Hezbollah

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Hezbollah

[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 to Syrian government forces in the civil war there, where it sent several thousand fighters, and in other conflicts in the region, in which it has typically acted in concert with Iran's Revolutionary Guards.

Bibliography

See study by T. Cambanis (2011).

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References in periodicals archive ?
This article will examine the role of Hizb Allah's Lebanese Resistance Brigades--commonly referred to as the Saraya (Brigades)--in Lebanon.
What is paramount for Tehran is that Syria remains an Iranian strategic "resistance" ally and a way-station to Hizb Allah in Lebanon.
(33) The importance of Nawa to the Syrian military's efforts in southern Syrian has led to allegations that it has sought the active involvement of seasoned Hizb Allah operatives to coordinate its campaign.
Thus, Syria supports Hizb Allah's war with Israel hoping to get Israel out of the Golan Heights and the Shebaa Farm.
The war in Syria has not been easy for the group, and the conflict shines a light on Hizb Allah's combat performance and capabilities.
December 21, 2013 (LEBANON): According to Lebanese press reports, Hizb Allah fighters ambushed and killed 32 Jabhat al-Nusra militants in east Lebanon.
In recent years, Iran's Quds Force (3) and Lebanese Hizb Allah have coordinated intelligence gathering on U.S.
The al-Assad government is bolstered by Lebanese Hizb Allah while the ranks of the FSA include some fighters whose allegiance is solely to Sunni Muslims, rather than to nationalist or democratic ideals.
August 15, 2013 (LEBANON): A car bomb ripped through the southern Beirut stronghold of Hizb Allah, killing 24 people.
(7) Those wanting more American involvement in Syria argue that an al-Assad victory would increase Iran's influence, embolden Hizb Allah, and risk the U nited States' reputation as a superpower and its credibility among allies (and enemies) in the region.
It also reflected Israel's concerns with the growing strength of existing sub-state entities like Lebanese Hizb Allah and newer entities such as the al-Qa'ida-linked Jabhat al-Nusra.
Beyond its political support, Syria is also critical to Iran in that it provides it a geographic thoroughfare to Lebanese Shiva militia Hizb Allah, which is one of the crown jewels of the Iranian revolution.