fact rather than the fact that the group operates out of civilian centers and has no real military installations makes them more a paramilitary/rebel group rather than a terrorist organization.

This is an oversimplification of Norton's argument, but is still the central view that he takes of Hezbollah and of its violent actions against primarily the Israeli military.

Norton also notes the abundant charity work the Hezbollah engages in, and cites the primarily religious nature...


Like certain other entities in the region, Hezbollah refuses to recognize Israeli legitimacy despite largely adhering to certain "rules of the game" that keep it from attacking civilian targets in Israel (with some very notable exceptions), and this lack of flexibility is both a problem in and of itself and a demonstration of the lack of political traction that is possible with Hezbollah, demonstrating with some clarity that it is not simply a religious/charitable organization fighting for independence -- there is a specific agenda that the group has, and its violence is a part of that agenda.

In addition to causing problems with Israel, this stance of Hezbollah's creates tensions with the international community as it creates an untenable situation especially if Hezbollah should achieve greater official political power, as is beginning to occur.

This could suggest possible political motives for Israel's allies (namely, the United States) to label the organization as a terrorist group in order to keep it from achieving…

Sources Used in Documents:


Abisaab, R. Journal of Palestine Studies, Vol. 37, No. 2 (Winter 2008): 101-02.

Alagha, J. "Review." Arab Studies Quarterly, Vol. 30, Issue 1 (Winter 2008): 61-70.

Alexander, K. Middle East Policy, Vol. 15, Issue 3 (Fall 2008): 152-55.

Gordon, J. Journal of Military History, Vol. 72, Issue 3 (July 2008): 984-85.

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