Hezbollah-Shia Dynamics and Lebanon’s Election: Challenges, Opportunities, and Policy Implications

Hezbollah-Shia Dynamics and Lebanon’s Election: Challenges, Opportunities, and Policy Implications

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Whatever the outcome of Lebanon's May 15 parliamentary election, the gap between Hezbollah and the broader Shia community has widened dramatically, leaving the Iran-backed group to contend with a multilayered crisis of legitimacy. Whether the context is campaign season, broader domestic politicking, or armed conflict, Lebanon's Shia remain the foundation of the group's strategy—and the foundation is shaking. As Lebanon faces unprecedented economic collapse, this opens new opportunities for U.S. policymakers to complement security and humanitarian assistance with more soft-power tools and nontraditional mechanisms to counter Hezbollah's political dominance of the country.

To discuss these issues and options, The Washington Institute is pleased to announce a virtual Policy Forum with David Schenker, Bashshar Haydar, and Hanin Ghaddar, author of the new study Hezbollahland: Mapping Dahiya and Lebanon's Shia Community.

Hanin Ghaddar is the Friedmann Fellow at The Washington Institute. A widely published journalist, she previously served as managing editor of Lebanon's NOW news site.

David Schenker is the Institute's Taube Senior Fellow and director of its Program on Arab Politics. Previously, he served as assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs.

Bashshar Haydar is a professor of philosophy and the Mohammad Atallah chair of ethics at the American University of Beirut. He has published widely on the topics of global justice, poverty alleviation, the duties of assistance, and the ethics of war and humanitarian interventions.