What is Hezbollah?
Hezbollah (Arabic: "حزب الله"; a.k.a. Hizbullah; a.k.a. Hizballah) is a violent international terrorist organization formed by militant Lebanese Shiite clerics in 1982. Hezbollah is a strictly sectarian entity, which follows and promotes the Khomeinist version of Shia Islam.
The goals of Hezbollah
The aims of Hezbollah include:
- The establishment of an Islamist state modeled on Khomeini's Velayat-e Faqih
- The eradication of Western presence in Lebanon
- The complete expulsion of Israeli occupation forces from Lebanon
- The eviction of the Jews from historical Palestine
- The placement of Palestine under Khomeinist rule
The FTO designation of Hezbollah
Hezbollah was designated by the United States Government as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) in October 1997 and a threat to the Middle East peace process in January 1995. For more than 28 years, Hezbollah has been an international terrorist threat - facilitating or sponsoring bombings, hijackings, kidnappings, and assassinations globally.
Hezbollah was among the first organizations to make use of suicide bombing attacks in the Middle East.
Hezbollah has taken credit for and is suspected of being involved in a number of direct attacks against United States interests and citizens overseas, including the terrorist killing of 241 American Marines as they slept in their barracks in Beirut in 1983.
Additional major terrorist activities have been directed against the international community, not only in Lebanon, but also in Argentina, France, Jordan, the Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Switzerland, and Thailand. These attacks include:
- The April 1983 suicide bombing of the U.S. Embassy, Beirut, Lebanon.
- The October 1983 suicide bombings of U.S. Marine and French Army barracks in Beirut, Lebanon.
- The September 1984 suicide bombing of the U.S. Embassy annex in Beirut, Lebanon.
- The December 1984 hijacking of KU Flight 221 en route from Kuwait to Pakistan.
- The June 1985 hijacking of TWA Flight 847 en route from Athens, Greece, to Rome, Italy.
- The kidnapping of numerous Westerners in Lebanon throughout the 1980s.
- The March 1992 bombing of the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
- The July 1994 bombing of the the Asociación Mutual Israelita Argentina (AMIA; Spanish for Argentine Israelite Mutual Association) building in Buenos Airea, Argentina. AMIA is an Argentinian Jewish community center.
- The June 1996 bombing of Khobar Towers in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia.
The leadership and structure of Hezbollah
Hezbollah is also a political faction in Lebanon, holding seats in both Lebanon’s parliament and government. The Khomeinist organization provides social services to the Lebanese Shia community including education and health care. Hezbollah, however, does not have independent political, social, military, and terrorist "wings."
Hezbollah is led by Hassan Nasrallah, its political leader and Secretary General.
Hezbollah’s global support structure encompasses a network of criminal elements, front companies, fund-raising organizations, and prominent diaspora figures spreading out from Beirut and throughout the Middle East, Africa, Asia, Latin America, Europe, and the United States.
Iranian and Syrian state support for Hezbollah
The Iranian clerical regime and the Syrian Ba'athist Government provide significant strategic state support to Hezbollah. The terrorist organization receives political backing, funds, weapons, and military and security training from both Middle-Eastern Governments. Hezbollah is closely allied with both regimes and has an allegiance to their rulers.
The Iranian and Syrian Governments are the main suppliers of heavy weaponry to Hezbollah. The Iranian regimes uses its Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) to train Hezbollah operatives in Lebanon, Syria, and Iran.
Hezbollah in the United States
Hezbollah has numerous operatives residing in the United States, especially in Dearborn, Michigan. The town has become so infested with Hezbollah cadres and enthusiasts to the point that it is now dubbed "Dearbornistan!"
Article publishing history
This article page was created on 5 January 2011.
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