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Hezbollah [Kindle Edition]

Matthew Levitt
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Hezbollah: The Global Footprint of Lebanon's Party of God is the first thorough examination of Hezbollah’s covert activities beyond Lebanon’s borders, including its financial and logistical support networks and its criminal and terrorist operations worldwide.

Hezbollah—Lebanon’s "Party of God"—is a multifaceted organization: It is a powerful political party in Lebanon, a Shia Islam religious and social movement, Lebanon’s largest militia, a close ally of Iran, and a terrorist organization. Drawing on a wide range of sources, including recently declassified government documents, court records, and personal interviews with intelligence and law enforcement officials around the world, Matthew Levitt examines Hezbollah’s beginnings, its first violent forays in Lebanon, and then its terrorist activities and criminal enterprises abroad in Europe, the Middle East, South America, Southeast Asia, Africa, and finally in North America. Levitt also describes Hezbollah’s unit dedicated to supporting Palestinian militant groups and Hezbollah’s involvement in training and supporting insurgents who fought US troops in post-Saddam Iraq. The book concludes with a look at Hezbollah’s integral, ongoing role in Iran’s shadow war with Israel and the West, including plots targeting civilians around the world.

Levitt shows convincingly that Hezbollah’s willingness to use violence at home and abroad, its global reach, and its proxy-patron relationship with the Iranian regime should be of serious concern. Hezbollah is an important book for scholars, policymakers, students, and the general public interested in international security, terrorism, international criminal organizations, and Middle East studies.

Product Description


"Matthew Levitt is a recognized authority on Hezbollah and its activities, both in the Levant and globally.... Hezbollah: The Global Footprint of Lebanon's Party of God fills a vital gap in understanding the international dimensions of Hezbollah, its reach, and its capacities for terrorism worldwide." -- Charles Allen, former assistant director of central intelligence for collection, CIA

"Hezbollah is perhaps the world's most capable group. Terrorism expert Matthew Levitt offers a comprehensive and fascinating assessment of Hezbollah's network outside the Lebanese theater, exposing its operations and fundraising apparatus in Asia, Latin America, Europe, and even the United States." -- Daniel Byman, professor, center for security studies, Georgetown University

"Matthew Levitt has made a significant contribution to public understanding of Hezbollah's worldwide operations. He has shone a bright light into some of the darkest corners of the group's activities overseas." -- Richard Barrett, former head of MI6/SIS/British Intelligence's Counter Terrorism Department and coordinator of the United Nations Al-Qaeda-Taliban Monitoring Team

"Matthew Levitt has laid out a timely and relevant history of Hezbollah, a global terrorist organization often referred to as the 'A Team' of terror. This book comes at the right time as Hezbollah continues its decades-long war against the United States, Israel, and our allies around the globe while it attempts to consolidate political power in Lebanon -- on its behalf and for the Iranian regime." -- Juan Zarate, former Deputy National Security Advisor for Combatting Terrorism and author of the forthcoming book, Treasury's War

"Richard Armitage, then Deputy Secretary of State, once described Hezbollah as the 'A team' of international terror. In his extraordinary new book, Matthew Levitt explains why Hezbollah is seen as such a global threat. Levitt paints a compelling picture of Hezbollah's terror activities not just in the Middle East but throughout Europe, Asia, Africa, and North and South America. While Western intelligence and law enforcement agencies have tracked and disrupted Hezbollah's global activities for years, this highly unsettling story has been largely unknown to wider publics. Thanks to Levitt's meticulous and well-written book that should no longer be the case." -- Ambassador Dennis Ross, counselor at the Washington Institute; former special assistant to President Obama and senior director for the Central Region at the National Security Council

About the Author

Matthew Levitt is a senior fellow and director of The Washington Institute for Near East Policy's Stein Program on Counterterrorism and Intelligence. Previously, Levitt served as the deputy assistant secretary for Intelligence and Analysis at the US Department of the Treasury, as an FBI counterterrorism analyst, and as an adviser on counterterrorism to the US State Department. Levitt has taught at Johns Hopkins University/SAIS, held fellowships with the Combating Terrorism Center at the US Military Academy and the Homeland Security Policy Institute at George Washington University, and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He is the author of Hamas: Politics, Charity, and Terrorism in the Service of Jihad (Yale University Press, 2006).

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1019 KB
  • Print Length: 428 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1626160139
  • Publisher: Georgetown University Press (3 Sept. 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1626160147
  • ISBN-13: 978-1626160149
  • ASIN: B00EA0C4XC
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #287,577 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent 5 Mar. 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Very well written, interesting and give a fascinating insight about this terrorist organization. I will strongly recommend to intelligent readers.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended 10 Feb. 2015
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Fascinating read, and shows just how far their reach spreads (worryingly) around the globe. Very interesting chapter about the two Buenos Aires bombings, especially in relation to the Nisman scandal that has rocked Argentina this past month.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars 24 Aug. 2014
A future gift.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.3 out of 5 stars  27 reviews
10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding 17 Sept. 2013
By SDS - Published on
I heard Dr. Levitt give a talk on this book last week and was sold after his first sentence. Levitt is a brilliant story teller and regularly testifies in front of Congress, European Parliaments, and other fact finding missions. This book is NOT about Hezbollah in Lebanon, but about Hezbollah's terrorist activity all over the world. You cannot understand Iran, Syria, Assad, Nasrallah, Khameni and the politics of Lebanon without this book. I try and read every piece Levitt puts out on the Washington Institute and can vouch for his intellect, depth, and quality.

You will not regret this purchase.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Why can't the West "get it"? 27 Mar. 2014
By Scott Stolnitz - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Why can't the committed left in Europe and North America "get it"? This book tells us what governments around the world know, but seem to ignore. That is that Hezbollah and Iran have been at war with us in one form or another since 1979.
8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Putting the Spotlight on Hezbollah 12 Sept. 2013
By Michael & Lisa Kraft - Published on
By Michael B. Kraft

Matthew Levitt's new book: "Hezbollah, The Global Footprint of Lebanon's Party of God" is a real eye opener, both for readers with a general interest in the Middle East as well as those with some knowledge of this major player.

In addition to sending snipers and other gunmen to help Assad's government battle the rebels, Hezbollah has been involved in major attacks against American embassies and engaged in numerous terrorist activities in far flung areas of the world. It has worked often with Iran, its sponsor. Indeed, although "Hezbollah: The Footprint of Lebanon's Party of God" lives up to its title, it also provides a great deal of detail about Iran's terrorist warfare against the United States.

The well-researched book is organized in chapters describing Hezbollah's activities in various regions of the world, ranging from the Middle East (including Iraq) to Africa, Latin America and the Far East as well as the United States, Canada, and elsewhere. It describes not only the group's terrorist operations, successful and foiled, but also the world wide criminal and financial activities of this group that calls itself a resistance organization against Israel.

With many small brush strokes, describing in often minute detail and including many names of Hezbollah relatively little known operatives, Dr. Levitt paints a huge canvas, illuminating Hezbollah's wide ranging terrorist and criminal activities. Although the book could have benefited from some diagrams, it is fast paced. Dr. Levitt and his researchers draw from court cases, declassified intelligence documents, interviews, and a variety of sources ranging from New Zealand and Africa to the usual ones in the United States and various close allies such as Canada.

Dr. Levitt's book provides impressive new details about Hezbollah's attacks on Americans, including the Beirut Marine Barracks bombing in 1983 that killed 241 servicemen. This attack led to President Reagan's withdrawal of the U.S. Peacekeeping Force from Lebanon, a move that Obama Bin Laden cited as a sign of American weakness. The book also cites a CIA report that says Iran's leaders drew a similar conclusion.

Of particular human interest is the book's detailed discussion of the kidnappings of dozens of Americans and other westerners in Lebanon during the 1980's. The book makes clear that the motives for the kidnappings were attempts to obtain the release of imprisoned terrorists, not U.S. policy toward Israel or other policy issues as some political figures with an agenda falsely asserted at the time. (I was one of the State Department officials working on the problem in the late 1980's and can attest to Dr. Levitt's accuracy on this point.)

Hezbollah, a Shiite Muslim group, of course is best known for its wars against Israel, first leading the effort to get Israel to withdraw from southern Lebanon and, despite the withdrawal in 2000, launching hundreds of missiles against Israel in 2006. Rather than elaborating on the well publicized resulting battles with the Israeli Defense Forces, the book focuses on Hezbollah's too often overlooked terrorist operations in other parts of the world. It does contain a chapter on Hezbollah's attempted terrorist attacks within Israel, in conjunction with Palestinian terrorist groups.

Dr. Levitt also illuminates in sharp detail Hezbollah's bombing of the Jewish cultural center in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 1994 that killed 85 persons and wounded another 50. The book also describes a series of smaller attacks in other countries, more recently the July 2012 bombing of Israeli tourist bus in Bulgaria that killed 7 people. The book also describes the 1996 attack tanker truck bomb attack of the U.S. Air Force living quarters in Kobar Towers in Saudi Arabia that killed 19 airmen and wounded nearly 500 Saudis and others. Investigators concluded Iran was also involved in that operation.

Despite some of Hezbollah's spectacular attacks in the 1980's and 1990's many of its recent operations have been poorly planned and executed and often foiled by local authorities(some of them trained by the U.S. anti-terrorism training programs). In short, despite potential future threats, especially if acting at the behest of Syria or Iran, Hezbollah should not be regarded as 10 feet tall.

Hezbollah is formally designated by the State Department as a foreign terrorist organization under a 1996 U.S. law that makes it a criminal offense for American persons to knowingly provide funding or other forms of material support. Nevertheless, Hezbollah has engaged fund raising activities through front "charities." It also has operated a number of illegal scams in the U.S., including shipping cigarettes from North Carolina, selling them in high tax states such as Michigan and pocketing the difference, and even selling counterfeit Viagra.

These illegal activities are not just an American problem. The book also describes in detail Hezbollah's criminal activities in Canada and Latin America, including involvement in drug trafficking.

Dr. Levitt is well qualified to delve into these issues, having served as the deputy assistant secretary for intelligence and analysis at the U.S. Treasury Department, and as an FBI counter- terrorism analyst. He is a senior fellow and director of the of the counter-terrorism program at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, a prominent Washington think tank. In addition, he teaches at Georgetown University.

Some countries, including those in the European Union, have been loath to designate Hezbollah as a terrorist group on the grounds that it also provides some social welfare services in Lebanon and is a political party in that fractured country. "Hezbollah, The Global Footprint of Lebanon's Party of God" makes it clear that whatever social services Hezbollah may provide, it is primarily a terrorist group that, to paraphrase the State Department definition of terrorism, conducts acts of violence against noncombatants for political purposes. Finally on September 9, 2013, after many efforts by the United States, Dr. Levitt and others, and the investigation into the Bulgarian bombing last year, the European Union finally declared Hezbollah's military wing a terrorist group, thus imposing some sanctions. However the EU stopped short of designating the entire organization as a terrorist group, maintaining the fiction that the two wings were separate.

This ignores an important goal in formally labeling a group as a terrorist organization; that is to criminalize its fund raising activities. As Congress says in the Anti-terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (Section 301):
"Foreign organizations that engage in terrorist activity
are so tainted by their criminal conduct that any contribution
to such an organization facilitates that conduct."

Dr. Levitt's valuable and insightful book makes it crystal clear that Hezbollah is indeed a heavily tainted terrorist organization.


The reviewer, a retired State Department Counterterrorism official, is a consultant and co-author of "U.S. Government Counterterrorism, A Guide to Who Does What."

6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great read and compelling case. 24 Sept. 2013
By HM - Published on
Hezballah holds itself out as a legitimate political, social and military organization that seeks nothing more than to protect Lebanon against Israeli aggression, but as detailed in Matthew Levitt's new book, this is hardly the case. With the analytical rigor and investigative skill he has honed through years of experience analyzing and countering terrorist activity both in and out of government, Hezbollah: The Global Footprint of Lebanon's Party of God lays bare the truth on Hezballah and its activities. From its involvement in drug trafficking and other crime to its global support infrastructure to its planning and execution of terrorist attacks around the globe, the Levitt dossier on Hizballah's clandestine activities succinctly puts the evidence forward. As Iran draws closer to break out nuclear capacity and as Syria gasses its citizens, the imperative for national security practitioners around the world to understand Hezballah's international reach and terrorist capabilities has never been greater. This is vital reading for them as well as for anyone seeking a greater understanding of events unfolding around us.
9 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Levitt at his best - A MUST READ 5 Sept. 2013
By mrdon87 - Published on
An absolute must-read for anyone who is interested in one of the most important actors in the Middle East today. Levitt is the go-to DC expert on Hezbollah's inner workings and global reach, and has contributed some extraordinarily important scholarship on his topic of choice. A critical book that couldn't have come at a more important time...couldn't recommend it more highly.
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