Three Phases of Resistance: How Hezbollah Pushed Israel Out of Lebanon

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“Israel is a rapist enemy that we will continue to fight until the raped land is returned to its rightful owners” declared Hezbollah in the 1980’s, and initiated a violent struggle that would begin in 1982 and persist to this very day.[1] It was a struggle that would claim thousands of Lebanese and Israeli lives and eventually force Israel out of Lebanon after 18 years of occupation.

It is a struggle that has been and still is subject to much scholarly work. Most of the literature, however, revolves around Israeli responses to Hezbollah’s guerrilla war and its failures in defeating the group.[2] Another significant part of the literature deals with the shifts in Hezbollah’s ideology and its variant of political Islam.[3] Conversely, this essay will assess Hezbollah’s strategy to liberate south Lebanon from Israel, in the period 1982-2000.

While there are many explanations, I argue that Hezbollah’s strategy was successful in liberating south Lebanon mainly because of its ability to secure a strategic relationship with a patron and arouse and maintain popular local support, as well as its novel methods of fighting the IDF in Lebanon and manipulating the Israeli public. I set out by defining the concept of strategy and place it in a Guerrilla context. I then proceed to analyse the three distinct phases; 1982-1985, 1985-1990, and 1990-2000, and ultimately draw conclusions on my main findings.


A plethora of different definitions of strategy exist in the literature. Most have assumptions by von Clausewitz or Liddell Hart at their core, and then proceed to add more layers. Clausewitz defined strategy as ‘the use of engagement for the object of war’, while Liddel Hart called it ‘the art of distributing and applying military means to fulfil the ends of a policy’.[4]

Others, most notably, Edward Luttwak, in his work, ‘Strategy: The Logic of War and Peace’, argued for emphasising the operational level in between the strategic and the tactic level.[5] In a similar style, Michael Howard suggests strategy should be divided into four dimensions: the operational, logistical, social, and technological.[6] In its most basic form, strategy is divided into grand strategy, strategy and tactics.[7] For the purpose of this essay, however, I shall deal with three levels of strategy, namely grand strategy, strategy, and grand tactics.

Grand strategy is the highest level of strategy, in which all the overarching aims are stated. At this level, diplomatic, economic and political issues are factored in so as to support the realization of the aims of grand strategy. At the strategic level, a subset of goals is defined, which define the military and political goals. At this level, priorities and specific objectives are agreed upon, and economic resources as well as manpower are distributed accordingly.

At the grand tactics level, choices are made as to which type of warfare is most likely to yield the desired goals of the military campaign, taking into account the prevalent conditions such as military and economic strength, as well as topography.[8] Often, as in the case of Luttwak, the operational level is included between the strategic and tactical level, and is commonly described as’ the theory of larger unit operations’, which plays a significant role in regular warfare.[9] Similarly, regular warfare is influenced heavily by tactics, i.e. the ‘military units attempt to push forward the goals of the campaign in the specific circumstances in which they find themselves.’[10] Both levels, however, relate mostly to the kind of warfare, which armed forces of nation-states conduct and are less relevant to Hezbollah’s guerrilla style. Instead, the term ‘grand tactics’ will be employed.

While strategy theory is useful for studying guerrilla movements, it arguably revolves around the conduct of state-to-state warfare. Since Hezbollah was, and strictly speaking still is, a non-state actor, a few key-points of strategy for the non-state actor in irregular wars of resistance should be added.

In his 1937 work ‘On Guerrilla Warfare’ – referred to as ‘the basis for today’s guerrilla forces’ -Mao Tse-tung puts forth his ideas on resistance strategy.[11] At this time Tse-tung was himself leading a resistance effort dedicated to liberating China from the Japanese invaders, and he was thus uniquely fit to advice other guerrilla movements in this art.

Tse-tung’s manual for guerrilla warfare is comprehensive, but these are the crucial points: For the resistance movement to be successful, it must achieve internal unity, then it must ‘arouse’ the people -that is gain the sympathy of the people- followed by the equipping of its forces and the establishing of bases. On the strategic level Tse-tung advises the guerrilla group to ‘adopt the policy of a protracted war’ in order to demoralize the enemy. On the grand tactics level, the guerrilla group must retain initiative, employ surprise attacks at the enemy rear and generally seek to ‘deceive, tempt, and confuse the enemy’.[12]

In the following chapters, I will thus assess Hezbollah’s strategy in liberating south Lebanon on the three aforementioned levels of strategy from the school of conventional warfare, combined with the strategic teachings of Tse-tung’s guerrilla manual.

Why 1982?

While Hezbollah’s goals weren’t officially declared prior to 1985, the fighting for them began in 1982 when it emerged. As we shall see, the period 1982-1985 clearly displayed Hezbollah’s visions as well as its ability to perform guerrilla strategy and grand tactics. An analysis of Hezbollah’s strategy in liberating Lebanon would be incomplete without the period 1982-1985, taking into consideration that the movement in this period reached major strategic goals, such as the ousting of Israel from most of Lebanon, achieved through novel grand tactics exemplified by the suicide car bombs.

Phase One: Setting up Shop, 1982-1985

Formed in 1982, Hezbollah emerged as a result of three main factors:

Firstly, the Shia Muslims of Lebanon had long felt politically and economically marginalized and dominated by other ethnic groups, mainly the Maronite Christians.[13] Secondly, the 1979 Iranian Revolution brought about a revolutionary regime in Tehran eager to export its brand of Islamic revolution to the Arab world.[14] Thirdly, and perhaps most importantly, Israel had invaded Lebanese territory all the way up to Beirut, in an effort to destroy the PLO and install a friendly government.[15] As former Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Barak, put it:

“When we entered Lebanon… there was no Hezbollah. We were accepted with perfumed rice and flowers by the Shia in the south. It was our presence that created Hezbollah.”[16]

It was these three first factors that laid the fertile ground for Hezbollah to come into existence, but it was the decision of the main militant Shia group in Lebanon, Amal, to compromise, that sparked action. Angry that the Amal leader, Nabi Berry, had agreed to join a ‘national salvation committee’ under President Elias Sarkis – which included Israel’s Christian ally, Bashir Gemayel, Amal’s second in command, Hussain Mussawi, split from Amal. Along with other Islamists, he moved to the Bekaa Valley region, where forces of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) had just set up camps.

5000 IRGC men had initially come to support their Syrian allies in the fight against Israeli forces. But when they arrived, the fighting between Syrian and Israeli forces in the Bekaa Valley had already ceased. Fearful of losing power in Syria and aware of the costs to equipment and manpower, Hafez al-Assad refused to let Tehran spark further war with Israel from Syrian territory.[17]

Tehran and Damascus did, however, agree that the Iranians would be permitted to set up a Lebanese resistance movement to fight the Israelis. In exchange for the Iranian toehold in Lebanon, the Syrians would receive an annual free 9 million tons of Iranian oil. Gradually, under the wings of IRGC, a ‘loose coalition’ of former Amal members, Lebanese Dawa party, Lebanese Union of Muslim Students, and other small Shia factions were molded into an organization.[18]

Still a loose coalition, various wings argued for different goals and different means. According to Naim Qassem, Hezbollah’s second in command, this period from 1982-1985 was a phase in which the organization was still crystallizing a political vision. One issue was clear, however: all factions agreed on the establishment of an Islamic State in Lebanon. [19]

With the exception of the Islamist objective, a fully-fledged grand strategy was still only visible in the contours as the organization had yet to achieve internal unity and was to a large degree an Iranian-controlled affair. As a first move, in an effort to establish bases (as professed by Tse-tung), the infant organization seized barracks and municipal offices in Baalbek and expelled soldiers of the Lebanese army. It became the headquarters for the IRGC in Lebanon.

The first major operation followed soon after. ‘Who would want to blow themselves up’ laughed Bilala Sharara, a high-ranking member of Lebanese Fatah, when Imad Mughniyah requested explosives for his novel plan to attack Israeli targets with suicide car bombers.[20] Many were willing to die a martyr’s death, it turned out. In a surprise attack on the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) headquarters in Tyre, southern Lebanon, a Hezbollah suicide car bomber killed 75 Israeli officials and an additional 14 Arab prisoners.[21] The suicide car bombs became the crown of Hezbollah’s grand tactics in its early years and it would pay off.

In April 1983, the US embassy in Beirut a suicide car bomb left 73 people dead, including 16 Americans. In response, American diplomats increased efforts to reach a peace-deal between Lebanon and Israel. The peace deal was foiled by Hezbollah and Syria.[22] Six months later, a double attack directed at a US Marines barracks and a French Paratroopers headquarter in Beirut killed 241 Americans and 58 French soldiers. The attack caused President Ronald Reagan to ‘redeploy’ and pull American troops from the Multinational Force in Lebanon (MNF), an international force tasked with improving Lebanese stability, which was then dissolved. [23] Within just a few months, Hezbollah’s grand tactics had paid off, and the goal of pushing the US and France out of Lebanon – still undeclared at this point – was achieved.

More attacks on Israeli targets soon followed. Over 600 Israeli servicemen were killed in suicide car bomb attacks between 1982 and 1985, almost three times as many would be killed in the ensuing 15 years.[24]  This prompted Israel to withdraw from Beirut to the very south of Lebanon and keep a small 328-square-miles strip of land, which was retained for security purposes and aptly named ‘The Security Zone’. The attacks on Western and Israeli targets increased Hezbollah’s standing in the Shia environment and ensured Hezbollah growing support in the Shia-inhabited slums of Beirut.

In sum, the grand strategy of Hezbollah was still in the making in this period, although it can be argued that Hezbollah did secure strategic alliances with Iran –and Syria to a degree- which ensured a steady stream of arms and funding. On a strategic level, the political goals of pushing out France and the US were achieved, as well as forcing Israel out of most of Lebanon. In terms of grand tactics, the novel idea of suicide car bombs was highly efficient in this period, and the attacks were carried out professionally, taking the enemies by surprise, as advised by Tse-tung in his manual to guerrilla movements.

Phase Two: From Cat’s Paw to Lion’s Roar, 1985-1990

While Hezbollah in the early 1980s ‘existed less as a concrete organization than as a cat’s paw of Iran’, the period from 1985 to 1990 witnessed a stronger and more unified Hezbollah.[25]

In the grand strategic theatre, Hezbollah made public their visions in a declaration called ‘An Open Letter to the Downtrodden in Lebanon and the World’. The declaration presented Hezbollah’s overarching goals in a ranked manner: Hezbollah vowed to fight a ‘progressive confrontation’ until achieving the goals of 1) expelling Israel from Lebanon, as a prelude to its total destruction, 2) expelling any American and French presence, thus ending colonial rule in Lebanon, 3) bringing the Phalangists to justice for their crimes against Muslims and finally 4) installing an Islamic System as the system of government in Lebanon.[26] The only way to reach these goals was through ‘violence in the name of jihad’.[27]

And violence kept engulfing Lebanon. Adding to Hezbollah’s grand tactics toolkit – which already included the successful suicide car bombs – the use of kidnappings and hijackings were introduced. With the collapse of the Lebanese army and in the absence of central government from February 1984, Hezbollah initiated a string of kidnappings. A month later, Americans, Britons, and French foreigners had been kidnapped. Four years later, in 1988, a total of 80 foreigners had been kidnapped.[28] The kidnapping-tactic served a dual purpose: One the one hand, according to Ahmad Hamzeh, the kidnappings were ‘considered a form a terror that ultimately attacks men’s minds by convincing the people that the revolutionary movement or militant movement is powerful and the state is weak.’[29] It was thus a message to the Lebanese that they were better off supporting Hezbollah since the state had no power, as well as a way of showing the Israelis the magnitude of Hezbollah’s power and that they could continue their operations with impunity.

On the other hand, the kidnappings would sometimes serve as a way to secure political goals. While Tehran didn’t control the kidnappings, the hostages’ fate was often ‘manipulated to serve the interests of Hezbollah’s sponsor, Iran.’[30] In one famous case, The Iran Contra Affair of 1986, it was revealed that the US was willing to trade arms to Iran in return for the release of Americans being held by Hezbollah in Lebanon.[31]

Similarly, the hijackings of commercial airplanes, including those of the American Trans World Airlines (TWA) in 1985, and the Kuwaiti in 1984 and 1988, intended to achieve political goals. In both cases Hezbollah was trying to secure the release of Shia militants being held in Israel and Kuwait.[32] The hijacking of the American TWA was a huge success and resulted in the release of over 700 Shia prisoners from Israeli prisons, though Israel absurdly denied any connection between the prisoners’ release and the hostage-takers’ demands.[33]

While Hezbollah enjoyed success in the struggle against the foreigners with the use of its new weapons– the kidnappings and hijackings –the domestic scene presented the group with two strategic threats: The fallout with the Shias in the south and the war with Amal.

Having increasingly moved operations into south Lebanon during the 1980’s, Hezbollah found itself becoming more and more alienated with the inhabitants of the south, and risked losing the popular support of its environment, which the group depended on. It wasn’t on accounts of anti-resistance sentiments, as the population was fully behind the attack on Israel. Instead, it was because the population had to bear the burden of the Israeli reprisal attacks, which laid houses waste and killed family members. Furthermore, the strict Islamist ways of Hezbollah meant that loud music, dancing, and alcohol consumption were banned, and even coffee shops closed down. [34]

Hezbollah would later devise a strategy to cope with issues of lacking popular support in the south (this will be discussed in the next phase). The other serious threat facing Hezbollah was the rivalry with the Syrian-backed militia, Amal. As Palestinian guerrillas began returning to Beirut from 1985 onward, Amal was determined not to let them regain the hold over Lebanon they enjoyed prior to the Israeli invasion in 1982. In an effort to eliminate PLO presence in Lebanon, Amal began attacking Palestinian militias in a bid for control of the Sabra and Shatila camps. On a matter of principle, Hezbollah opposed the attacks on the Palestinians and came to their rescue.

Adding fuel to the fire was the Amal decision to assist Israel and the UN in trying to find a high profile UN member, who had been kidnapped by a Hezbollah-affiliated group. [35] Finally, in 1988, it descended into all-out war between Hezbollah and Amal. The result was a devastating blow to Hezbollah, in which it lost scores of men and was expelled from south Lebanon and banned from attacking Israel. After a recuperation period of 6 months, Hezbollah went on the attack and were able to push Amal out of a number of areas. In the end Iran and Syria, supporting each their group, intervened and brokered a peace agreement between the two sides. Hezbollah would be allowed to single-handedly continue the resistance against Israel in return for promising not to seek political domination in Lebanon or work towards establishing an Islamic State.[36]

Further strengthening Hezbollah’s position was the conclusion of the Lebanese Civil War with the signing of the Taif Accords, which stipulated that all militias must be disbanded. Hezbollah signed the accord, but maintained their armed forces, justifying the move by referring to them as ‘Islamic resistance groups’, not militias, who were committed to liberating Lebanon from Israel’s occupation.[37]

In sum, this period from 1985-1990 was characterized by the public declaration of Hezbollah’s grand strategy, including liberating Lebanon from foreign powers and destroying Israel. The latter part of the period did, however, also exhibit the increasingly pragmatic approach of Hezbollah, in its promise to Syria of disbanding or toning down its vision of establishing an Islamic State in Lebanon.

On the strategic level, Hezbollah struggled to keep its position of power in the face of growing dissatisfaction among south Lebanese inhabitants, as well as contend with the strong Shia rival group, Amal. On the grand tactics level, Hezbollah enjoyed success with the use of kidnappings and hijackings, using these as leverage against foreign powers to secure the release of fellow Shia militants.

However, as we shall see in the next part, Hezbollah would have to introduce new tactics and new weapons to eventually force Israel out of Lebanon.

Phase Three: The Sole Resistor, 1990-2000

This third and final period saw Hezbollah emerge as the main actor in the resistance against Israel[38]. It began to focus more on securing public support through social welfare, infrastructure building, and propaganda. New grand tactics were also devised, introducing the use of the roadside bomb, the anti-tank missiles and the Katuysha rockets. Finally, the end of the period demonstrated a Hezbollah with a keen eye towards the Israeli public.

With the end of the struggle against Amal and the conclusion of the Lebanese Civil War, Hezbollah was free to continue the resistance against Israel. However, as mentioned, the group’s acts of resistance and the ensuing harsh Israeli reprisals coupled with the strict Islamic rules imposed on the public of south Lebanon, risked alienating Hezbollah from its core constituents. Hezbollah’s respond to this strategic threat was comprehensive: A social welfare and reconstruction program, the Jihad al-Binaa, financed by Iran, was initiated and would greatly increase the movement’s popularity.[39]

Hezbollah was now running schools, hospitals and hosting cultural events, as well  as supplying badly needed infrastructure such as sewage services, gas and electricity provision etc.[40] In 1992 alone, Hezbollah distributed more than 2,9 million dollars to some twenty thousand families, who were either bereaved or poor.[41]

The focus on reconstruction was particularly visible following the Israeli bombing campaigns in 1993 and 1996. Each time, Hezbollah would move immediately to the affected area and commence the rebuilding of houses. Reportedly, every single home damaged or destroyed by the Israelis from 1991 onward, was rebuilt by Hezbollah, with the reconstruction commencing the day after an attack. According to Hezbollah’s second in command, Naim Qassem, this amounted to 17.212 homes rebuilt, in the period 1991-2005.[42] Qassem further explains that the social work ‘…served to relieve the Resistance of a considerable burden in assisting the populace in their endurance of Israeli aggression…’ and further ‘to enrich supporters’ confidence in the Party’s cause’[43]

To further increase its chances of winning the hearts and minds of the population -vital to any resistance group- Hezbollah gradually established a wide-ranging propaganda machine: Al-Ahed, the newspaper, Al-Nour, the radio station and most importantly, the TV-station Al-Manar.[44] Using these platforms, Hezbollah would often display Israeli destruction of Lebanese homes followed with pictures of Hezbollah rebuilding the very same homes.  This meant that as Israeli attacks increased – and with it collateral damage and lost homes, Hezbollah grew more popular, which, according to Sergio Catignani, proved ‘crucial in winning the hears and minds of local Shia population.’[45] The importance of Hezbollah’s propaganda efforts are underscored by the statements of Hezbollah leader, Hassan Nasrallah, asserting that victory would not have been achieved without Al-Manar.[46]

However, as important as popular support is for a guerrilla organization, it cannot on its own force an invader out. In Hezbollah’s case, the right kind of violence was needed. By the late 1980’s, Hezbollah had realized that the use of terror had largely served its purpose. It had driven the enemy into retreat – Israel now controlled only a small strip of land in south Lebanon – and secured bases from which the guerrilla operations could be carried out.[47] Instead, the group began focusing more on ambushes, booby traps and short military engagements.

While various new approaches to the military struggles and new weapons were introduced, the crucial additions to Hezbollah’s grand tactics toolkit were the ‘trinity’: The roadside bomb (RSB), the anti-tank missile, and the Katyusha rocket. The RSB instilled fear in the minds of the Israeli soldiers and with good reason. In 1998, 60 RBS’s claimed the lives of sixteen Israeli soldiers and wounded another fifty, accounting for 30% of IDF fatalities that year. The following year, the RBS was responsible for 75% of all IDF deaths, claiming 23 lives.

The RSB wasn’t just an extremely lethal weapon; it furthermore had a deep psychological effect on Israeli soldiers. Earlier on, soldiers would take some comfort in the fact that they would be able to see the enemy attacking them. With the introduction of RSB’s, every patrol could prove lethal, as any rock along the road could potentially be an RSB. This fear manifested, for instance, in soldiers walking by foot between villages in an effort to discover any ‘extra rocks’ on the way.[48] Similarly, the anti-tank missile, while less deadly than the RSB, caused the IDF great trouble.

The Israeli-made Merkava tanks had previously been able to roam Lebanese soil with near-impunity and were perceived within Israeli ranks as ‘key to military success’. With the introduction of the anti-tank missile in Hezbollah’s arsenal, this former bastion of safety and pride of the Israeli military had been rendered obsolete, causing a blow to Israel’s military prestige and morale. As Whitting concludes: ‘the weapon with which the IDF were most competent and comfortable in previous wars, became little more than a target of opportunity for Hezbollah forces’.[49]

The last weapon of the trinity, the Katyusha rocket, was a crude, notoriously inaccurate weapon, which cannot be said to be nearly as lethal as the RSB or the anti-tank missile. However, while the two other weapons arguably tipped the scale in Hezbollah’s favour on the battlefield against the IDF, the Katyusha rockets were aimed at an entirely different target, namely, the Israeli civilian centres.

More than 4000 Katyushas rained on Israeli northern towns in the period 1990-2000. This forced Israeli northerners to spend days and nights in shelters, causing great financial damage to the region. [50] Even as the rockets managed to kill only seven civilians in this period, the effect of forcing roughly a million Israelis into shelter even just few times a year had a huge impact on the Israeli public and in their confidence of the IDF and the politicians’ ability to protect them.[51] The persistent rocket attacks against Israeli civilians, despite its poor record in causing physical harm, bears testimony to the notion that Hezbollah was becoming increasingly aware of the Israeli public spirit.

Indeed, the Israeli public was growing ever more dissatisfied with the war in Lebanon. The high cost in human life, with over 800 soldiers killed and at least as many wounded, had taken its toll on the public spirit. The war in Lebanon, while enjoying popular support for many years, was still regarded as being a ‘war of choice’ and even an unjust one, at that. Adding to that, the Israeli society in itself was and still is extremely averse to casualties, be they civilian or military. [52]

In 1997, one incident would be the straw that broke the camel’s back: While transporting Israeli soldiers to the Lebanese front, two helicopters crashed taking the lives of 73 men. Though not killed in combat or directly connected to Hezbollah, the incident made the question of continued presence in Lebanon resurface within the public debate.[53] Protest organizations, such as The Four Mothers, emerged and started asking questions:

“[W]e were told that they had to be in Lebanon and that’s all there was to it…. But the night of the helicopter disaster was a turning point for us. Families very close to us lost their sons and we realized that if not today, then tomorrow we too could lose ours. And we began to ask; Why?” [54]

Up until this point, 60% of the Israeli population had still supported the Israeli presence in Lebanon. In just two years the mood of the public had turned and politicians reacted accordingly.[55]

Ehud Barak, sensing that the Israeli public had had enough of the war, ran on a platform of withdrawal from Lebanon. Once elected Prime Minister, he took action. Even as the IDF was reporting increasing success in Lebanon – hitting more terrorist targets while suffering less casualties– and despite of the numerous warnings emanating from all corners of the IDF, Barak chose to unilaterally withdraw from Lebanon in May 2000.[56]

As Deputy Minister, Ephraim Sneh, candidly said at the time: ‘We are leaving because of problems with the ability of the Israeli public to stand firm. That is the whole truth. There is no point in pretending.’[57]

In sum, the main grand strategic aim of Hezbollah was partially achieved as it succeeded in provoking an Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon, but was unable to secure the goal of Israel’s total destruction. On the strategic level, Hezbollah’s efforts to regain and maintain the public support of mainly Shias in Lebanon were successful, and achieved through a combination of social welfare, infrastructure building and propaganda. In terms of grand tactics, the use of RBS’s, anti-tank missiles and Katyusha rockets proved immensely effective in combating and lowering the morale of the IDF, as well as swaying large segments of the Israeli public towards withdrawal.


In this essay, I set out to assess Hezbollah’s strategy to liberate south Lebanon in the period 1982-2000. I divided the time-period into three distinct phases and analysed Hezbollah’s strategy on three conventional levels; grand strategy, strategy, and grand tactics, and further added a set of guerrilla strategy key lessons composed by Mao-Tse-tung.

In the period 1982-1985, I found that Hezbollah’s grand strategy, bar for the establishment of an Islamic State in Lebanon, was still crystallizing. On this level I furthermore noted, that Hezbollah secured economic and strategic relationship with Iran, which would become crucial. On the strategic level, Hezbollah managed to achieve the goal of forcing out foreign armed forces as well as pushing Israel further south into the security zone. This aim – though not public at the time – was achieved through novel grand tactics inventions such as the devastating suicide car bombs.

In the period 1985-1990, Hezbollah declared its grand strategy, emphasizing the liberation of Lebanon and the destruction of Israel, as well as its commitment to establishing an Islamic State in Lebanon. In terms of strategy, Hezbollah faced several threats most notably in the face of the war with Amal and the lack of popular support. Hezbollah responded with pragmatism in dealing with Amal, and promised not to work towards an Islamic State, thus allowing it to continue with the main goal of resistance. On the grand tactics, Hezbollah skilfully employed new weapons such as the hijacking of planes and the kidnappings of foreigners.

In the period 1990-2000, Hezbollah’s grand strategy saw a partial realization as Israel withdrew from Lebanon. On the strategic level, the movement responded to failing popular support by providing social welfare, infrastructure coupled with a massive propaganda effort. On the grand tactics level, new weapons introduced such as the RSB, the anti-tank missile, and the Katyusha rocket proved vital in inflicting losses on the IDF and in instilling fear in the Israeli population.

Ultimately, I conclude that Hezbollah was successful in liberating Lebanon chiefly because of its skilfully employed, and often novel, grand tactics in facing the enemy on the battlefield, as well as its understanding of manipulating the war-weary Israeli public. On the domestic sphere, the combination of social work, infrastructure building and massive propaganda efforts secured the group the popular support it depended on to carry out the resistance.


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[1]Alagha (2011) p.48

[2]see for instance Davis (1995)

[3]see for instance Saad-Ghorayeb (2002)

[4]quoted in Howard (1979) p.975

[5]Luttwak (1987) p.91

[6]Howard (1979) pp.975-986

[7]V. (1987) Adelphi Papers p.34

[8]Ibid. p.35

[9] US Field Manual (I Adelphi papers)

[10]V (1987) Adelphi Papers

[11] US Marine Corps, Fleet Marine Force Reference Publication, FMFRP (1989) p.ii

[12]Tse-tung (1937) cited in

[13]Sirriyeh (2010) p.40

[14]Levitt (2013) p.12

[15]Norton (2007) p.80

[16]Quoted in Levitt (2013) p.11

[17]Blanford (2011) p.46

[18]Ibid., pp.47-48

[19]Levitt (2013) p.11

[20]Blanford (2011) p.53

[21]Norton (2007) p.80

[22]Ibid., p.82

[23]Ibid., p.71

[24]Kaye (2002) p.570

[25]Norton (2007) p.71

[26]Alagha (2011) pp.43-44

[27]Sirriyeh (2010) p.44

[28]Hamzeh (2004) p.85

[29]Ibid., p.85

[30]Norton (2007) p.74

[31]Ibid., p.74

[32]Hamzeh (2004) p.84

[33]Rolland (2003) p.189

[34]Jaber (1997) p.29

[35]Ibid., p.33

[36]Jaber (1997) pp.35-36

[37]Norton (2007) p.82


[39]Gleis & Berti (2012) p.54

[40]Catignani (2010) p.75

[41]Jaber (1997) pp.149-150

[42]Qassem (2005) p.83

[43]Ibid., p.86

[44]Whitting (2001) p.96

[45]Catignani (2010) p.78

[46]Gabrielsen (2013) p.5

[47]Hamzeh (2004) pp.86-87

[48]Whitting (2001) pp.82-85

[49]Ibid., p.87

[50]Luft (2000) p.14

[51]Whitting (2005) pp.85-86

[52]Luft (2000) pp-15-16

[53]Kaye (2002) p.566

[54]Ibid., p.571

[55]Luft (2000) p.19

[56]Kaye (2002) pp.566-568

[57]Quoted in Luft (2000) p.19

Written by: David Sousa
Written at: King’s College London
Written for: Ahron Bregman
Date written: January 2014

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