Chasing the Jinn: Countering Hezbollah with lawfare

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This article is featured in the ORIENT I 2018

This article analyses how Hezbollah’s gradually growing role in the Syrian conflict has been paralleled by its adversaries’ decision to wage lawfare against this pivotal player supporting the Al-Assad regime, in order to raise the political cost for Hezbollah’s military engagement in Syria. Compared to earlier steps taken by Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states in 2013, the resolutions adopted in 2016 by three Arab and Islamic regional organisations targeting the militant group are more assertive and potentially effective, in particular if considered in combination with complementary steps such as the US HIFPA (Hezbollah International Financing Prevention Act) and a media campaign aimed at undermining Hezbollah’s reputation. However, it remains debatable to what extent the terrorist designation will effectively constrain Hezbollah’s financial and operational capabilities, let alone motivate its retreat from the Syrian war zone.

Wolfgang Mühlberger is a Senior Research Fellow at FIIA (The Finnish Institute of International Affairs) where he conducts research on the MENA region and Euro-Mediterranean relations. His current work evolves around post-Arab Spring transitions in Libya and Syria, with a focus on the role of external players. He also is interested in aspects of Arab statehood and is preparing a publication as co-editor on Dis_Order in the MENA region, from the viewpoint of narratives.

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