restricted access Identity, War, and Just Cause for War: Hezbollah and Its Use of Force


This essay first examines how Lebanese Hezbollah’s wars have changed the content and saliency of its several identities. It then focuses on the role of these identities on the group’s moral conception of using force. The analysis includes Hezbollah’s conflicts against Israel and its more recent military involvement in the Syrian conflict. The essay argues that Hezbollah exhibits five different identities: Islamic, Shiite, Lebanese, Arab, and resistance. Each has played a significant role in the group’s legitimizing of its war decisions, which in turn has provided Hezbollah the grounds to remain an armed non-state actor in the Middle East.