Iran and Hizbullah’s Development Organization in Lebanon: The Case of Jihād al-Bināʾ

in Die Welt des Islams
Eric Lob Florida International University

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An investigation into the history and activities of the Lebanese reconstruction and development organization Jihād al-Bināʾ (JB) sheds light on three aspects of Hizbullah and its relationship with the Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI). First, the case of JB reveals that, rather than simply existing as a client of the IRI, Hizbullah sought autonomy from it. To this end, Hizbullah aspired to control JB’s projects, localize its personnel, and diversify its funding. Second, this case demonstrates how Hizbullah instrumentalized development to advance its strategic and ideational interests, which included mobilizing and socializing recruits, supporters, and voters, spreading political and religious values, and preserving a territorial and social base. Third, the case illustrates the strengths and weaknesses of Hizbullah’s politicized, faith-based, and distributive development model. While instilling cohesiveness and commitment in some personnel and beneficiaries, this model disregarded the priorities and preferences of others, and it lacked inclusivity and sustainability.


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