The Global Footprint of Lebanon's Party of God

Matthew Levitt

"Levitt’s coverage of Hezbollah’s illegal and criminal operations on American soil mightily increases the value of this useful, well-written book."
+ Add to Cart Preorder


Request Print Exam Copy

Request Digital Exam Copy

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.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Researching Hezbollah’s Clandestine Activities

1. The Party of God Is Born

2. Branching Out: Targeting Westerners in Lebanon and Beyond

3. Hezbollah’s European Debut

4. Bombings in Buenos Aires

5. A Near Miss in Bangkok

6. Beirut to the Blue Ridge: Hezbollah Comes to North America

7. Bombing Khobar Towers

8. Unit 1800: Targeting the Israeli Heartland

9. Finance and Logistics in Africa

10. Unit 3800: Hezbollah in Iraq

11. Party of Fraud: Hezbollah’s Criminal Enterprise in America

12. Shadow War

Selected Bibliography
About the Author


"Levitt creatively deploys his deep knowledge coupled with the scrupulous collection, analysis, and exploitation of information and intelligence in support of his arguments against Hezbollah . . . . the result is a book imbued with invaluable insights into the inner workings, not only of Hezbollah, but also of the tactics, shortcomings and successes of the American intelligence services."—Gamal Nkrumah, Al-Ahram Weekly

"Levitt’s coverage of Hezbollah’s illegal and criminal operations on American soil mightily increases the value of this useful, well-written book."—Choice

"A 426 page compendium providing the non-specialist general reader with an excellent and documented history of this Islamic militant organization and its present activities throughout the world. Enhanced with an extensive bibliography and a comprehensive index . . . especially recommended for both community and academic library International Studies in general, and Terrorism Studies in particular."—Midwest Book Review

"Useful, meticulously researched and documented."—Australia/Israel Review

"Matthew Levitt’s refreshing study of the history and development of Hezbollah’s international network and operational track record provides a convincing profile of a highly professional group whose scope extends far beyond the confines of Lebanese politics."—Richard Phelps, Quilliam Foundation, Terrorism and Political Violence

"Levitt's exhaustive study successfully breaks down the organization's intricate web of activities, both in and out of the Middle East . . . . Levitt's book is a timely reminder of how dangerous and widespread the genie of Hezbollah truly is, and why there needs to be a concerted global effort to get it back into the bottle."—Journal of International Security Affairs

"Hezbollah is still viewed in some quarters as little more than a parochial Lebanese political party with an armed wing charged solely with resisting an Israeli occupation that ended 13 years ago, on May 25, 2000. It's this myth that Matthew Levitt explodes in Hezbollah. . . . Mr. Levitt's book delivers suspenseful and even terrifying blow-by-blow accounts of the most infamous of Hezbollah's attacks. He can't dramatize all of them, though, because there are too many—far more than most people realize, because until now no one had bothered to document them in one place."—Wall Street Journal, Bookshelf

"A meticulously detailed examination . . . The book sheds new light on the targeting of Western and Israeli interests in Lebanon and abroad."—The Washington Times

"This comprehensive analysis of Hezbollah is meticulously detailed and made gripping by a flowing narrative."—ForeWord

"A wide-ranging portrait of Hezbollah’s activities on five continents and its actions."—Library Journal

"A compelling account of the global terror group’s operations . . . as rich in detail as it is in storytelling . . . The compelling narrative leaves readers wondering how it is possible that this organization has grown so powerful and influential with few repercussions."—The Jerusalem Post

"Levitt's account is as rich in detail as it is in storytelling."—The Jerusalem Post

"This book’s meticulous documentation of Hezbollah’s terrorist and criminal enterprises makes it required reading for all those concerned about understanding its true nature."—Perspectives on Terrorism

"Authoritative and immensely important new book."—Commentary

"If you combine the detective work of an N.C.I.S. episode and the excitement of a Daniel Silva novel with the Mission Impossible theme in the background, you can approximate the narrative provided in this important book."—Jewish Book Council

"Levitt’s exhaustive study successfully breaks down the organization’s intricate web of activities, both in and out of the Middle East. His know-how of the Washington Beltway and the intelligence agencies that populate it allow Levitt to cogently and compellingly make the case that the group poses a truly worldwide threat."—Journal of International Security Affairs

"A rich literature about Hezbollah covering its variety of operational modes. Matthew Levitt’s comprehensive work contributes significantly to our understanding of one of the most dangerous and sophisticated terrorist groups in the world. Through rigorous research written in approachable, sometimes poetic language, Levitt takes us on a journey through the worldwide activities of Hezbollah . . . . The book uses varied sources, some of them available to the research community for the first time. Levitt’s use of declassified CIA and FBI documents combined with exclusive interviews with senior officials of the intelligence community and decision makers from different places around the world provides us with a unique perspective on how Hezbollah’s global terrorist activities are perceived by western states and governments . . . . Levitt’s well-written and well-structured book reveals many attention-grabbing details that contribute to understanding Hezbollah’s global operations."—Ido Zelkovitz, Middle Eastern Studies

"Levitt’s work lives up to expectations. It is lucidly written with a compelling narrative, strong on detail regarding specific terrorist events and activities attributable to Hezbollah and its affiliate groups, and features a trove of unique and interesting sources—including many non-American sources."—PRISM

"A worthwhile read for anyone interested in Hezbollah, or Iran’s links with terrorist groups."—E-International Relations

"First comprehensive examination of Hezbollah (Party of God) from its beginning to the present."—The Intelligencer

"Matthew Levitt's Hezbollah . . . is likely to remain the definitive work on Hezbollah's global infrastructure for years to come . . . Levitt's focus on the global aspects of Hezbollah, and on the details of its financing and logistics, make his policy recommendations meaningful and comprehensive."—Studies in Conflict & Terrorism

"In Hezbollah: The Global Footprint of Lebanon's Party of God, Matthew Levitt, through adept storytelling and impressive attention to historical detail, manages to teach even long-time students of the Middle East a great deal about Hezbollah. The book leaves little doubt as to the increasing importance, danger, and international reach of Hezbollah. It will be an important resource for serious scholars of the Middle East and a great read for anyone interested in better understanding the region."—Andy Liepman, Senior Policy Analyst, RAND Corporation; former Principal Deputy Director, National Counterterrorism Center

"This book tells the sinister story of a highly sophisticated organization that for more than thirty years has been an archetype of world-wide illicit activities. Hezbollah effectively combines its overt social and political activities with covert criminal and terrorist operations on a global scale. Matthew Levitt's painstaking collection of a rich array of data provides uncomfortable evidence of 'The Global Footprint of Lebanon's Party of God'. This book is essential reading for policy-makers and the international intelligence community."—Uri Rosenthal, Former Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Netherlands

"This book on Lebanese Hezbollah is a unique incisive insight into its global terror tentacles around the globe. Noone has catalogued these terrorist connections and plots in such forensic detail as Matthew Levitt, especially how the terror nexus between Hezbollah and Iran has continually evolved. It systematically lays bare Hezbollah's operational capability and its multiple intersections with Iranian intelligence architecture. This should be required reading for every intelligence analyst and terrorism researcher."—Magnus Ranstrop, research director, Centre for Asymmetric Threat Studies at the Swedish National Defence College

"Matthew Levitt’s book touches a key point of the growing debate on Hezbollah: the European approach to the phenomenon. It is a reminder for us Europeans that there are threats that might seem distant geographically, but could nevertheless have a strong impact politically on the continent as well."—Franco Frattini, Justice and Chamber President of the Italian Conseil d’Etat (Supreme Administrative Court); President of the Italian Society for International Organization (SIOI); former Italian Foreign Minister (2002-2004 and 2008-2011)

"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

"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 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 the central intelligence for collection, CIA

"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

"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


Supplemental Materials


About the Author

Matthew Levitt is the Fromer-Wexler 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. He is the author of Hamas: Politics, Charity, and Terrorism in the Service of Jihad.

432 pp., 6 x 9

ISBN: 978-1-62616-013-2
Sep 2013
Not for sale in the UK, the British Commonwealth (excluding Canada), Europe, and Africa

432 pp., 6 x 9

ISBN: 978-1-62616-201-3
Sep 2013
Not for sale in the UK, the British Commonwealth (excluding Canada), Europe, and Africa

432 pp.

ISBN: 978-1-62616-202-0
Sep 2013
Not for sale in the UK, the British Commonwealth (excluding Canada), Europe, and Africa

Related Titles