Exploring the Iran-Hezbollah Relationship: A Case Study of how State Sponsorship affects Terrorist Group Decision-Making

Marc R. DeVore


Understanding the impact of state sponsorship on the decision-making of violent non-state actors is among the more important issues to scholars of security studies. This article addresses the issue by examining the relationship between Iran and Lebanon’s Hezbollah. To preview its conclusions, there are two main perspectives to consider with regard to the terrorist group – state sponsor relationship. First, state support has a powerful, yet indirect effect on violent non-state actor decision-making by shaping the options available to groups’ leaders.  Second, state sponsors can also directly leverage their aid to shape the strategic decisions of armed non-state actors, forcing their clients to either expand or restrict their activities. Because of inevitable lacunae and contradictions amongst published accounts, this study relies heavily upon primary sources and data collected during field research in Lebanon, including interviews with leaders from Hezbollah, the Lebanese Army, the United Nations' Peacekeeping Mission in Southern Lebanon (UNIFIL) and the rival Shia organization, Amal.

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Perspectives on Terrorism is  a journal of the Terrorism Research Initiative and the Center for Terrorism and Security Studies

ISSN  2334-3745 (Online)

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