The Rise of the “Resistance Axis”: Hezbollah and the Legacy of the Taif Accords

Samantha May* (Corresponding Author)

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
10 Downloads (Pure)


Officially announcing their presence with the Open Letter of 1985, Hizbullah have altered from what Ranstorp called a “rag-tag militia”1 to a political party with veto power in the Lebanese cabinet. However, Hizbullah’s current direct military presence in Syria and Iraq, confirm the geographic expanse of their actions transcends Lebanon as a political stage. But why, on the 30th anniversary of Taif, can Hizbullah still not be contained within the political and geographical boundaries of Lebanon?

Exploring how the Taif agreements both tamed Hizbullah’s actions and rhetoric whilst simultaneously laying the conditions for transnational actions, this paper argues that the imperfect conditions set by the Taif accords has assisted in the rise of Hizbullah’s self-coined “Resistance Axis”. Post-Taif, Hizbullah have tended relations with the same external forces that helped broker the peace while unlocking the potentials contained in the exceptional decision to allow Hizbullah to retain arms in the name of ‘resistance’.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)115-132
Number of pages18
JournalNationalism and Ethnic Politics
Issue number1
Early online date10 Apr 2019
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2019


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