Hezbollah in Syria: a game of high stakes

Strife

By Kitty Veress:

000_Nic6455785-e1432745822842-635x357 Hezbollah members mourn during the funeral of a comrade who was killed in combat alongside Syrian government forces in the Qalamoun region. Photo: Times of Israel (published under fair use policy for intellectual non-commercial purposes)

The Western world has been quick to label Hezbollah’s involvement in Syria and Iraq as nefarious and threatening while failing to consider the wider strategic implications. A more comprehensive perspective is needed to evaluate the risks and opportunities the extremist Shi’ite group faces in its support of the Syrian regime. The potential benefit of establishing itself as a regional power and battle-hardening its troops needs to be weighed against Hezbollah’s risk of physical and ideological overexpansion that might expose the group’s vulnerabilities and ultimately endanger Lebanon’s defence capabilities.

Hezbollah

Created in 1982, Hezbollah was originally a resistance group against the Israeli occupation in Lebanon. Since then it has become a prolific global…

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