(redirected from Hizbullah)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Financial, Wikipedia.
Related to Hizbullah: Isis, Hamas


[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.
..... Click the link for more information.
'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.


See study by T. Cambanis (2011).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved. www.cc.columbia.edu/cu/cup/
References in periodicals archive ?
Hizbullah said that Hashim was then seen only as a preacher and was not known to have had links to terrorism.
The US Embassy in Germany wrote on its Twitter feed on Monday: "Germany's federal courts decided years ago that Hizbullah is a unified organization dedicated to the destruction of Israel.
The US Treasury on May 17 hit two prominent Hizbullah financiers and five Safawi- firms.
The complicated options would go to two related phenomena: (1) the tangled dynamics of Hizbullah's relations inside Lebanon and around the GME, and (2) the fact that the Israeli attack occurred on the Syrian side of the Golan front - an almost routine event, which actually hit three targets in one, namely Hizbullah, the Assad dictatorship and Iran.
Since 2004, however, Hizbullah has changed its main strategy and abandoned its arms and declared it will not use armed strategies anymore.
The source added that relations between Hizbullah and the United Nations are strained due to a number of thorny issues, which tend to target the Shiite group and its contentious military arsenal.
Hizbullah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah has announced that the party's anti-spy apparatus had arrested three Hizbullah members, two were found to be working for the CIA and the third was working for an undetermined European intelligence agency or probably the Israeli Mossad agency.
"Today's designation targets two of Hizbullah's top financiers in Africa.
Nasrallah has been leading Hizbullah since his predecessor was killed by Israel in 1992.
Mughniyeh, the commander of Hizbullah's military forces, was assassinated on February 12, 2008 in a car bombing in Damascus.
One JaM militiaman, who asked to be named only as Abu Muhannad, said he had spent a month in Southern Lebanon, Hizbullah's stronghold.