Originating from the advent of civil war in Lebanon and the Iranian Revolution of 1979, Hezbollah is a radical Shiite Muslim political party and militant group fighting against Israel and western occupation and influence within Lebanon. With aims of expelling the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) combatants in southern Lebanon, Israel invaded Lebanon in 1982. The invasion and subsequent occupation prompted sectarian division within the region and gave rise to the loose formation of Shiite resistance and Iranian alliance, which formed the foundation of Hezbollah.
Read full: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hezbollah
Read full: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hezbollah
Trained and supported by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, Hezbollah issued their founding manifesto to the world in 1985 declaring, “our primary assumption in the fight against Israel states that the Zionist entity is aggressive from its inception, and built on lands wrested from their owners, at the expense of the rights of the Muslim people” (Masters). Championing an edict of predatory defensiveness, Hezbollah “considers themselves a part of the world Islamic community, attacked at once by the tyrants of the East and the West” (Hoffman). In tandem with Iranian political, financial, and military support, Hezbollah calls for the expulsion of Israel and the United States from Lebanese territory, as well as for the destruction of the Israeli state in its entirety (Masters).
Hezbollah’s objective, in response to Israeli invasion into Lebanon, was to drive the Israeli military out of southern Lebanon and to establish an Islamic state encompassing Lebanon and Israel. They view an Islamic republic, modeled after Iran, to be the ideal form of a state, and they seek to introduce such a government in Lebanon through peaceful democratic means. They wish to “participate in Lebanese national politics and influence domestic and foreign policy for the betterment of the region.” (Hezbollah and its Goals) Hezbollah will do this by fighting Israel and western imperialism in Lebanon, and through the removal of all non-islamic influences.
After Israel was expelled from Lebanon, Hezbollah’s objectives evolved. They still seek to establish an Islamic state, and support’s the destruction of the state of Israel, but have more ideological objectives. Hezbollah aims to “introduce the islam that is confident in achieving justice, as well as introducing the islam that protects all human rights” (Hezbollah: History and Overview). They wish to present a picture of islam that is logical, practical, and in accordance with modern day requirements. Hezbollah also seeks to brand itself as the only group to successfully battle the Israeli army. They want to become a voice of Lebanese citizens and show that Israel is not invincible.
The group of Hezbollah is known as a political party in Lebanon to represent idealistic and radical Shi’ite beliefs. The group claims to be the party of Allah, and as such, they believe they represent His goals as interpreted in their sect of Shi’ite Islam. Hezbollah’s doctrines oppose colonialist influences in Lebanon and in the Middle East, and have been considered a terrorist group because of their support and organization of terrorist attacks (Haddad). After its declared existence, they released a manifesto describing their grievances and stance against American, French allies, and French influences. Their stance is against all these influences, and call for hostility until all of these colonial influences have been expelled from Lebanon. Furthermore, their manifesto demands justice be done to these influences who committed alleged grievances in the past to Lebanese peoples.
Lastly, the final point in their doctrine is to establish a wholly radical Shi’ite regime in the country, with all Lebanese people converted to their form of Shi’ite Islam.
According to Simon Haddad, the majority of Lebanese Muslims, with stronger religious intensity, are sympathetic if not supportive of their Islamic doctrines, and support their goals for an Islamic Lebanese regime, regardless of their governmental approval levels. Hezbollah believes in the use of force and coercion for its goals, and an alarming amount of the Lebanese Shi’ite hold favorable attitudes towards the manifesto and methods used by Hezbollah (Haddad).
Involvement in the Syrian Civil War
Hezbollah has long been an ally of the Ba'ath government of Syria, led by the Al-Assad family. Hezbollah has helped the Syrian government during the Syrian civil war in its fight against the Syrian opposition, which Hezbollah has described as a zionist plot to destroy its alliance with al-Assad against Israel. Geneive Abdo opined that Hezbollah's support for al-Assad in the Syrian war has "transformed" it from a group with "support among the Sunni for defeating Israel in a battle in 2006" into a "strictly Shia paramilitary force".
In August 2012, the United States sanctioned Hezbollah for its alleged role in the war. General Secretary Nasrallah denied Hezbollah had been fighting on behalf of the Syrian government, stating in an October 12, 2012, speech that "right from the start the Syrian opposition has been telling the media that Hizbullah sent 3,000 fighters to Syria, which we have denied". However, according to the Lebanese Daily Star newspaper, Nasrallah said in the same speech that Hezbollah fighters helped the Syrian government "retain control of some 23 strategically located villages [in Syria] inhabited by Shiites of Lebanese citizenship". Nasrallah said that Hezbollah fighters have died in Syria doing their "jihadist duties".
In 2012, Hezbollah fighters crossed the border from Lebanon and took over eight villages in the Al-Qusayr District of Syria. On February 16–17, 2013, Syrian opposition groups claimed that Hezbollah, backed by the Syrian military, attacked three neighboring Sunni villages controlled by the Free Syrian Army (FSA). An FSA spokesman said, "Hezbollah's invasion is the first of its kind in terms of organisation, planning and coordination with the Syrian regime's air force". Hezbollah said three Lebanese Shiites, "acting in self-defense", were killed in the clashes with the FSA. Lebanese security sources said that the three were Hezbollah members. In response, the FSA allegedly attacked two Hezbollah positions on February 21; one in Syria and one in Lebanon. Five days later, it said it destroyed a convoy carrying Hezbollah fighters and Syrian officers to Lebanon, killing all the passengers.
In January 2013, a weapons convoy carrying SA-17 anti-aircraft missiles to Hezbollah was destroyed allegedly by the Israeli Air Force. A nearby research center for chemical weapons was also damaged. A similar attack on weapons destined for Hezbollah occurred in May of the same year.
The leaders of the March 14 alliance and other prominent Lebanese figures called on Hezbollah to end its involvement in Syria and said it is putting Lebanon at risk. Subhi al-Tufayli, Hezbollah's former leader, said "Hezbollah should not be defending the criminal regime that kills its own people and that has never fired a shot in defense of the Palestinians". He said "those Hezbollah fighters who are killing children and terrorizing people and destroying houses in Syria will go to hell". The Consultative Gathering, a group of Shia and Sunni leaders in Baalbek-Hermel, also called on Hezbollah not to "interfere" in Syria. They said, "Opening a front against the Syrian people and dragging Lebanon to war with the Syrian people is very dangerous and will have a negative impact on the relations between the two". Walid Jumblatt, leader of the Progressive Socialist Party, also called on Hezbollah to end its involvement and claimed that "Hezbollah is fighting inside Syria with orders from Iran". Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi condemned Hezbollah by saying, "We stand against Hezbollah in its aggression against the Syrian people. There is no space or place for Hezbollah in Syria". Support for Hezbollah among the Syrian public has weakened since the involvement of Hezbollah and Iran in propping up the Assad regime during the civil war.
On May 12, 2013, Hezbollah with the Syrian army attempted to retake part of Qusayr. In Lebanon, there has been "a recent increase in the funerals of Hezbollah fighters" and "Syrian rebels have shelled Hezbollah-controlled areas."[
On May 25, 2013, Nasrallah announced that Hezbollah is fighting in the Syrian Civil War against Islamic extremists and "pledged that his group will not allow Syrian militants to control areas that border Lebanon". He confirmed that Hezbollah was fighting in the strategic Syrian town of Al-Qusayr on the same side as Assad's forces. In the televised address, he said, "If Syria falls in the hands of America, Israel and the takfiris, the people of our region will go into a dark period."
On May 26, 2013, two rockets hit a Hezbollah area of Beirut injuring five people whilst another two rockets caused property damage to buildings in the al-Hermel district of Beirut. Syrian rebels have been blamed for the attack as they had promised to attack Hezbollah targets in Lebanon in retaliation for their helping the Syrian army particularly in the border town of Al-Qusayr. Syrian rebels have also shelled al-Hermel previously.
On May 28, 2013, Free Syrian Army General Salim Idris gave Hezbollah "24 hours to withdraw from Syria" or he may order FSA units to attack Hezbollah targets in Lebanon.
In early June, 2013 Hezbollah has now committed fighters to the battle in Aleppo, some 2,000, reportedly putting strain on the organisation. This has resulted in Hezbollah introducing a change to its rotation policy for its fighters from 7 days fighting followed by 7 days leave, Hezbollah has increased it to 20 days fighting and followed by 7 days leave for its fighters.
According to Israeli military sources up to 2000 Hezbollah fighters were killed in Syria and 5000 wounded.
Hoffman, Bruce. Inside Terrorism. New York: Columbia University Press, 2006.
Haddad, Simon. “The origins of popular support for Lebanon’s Hezbollah.” Studies in Conflict & Terrorism 29.1 (2006): 21-34.
Masters, Jonathan. Hezbollah. 3 January 2014. 25 June 2015 <http://www.cfr.org/lebanon/hezbollah-k-hizbollah-hizbullah/p9155>.
“Hezbollah — ADL: Terrorist Symbol Database.” Hezbollah — ADL: Terrorist Symbol Database. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 June 2015. <http://archive.adl.org/terrorism/symbols/hezbollah.html>.
“Hezbollah and Its Goals.” N.p., n.d. Web. 26 June 2015. <http://www.palestinefacts.org/pf_1991to_now_hezbollah.php>.
“Hezbollah: History and Overview.” Jewish Virtual LIbrary. <www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org> American-Israeli Cooperative Enterprise, n.d. Web. 26 June 2015.