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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 ?
Was it a political price from the European Union to Syria or Hezbullah or a financial ransom and to whom?
Hezbullah rockets began landing on northern Israeli villages and towns in May 2006 and Israel put up with it until July, and then went into action to try to knock out the bases and its attackers.
Hezbullah also claims that its military wing is necessary to liberate the small territory known as Shebaa Farms, which is occupied by Israel, recognized as Syrian, but claimed by Lebanon.
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.
Why, then, has the United States invaded Afghanistan and Iraq, while threatening Iran, Syria, Pakistan, Hezbullah, North Korea and undoubtedly others?
With the cessation of hostilities between Israel and Hezbullah following a UN-brokered deal in August, Beirut Airport has reopened to commercial flights.
He added that it was also in everyones interests for Iran not to continue funding terrorist organisations like Hezbullah.
It was in accordance with this legislation that the Canadian state listed Hezbullah as a terrorist entity in December 2002.
In December 2003, Cehl Meeah, the leader of the local chapter of Hezbullah, was cleared of all charges related to the 1996 killing of three rival Muslim political activists.
The martyrs of the Hamas, Hezbullah, and Islamic Jihad all have specific identity-based grievances for their actions: the existence of Israel and the lack of an Islamically acceptable society and polity.
He was also accusing the Iranian government of using its oil profits to fund Hezbullah and other terrorist groups.
Those who follow Iran only sporadically through the prism of a few specific matters, such as support for terrorism and Hezbullah, may not recall that, even after helping America depose the Taliban in Afghanistan in 2001, President George W.