ISIS and Hezbollah: Conduits of Instability


  • Erika Holmquist

Publish date: 2015-02-16

Report number: FOI-R--4058--SE

Pages: 67

Written in: English


ISIS and Hezbollah are two of the most significant actors involved in the war in Syria. This report explores what motivates ISIS' and Hezbollah's involvement in the conflict and how that involvement affects their countries of origin, Iraq and Lebanon. When juxtaposing these actors one finds that they are active on opposite sides of the battlefield, they are both Islamist but with opposing ideologies, and they use each other's existence to legitimize their own participation in the war. Hezbollah's support has been instrumental to keeping the Assad regime in power, and ISIS is threatening to redraw the regional map with its ambitions to establish an Islamic caliphate. The report illustrates that both actors are drivers of sectarianism and that their roles as active stakeholders in the Syrian conflict have progressed as a result of regional rivalry, mainly between Iran and Saudi Arabia. This in turn has serious consequences for Iraq and Lebanon. Iraq has already succumbed to war, and as tensions increase, Lebanon could be next in line.