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[Arab., = Party of God], Lebanese Shiite political party and militia. Founded in 1982 with Iranian help to oppose Israeli forces occupying S Lebanon, Hezbollah launched guerrilla attacks and suicide bombings against Israeli forces (which were a factor in Israel's withdrawal in 2000), and mounted terror attacks on other targets inside and outside Lebanon, including the 1983 bombing of a U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut. With strong support among religious, comparatively poor Shiites in S Lebanon the Biqa (Bekaa) valley, and Beirut's southern suburbs, and underwritten financially by Iran and individual Shiites, Hezbollah established a Shiite social-services network, including schools, hospitals, and clinics, and emerged as a major Lebanese political force; it has been led since 1992 by Hassan Nasrallah, a charismatic Shiite cleric. Supported militarily by Iran and Syria, Hezbollah's fighters used the years after Israel's withdrawal to retrain and rearm, acquiring large numbers of missiles and sophisticated equipment.

Politically part of the pro-Syrian camp in Lebanon, the party nonetheless became part of the largely anti-Syrian government established in 2005, and resisted the government's and the United Nations' call that it disarm. In 2006 a cross-border Hezbollah attack on Israeli soldiers, in which two Israelis were captured, sparked warfare (July–August) between Hezbollah militia and Israeli forces in which Hezbollah launched hundreds of missiles at Israel (many at civilian targets) and maintained a stubborn resistance against the Israeli forces that invaded S Lebanon.

Hezbollah emerged from the fighting, which it regarded as a victory, determined to claim a larger political voice in the Lebanese government, and ulitmately forced (2008) the goverment to give it and its allies veto power in the cabinet. In the 2009 elections its coalition placed second, with 45% of the vote, and subsequently again served in a national unity government. Denouncing a joint UN-Lebanon investigation into Prime Minister Rafik HaririHariri, Rafik or Rafiq
, 1944–2005, Lebanese tycoon and political leader, b. Sidon. The son of a poor Sunni Muslim farmer, he moved to Saudi Arabia in 1965.
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's assassination, which ultimately indicted four Hezbollah members, the party and its allies withdrew from the government in 2011; they were part of a new government formed in July. Hezbollah has provided training and other support, including several thousand fighters, to Syrian government forces in the Syrian civil war.


See study by T. Cambanis (2011).

References in periodicals archive ?
Within Lebanon, current heated debates about forming a new cabinet of ministers--as the country has been without a government for several months--are witnessing a higher degree of stubbornness by Hezbullah.
Hezbullah Khan was among those injured in the attack, he said: "I was entering the intelligence office when suddenly I heard a terrible bang.
But what was not a riddle at all was that they were kidnapped and released in an area that falls under the influence of Hezbullah and Syrian intelligence," Kabbara said at his office in Tripoli.
Saudi Arabia and Egypt openly blamed Hezbullah when Israel launched its bombing and invasion of southern Lebanon in July 2006; they repeated this performance again when Israel began its massacres in Gaza in December of 2008.
The Supreme Court rapidly upheld the life imprisonment sentence given to 16 suspects of the terrorist organization Hezbullah case.
Iran, with its proxies Hamas and Hezbullah, daily promises that it will wipe Israel and its population off the face of the earth.
Another similarity is that the same Muslim groups in the country's political make-up that called for dropping the withdrawal from discussion, are asking for weapons to be left out of discussion, after the head of the Progressive Socialist Party, Walid Jumblatt, joined Hezbullah and Amal and Syria in this stance.
For example, we knew about his devious and highly suspicious relations with Syrian, a country known for its ties with the world's most vicious terrorist organizations of the likes of al Qaeda and Hezbullah.
The defeat of Israel by Hezbullah in the 2006 invasion of Lebanon has revealed that the favor of the Mahdi is upon Iran and its allies.
If you show any sympathy towards Israel, or baulk at the anti-Semitic ideology of Hamas and Hezbullah .
Officers under official cover were not well placed to recruit operatives who could penetrate organizations such as Hezbullah.
That alarmism also colors his view of Israel's security situation: in an October 2007 article in the Jerusalem Post, Pipes portrayed the Jewish state as besieged from all sides: "Count the ways Israel is under siege: from Iranians building a nuclear bomb, Syrians stockpiling chemical weapons, Egyptians and Saudis developing serious conventional forces, Hezbullah attacking from Lebanon, Fatah from the West Bank, Hamas from Gaza, and Israel's Muslim citizens becoming politically restive and more violent.