Hizbullah, Hamas, and the Arab Uprisings: Structures, Threats, and Opportunities

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4 Citations (Scopus)


Like previous political upheavals in the history of the Middle East, the Arab uprisings are reconstituting the domestic politics of several Arab countries and reconfiguring regional alignments. the overthrowing of authoritarian and pro-Western regimes in Tunisia and - especially - Egypt promised a favourable regional order for the two non-state actors of Hizbullah and Hamas. Both movements celebrated the change as a triumph for the 'Axis of Resistance', which unites them with Syria and Iran. but when the protests diffused to Syria, and threatened the Asad regime, the two movements faced a strategic dilemma. Whilst Hizbullah decided to back the Asad regime, Hamas support the uprising - in effect creating a rupture in the alliance.

The aim of this study is to examine the factors that have motivated the divergent strategies of the two movements. The article argues that there are three interrelated variables that explain this divergence: (1) the ideological parameters of the two movements; (2) their geopolitical location; (3) their perceptions of opportunities and threats arising from the Arab uprisings. The first two factors are constant, and have historically conditioned the movements' political visions and developments. In the wake of the Syrian uprising these constant factors have informed the perception of opportunities (Hamas) and threats (Hizbullah).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)37-43
Number of pages7
JournalOrient Express
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2013


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