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Reading Booth in Beirut: Is Hizbollah an

Emancipatory Actor?
James Worrall
POLIS, University of Leeds , Leeds , West Yorkshire , UK
Published online: 14 Feb 2013.

To cite this article: James Worrall (2013) Reading Booth in Beirut: Is Hizbollah an Emancipatory
Actor?, Studies in Conflict & Terrorism, 36:3, 235-254, DOI: 10.1080/1057610X.2013.755914

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Studies in Conflict & Terrorism, 36:235–254, 2013
Copyright © Taylor & Francis Group, LLC
ISSN: 1057-610X print / 1521-0731 online
DOI: 10.1080/1057610X.2013.755914

Reading Booth in Beirut: Is Hizbollah

an Emancipatory Actor?


POLIS, University of Leeds

Leeds, West Yorkshire, UK
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The concept of Emancipation has become increasingly important in security studies

in recent years but how well does the idea travel outside of the Western context in
which it was conceived and into the Middle East? This article examines Hizbollah’s
four main identities: religious, resistance, socioeconomic, and as allies/proxies of Iran
and asks to what extent this key regional non-state actor sees itself as an emancipatory
agent in its own terms and how this differs from the Emancipatory ideal of Critical
Security Studies (CSS). Does Hizbollah’s current makeup offer enough scope to pursue
Emancipation in line with the CSS project? Since the precept of Jihad offers Muslims a
theological justification to engage in a holy struggle for a moral, spiritual, or political
goal, seemingly Hizbollah is uniquely positioned to offer the prospect of Emancipation
for the traditionally downtrodden Shi’a citizens of Lebanon, but does their Islamic faith
and their aim of adherence to the Islamic way of life which they interpret from the Qur’an
and Sunnah proscribe their credentials as truly Emancipatory actors? The article uses
this analysis to examine the extent to which the commitment to universal Emancipation,
found in CSS, is reconcilable with its Western-orientated foundation when applied in a
Middle Eastern context.

Hizbollah have come a long way since their formation in 1982, transforming themselves
from a terrorist group into a political party with seats at the cabinet table and a veto over
legislation by 2011. It is now a real force to be reckoned with in Lebanese politics and the
wider region, and has given the Shi’a communities of Lebanon a voice that they lacked
for decades. There have long been questions over Hizbollah’s intentions in Lebanon and
whether their transformation is an end stage or a means to an end. Has the Party of God
been socialized by the Lebanese political environment and transformed itself into a political
movement that just happens to maintain perhaps the best armed and trained militia in the
world or does it maintain ambitions of making Lebanon into an Islamic state.1
This article seeks to move beyond this polarizing debate and instead examine if
Hizbollah has the potential to be an Emancipatory2 actor, raising the question of how useful
Emancipatory notions are in an Islamic and Middle Eastern context. It attempts to do this
first by engaging in an examination of Hizbollah’s identity, which centers around four key

Received 6 September 2012; accepted 28 October 2012.

The author thanks Dr. Naomi Head, Prof. Clive Jones, and Prof. Michael Rainsborough for their
helpful comments on previous drafts of this article and Samuel Thomson for help with early research
into CSS.
Address correspondence to Dr. James Worrall, POLIS, University of Leeds, Woodhouse Lane,
Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 9JT, UK. E-mail:

236 J. Worrall

factors: religion, resistance to Israel, as a provider of goods and services (socioeconomic

factors), and as an ally of both Iran and Syria, which ties it in to wider regional politics.
There is often a tendency when examining Hizbollah to become distracted by some of
the minutiae of the political rhetoric and rallying calls to its base or indeed to what can be
isolated incidents of its utilization of its coercive capacity. It is clearly important instead then
to examine the very identity of the movement rather than simply its statements, propaganda,
and actions (although these too form part of the analysis and help us to understand how its
main identities are produced) because it is the interaction of these four building blocks of
its identity that shape and can explain its politics. Additionally, it is clear that in a region
so dominated by realist understandings yet so driven by the politics of identity it is only
through a thorough understanding of the group’s identity and how this has changed that
any true Emancipatory potential can be uncovered.
After this exploration of the group’s four main drivers of its identity the article takes
on the methodology of Critical Theory, namely an immanent critique, in order to discover
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latent potential within Hizbollah and is also designed to avoid being consistently distracted
by propaganda, which is aiming to rally a base or appeal to an external supporter. Once
again this analysis is conducted through the four main sides of the group’s identity. These
two levels of examination enable a greater depth of analysis. By exploring the reasons why
Hizbollah is unlikely to be an Emancipatory actor and then factors that may mean that it is
(or could be) Emancipatory and comparing and analysing them we can discover if this is
ever possible.
This article is not then intending to be a true immanent critique that then continues
to suggest ways of “actualise[ing] both nearer-term and longer term emancipatory goals
through strategic and tactical political action based on immanent critique.”3 It is instead
aiming to use the technique of immanent critique developed in the field of Critical Theory to
explore if there is Emancipatory potential within Hizbollah and compare it with an analysis
which is explicitly searching for reasons why Hizbollah is not an Emancipatory actor.
Finally, the article examines the utility of the Critical Security Studies4 (CSS)/Emancipatory
approach in helping us to explore the Middle East.
The CSS approach is applied in this article for a number of reasons; first, there is an
interesting overlap between the language used by CSS to explain how the world works
and the language used by Hizbollah (and a number of other Islamist movements) to both
explain and justify its actions but also to enunciate its worldview and eventual aims.
Both use terms such as: hegemony, emancipation, status quo, the marginalized and the
oppressed and imperialist. This then, suggests that an application of CSS to Hizbollah
may open up the potential to see whether, despite using the same terminology, there is
any real synergy in their understandings of these words. Second, it appears that CSS
may just help us to see Hizbollah a little differently. The tool of immanent critique to
find as yet untapped Emancipatory potential has never been applied to Hizbollah before
and therefore offers us a potentially new way to see the Party of God, as well as a tool
that could be useful in identifying and drawing out the Emancipatory elements of the
movement and minimalizing other aspects of its identity. Third, it enables us to apply CSS
to a challenging case and by using some of the more detailed ethnographically sensitive
research alongside immanent critique we can also see what insights looking at Hizbollah
through this technique might give us about the utility of immanent critique and CSS in
a non-Western context. Overall then, applying CSS to Hizbollah enables us to test the
applicability of CSS to an Islamist group, while at the same time seeing what insights we
can derive about Hizbollah and its capacity to Emancipate through the application of CSS
Reading Booth in Beirut 237

Leading scholar in the CSS field Ken Booth himself exhorts his readers to ask “what
does one’s theorizing mean for the people(s) of the Balkans, women in east Africa . . . the
war on terror, [or] the future of the Middle East.”5 It is in this spirit that we explore how useful
enlightenment inspired notions of normative theory are in explaining and understanding an
Islamist movement. First, however, it is important to discuss what is meant by Emancipation
and to explore the technique of immanent critique.

Critical Security Studies, Emancipation, and Immanent Critique

With the development of new ways of examining security studies in the 1980s scholars
such as Ken Booth began to apply notions from the Frankfurt School to the study of
international relations, opening up new perspectives on security and moving focus away
from the priorities of Realist IR.6 As one of the first scholars to apply the ideas of the
Frankfurt School to security, Booth has been particularly influential in this new research
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agenda, with his 1991 article7 arguing for a focus on Emancipation seen by many as one of
the key texts in the new field. The fact that the University of Wales at Aberystwyth where
Booth and other CSS scholars created a hub working on these ideas gave CSS its alternate
name of the Welsh School perhaps further illustrates the importance of Booth in propagating
this particular approach to security. CSS theory is born out of an acknowledgment that the
world is too complex for the parsimony, simplicity, and normative assumptions of political
realism. Its intellectual spirit is to challenge all orthodoxies, including its own.
Students of CSS insist that theorists write in a real world and not in some imagined
abstract realm of decontextualized thought; this is important since many critics of the
approach perceive it to be abstract and pointless theorizing, yet the strong desire, com-
mandment even, of CSS is to find ways of applying their ideas to the problems of humanity.
CSS scholars recognize that their findings, concerns, and implications are conditioned by
the conventional wisdom of the time, as well as the social identity of the enquirer within
society. This notion was drawn from the work of Max Horkheimer who, in a famous 1937
essay, identified using the term “traditional theory” a type of theorizing that is based on a
flawed premise of objectivity. Essentially, if society, an entity made up of myriad systems
of human behavioral patterns, is treated like the natural world with its unalterable laws,
then atemporal truths can be legitimately deduced using the scientific method. However,
as human beings are fallible and do not operate within a system of inalienable laws, social
and political theories can never be objective and will invariably invoke nontheoretical and
partisan interests, whether or not the theorist is consciously working to achieve a subjective
So if all theoretical positions have normative implications, including ones that hide
behind the façade of supposedly unprejudiced and dispassionate scientific fact, then ob-
jectivity (the desired outcome of positivism) is a false idol. According to CSS, the false
legitimacy garnered by the claim of objective truth will, drawing from the work of Gramsci,
always favor the dominant class, who reinvents itself to continually exert a moral and intel-
lectual leadership through a nexus of institutions, social relations, and ideas. Although this
process compels the elite to forsake some of its narrowly defined economic and corporate
interests in favor of compromise with a variety of social groups, a consensus is generated
whereby the values of the bourgeoisie are supplanted in the common mind as the values of
all. As Gramsci famously acknowledged, “all common sense is for someone or for some
The first aim of CSS is to seek to reveal the “interests of knowledge” that are present
within traditional theory in order to retain a critical, albeit subjective, distance from the
238 J. Worrall

perceived cultural hegemony of the day, a process that increases academic validity by
circumventing the pitfalls of traditional theory that are evident to the CSS scholar. The
second aim of CSS is benevolent progress, or to use an oft-quoted CSS term, Emancipation;
but for this the process of acquiring critical distance is not satisfactory by itself. Once the
content of knowledge has been altered to compensate for the partisan nature of the enquirer,
then it is still not a productive vehicle of change if the knowledge continues to be used
as a tool to reify and smooth the functioning of existing social and political hierarchies.
Knowledge used for this purpose is labelled in Robert Cox’s terminology as “problem
solving theory.”10 It is incumbent then on the CSS scholar to transcend the hegemonic
understandings of the age, forsaking problem-solving theories and instead working to
alter the arrangements of the status quo where and when they find it to be unsatisfactory
in recognizing the true interests of the “marginalized” and “oppressed.” In this way, CSS
clearly adopts the Marxist mantra: “Philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various
ways; the point is to change it.”11
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In sum, the critical theorist is required to achieve two objectives; first, to approach
theory with a holistic perspective through acknowledging that any results will inevitably be
politically motivated, whether consciously or not, and therefore accept this fact and merely
guide their inquiry by a desire to overcome the failings of the conventional and dominant
paradigms of the time. Second, the critical theorist must then use these alternative insights
and consciously implement them with a mind to changing the world for the better (according
to their subjective opinion) by altering existing systems of power.
The intended outcome of this process is for the structures of oppression that are
damaging to the collective health of humankind to be steadily eroded and the space for
directly and indirectly violent behavior progressively squeezed out. Nonetheless, the danger
of replacing a fallible, human constructed orthodoxy with another one that causes human
suffering in different ways is acute. It is therefore prescient to refrain from pursuing
absolutes—as these will again become out-dated as technological changes and social norms
evolve and begin to oppress other conceptions of good. In other words scholars should “seek
to identify and foster elements of progressive social change through their work as part of
a gradualist, non violent strategy for emancipation that is ultimately more realistic than
rigid blueprints for utopia that—as in the case of the French and Russian revolutions that
heralded the ‘Terror’ and ‘purges’ respectively—often end up generating even more intense
cycles of violence and insecurity.”12 Instead, CSS considers itself to be a reflexive, never
ending process of improvement—the project of Emancipation will never be completed.
This perpetual self-evaluation is called “immanent critique,” a term derived from
Marxist tradition. It appears that perhaps the best definition is that given by Vaughan-
Williams and Peoples: “broadly speaking the term refers to a strategy utilising critique in
order to identify potentialities that are immanent but as yet unfulfilled in any given theory or
historical context by highlighting inherent contradictions.”13 There does, however, appear
to be some dissention about the exact nature of immanent critique in the literature with
some writers using it to mean slightly different things.
Booth, for example, states that “immanent critique involves identifying those features
within concrete situations (such as positive dynamics, agents, key struggles) that have
emancipatory possibilities, and then working through the politics (tactics and strategies)
to strengthen them,”14 whereas others such as Wyn-Jones seem to specify that the critique
is only of realist assumptions: “immanent critique in which specific examples of realist
analysis are shown to rely implicitly on what they exclude explicitly and are unable to
account for.”15 Karen Fierke on the other hand uses a slightly different approach in which
“rather than drawing on an external and ahistorical referent, such as realist theory, the
Reading Booth in Beirut 239

critique involves an analysis of the criteria set by the actors themselves, pointing out the
contradictions within this context and its emancipatory potential.”16 Thus we have Booth
suggesting that the critique should be used simply to identify Emancipatory potential,
Wyn-Jones (while writing at a time when all immanent critiques appeared to be of realism)
suggesting that the method should be used to expose the poor thinking and the potential
within realism while Fierke’s approach is to examine the criteria of the actors themselves.
This third approach appears to be the most interesting in that Hizbollah appear to believe
themselves to be Emancipatory actors and an immanent critique of their words and actions
will test to see if there is truth in their belief to be a force for good in Lebanon and the
This raises the logical question of what Emancipatory means both for Hizbollah and
for the proponents of Critical Security Studies. While a clear picture of what the term means
for Hizbollah will emerge as part of the immanent critique of the organization, here it is
important to examine what the conceptions of Emancipation are for those within the CSS
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School. First it is important to dispel any notion of the idea of Emancipation being about
the creation of any utopia, something that CSS theorists have been careful to avoid. Indeed,
Wyn-Jones states:

Descriptions—indeed, prescriptions—of a more emancipated order must focus

on realizable utopias. Critical theorists must not lose sight of the fact that
the coherence of their project is dependent on their utilization of the critical
potential of immanence. If they succumb to the temptation of suggesting a
blueprint for an emancipated order that is unrelated to the possibilities inherent
in the present—a tendency that Marx argued was characteristic of “utopian
socialists” . . . then critical theorists have no way of justifying their arguments

There can be no final destination for the Emancipatory project just small and con-
sistent movements in the right direction or as Wyn-Jones puts it: “Basing their visions of
concrete utopias on realizable, immanent possibilities, critical theorists must also restate
their understanding of emancipation as a ‘process’ rather than an ‘endpoint’ a direction
rather than a destination.”18 Given this criteria it should not be too difficult to discover some
Emancipatory potential in any organization, however little, but determining whether that
organization is (or can be) one that works toward Emancipation is something that is rather
more difficult. Thus an understanding of what Emancipation means for CSS is essential.
The classic definition offered by Booth in his seminal 1991 article “Security and
Emancipation” and that has often been repeated since that time states that:

Emancipation is the freeing of people (as individuals and groups) from those
physical and human constraints which stop them carrying out what they would
freely choose to do. War and the threat of war is one of those constraints,
together with poverty, poor education, political oppression and so on. Security
and emancipation are two sides of the same coin. Emancipation, not power or
order, produces true security. Emancipation, theoretically, is security.19

Further discussion of the nature of Emancipation will follow in the final section of this
article in the light of the examinations of the group but for now it is enough to take from
this definition that issues like universal human rights and liberal democracy form the core
of what Emancipation means in practice. In order to begin our analysis of Hizbollah as an
240 J. Worrall

Emancipatory actor we begin by examining their four main identities and the background
of the Party of God.

Hizbollah’s Identity
It is first important to briefly place Hizbollah in its regional, Lebanese, and historical con-
texts as without an understanding of the roots of the organization a critique of any kind
becomes disconnected and abstract. Clearly Hizbollah cannot be divorced from its envi-
ronment; it is the result of both Lebanon’s complex politics and regional turmoil in the late
1970s and the early 1980s. The catalyst for the emergence of the party was clearly the Israeli
occupation of the south of Lebanon but the roots of the movement go back much further
and are embedded to a large extent in the socioeconomic and sociopolitical circumstances
of Lebanon and more particularly the Shi’a population, which is mostly concentrated in the
south and east of the country. The Shi’a had long been the most marginalized of Lebanon’s
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main communities having been socially, politically, and economically excluded from power
for generations.20
There were also clearly a number of structural factors that limited the remit of the
Shi’a of Lebanon. First, the nature of Lebanon is one that seems especially conducive to
misunderstandings between the myriad communities that inhabit one of the smallest nations
of the region. There are a full 18 different religions and sects living within the borders of
Lebanon and a history of tension and violence that has repeated itself over the centuries.
Hizbollah has undoubtedly been shaped by the fact that the Shi’a communities of Lebanon
have been marginalized, excluded, and oppressed down the centuries. The Shi’a are in a
clear minority in the Middle East as a whole and in the Bilad ash Sham or the Levant.
Surrounded on all sides, isolated from the main Shi’a communities of Iran and southern
Iraq and looked down on by their Sunni co-religionists it is perhaps unsurprising that the
Shi’a should dream of a measure of power and security. This regional situation as reflected
within Lebanon was clearly a structural factor holding the Shi’a of Lebanon in their place.
The second structural factor is a clear representation of the wider situation in the region
but also of the particular nature of the Lebanese dispensation. The mosaic of different
communities and religious traditions within Lebanon meant that upon independence from
France in 1943 it was necessary to put in place a constitutional framework (The National
Pact) that maintained a balance of power and interests between the major communities.
This was to be nominally contingent on the size of the population of the different ethnic
and religious communities based on the result of the census of 1932. In reality it appeared
to the Shi’a that despite having the third largest population in the country they were unable
to secure a commensurate share of power and status in the new system. Indeed it appeared
that the Maronite Christians (who happened to have been the most Francophile community)
and the Sunnis were able to secure hegemony while the Shi’a were suppressed in both the
political and economic spheres.21 Under the National Pact the Maronites held the positions
of President, Head of the Army, and Chairman of the Central Bank and the Sunnis that
of Prime Minister. The Shi’a meanwhile had to be content with the Speakership of the
The main tenets of the National Pact have not been revised in light of any new census
figures in subsequent decades, since it is not in the interests of those in power to hold one.
Nevertheless it is clear that the National Pact has lost all connection with demographic
reality. The Christians are no longer in a majority due to a decline in the birth rate and
considerable emigration; indeed, some figures suggest the Muslim communities constituted
a majority of between 60 and 70 percent of the population by 2008.23 While some of the
Reading Booth in Beirut 241

worst excesses of the system were addressed under the Taif Accords, in which the voting
system was revised to represent Muslims and Christians equally,24 it is recognized that it
is the Shi’a who have improved their position the most in demographic terms and their
new-found numbers and the obvious iniquity of the political system has given Hizbollah a
powerful rhetorical tool.
The formation of Hizbollah in 1982 is bound up in large part with a number of changes
caused by the processes of modernization and urbanization that were impacting Lebanon
as much as any other Middle Eastern state during the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s.25 These
twin processes led to the influence of traditional Shi’a elites (feudal landowners and reli-
gious authorities) diminishing. This decline was capitalized on by the Shi’ite cleric, Imam
Musa al-Sadr who became the Chairman of the Lebanese Supreme Islamic Shi’ite Council
founded in 1969, it was the first Shi’a representative body independent of the Sunnis. This
grouping offered the community an autonomous voice and a reformist outlook.26 Imam
al-Sadr stated very clearly that he wanted to “catch up with other Lebanese communities,”
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an aim that was rooted in the desire not to “let anyone look at us [the Shi’a] as a group of
uneducated people again.”27 The campaign did have some results with more Shi’a reaching
positions of power and a Shi’a general strike focused attention on their plight. The Imam
later created “the Movement for the Deprived” in the 1970s, which had its own armed mili-
tia, the Amal, which fought (somewhat ineffectively) during Lebanon’s civil war, which
lasted from 1975–1990. According to Norton though, Imam Musa only led a fraction of his
co-religionists, most Shi’as retained their links with multiconfessional parties.28 In the new
era of violent conflict, Imam Musa was beginning to lose his influence, it was his mysteri-
ous disappearance on the way to Tripoli in 1978 to attend ceremonies celebrating Colonel
Qadaffi’s coup of 1969 that was to seal his reputation.29 The manner of his disappearance,
so interconnected with Shi’a theology led to something of an awakening among the Shi’a
who began to support Amal more strongly.30
It is clear then that the political, economic, and cultural milieu, coupled with the work
of men like Musa al-Sadr, laid much of the groundwork for the emergence of Hizbollah. The
catalyst was to be the effects of the civil war and later the Israeli invasion and occupation
of south Lebanon.
Having laid out the background of Hizbollah’s establishment we now turn to a closer
examination of Hizbollah’s four centers of its identity. In the first instance to explore,
inherent within their identity and expressed in part through their rhetoric, actions and
organization, reasons why Hizbollah cannot be considered to be an Emancipatory actor.
We begin with their identification of themselves as “The Resistance.”31

One of Hizbollah’s main associations is with the concept of resistance and indeed it is
perhaps both historically and currently the essence of its identity. The resistance of course
is to Israel, initially in terms of the Jewish State’s invasion and occupation of Lebanese
land, principally in the Shi’a heartlands of the south that lasted from 1982 until 2000, but
increasingly also in the context of the Palestinian–Israeli conflict that has in recent years
led to links with Hamas.32 The first invasion came in 1978 with the Litani Operation,
which, while relatively minor compared to later operations, still displaced many thousands.
While intended to deal with the threat posed by Palestinian militant groups and initially
supported by many Shi’a, it did not take too long before hostility about being caught
in the crossfire had an effect. This was especially pronounced after Israel’s invasion in
June 1982. The very proximity to the Palestinians meant that the Israeli attempts to root
242 J. Worrall

out the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) would inevitably affect the lives of their
Shi’ite neighbors,33 indeed Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak would later admit: “It was
our presence that created Hizbullah.”34 As Norton puts it “by occupying Lebanon rather
than promptly withdrawing Israel wore out its warm welcome and provided a context for
Hezbollah to grow.”35 Thus, forged in the battle against Israel and able to tap into the wider
narrative of the Arab–Israeli conflict a key plank of Hizbollah’s identity was formed.
This identity has been burnished and reinforced over the intervening decades, especially
as Israel’s occupation of southern Lebanon continued. The Taif accords are important in
this respect because they stress the importance of liberating Lebanon from the occupation
and implementing UNSC resolution 425. While all militias are supposed to have been
disbanded within six months of the accords being signed, Hizbollah alone has retained its
weapons and organization to this day, despite having signed the agreement. It maintains
instead that its armed forces are not a militia but “Islamic resistance groups” committed
to ending Israel’s occupation.36 This notion of resistance then is vital in legitimating the
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continued possession of what amounts to a private army.

What makes the situation even more interesting is that when Israel withdrew its oc-
cupying forces from the country in May 2000 Hizbollah claimed that it had won victory
against them:

We meet here to celebrate the victory achieved by martyrdom and blood. When
we speak of this victory, the liberation of our land, man’s freedom, the dignity
of our homeland, and the self esteem of our nation we are bound to mention all
those who have contributed to . . . we should first mention the martyrs, all of
them: martyrs of the resistance in Hizbollah, Amal and the Lebanese national

The organization has turned the Israeli withdrawal into a propaganda tool and has
significantly enhanced its legitimacy within Lebanon because of the perception that its
weapons were the tools that forced the Israelis out of Lebanon. Thus it is clear that the
ideology of resistance is key in understanding Hizbollah’s identity. This raises an interesting
question concerning the notion of resistance. Since Israel has been out of Lebanon for over
a decade now why is Hizbollah still talking about resistance and why does it still disregard
all calls to disarm its militia as stated in the Taif accord? Hizbollah states that the Israeli
occupation is not yet over and that the Israelis may return. As Nasrallah states: “Even if we
disregard the issue of the Shebaa Farms, the weapons of the resistance will still be justified
by the ongoing Israeli threat to Lebanon.”38 This may be so and is a debate that is rather
hypothetical but given the Taif accord also calls for the strengthening of the armed forces:
“the armed forces shall be unified, prepared, and trained in order that they may be able to
shoulder their national responsibilities in confronting Israeli aggression,”39 if Hizbollah is
serious about its responsibilities it could assist with the training of the Army, transfer its
troops into the regular army divisions, provide a continuing subsidy for their pay, and place
its weapons in government hands. Their reluctance to do so has raised many suspicions
among other groups in Lebanon who did disband their militias. There is no doubt that
the fact that the Lebanese army mostly comprises Shi’a recruits and Hizbollah retains the
most impressive non-state army in the world gives Hizbollah disproportionate power that
they are reluctant to give up. In response to these accusations Hizbollah maintains that
its weapons are only there to defend Lebanon and would not be used internally, the party
has however also warned that it would “cut off the hands” of anyone trying to take those
weapons away.40
Reading Booth in Beirut 243

But on 8 May 2008 Hizbollah did use its weapons to help it to secure its position in
Lebanese politics. It seized control of West Beirut and the Sunni and Druze districts in
particular, burning newspaper offices, taking a TV station off the air, and surrounding the
offices of key government figures. Fighting also erupted in other areas of the country and
it was a full five days before Hizbollah withdrew its troops and handed control over to the
army.41 This came as a direct result of the government’s decision to shut down Hizbollah’s
private communications network and investigate its surveillance of Beirut airport. This was
clearly seen as a threat by Hizbollah to its power. The taboo against the use of Hizbollah’s
force inside Lebanon against other Lebanese has now been broken and it clearly had few
long-term ill effects for Hizbollah. Many in Lebanon now worry that with the prohibition no
longer in force it is only a matter of time before Hizbollah uses its arms to secure political
advantage inside Lebanon again. This would not be an Emancipatory action as it would
mean preventing the wishes of a large part of the population from being realized, it embeds
a permanent advantage for the Party of God in Lebanese politics, and, worse, it has all the
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hallmarks of the kind of spark that could reignite the civil war.
Hizbollah’s continued preoccupation with notions of resistance and the maintenance
of its weapons despite the fact that the immediate threat from Israel seems on the surface
to have withered also appears to be very much an anti-Emancipatory action.42 It seems that
the continuing presence of a fully armed and deeply hostile Hizbollah makes the likelihood
of Israeli aggression much higher than if Hizbollah were to transfer their militia to state
control. Their continuing rhetoric about removing the “Zionist entity” and in the words
of one of Nasrallah’s speeches “on Jerusalem Day, we renew our pledge, to its people,
and to the cause and Imam of Jerusalem; their city will remain forever in our souls, and
will continue to be our cause, our battle, and our ultimate objective.”43 Hizbollah remains
committed not just to resistance in Lebanon against Israel but also to the resistance efforts
of the Palestinians. With a vow to ensure the removal of the “Zionist entity” completely
(at least in rhetorical terms) embedded in its founding document—the Open Letter of
1985—which stated that Israel’s exit from Lebanese soil would only act as a prelude to
its “final obliteration” and the liberation of Jerusalem “from the talons of occupation.”44
Hizbollah’s basic identity and its actions make war and the threat of war far more likely. This
was only too clearly shown by Hizbollah’s needless attack on an Israeli army unit inside
Israel and kidnap of Israeli soldiers in the summer of 2006, which prompted a ferocious
assault by Israel against Hizbollah causing damage estimated at $2.8 billion and leaving
1,200 Lebanese dead.45 While clearly a disproportionate response, it is indicative of the
seriousness that the Israelis view the threat from Hizbollah. The continuing rhetoric and the
rearming of Hizbollah with new more powerful rockets since the brief but intense war of
2006 means it is probably only a matter of time before another war breaks out.46 This fact
alone means that Hizbollah cannot be seen as a truly Emancipatory actor until they disarm
and downplay the resistance side of their identity, in the same way that they superficially
appear to have moved away from the terrorism that characterized the movement in its early
years.47 The problem is of course that many have argued that these terrorist methods remain
just below the surface and have been used to good effect in the killing of Rafik Hariri in
February 200548 and more recently with the reported discovery of Hizbollah activities in

Religious Identity
Hizbollah is fundamentally a religious organization based around Shi’a Islam. While Amal
had been focused on secular ways of reform, Hizbollah, comprised as it was of a group of
244 J. Worrall

young clerics opposed to accommodating Lebanon’s political system, used the language
and rhetoric of their faith to further their message. Hizbollah’s roots were plainly more
religious than its Shi’ite counterpart. They make no secret of their desire to create an
Islamic state in the region of which Lebanon would be an integral part; failing this an
Islamic state within Lebanese borders is the next target. According to Amal Saad-Ghorayeb:
“the Islamic republic ideal remains the bedrock of Hizbu’llah’s intellectual structure . . . the
Israeli occupation may have been its raison d’etre, but its overriding purpose is to serve the
‘Islamic aim.’ ”50
In recent years much debate has focused on whether Hizbollah has become a political
organization with a strong religious element rather than a religious movement that uses
politics to help it secure its religious goals. While it is true that Hizbollah has always
acknowledged that an Islamic state should be “a direct and free choice of the people, and
not [come about] through forceful imposition”51 and importantly in the Lebanese context
that “it can only be legitimate in the face of overwhelming popular support and not merely a
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fifty percent majority”52 the fact that an Islamic state is their ultimate goal raises questions
about their ability to be Emancipatory actors in the CSS sense. Given that the imposition of
the Sharia is a certainty in an Islamic state, this will of course bring with it many difficulties
for human rights, at least in principle. Women’s rights and the more brutal punishments
such as amputation and stoning that are carried out in Iran are the most obvious examples.53
Given the Lebanese dispensation, unless the population dynamic changes markedly, there
would still be a considerable minority of Christians and Druze in the “Islamic State” whose
rights could easily be compromised under such a system whose idealistic nature can quickly
turn into an oppressive government by clerics. It is also likely that other states in the region
would see any Islamic state in Lebanon as a threat, especially if, as seems likely, it had
an overtly Shi’a character would likely result in warfare of some description.54 While
this situation seems unlikely given Hizbollah’s seeming acceptance of the impossibility of
securing its end goal55 the strongly religious identity of the party and its use of religious
motifs, language, and imagery means that its end goal is always at the forefront of people’s
consciousness and guides many of the party’s actions. Its current pragmatic understanding
of the likelihood of an Islamic state may not always match its actions:

As a political ideology, Hizbullah did not want to impose the Islamic order
by force; rather only if an overwhelming majority of Lebanese voted, by way
of a referendum, in its favour. This should be taken with a grain of salt since
Hizbullah’s rhetoric, in stages one and two, was different from what it was
actually doing in reality, in the sense of being actively engaged in preparing the
ground for establishing an Islamic order, at least in the areas it wielded power
in or controlled.56

There are no guarantees that a return to these earlier stages in its understanding of the
likelihood of an Islamic state being brought about is impossible.

Protectors of the Oppressed: The Socioeconomic Identity of Hizbollah

Hizbollah is clearly a popular organization in Lebanon having achieved some significant
election victories in its heartlands—the southern lands (al-janub) and in the Shi’a suburbs of
Beirut.57 This popularity is the consequence of a number of factors but mainly the sense of
oppression and political and economic disenfranchisement felt by the Shi’a, which has been
carefully addressed by Hizbollah.58 This has especially been the case in those areas such as
Reading Booth in Beirut 245

the south and the Beka’a Valley, which have traditionally been neglected by the Lebanese
state and that also happen to have been Shi’a-dominated regions.59 As Norton notes: “the
Lebanese government offers paltry social welfare services for its citizens, and the few that
are available are heavily concentrated within Beirut. A broad range of services is sorely
needed in the Dahiyeh [the heavily Shi’ite southern suburbs], where per capita income is
one fifth to one sixth of the national average.”60 By 2006, with significant funding from
Iran of around $100 million per annum, Hizbollah had built a not inconsiderable welfare
system that included four hospitals, twelve health clinics, and twelve schools.61 Their “Holy
Struggle Construction Foundation” provides water to an estimated 45 percent of Southern
Beirut, while anything up to fifty thousand Shi’ites work for Hizbollah-run enterprises.62
Harik states that the “unremitting efforts by parties or politicians to serve the public in these
ways are almost unheard of” in Lebanese politics.63
Although it is clear that other movements are beginning to learn the lessons, Hizbollah’s
provision of social services to its population has attracted a great deal of attention in
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recent years especially since it is reported to far exceed that of the Lebanese state.64
Even with this extensive network, estimates of the numbers they assist range between
200,000 and 350,000 with the higher number representing 10 percent of the Lebanese
population. This provision of services has a positive outcome for Hizbollah at the ballot
One of the more disturbing aspects of the provision of social services is that they are
naturally enough targeted at their own supporters, or at those supporters of allied parties
including some poor Christians. Ultimately, this provision is largely exclusionary of those
who are not supporters. More concerning though is the extensive surveillance network
that exists ostensibly to help the group target its aid to the population. While it is clear
that “Hezbollah’s close ties to the community through its party apparatus allow service
providers to have inside knowledge about individual needs” meaning that services can be
delivered effectively, their detailed knowledge of the personal lives of many thousands of
people gives them a potential tool for control of the population not just in terms of pure
“intelligence” but increasingly it also highlights the importance of the poor “maintaining
a positive relationship with Hezbollah’s political leaders in the community and staying in
their good graces.”66
The provision of social services is a powerful tool for Hizbollah and one that could be
used as a tool of coercion. This perhaps can most clearly be seen in Hizbollah’s attitude
to women where the movement appears to have realized not only the value of having a
Women’s Wing but also that sex is a key tool in bonding support to the movement. The
institution of the traditional Shi’a practice of Mutaa, a form of temporary marriage, has
become common and is sanctioned and to some extent facilitated by the organization. The
danger is that this has led to an explosion in prostitution with all the associated exploitation
of women. Yet the practice has clear value for the movement. As one young Shi’a notes:
“You could create the most loyal army by providing political power, social services and
fulfilling the desires of your men—namely, sexual ones . . . and Hezbollah has been very
successful in this regard.”67 Although perhaps this story is to be taken with a pinch of
salt, if there is any truth in it the Emancipatory potential for women of Hizbollah would be
diminished. A further problem is the fact that the movement has been unable to divorce itself
from the clan, tribe and family structures of the Shi’a that perpetuate systems of exclusion
and defy the leadership. This has meant that as “an organization originally established as a
religious network with narrowly defined politico-socioeconomic goals, has eroded. Many
of its individual cells now serve primarily their own self-interest instead of their perception
of God’s will” and are increasingly involved in organized crime.68
246 J. Worrall

This focus on Hizbollah’s provision of healthcare, education, and subsidized

foodstuffs has distracted attention away from the broader issues of identity in Lebanese
politics and the role of Hizbollah. The organization clearly sees itself as a champion of
the Shi’a who have traditionally been oppressed not only in Lebanon but throughout the
Middle East where they have been discriminated against for centuries.69 Naturally this
means that the Lebanese Shi’a have had to develop ties with other Shi’a communities in
the region wherever possible, which has had a major impact on Hizbollah’s wider identity
thus forcing it to take a deep interest in the wider politics of the region.

The Iranian Connection

It is no secret that the Iranian Revolution in 1979 was one of the major factors behind the
emergence of Hizbollah. The revolution had electrifying consequences for the region and
acted as a “demonstration effect” to those Shi’a clerics who went on to form Hezbollah.70
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It was the Iranian revolution and the creation of the Islamic Republic that offered a model
for Shi’ite opposition and a vision of what was actually possible for the oppressed more
generally, and for the oppressed Shi’a in particular, to achieve. The ideological basis
of the party would become rooted in Ayatollah Khomeini’s theory of “Wilayat e Fiqh”
(Government of the Jurist). This places the ultimate doctrinal authority over Hizbollah
in the hands of Iranian Jurisconsult.71 Nasrallah in fact, stated that: “The spinal cord of
Hizbullah is wilayat al-faqih.”72
The close relationship with Iran is important for Hizbollah’s identity in a number of
ways. First, it gives it its religious ideology: “The constituents of Hizbullah’s religious
ideology are the following: (1) belief in Shi’a Islam; (2) wilayat al-faqih (guardianship of
the jurisprudent or jurisconsult); (3) and jihad (struggle) in the way of God.”73 Ever since
its emergence, Hizbollah has been a party in which the ‘ulama (Muslim religious scholars)
played, and still play, an important role. Coupled with the close connections of the Shi’a
clergy with Iran through a series of transnational networks74 this means that Hizbollah is
reliant on the senior clergy of Iran for a degree of its religious legitimacy and connected
through a series of close bonds and personal relationships with key figures in Tehran.75
Second, it offers the movement a source of resources that it would otherwise struggle
to get hold of in terms of funding, training, and weaponry. It also funded much of the
reconstruction efforts via Hizbollah rather than the Lebanese state after the 2006 war.76
This means that the organization is materially reliant on Iran for both its weapons and
therefore its prowess in the resistance side of its identity and for a part of the funding of its
social services arm.
Third, it offers it a wider narrative to tap into and enables it to give the impression to
its supporters that the Party, and therefore they, also have friends in the region. Nasallah
stated in April 2011 that “we are allied with Iran and Syria, and we have nothing to hide.”77
Thus the Iranian–Hizbollah relationship is a key plank in the movement’s identity and it
copies much of its religious and political rhetoric.
Yet this close relationship with Iran raises multiple questions about the ability of
Hizbollah to be an Emancipatory actor. While it is clear that the Party has moved away
from total dependence on Iran’s munificence and can no longer be seen as a true proxy of
the Islamic Republic the fact that Iran remains the main source of its weapons and a very
significant part of its funding78 gives it a degree of influence over the Party that is not in
the interests of the Lebanese or the Iranian people.79
If it is to be considered as an Emancipatory actor relations with the increasingly
repressive Iranian regime80 hardly portray Hizbollah in a positive light. This is especially
Reading Booth in Beirut 247

so given that the situation in Iran is in some ways similar to that in Lebanon, ethnic Persians
only comprise 50 percent of the population and the myriad ethnic minority groups which
comprise between 45 and 60 percent of the population have been systematically oppressed
and discriminated against.81 If the Iranian example is the one that Hizbollah explicitly
seeks to follow and it has brought such corruption and repression to Iran, and especially its
minority groups, then the goal of an Islamic state is to be even more feared by the Lebanese.

Hizbollah: An Immanent Critique

The discussions above provide powerful critique as to the reasons why Hizbollah cannot
be seen to be an Emancipatory actor. Yet this does not mean that there is no Emancipatory
potential within the movement or indeed that Hizbollah cannot be seen to some extent as
being an Emancipatory actor of some kind at present. The critique proceeds by examining
the same four key identity factors driving the Party. It attempts to find evidence of Hizbollah
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as an Emancipator both in the terms laid down by the movement itself and those laid down
by Booth.

The resistance identity is clearly bound in with the religious identity to a large extent given
that jihad is such a key part of the ideological make up of the organization, and the lesser or
military jihad is just as important, with Hizbollah stressing “that the base and foundation of
Islamic belief is smaller military jihad that is practiced against the Israeli occupation army
in southern Lebanon.”82
Hizbollah also claimed “that it conducted jihad in a realistic, practical, and efficient
matter [sic] because it follows the Islamic teachings and abides by the faqih’s safeguards,
guidance, and supervision.”83 It is easy to criticize this with reference to Hizbollah’s
involvement in the bombing of Jewish targets in Buenos Aires in 1994 that clearly were
not legitimate targets of resistance. Indeed it shows worrying signs of anti-Semitism and
not simply anti-Zionism.
As much of the literature argues84 though, Hizbollah has clearly moved beyond the
terrorist stage and now confines its resistance to the region. This change in the nature
of the resistance indicates perhaps that the movement is capable of change on this front.
Furthermore the existence, even during the direct occupation of southern Lebanon, of “rules
of the game” between Hizbollah and Israel in which both sides agreed not to target civilians
indicates that there is a possibility of both sides agreeing to live in peace, or at least with
the absence of violence.85
This arena of their identity is perhaps the one in which according to CSS principles
Hizbollah is currently the least Emancipatory because of their readiness for conflict and
anti-Jewish nature.86 For Hizbollah itself, emancipation can only come when Israel leaves
the Shebaa Farms and when it poses no threat to Lebanon but also when it ceases to exist.
The Open Letter states that their hatred of Israel is based on “a political-ideological and
historical awareness that the Zionist entity is aggressive from its inception, and built on
lands wrested from their owners, at the expense of the rights of the Muslim people.” Yet
there is still something of a disconnect between the extreme rhetoric and their unwillingness
to prosecute the campaign against Israel to their utmost, the “rules of the game” developed
in southern Lebanon and the obvious quiescence of the movement in military terms since
the events of 2006 demonstrate that the group is less serious about its aim of wiping out the
“Zionist entity” because it is “the absolute evil”87 than its fiery rhetoric would suggest. It
248 J. Worrall

also hints at a pragmatism present, as shall be explored, in its other identities, which implies
that there is the potential for Hizbollah to accept Israel if its own practical concerns are
met and there is a just settlement to the Israeli–Palestinian dispute. Fundamentally though,
Hizbollah’s attachment to armed force as part of its “resistance” to Israel and potentially also
the West is such key part of what they see as bringing them to their own emancipatory goal
of wiping out Israel. This is diametrically opposed to CSS methods of resistance centered
as they are on “the growth of a universal human rights culture.”88 There is a major question
mark over the ability of any praxis being able to liberate the Emancipatory potential within
the movement in the resistance side of its identity.

Religious Identity
Since the religious identity of the organization is so central and Islamist groups have
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developed such a reputation for their extremist interpretations of the Qu’ran and Sunnah
we may perhaps expect this to be an area where an immanent critique would expose little
in the way of Emancipatory potential. Clearly the religious sphere will always attract easy
accusations of hypocrisy but this opens a door for an immanent critique of the potential
for Emancipation to come about in spite of religious obstacles. Hizbollah have realized
the difficulties of implementing an Islamic state in Lebanon given the country’s ethnic and
religious make-up. The party has in effect changed its theology by stating that “only after
Islam envelops the entire region under the auspices of the Twelfth Imam, will Lebanon
be subjected to Islamic rule, unless of course the Lebanese people choose to establish an
Islamic State before that time.”89
This is a pragmatic response to the fact that even the vast majority of the Shi’a of
Lebanon do not want to see an Islamic state, Harik suggests the figure as being only
13 percent of the Shi’a, Hizbollah’s core constituency.90 We can easily see the practical
reason why the idea has been so carefully neutralized by Hizbollah.
If Hizbollah has changed, as Alagha suggests, from the primacy of their religious
ideology to the primacy of their political ideology to the primacy of their political program91
then the fact that they are pragmatic enough to put their fundamental aim to one side in
order to make progress strongly suggests that this side of the group’s identity is not an
insurmountable barrier on the never ending Emancipatory journey. There remains the
problem that Hizbollah’s conception of emancipation is a fundamentally religious one in
which true emancipation will only come to pass, and is only possible if there is an Islamic
state. It quickly becomes difficult to argue for a notion of Emancipation that disagrees with
this core belief but this is potentially something of a long-term problem.

It is commonly accepted that “the Lebanese Shi’i community mobilization was directly
related to the economic and political situation in Lebanon. The Shi’is have always demanded
a fairer distribution of wealth and opportunities in the country, as well as equitable political
representation,”92 Hizbollah has clearly responded to this, and these socioeconomic and
political demands clearly form a large part of its current identity. There is considerable
Emancipatory potential currently latent within the movement in this sphere and indeed
many of its current actions can be described as being Emancipatory. It is interesting that in
rhetoric and in many of their actions there is a considerable overlap between Hizbollah and
CSS ideas of Emancipation.
Reading Booth in Beirut 249

If we take Hizbollah’s main electoral program outside of resistance it stressed the

following: (1) the establishment of civil peace; (2) the founding of the state of law and
institutions; (3) the promotion of political participation; (4) political, administrative, social,
and economic reforms; (5) upholding “public freedoms”; (6) infitah and dialogue among all
the Lebanese; (7) addressing demands dealing with health, educational, environmental, and
cultural issues; (8) and the achievement of social justice through the following measures:
(a) dealing with the serious and pressuring socioeconomic and financial crisis by finding
the proper balance between material resources and human resources; (b) attaining and re-
alizing socioeconomic development by developmental projects targeting the deprived and
dispossessed areas in order to reach balanced development; (c) defending and protecting
the “downtrodden” and oppressed grassroots.93 From this list we see a distinctively Eman-
cipatory program emerging, which mirrors Booth’s concerns with poverty, exclusion, and
In addition, Hizbollah’s willingness to participate in the democratic process is certainly
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encouraging, as Alagha puts it: “since the 1990s, Hizbullah gradually evolved into a main-
stream political party having an extensive network of social services (accorded to Muslims
as well as to Christians), and participated in parliamentary, municipal, and governmental
Overall then, Hizbollah has clearly been a beneficial actor in this sphere and its will-
ingness to participate in democratic elections offers real potential. As does their consistent
calls for dialogue between Islamists and oppressive states in the region rather than Islamist
groups resorting to armed conflict.95 Hizbollah has clearly had a positive effect on the Shi’a
in Lebanon; today they are better represented in Lebanese politics, more confident, and
have had many of their socioeconomic needs directly addressed by the Party. Given what
has already been achieved and the language and rhetoric of the Party on these issues there is
much more Emancipatory potential in this sphere. If, as has been suggested, Hizbollah has
been socialized by the Lebanese environment in which it must operate and it has responded
to the material needs of its core constituency then there is considerable scope for enhancing
this side of practical politics at the expense of the more radical sides of Hizbollah’s identity.

Hizbollah, Iran, and the Narrative of Western Oppression

It is noticeable that Iran’s Islamic Revolution was not just about Islam; in many senses the
Islamic Revolution was also a Third World Revolution96 and has brought about some good
results for sections of the population. Despite the perception created by the Green Revolution
of 2009 and subsequent protests, President Ahmadinejad does have a constituency among
the poor, especially in rural areas.97 Clearly Hizbollah inherited the rhetoric from the Iranian
Revolution about Imperialism, Western domination and exploitation, alongside a distaste
for the United States, Britain, and France seen for example in the Beirut kidnappings
of the 1980s. In theory the acknowledgment of many of the historical injustices of the
region is a useful tool for Hizbollah politically; indeed, all of this can be placed in a
structuralist framework.98 This can tell us something from a CSS perspective about the
sources of oppression in the region, a view that may be shared by many in the Party of
God. Hizbollah’s engagement with this narrative makes them particularly interesting. Yet
despite this narrative they no longer directly attack the West physically but it still remains
that their viewpoint of the existence of an historic clash of civilizations between the West
and Islam inherited from Iran holds risks.99 It seems that dialogue between Muslims is to
be encouraged but there appears to be little desire to break down barriers between East and
250 J. Worrall

It is difficult to discover anything concrete in the way of Emancipatory potential here

though, aside from the fact that their political orientation of third world solidarity and
awareness of structuralist debates means that they could be open to dialogue based on
these socialist style ideas, alongside other groupings of a similar persuasion in Lebanese
and wider Middle Eastern contexts. The Iranian connection provides more difficulties than
Emancipatory potential because their support for Iran and the help they receive from that
brutal and corrupt regime directly undermines their own rhetoric against the meddling of
foreign powers and the purity of their socioeconomic ideals.

Perhaps in the end Hizbollah’s four key identities give it more Emancipatory potential
than has previously been considered. There is potential for its resistance identity to be
downplayed and to become an historical emblem rather than an active policy. There is
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clearly a good deal of Emancipatory potential present in much of both the religious and
political rhetoric and actions of the Party. Its pragmatic streak has served the Party well over
the past two decades and another revolution in Iran may end up having just an electrifying
effect on Hizbollah as the last one did.
Ultimately though, there are clear differences between Hizbollah’s and CSS’s notions
of emancipation that are difficult to bridge. The traditional critique exposed a large number
of problems in considering the movement as a potentially Emancipatory actor, many of
which seem insurmountable when compared with the potential uncovered by the immanent
If Emancipation is more of a journey than a destination though, it appears that the
Party of God has already had an Emancipatory impact on the Shi’a of Lebanon and may
be more of an Emancipatory actor than many have realized. Yet this Emancipation only
goes so far. There remains the distinct possibility that the emancipation of the Shi’a (on
Hizbollah’s terms) will come at the cost of some very non-Emancipatory consequences for
Israeli citizens and for many Lebanese.
The movement’s direct disagreement with some fundamental human rights norms
exposes some of the difficulties faced by CSS when applied to an Islamist movement. Booth
has responded passionately and convincingly to the traditional critique of Emancipation that
it is too Western orientated and rooted in the European Enlightenment100 yet in an Islamic
context that rejects some fundamental human rights (at least for the Shi’a themselves) this
argument is rather moot.101 This ultimately means that while the technique of immanent
critique is a useful one in identifying ways of engaging with Hizbollah and potentially
moving them down a more enlightened path, the concept of Emancipation itself, as a
normative tool and an explanatory one, would appear to have relatively limited utility when
applied to Islamist groups.102
In the end then, Hizbollah may have Emancipatory potential but it would require the
abandonment of much of their religious nature before they could truly be described as
Emancipatory actors and that does not seem likely to happen any time soon.

1. See: Eitan Azani, Hezbollah: The Story of the Party of God (Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2011)
for the argument for the latter option.
2. Except for those that remain in the original in quotations, Emancipatory is capitalized
throughout this article where it refers to CSS ideas of Emancipation purely in order to differentiate it
from broader understandings of emancipation.
Reading Booth in Beirut 251

3. Ken Booth, Theory of World Security (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007),
p. 112.
4. CSS is capitalized here purely to make the distinction between the broad church of critical
security studies, which also includes, for example, the Copenhagen and Paris Schools, with the Welsh
School which, while a subfield of css, is also frequently labelled Critical Security Studies in the
5. Ken Booth, “Conclusion,” in Ken Booth, ed., Critical Security Studies and World Politics
(Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner, 2005), p. 274.
6. See Barry Buzan and Lene Hansen, The Evolution of International Security Studies
(Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999), especially pp. 205–208.
7. Ken Booth, “Security and Emancipation,” Review of International Studies 17(4) (1991),
pp. 313–326.
8. Max Horkheimer, “Traditional and Critical Theory,” in Matthew J. O’Connell et al.,Trans.,
Critical Theory: Selected Essays (New York: Continuum Press, 1972).
9. Arun Patnaik, “Gramsci’s Concept of Common Sense: Towards A Concept of Subaltern
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Consciousness in Hegemony Processes,” Economic & Political Weekly 23(5) (1988); Richard Wyn-
Jones, “‘Message in a Bottle’? Theory and Praxis in Critical Security Studies,” Contemporary Security
Policy 16(3) (1995), pp. 299–319.
10. Robert Cox, “Social Forces, States and World Orders: Beyond International Relations
Theory,” Millennium 10(2) (1981), pp. 126–155.
11. Karl Marx, Thesis on Feuerbach (London: Lawrence and Wishart, 1976).
12. Nick Vaughan-Williams and Columba Peoples, Critical Security Studies: An Introduction
(Abingdon: Routledge, 2009), p. 28.
13. Ibid., p. 24.
14. Ken Booth, Theory of World Security (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007),
p. 250.
15. Richard Wyn-Jones, Ed., Critical Theory and World Politics (Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner,
1999), p. 88.
16. K. M. Fierke, Critical Approaches to International Security (Cambridge: Polity, 2007),
p. 167.
17. Richard Wyn-Jones, “On Emancipation: Necessity, Capacity, and Concrete Utopias,” in
Ken Booth, ed., Critical Security Studies and World Politics (Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner, 2005),
p. 230.
18. Ibid., p. 230.
19. Ken Booth, “Security and Emancipation,” Review of International Studies 17(4) (1991),
p. 319.
20. See Rodger Shanahan, The Shi’a of Lebanon: Clans, Parties And Clerics (London: I.B.
Tauris, 2011) and Max Weiss, In the Shadow of Sectarianism: Law, Shi‘ism, and the Making of
Modern Lebanon (Harvard, MA: Harvard University Press, 2010).
21. A. N. Hamzeh, In the Path of Hizbullah (New York: Syracuse University Press, 2004),
p. 12.
22. Nazih N Ayubi, Over-Stating the Arab State (London: I. B. Tauris, 1995), pp. 190–
23. V. Shields, “Political Reform in Lebanon: Has the Cedar Revolution Failed?” The Journal
of Legislative Studies 14(4) (2008), p. 484.
24. Hassan Krayem, “The Lebanese Civil War and the Taif Agreement, AUB.” Available at See also the text of the Taif Accords at
25. See Mehran Kamrava and Frank O Mora, “Civil Society and Democratisation in Com-
parative Perspective: Latin America and the Middle East,” Third World Quarterly 19(5) (1998),
pp. 893–915 and Rodney Wilson, Economic Development in the Middle East (London: Routledge,
26. A. R. Norton, Hezbollah (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2007), p. 18.
252 J. Worrall

27. International Crisis Group, “Hizbollah and the Lebanese Crisis,” Middle East Report
No. 69 (2007), p. 4. Available at
28. Norton, Hezbollah, p. 20.
29. Fouad Ajami, The Vanished Imam: Musa al Sadr and the Shia of Lebanon (Cornell, NY:
Cornell University Press, 1987).
30. Norton, Hezbollah, p. 21.
31. See, for example, Hizbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah’s interview with Al Watan
al-Aribi, 11 September 1992, in Nicholas Roe, ed., Voice of Hezbollah (London: Verso, 2007), p. 93.
32. See, for example, Martin Kramer, “Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran: The Challenges for Is-
rael and the West,” The Sydney Papers 18(3/4) (2006), pp. 18–27 and Jeremy Sharp, Christopher
Blanchard, Kenneth Katzman, Carol Migdalovitz, Alfred Prados, Paul Gallis, Dianne Rennack et al.,
“Lebanon: The Israel-Hamas-Hezbollah Conflict,” CRS Report for Congress (2006). Available at
33. Hamzeh, In the Path of Hizbullah, p. 18.
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34. Norton, Hezbollah, p. 33.

35. Ibid.
36. Ibid., p. 83.
37. Nasrallah’s Victory Speech, 26 May 2000, in Nicholas Roe, ed., Voice of Hezbollah
(London: Verso, 2007), p. 233.
38. Nasrallah’s Speech on Al Quds Day, 28 October 2005, in Nicholas Roe, ed., Voice of
Hezbollah (London: Verso, 2007), p. 361.
39. Taif Accords, Article Two, Section C, Part 4. Available at
40. Nicholas Blanford, Killing Mr Lebanon (London: IB Tauris, 2009), p. xvii.
41. Ibid., pp. vi–xvii.
42. Hizbollah of course would argue that the Israeli threat is ever present and they continue to
fight an undercover war with the Zionists over the border.
43. Nasrallah’s Speech on Al Quds Day, p. 369.
44. T. W. Karsaik and G. Schbley, “Hizbullah’s Armoury Up for Debate,” RAND Corporation,
p. 173. Available at
45. Blandford, Killing Mr Lebanon, p. viii. See also Edward P. Djerejian, “From
Conflict Management to Conflict Resolution,” Foreign Affairs December 2006. Available at FA web.pdf
46. For a detailed examination of the 2006 war see Clive Jones and Sergio Catignani, eds.,
Israel and Hizbollah: An Interstate and Asymmetric War in Perspective (Abingdon: Routledge, 2009).
47. See, for example, Norton, Hezbollah, p. 77 (hijacking of TWA Flight 847 and the exe-
cution of Robert Stetham), p. 71 (suicide bombings), and pp. 78–79 (bombings of Jewish targets in
48. Patrick Galey, “Lebanon Indictment: Rafiq Hariri Tracked for Three Months with Elab-
orate Phone Network,” The Daily Telegraph 17 August 2011. Available at http://www.telegraph.
three-months-with-elaborate-phone-network.html and BBC News ‘Rafik Hariri Murder: Suspects To
Be Tried In Absentia.” Available at
49. Haroon Siddique, “Thailand Arrests Hezbollah Suspect After Terror Tipoff,” The
Guardian 13 January 2012. Available at
50. Amal Saad-Ghorayeb, Hizbu’llah Politics & Religion (London: Pluto, 2002), pp. 34–35.
51. N. Qassem, Hizbollah: The Story From Within (London: Saqi, 2005), p. 31.
52. Saad-Ghorayeb, Hizbu’llah Politics & Religion, p. 36.
53. See Sanaz Alasti, “Comparative Study of Stoning Punishment in the Religions of Islam
and Judaism,” Justice Policy Journal 4(1) (2007) and Amnesty International Campaign, “End Execu-
tion By Stoning in Iran.” Available at
Reading Booth in Beirut 253

54. See, for example, Vali Nasr, The Shia Revival: How Conflicts within Islam Will Shape the
Future (New York: W. W. Norton & Co., 2006).
55. Saad-Ghorayeb, Hizbu’llah Politics & Religion, pp. 35–37.
56. Joseph Alagha, The Shifts In Hizbullah’s Ideology: Religious Ideology, Political Ideology,
and Political Program (Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2006), p. 200.
57. Norton, Hezbollah, p. 103.
58. Hamzeh, In the Path of Hizbullah, p. 12.
59. Judith Palmer Harik, Hezbollah: The Changing Face of Terrorism (London: IB Tauris,
2004), p. 83.
60. Cited in Ken Silverstein, “Augustus Norton On Hezbollah’s Social Services,” Harper’s
14 March 2007. Available at
61. Shields, p. 482; Norton, Hezbollah, pp. 99–100.
62. Hamzeh, In the Path of Hizbullah, p. 51.
63. Harik, Hezbollah, p. 86.
64. Shawn Teresa Flanigan and Mounah Abdel-Samad, “Hezbollah’s Social Jihad: Nonprofits
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As Resistance Organizations,” Middle East Policy XVI(2) (2009), p. 123.

65. Ibid., p. 132.
66. Ibid.
67. Hannin Ghaddar, “The Story of Hezbollah’s Halal Hookups,” Foreign Policy, 25 November
2009. Available at militarization of sex?page
=0,0; See also the Sunni reaction at
68. Ayla Hammond Schbley, “Torn between God, Family, and Money: The Changing Profile
of Lebanon’s Religious Terrorists,” Studies In Conflict & Terrorism 23(3) (2000), pp. 175–196. See
also Chris Dishman, “The Leaderless Nexus: When Crime And Terror Converge,” Studies in Conflict
& Terrorism 28(3) (2005), pp. 237–252; Peter Lowe, “Counterfeiting: Links to Organised Crime and
Terrorist Funding,” Journal of Financial Crime 13(2) (2006), pp. 255–257; Louise Shelley and Sharon
Melzer, “The Nexus of Organized Crime and Terrorism: Two Case Studies in Cigarette Smuggling,”
International Journal of Comparative And Applied Criminal Justice 32(1) (2008), pp. 43–63.
69. See, for example, Nasr.
70. Hamzeh, In the Path of Hizbullah, p. 16.
71. Alagha, The Shifts In Hizbullah’s Ideology, p. 98.
72. Hamzeh, In the Path of Hizbullah, p. 36.
73. Alagha, The Shifts In Hizbullah’s Ideology, p. 13. For extensive discussion of Hizbollah’s
religious side see chapter two.
74. Norton, Hezbollah, pp. 30–31.
75. Magnus Ranstorp, “Hizbollah’s Command Leadership: Its Structure, Decision-making
and Relationship with Iranian Clergy and Institutions,” Terrorism and Political Violence 6(3) (1994),
pp. 303–339.
76. James Whittington, “Iran Sending Funds to Hezbollah,” BBC News, 2 November 2006.
Available at
77. See “Hezbollah Hails Ties with Iran, Syria,” Press TV, 10 April 2011. Avail-
able at See also: “Iran-Lebanese Hezbollah Relation-
ship Tracker.” Available at
78. See, for example, “Iran gave Hezbollah UAVs, Attack Aircraft,” Haaretz, November
2010. Available at
79. Iran is reported to have donated $1 billion toward the postwar reconstruction efforts
when there are reports that up to 90 percent of the Iranian population is living below the pove-
rty line. See
Ahmadinejad-in-Lebanon-a-landlord-visiting-his-domain.html and
option=com content&task=view&id=1304 and for a different view: Djavad Salehi-Isfahani,
254 J. Worrall

“Poverty, Inequality, and Populist Politics in Iran,” Journal of Economic Inequality 7(1) (2009),
pp. 5–28.
80. See, for example, “Amnesty, Human Rights Violations Persist in Iran 30 Years after Islamic
Revolution.” Available at
rights-violations-persist-iran-30-years-islamic-revolution-20090209 and UN News, “UN Human
Rights Council to Appoint a Rapporteur to look into Iranian Record,” 24 March 2011. Available
81. See Alam Saleh, Identity And Societal Security In Iran, Unpublished Ph.D. Thesis, Uni-
versity of Leeds, 2011.
82. Alagha, The Shifts In Hizbullah’s Ideology, p. 113.
83. Ibid., p. 113.
84. See: Alagha, The Shifts In Hizbullah’s Ideology; Saad-Ghorayeb, Hizbu’llah Politics &
Religion; Norton, Hezbollah; and Harik, Hezbollah.
85. Norton, Hezbollah, pp. 83–86.
86. Saad-Ghorayeb, Hizbu’llah Politics & Religion, pp. 168–187.
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87. Alagha, The Shifts In Hizbullah’s Ideology, p. 128.

88. Booth, “Conclusion” p. 181.
89. Saad-Ghorayeb, Hizbu’llah Politics & Religion, p. 36.
90. Judith Palmer Harik, “Between Islam and the System: Sources and Implications of Popular
Support for Lebanon’s Hizballah,” Journal of Conflict Resolution 40(1) (1996), p. 56.
91. Alagha, The Shifts In Hizbullah’s Ideology, pp. 207–220.
92. Simon Haddad, “The Origins of Popular Support For Lebanon’s Hezbollah,” Studies in
Conflict & Terrorism 29(1) (2006), p. 23.
93. Alagha, The Shifts In Hizbullah’s Ideology, p. 209.
94. Ibid., p. 208.
95. Saad-Gorayeb, Hizbu’llah Politics & Religion, pp. 22–26. Mirrored perhaps in the Haber-
masian concern for Communication, Critical Theory and Politics, Wyn-Jones, p. 9.
96. See, for example, Nikki Keddie, Modern Iran: Roots And Results of Revolution (London
& New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2006), pp. 222–262 and Said Amir Arjomand, “Iran’s
Islamic Revolution In Comparative Perspective,” World Politics 38(3) (1986), pp. 383–414.
97. On the economic actions taken to protect the poor since the Revolution see Keddie, Modern
Iran, p. 256 although there has always been something of a split between the Islamic left and right in
Iran on economic issues.
98. See Ray Hinnebusch, “The Middle East in World Hierarchy: Imperialism and Resistance,”
Journal of International Relations and Development 14 (2011), pp. 213–246.
99. Saad-Ghorayeb, Hizbu’llah Politics & Religion, p. 89.
100. Booth, “Conclusion,” p. 181.
101. For a discussion of the particular example of apostasy, see Jack Donnelly, “The Relative
Universality of Human Rights,” Human Rights Quarterly 29(2) (2007), pp. 301–302.
102. Unless perhaps it can accommodate different conceptions of Human Rights.