US Foreign Policy
Commentary

Hizballah and Syria: Outgrowing the Proxy Relationship

in Program

This commentary was first published in the Spring 2007 edition of The Washington Quarterly.

Terms such as “proxy” and “client” are often used to characterize the power dynamic between Hizballah and its allies Iran and Syria. These states’ vital resources and indispensable political sponsorship elevated Hizbal­lah to the position it enjoys today. They each played a central role in past de­cisions of momentous importance for Hizballah. Today, however, this image of Hizballah as a client of Iran and Syria has become obsolete due to the power base the Shi’ite group has nurtured and expanded in Lebanon and the growing political capital it has acquired in the Middle East thanks to at least the per­ception of its military victories, be they real or not, particularly in the summer 2006 war against Israel.

 

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