The main aim of this chapter is to conceptualize the conflict between states and non-state armed groups in the Middle East. It begins by tracing the colonial origin of the distinction between state and non-state violence, the emergence of counterinsurgency and its reincarnation in liberal interventions. It then considers the politics of demarcation of legitimate and illegitimate violence and its centrality in the scramble among local and international state and non-state actors to control the Middle East. The chapter analyses the effects of both physical violence and ideological confrontation in the origins and consequences of political violence in the Middle East. It finally illustrates these dynamics by analyzing the concerted international and Lebanese campaign to destroy Hezbollah and the resilience of Hezbollah to withstand such enormous pressure and become stronger as a result.