Hezbollah’s War on ISIS in Lebanon, Fighting Terrorism at the Expense of the State

Mona Alami

A controversial deal was reached at the end of August 2017 between Lebanon’s militant group Hezbollah (“the Party of God”) and the so-called Islamic State (ISIS), allowing for the transfer of the remnants of the terrorist group, which had been encircled by the Lebanese army after days of battle, from East Lebanon to West Syria. The propaganda that followed the surprising deal—agreed to between two archenemies—reflects Hezbollah’s dual concerns at the local level. First, the group wished to quell any dissent within its popular base concerning the justifiability of the agreement, and second, it wished to maintain the narrative that it is the strongest military and counterterrorism force in Lebanon, while minimizing the success of the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF), potentially Hezbollah’s only credible long-term rival.