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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 ?
The fighting was also reported by Hezbollah's Al-Manar TV, which broadcast footage of the moment Jibba and Nusra Front fighters were targeted by Hezbollah artillery in the region's rocky terrain.
Late in January, Iran's IRGC Commander Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari warned that Tel Aviv should expect heavier responses from the Lebanese resistance movement in retaliation for the Israeli regime's recent air attack on the Golan Heights that killed a number of Hezbollah members and Iranian military advisor.
Even Nasrallah himself has admitted to the dangers of a Hezbollah miscalculation.
Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrollah embraced the same theme, saying Hezbollah was not interested in a wider war, but would fight one if need be.
Asked on Israel's Army Radio whether Hezbollah had sought to de-escalate, Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon said: "There are lines of coordination between us and Lebanon via UNIFIL and such a message was indeed received from Lebanon.
There have been two major incidents of violence inside Lebanon during the last decade, which is puzzling, since domestic attacks abruptly ceased in 1992 after Hezbollah joined the Lebanese parliament.
The US high stakes strategy in Lebanon not only aims to deal with Hezbollah growing military strength, but also to deliver a blow to Iran's influence in the region.
arrogance" prevented Hezbollah and other Arabs and Muslims from forging a friendship with the United States, Israel's chief ally.
Beyond its role as a paramilitary organization, Hezbollah is an important political party in Lebanon, holding numerous positions in municipal governments and in the Lebanese parliament.
The lawmaker also told Solana that the sensitive issue of whether to disarm Hezbollah was being dealt with in broad political discussions led by President Michel Suleiman.
On the eve of the war between Hezbollah and the IDF, there were political stressors within Lebanon as a result of the assassination of Prime Minister Rafik Hariri in February 2005.
A source close to Hezbollah said the raid killed six Iranian soldiers, including an officer of the elite Revolutionary Guards, although Tehran only confirmed the death of the general.