The reason for Hizballah's poor showing in the recent Lebanese elections was the subject of speculation. Formed after Israel's 1982 invasion of Lebanon, Hizballah acquired renown as a militia force against Israel. Since the 1992 Lebanese elections, it also has acquired a reputation as an effective opposition to the Hariri government, challenging Amal's hegemony over Lebanon's Shi'i community. The mobilization of Lebanon's main political forces against Hizballah in the elections has underscored the likelihood that Hizballah's role in the future will remain what it was in the past: less a domestic challenge to Amal and more a force for military resistance against Israel.
GRiAHM USHER is a British journalist based in Jerusalem. He writes regularly for the Economist and Middle East International.