- History of Hezbollah
Hezbollah originated within the Shiite block of
Lebanonsociety, which has lived there for more than a millennium.Fact|date=February 2007 According to a United States Central Intelligence Agency estimate they include 41 percent of Lebanon population. [ [http://www.ghazi.de/populat.html Lebanon's Geography] ] After Lebanon gained its independence on November 22, 1943and by the time French army withdrew its soldiers from Lebanon in 1946, the Lebanese National Pact, which is a notional and unofficial understanding, had allocated the seat of Speaker of the Parliament to the Shia in recognition of demographic and political importance, but they remained socially and financially marginalized. [http://www.mideastmonitor.org/issues/0609/0609_1.htm Hezbollah and the Political Ecology of Postwar Lebanon] ]
hi'a political movement before Hezbollah
The Shi'a society began organizing during 1960s and 70s. In
1960 Imam Musa Sadrcame to Lebanon to become the leading Shi'ite figure in the city of Tyre. He quickly became one of the most prominent advocates for the Shi'ite population of Lebanon, a group that was both economically and politically disadvantaged. In 1969 he was appointed as the first head of the Supreme Islamic Shi'ite Council, an entity meant to give the Shi'ites more say in government. In 1974 he founded the "Movement of the Deprived" to press for better economic and social conditions for the Shi'ites. He established a number of schools and medical clinics throughout southern Lebanon, many of which are still in operation today. During Lebanese Civil Warhe at first aligned himself with the Lebanese National Movement, and the Movement of the Disinherited developed an armed wing known as "Afwaj al-Mouqawma Al-Lubnaniyya", better known as Amal. [ [http://almashriq.hiof.no/lebanon/300/320/324/324.2/musa-sadr/ The Imam Musa Sadr] ] Although Amal had its genesis in the Movement of the Dispossessed (Harakat al-Mahrumin), founded by the charismatic scholar Musa as-Sadr, when Sadr was abducted it turned briefly to the secular leadership of Husayn Husayni in 1979, and since 1980, Nabih Berri. [ [http://meria.idc.ac.il/journal/2005/issue1/jv9no1a1.html Hizballah Rising: The Political Battle for the Loyalty of the Shi'a of Lebanon] ] Under Berri's leadership, Amal alienated many religious Shiites by supporting the Syrian-backed presidency of Elias Sarkisand compromising Sadr's struggle for social and political reforms. The secularization of Amal provided the Najafdeportees with an ideal setting to spread their militant brand of Shiite activism. [http://www.meib.org/articles/0402_ld.htm Dossier: Hassan Nasrallah (February-March 2004) ] ]
Whereas Musa Sadr viewed the Lebanese state as a legitimate entity in need of reform and had developed close ties with reform-minded Christian politicians, some Lebanese seminarians in
Najafrefused to accept the state of Lebanon, its current borders, or its consociational power-sharing formula as unassailable facts. This group organized under supervision of Ayatollah Muhammad Baqir al-Sadr, one of the leading clerics in the Shiite seminary (hawza) of Najaf in Iraq. The clerical theorized of an Islamic state woven of a clandestine network that became known as Hizb al-Da'wa(the "Party of the Calling"). [ [http://www.geocities.com/martinkramerorg/Oracle1.htm The Oracle of Hizbullah:Sayyid Muhammad Husayn Fadlallah(Part 1)] ] This network is established in Lebanon of clerics who returned from Najaf like Sayyed Abbas al-Musawi.
According to Ahmad Nizar Hamzeh in " [http://www.amazon.com/dp/0815630530/ In the Path of Hizbullah] " four crisis conditions catalyzed the emergence of Hezbollah [ [http://www.semp.us/biots/biot_174.html SEMP: Evidence-based disaster management: preparedness, response, recovery, and mitigation ] ] :
*1. Identity crisis and persecutionWhen Lebanon became independent on November 22, 1943, "the Shiites felt that they were the despised stepchildren of a state governed by a Maronite-Sunni alliance."(Hamzeh, 2004: 12 [ [Hamzeh,Ahmad Nizar (2004), In the Path of Hizbullah, p:12 ] ] ) The Shiites were ripe for every Shi'a protective organization like Hezbollah.
*2. Structural imbalanceShiites were politically underrepresented, based on the National Pact of 1943, which vested legislative and executive as well as military positions in rough proportion to the demographic size of the country’s eighteen recognized sectarian groupings. In 1946, the Christian Maronites and the Sunni Muslims occupied 40 and 27 percent, respectively, of the highest civilian posts. The Shiite occupied but 3.2 percent. By the 1980s, Shiites had become Lebanon’s largest single confessional community with almost 1,400,000 people, surpassing the Maronite and Sunni populations, which were each estimated at nearly 800,000 a piece (Hamzeh, 2004: 13 [ [Hamzeh,Ahmad Nizar (2004), In the Path of Hizbullah, p:13 ] ] ) The Shiites believed that their representation was not commensurate with their numerical size. Economically the broader Shiite community in Lebanon was very poor. Almost 85 percent lived in the rural region of South Lebanon and in one area of the
Beqaa, and subsisted on what they earned, mostly from selling tobacco to the state monopoly or growing vegetables. They were also exposed to the military fighting between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). To escape these conditions, many Shiites migrated to the slums of eastern Beirut and shantytowns in the suburbs south of Beirut. Hamzeh writes that “ [t] hese two areas, known as the “belt of misery,” became the breeding ground of Shiite militancy in the 1980s. (Hamzeh, 2004: 14 [ [Hamzeh,Ahmad Nizar (2004), In the Path of Hizbullah, p:14 ] ] ) Even in the 1960s and 70s, the charismatic leader Imam Musa al-Sadr began to activate the politically quiescent Shiites of Lebanon.
*3. Military Defeat"When identity crisis and structural imbalance are reinforced by military defeat, a society’s militancy potential increases markedly. Military defeat followed by foreign occupation opens the way for militant movements fostering political organization or employing guerrilla warfare and enjoying widespread grassroots support. (Hamzeh, 2004: 15 [ [Hamzeh,Ahmad Nizar (2004), In the Path of Hizbullah, p:15 ] ] ) This is exactly what happened when Israel invaded Lebanon in 1978 (
Operation Litani) and 1982 ( Lebanon War), to disembowel the PLOfrom Lebanon and disassociate Lebanon from Syria’s influence. Israel hoped that "a Lebanon freed form Syria and the PLO, with a Christian-dominated regime, would bring peace and closer connections between the two countries." (Hamzeh, 2004: 16 [Hamzeh,Ahmad Nizar (2004), In the Path of Hizbullah, p:16 ] ] ) But these operations opressed Shi'a which lived in south Lebanon. The Israelis killed more than one thousand civilian Shiites, leading to a mass exodus of yet more Shiites refugees to the Beirut slums. Israel’s 1982 invasion and occupation of Lebanon bolstered the fortunes of Hizbullah by "providing a politic-military environment that legitimated the group and gave a rationale for its guerrilla warfare. Similarly, the presence of the Western foreign troops in Lebanon, particularly of the U.S. Marines, also boosted the fortunes of Hezbollah, which considered fighting such forces to be as legitimate as fighting the Israeli occupation." (Hamzeh, 2004: 16 ).
*4. Demonstration Effect ( Iran’s Islamic Revolution)According to Hamzeh "Iran’s revolution had its greatest impact in Lebanon," even though the two countries are not adjacent, because Lebanon’s long-suffering Shiites were most receptive to Iran’s Islamic revolutionary message(Hamzeh, 2004: 18 [ [Hamzeh,Ahmad Nizar (2004), In the Path of Hizbullah, p:18 ] ] ). Shiite clerics from Lebanon,
Iraqand Iran, in particular Khomeini, had known each other well in the Shiite city of Najafin Iraq where they participated in their "circles of learning." Soon after Khomeini’s victorious return to Iran in February 1, 1979, he became the unchallenged leader and chief ideologue of the Shiites inside and outside Iran." (Hamzeh, 2004: 19 [ [Hamzeh,Ahmad Nizar (2004), In the Path of Hizbullah, p:19 ] ] ) He met with militant Shiite clergy (e.g., Shaykh al-Tufayli, Sayyed Abbas al-Musawi) and other militants in August 1982 at the Islamic Movements conference in Tehran—the so-called First "Conference for the Downtrodden".(Hamzeh, 2004: 25 [ [Hamzeh,Ahmad Nizar (2004), In the Path of Hizbullah, p:25 ] ] )
Hezbollahis a Shiite Islamicorganization in Lebanon. Scholars differ as to when Hezbollah came to be a distinct entity. Some organizations list the official formation of the group as early as 1982 [ [http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/para/hizballah.htm GlobalSecurity.org, 2005] ] whereas Diaz and Newman maintain that Hezbollah remained an amalgamation of various violent Shi’a extremists until as late as 1985 [ Diaz & Newman, 2005, p. 55 ] . Another version states that it was formed by supporters of Sheikh Ragheb Harb, a leader of the southern Shiite resistance killed by Israel in 1984. [Helena Cobban, Boston Review [http://bostonreview.net/BR30.2/cobban.html Hizbullah’s New Face] Accessed August 142006] Regardless of when the name came into official use, a number of Shi’a groups were slowly assimilated into the organization, such as Islamic Jihad, Organization of the Oppressed on Earthand the Revolutionary Justice OrganizationFact|date=February 2007. These designations are considered to be synonymous with Hezbollah by the US, [cite web|url=http://www.state.gov/s/ct/rls/rpt/fto/2801.htm|title=Background Information on Foreign Terrorist Organizations|author=U.S Department of State|date=1999-10-01|accessdate=2006-07-25] Israel [cite web|url=http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/MFAArchive/1990_1999/1996/4/HIZBULLAH+-+11-Apr-96.htm|author=Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs|title=Hizbullah|date=1996-04-11|accessdate=2006-07-25] and Canada. [cite web|url=http://canadagazette.gc.ca/partII/2003/20030213-x/html/sor53-e.html|author=Canada Gazette|title=Canada Gazette Vol. 137, no 1|date=2003-02-12|accessdate=2006-07-25] The organization developed in a milieu, which included the Iranian revolutionin 1979, oppression of Shiites by Sunnisand Christiansin Lebanon, and Israel's invasion of Lebanon in 1982. In 1982, the Palestine Liberation Organization(PLO) was based in Southern Lebanon and was firing Katyusha rocketsinto northern Israel from Lebanon. Israel invaded Lebanon to evict the PLO, and Hezbollah became an armed organization to expel the Israelis.cite news | author = Jeffrey Goldberg | url=http://www.jeffreygoldberg.net/articles/tny/a_reporter_at_large_in_the_par.php | title = IN THE PARTY OF GOD Are terrorists in Lebanon preparing for a larger war? | | publisher = The New Yorker|date = October 14, 2002 | accessdate = 2006-08-21 ]
Hezbollah's strength was enhanced by the dispatching of one thousandcite web|url=http://www.lebarmy.gov.lb/article.asp?ln=en&id=6915|author=Nizar Abdel-Kader|publisher=Lebanese Army Magazine|title=Iraq and the Future of Gulf Security Cooperation: A Lebanese perspective|accessdate=2006-07-25] to fifteen hundred [Third World Quarterly, Vol 14, No 2, 1993, reprinted at Al Mashriq [http://almashriq.hiof.no/ddc/projects/pspa/hamzeh2.html Lebanon's Hizbullah: from Islamic revolution to parliamentary accommodation] Accessed 2006-07-26] (or even two thousand [Rex A. Hudson, Federal Research Division, Library of Congress [http://www.fas.org/irp/threat/frd.html THE SOCIOLOGY AND PSYCHOLOGY OF TERRORISM: WHO BECOMES A TERRORIST AND WHY?] Accessed
August 172006] ) members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards and the financial backing of Iran. Iranian clerics, most notably Fzlollah Mahallati supervised this activity [Nasr, Vali, "The Shia Revival", Norton, (2006), p.115] It became the main politico-military force among the Shia community in Lebanon and the main arm of what became known later as the Islamic Resistance in Lebanon.
Hezbollah follows a Shiite Islamist ideology shared by the leader of the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran, Ayatollah Khomeini. There are some reports that it has abandoned its goal of establishing a fundamentalist Shiite state in Lebanon [cite web|url=http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/HG20Ak02.html|author=Dahr Jamail|publisher=Asia Times Online|date=2006-06-20|accessdate=2006-07-25|title=Hezbollah's transformation] cite web |title=Who are Hezbollah? |date=2002-04-04 |publisher=BBC News |url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/1908671.stm |accessdate=2006-08-11] although doubts remain. [US Department of State [http://www.state.gov/s/ct/rls/rpt/fto/2801.htm#hizballah Background Information on Foreign Terrorist Organizations] Accessed August 15, 2006] [Adam Shatz, New York Review of Books, April 29, 2004 [http://www.nybooks.com/articles/17060 In Search of Hezbollah] Accessed August 15, 2006] [Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs,
April 111996 [http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/MFAArchive/1990_1999/1996/4/HIZBULLAH+-+11-Apr-96.htm HIZBULLAH] Accessed August 182006]
After announcing the formation of Hizbullah in 1985,
Sheikh Subhi Tufailibecame its first Secretary-General. In 1991 Sheikh Sayyed Abbas al-Musawisubstituted as Secretary-General, but he was killed within months by Israel and Sheikh Sayyed Hassan Nasrallahsucceeded him. [ [http://bostonreview.net/BR30.2/cobban.html Helena Cobban: Hizbullah's New Face ] ]
Hezbollah during the Lebanese Civil war (1982-1990)
After emerging during the civil war of the early 1980s as an Iranian-sponsored second resistance movement (besides Amal) for Lebanon's
Shiacommunity, Hezbollah focused on expelling Israeli and Western forces from Lebanon. Although Hezbollah battled the Amal militia for control of Shiite areas and vigorously attacked Israel's Lebanese proxies(SLA), unlike other wartime militias, it never engaged in sectarian bloodletting (or fought a major engagement with the army) during the war.
Hezbollah is reputed to have been among the first Islamic resistance groups to use tactical
suicide bombingin the Middle East,Adam Shatz, The New York Review of Books, April 292004 [http://www.nybooks.com/articles/17060 In Search of Hezbollah] Accessed August 142006] and early bombings attributed to the group (e.g. the Tyre truck bombingsand the 1983 Beirut barracks bombing) inspired other militant extremist groups to adopt the tactic for their own purposes.The predominantly Shiite residents of south Lebanon had born the brunt of the Israeli invasion, which sent floods of refugees into the Beqaa and Beirut (already teaming with a 300,000 strong southern "poverty belt" of newly urbanized Shiites), eager for recruitment. Many politicized Shiites also felt victimized by the entry of an American and European multi-national force (MNF) into Beirutin 1982, not only because it was perceived as pro-Israeli, but also because its mission was to support a government beholden to the right-wing Christian Phalange Party (led by then-President Amine Gemayel) and Sunni Beiruti notables (e.g. Prime Minister Shafik Wazzan) and quick to assert its newfound strength by unceremoniously ejecting Shiite squatters from posh neighborhoods of West Beirut near the airport. Although Hezbollah avoided direct confrontation with the state, it lashed out with fury at the MNF, most notably with the October 1983 twin suicide bombings that killed more than 300 American and French servicemen( 1983 Beirut barracks bombing), forcing its withdrawal in 1984. The following year, in the face of mounting Hezbollah attacks, the Israel Defense Forces(IDF) began redeploying to a thin "security zone" in the south.
Jeffrey Goldberg writes in "
The New Yorker" that during this period Hezbollah
"quickly became the most successful terrorist organization in modern history, [serving] as a role model for terror groups around the world, ...and virtually invent [ing] the multipronged terror attack when, early on the morning of(note: Hezbollah did not claim responsibility for these attacks)
October 231983, it synchronized the suicide bombings, in Beirut, of the United States Marine barracks and an apartment building housing a contingent of French peacekeepers. Those attacks occurred just twenty seconds apart."
Robert Pape’s "Dying to Win", cite book | last = Pape | first = Robert | authorlink = Robert_Pape | coauthors = | title = Dying to win: the strategic logic of suicide terrorism | loc = New York | publisher = Random House | id = ISBN 1-4000-6317-5 | year = 2005 Specifically: "Suicide Terrorist Campaigns, 1980-2003", Appendix 1. (Page 253 of Australian paperback edition, published by Scribe Publications)] Hezbollah conducted three distinct suicide bombing campaigns against forces it deemed to be occupying Lebanon:
# 1983–1984: 5 acts against the US and France, including these specific acts:
April 18, 1983: U.S. embassy bombing in Beirut.
October 23, 1983: Beirut barracks bombing, targeting French soldiers and United States Marines; responsibility for this is disputed (see 1983 Beirut barracks bombing).
# 1982–1985: 11 acts against Israel.
# 1985–1986: 20 acts against Israel and the
South Lebanon Army.
In addition to these campaigns, Pape documents six other isolated suicide attacks taken by Hezbollah between 1985 and 1999.
Upon Israel’s withdrawal from
South Lebanonin 2000, according to Pape, the necessary conditions for Hezbollah’s continuing use of suicide attacks evaporated. Hezbollah has not directly participated in suicide bombings since 1999, its leaders evidently having renounced the tactic.
Attacks against Western targets
Hezbollah is believed by the United States’ intelligence agencies to have
David S. Dodge, president of the American University in Beiruton June 19, 1982, , was . [ [http://www.princeton.edu/~paw/archive_new/PAW06-07/01-0927/moment.html PAW September 272006: A moment with...."] " Princeton University". 27 September2006. 18 November2006] [Files, John. [http://www.nytimes.com/2006/08/02/education/02beirut.html?ex=1312171200&en=e6e8dc42ea083a38&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss "At Beacon of Learning, Looking to Pass a New Test in Beirut." " The New York Times". 2 August2006. 18 November2006.] [Pipes, Daniel. [http://www.danielpipes.org/article/266 "'Death to America' in Lebanon."] "Daniel Pipes". March/April 1985. 18 November2006.] Hezbollah was "believed to behind this abduction and that of most of the other 30 Westerners seized over the next 10 years." [http://camera.org/index.asp?x_context=2&x_outlet=118&x_article=1148 "Timeline of Hezbollah Violence." " [Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America|CAMERA: Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America". 17 July2006. 18 November2006. Later reprinted in "On Campus" magazine's Fall 2006 issue and attributed the article to author Gilead Ini.]
car bombed "the U.S. embassy in Beiruton April 18, 1983, ... killing 63 people, 17 of whom [were] American citizens." [http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3284023,00.html "Hizbullah, the 'Party of God.'"] "Israel News: Ynetnews". 31 July2006. 18 November2006.] see|April 1983 U.S. Embassy bombing
*truck bombed [http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/target/etc/cron.html "frontline: target america: terrorist attacks on americans, 1979-1988."] "
PBS". 2001. 18 November2006] " U.S. Marinebarracks, on October 23, 1983, ... killing 241 American military personnel stationed in Beirut as past of a peace-keeping force. A separate attack against the French military compound in Beirut [killed] 58." The truck that destroyed the American barracks was "rigged with 12,000 pounds of TNT."Jacoby, Jeff. [http://www.boston.com/news/world/middleeast/articles/2006/07/30/hezbollah_is_our_enemy_too/ "Hezbollah is our enemy, too."] "Boston.com". 30 July2006. 18 November2006.] see|1983 Beirut barracks bombing
CIAoperative William Francis Buckleyon March 16, 1984, "After 15 months in captivity of torture and illness" he was killed. "Jacoby, Jeff. [http://www.boston.com/news/world/middleeast/articles/2006/07/30/hezbollah_is_our_enemy_too/ "Hezbollah is our enemy, too."] "Boston.com". 30 July2006. 18 November2006.]
*kidnapped and tortured to death U.S. Marine
Colonel William R. Higginsand the CIA station chief in Beirut, William Francis Buckley; [ cite web
publisher=The library of Congress
title=Expressing the sense of the Congress over the reported murder of Lieutenant Colonel William Higgins and Hezbollah-sponsored terrorism.
author=H. CON. RES. 190, 1st session, 101st congress]
*kidnapped around 30 other Westerners between 1982 and 1992, including U.S. journalist Terry Anderson, British journalist John McCarthy, the
Archbishop of Canterbury's special envoy Terry Waiteand Irish citizen Brian Keenan. [ [http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2004/02/21/whizb21.xml&sSheet=/news/2004/02/21/ixworld.html Telegraph, 2004/2/21] ]
* of carrying out the 1985 hijacking of
TWA Flight 847en route from Athens to Rome.
These accusations are denied by Hezbollah. [Sites, Kevin (Scripps Howard News Services). " [http://www.redding.com/redd/nw_columnists/article/0,2232,REDD_17528_4389698,00.html Hezbollah denies terrorist ties, increases role in government] " 2006-01-15]
In early 1998, Lebanon's highest court announced that it intended to arrest the Secretary-General (until 1991) of Hezbollah, Sheikh Subhi Tufayli, for the
1983 Beirut barracks bombing. [CIA Document F-2000-00871 (partially redacted) page 3 [http://www.foia.cia.gov/docs/DOC_0000637394/0000637394_0003.gifNational Intelligence Daily, February 131998] Accessed August 122006] After a shoot-out that left Lebanese soldiers and some of Tufayli's supporters dead, he escaped and has not been seen since. [Mats Wärn, reprinted on al-Mashriq [http://almashriq.hiof.no/lebanon/300/320/324/324.2/hizballah/warn2/transformation.html Staying the Course: the "Lebanonization" of Hizbullah] Accessed August 122006]
End of Civil War: The Taif Agreement and Hezbollah's failure to disarm
After 16 years, the civil war halted following successful negotiation of the
Taif Agreement, which required the "disbanding of all Lebanese and non-Lebanese militias" and required the government to "deploy the Lebanese army in the border area adjacent to Israel."
Despite this agreement,
Syria, in control of Lebanon at that time (with the support of Iran, allowed Hezbollah to maintain their arsenal, control the Shiite areas in Southern Lebanon along the border with Israel.
The continued existence of Hezbollah's military wing after 1990 is considered by the UN to violate the
Taif Agreement. [ [http://www.mideastweb.org/taif.htm www.mideastweb.org/taif.htm] ]
Hezbollah, however, justifies maintaining its militia on the basis of Israel's continued presence in Sheba Farms, which the UN considers Syrian territory [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/819200.stm BBC NEWS | Middle East | Country profiles | Timeline: Lebanon ] ] [ [http://www.forbes.com/business/healthcare/feeds/ap/2006/07/20/ap2893194.html] Dead link|date=March 2008] and the Lebanon government has not made moves to disarm Hezbollah as it considers it a legitimate resistance organization. [ [http://edition.cnn.com/2005/WORLD/meast/05/06/lebanon.report/index.html CNN.com - Hezbollah disarmament unclear - May 6, 2005 ] ]
The South Lebanon period (1990-2000)
Conflict in South Lebanon
South Lebanon conflict"
South Lebanon was occupied by Israel between 1982 and 2000.Fact|date=February 2007 Hezbollah, along with the mainly leftist and secular groups in the Lebanese National Resistance Front, fought a guerilla war against Israel and the
South Lebanon Army.Fact|date=February 2007 The National Resistance Front militias disarmed in accordance with the Taif Accords, but Hezbollah remained defiant, claiming until all Lebanese soil was liberated and Israelexpelled, resistance against occupation would continue.
The fighting culminated during
Operation Grapes of Wrathin April 1996 when Israel launched an assault and air-campaign against Hezbollah. The campaign resulted in the deaths of 106 civilian refugees in an aerial bombardment of a United Nations base at Qana. [cite web|publisher=BBC News|url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/72493.stm|title=History of Israel's role in Lebanon |date=1998-04-01|accessdate=2007-10-24] Popular feeling that the shelling of Qana was intentional fuelled Shia radicalism and enhanced support for Hezbollah, as did resentment of large-scale civilian evacuations made necessary (on as little as two hours notice) by the fighting.Augustus Richard Norton [http://almashriq.hiof.no/lebanon/300/320/324/324.2/hizballah/norton.html Hizballah: From Radicalism to Pragmatism?] Accessed August 112006]
In January 2000, Hezbollah assassinated the commander of the South Lebanon Army's Western Brigade, Colonel Aql Hashem, at his home in the security zone. Hashem had been responsible for day to day operations of the SLA. [cite web|url=http://www.asylumlaw.org/docs/lebanon/ind01b_lebanon_ca.pdf|title=Country Assessment - Lebanon|publisher=Asylumlaw.org|author=Country Information & Policy Unit, Immigration & Nationality Directorate, Home Office|date=2001-10-01|accessdate=2006-07-25]
24 May, after the collapse of the SLA and the rapid advance of Hezbollah forces, Israel withdrew its troops from southern Lebanon, more than six weeks before its stated deadline of 7 July." [cite web|url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/country_profiles/819200.stm|date=2006-07-13|accessdate=2006-07-25|title=Timeline: Lebanon|publisher=BBC News] Hezbollah and many other Lebanese considered this to be a victory, and since then its popularity has been boosted in Lebanon. [See:
*cite web|publisher=BBC News|url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/may/26/newsid_2496000/2496423.stm|title=2000: Hezbollah celebrates Israeli retreat|date=2000-05-26|accessdate=2006-07-25
*web cite|publisher=CNN|url=http://archives.cnn.com/2000/WORLD/meast/05/24/israel.lebanon.02/index.html|accessdate=2006-07-25|date=2000-05-24|title=Hezbollah flag raised as Israeli troops withdraw from southern Lebanon]
Ted Koppelon NPRreport: [http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5555771 "Lebanon's Hezbollah Ties"] . All Things Considered, July 132006.]
Claims of Terrorist Activities
* The US government claims Hezbollah carried out two terrorist attacks in
Argentinaduring the early 1990s: the 1992 Israeli embassy bombing in Buenos Aires [Rex A. Hudson, [http://www.fas.org/irp/threat/frd.html "The Sociology and Psychology of Terrorism"] , 1999.] , killing 29 people, and the bombing of a Jewish community center there, killing 85. [ [http://library.nps.navy.mil/home/tgp/hizbalah.htm United States Department of State, April 2005.] ] Hezbollah denies these claims. [ [http://www.lebanon.com/news/local/2003/3/20.htm Hezbollah again denies involvement in deadly Buenos Aires bombing BEIRUT, March 19(AFP)] ] [Hezbollah website, citing BBC 2005-11-11 [http://www.alghaliboun.net/english/_statments.php?filename=200511111655380 Hizbullah denies Argentina bomb] Accessed July 262006] Responsibility for the former attack was claimed by Imad Mughniyah's Islamic Jihad Organization- considered to be a unit of Hezbollah - within 24 hours of the attack.CIA Report F-2001-00844 (Partially Redacted) [http://www.foia.cia.gov/docs/DOC_0000676447/0000676447_0004.gifLEBANON'S HIZBALLAH: TESTING POLITICAL WATERS, KEEPING MILITANT (page 4)] Accessed August 122006]
July 26, 1994, eight days after the community center bombing, the Israeli Embassy in London was car bombed by two Palestinians. The United Kingdom, Israel and Argentina blamed Hezbollah for the attack. [cite news|url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/low/dates/stories/july/26/newsid_2499000/2499619.stm
title=On this day|publisher=BBC News|date=1994-07-26|accessdate=2006-07-26|language=English]
Hezbollah after the Israeli withdrawal
May 25, 2000, Israel withdrew from Lebanonto the UN-agreed Israeli border, and their pullout was certified by the UN as complete. [See:
* [http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2000/20000618.sc6878.doc.html UN Press Release
18 June2000: SECURITY COUNCIL ENDORSES SECRETARY-GENERAL’S CONCLUSION ON ISRAELI WITHDRAWAL FROM LEBANON AS OF 16 JUNE]
BBC: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/763504.stm] Lebanon and Syria claim the Shebaa Farms, a 35 km² area, to be occupied Lebanese territory [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/763504.stm BBC News - In Focus: Shebaa farms] May 252000] despite the UN ruling, and on that basis Hezbollah has continued to engage Israeli forces in that area. The UN recognizes the Shebaa farms as part of the Golan Heights, and thus Syrian (and not Lebanese, though both countries deny that) territory occupied by Israel since the 1967 Six-Day War.
Hezbollah's role in the Israeli withdrawal from southern Lebanon gained the organization much respect within Lebanon and the wider Arab and Islamic world, particularly among the country's large
Shi'acommunity. The Shi'a are the single largest religious group in Lebanon, comprising at least 40% of the three million citizens (see Demographics of Lebanon). The MaronitePresident of Lebanon, Émile Lahoud, said: "For us Lebanese, and I can tell you the majority of Lebanese, Hezbollah is a national resistance movement. If it wasn't for them, we couldn't have liberated our land. And because of that, we have big esteem for the Hezbollah movement." [cite news|url=http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2003/04/18/60minutes/main550000.shtml|title=Hezbollah: "A-Team Of Terrorists"|date=2003-04-18|author=CBS 60 Minutes] Even 74 percent of Lebanese Christians viewed Hezbollah as a resistance organization. [cite web|url=http://www.css-jordan.org/new/REVISITINGTTHEARABSTREETReport.pdf|title=Revisiting the Arab Street: Research from Within|author=Center for Strategic Studies|publisher= University of Jordan|date=2005-02-01|format=PDF] After Israeli forces left Southern Lebanon in 2000, Hezbollah provided military defense of the area. It is suggested by some that the Lebanese Government has at times viewed Hezbollah as the army of South Lebanon.Fact|date=March 2007 Since summer 2006, though, foreign peacekeepers and Lebanese army troops have also been stationed in the South. Fouad Siniorasaid that "the continued presence of Israeli occupation of Lebanese lands in the Shebaa Farmsregion is what contributes to the presence of Hezbollah weapons. The international community must help us in (getting) an Israeli withdrawal from Shebaa Farms so we can solve the problem of Hezbollah's arms." [http://www.forbes.com/business/healthcare/feeds/ap/2006/07/20/ap2893194.html Associated Press, July 202006] ] Hezbollah says Israel's withdrawal from southern Lebanon proves that the Jewish state only understands the language of resistance. It defends its right to keep its weapons as a deterrent against Israeli attack, to liberate the disputed Shebaa Farmsborder area, which is occupied by Israel. [ [http://www.turkishdailynews.com.tr/article.php?enewsid=48880 Turkish Daily News - Hizbollah attacks widens cracks in Lebanon] July 162006]
Since Israel's withdrawal from Lebanon in 2000, and until the conflict arising in July 2006, Hezbollah has used the period of quiet to create the
Hezbollah rocket force, which it claims number over 10,000.Fact|date=February 2007 Placing them, according to many reports, in civilian locations, including family homes, crowded residential neighborhoods and mosquesFact|date=February 2007.
The United Nations considers the
Shebaa Farmsto be Syrian territory, not Lebanese and has stated that Israel has withdrawn from all Lebanese territory.
Clashes between Hezbollah and Israeli forces continued, albeit at a relatively low level, in the years following 2000. [cite news|url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/1279456.stm|title=Hezbollah condemned for attacking Israel|author=BBC News|date=2001-04-15]
Israeli aircraft continue to fly over Lebanese territory, eliciting condemnation from the ranking UN representative in Lebanon.Fact|date=February 2007 Hezbollah's retaliatory anti-aircraft fire, doubling as small caliber artillery, has on some occasions landed within Israel's northern border towns, inciting condemnation from the UN Secretary-General. [ [http://www.un.org/apps/sg/sgstats.asp?nid=449 Secreterary-General Office of the UN]
August 102003] On November 7, 2004, Hezbollah responded to what it described as repeated Israeli violations of Lebanese airspace by flying an Iranian-built unmanned drone aircraft over northern Israel. [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/3990773.stm BBC News - Hezbollah drone flies over Israel] November 72004]
Israeli / Hezbollah Prisoner Exchange
October 7, 2000, Hezbollah abducted three Israel Defense Forcessoldiers (Adi Avitan, Omer Soued and Binyamin Avraham) from Shebaa Farms[cite news|url=http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/MFAArchive/2000_2009/2001/2/Israelis+Held+by+the+Hizbullah+-+Oct+2000-Jan+2004.htm
title=Israelis Held by the Hizbullah|publisher=Israel MFA|date=January 2004|accessdate=2006-08-07|language=English] and sought to obtain the release of 14 Lebanese prisoners, some of whom had been held since 1978.
October 16, 2000, Hezbollah announced the kidnapping of Elchanan Tannenbaum, an Israeli businessman.
January 25, 2004, Hezbollah successfully negotiated an exchange of prisoners with Israel, through German mediators. The prisoner swap was carried out on January 29: 30 Lebanese and Arab prisoners, the remains of 60 Lebanese militants and civilians, 420 Palestinian prisoners, and maps showing Israeli mines in South Lebanon were exchanged for an Israeli businessman and army reserve colonel Elchanan Tenenbaumkidnapped in 2001 and the remains of the three Israel Defense Forces(IDF) soldiers mentioned above, who were killed either during the Hezbollah operation, or in its immediate aftermath. [BBC News, January 292004 [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/3442719.stm Mid-East prisoners welcomed home] Accessed August 142006] For the entire period between the abduction (October 2000) and the end of the negotiations (January 2004), Hezbollah did not provide information about the death of the 3 kidnapped soldiers (Adi Avitan, Beni Avraham and Umar Suad) even though Israel intelligence has suspected them to be already dead.
Assassinations of Hezbollah Officials
Abbas Mussawi, Secretary General of Hezbollah, was assassinated in February, 1992,CIA Report (Partially Redacted) [http://www.foia.cia.gov/docs/DOC_0000676447/0000676447_0002.gifLEBANON'S HIZBALLAH: TESTING POLITICAL WATERS, KEEPING MILITANT (page 2)] Accessed
August 122006] after which Nasrullah was elected to the position.
July 19, 2004, a senior Hezbollah official, Ghaleb Awwali, was assassinated in a car bombing in Beirut. Hezbollah blamed Israel; credit was claimed, and then retracted, by a previously unheard of Sunnigroup called Jund Ash Sham, while Israel denied involvement. [ [http://archives.tcm.ie/breakingnews/2004/07/19/story157767.asp Breakingnews.ie - Israel denies responsibility for Beirut assassination] July 192004] ] According to Al-Arabiya, unidentified Lebanese police also identified the group as a cover for Israel.Fact|date=February 2007
In June 2006, the Lebanese military arrested an alleged assassination squad led by former
South Lebanese Armycorporal Mahmoud Abu Rafeh. According to army statements, the cell was trained and supported by the Israeli Mossadand "used ... to carry out assigned assassinations in Lebanon." Among the killings attributed to the squad are those of Hezbollah officials Ali Saleh (2003) and Ali Hassan Dib (1999). [cite news|url=http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2006-06/13/content_4694573.htm|title=Lebanon: Israeli spying cell busted|publisher= Xinhua|date= 2006-06-13|accessdate=2006-07-20]
During Awwali's funeral, Nasrallah proclaimed that Awwali was "among the team that dedicated their lives in the last few years to help their brothers in occupied Palestine,"Fact|date=February 2007 which some take to refer to aiding Hamas.
On February 12, 2008, senior operative
Imad Mughniyahwas killed in Damascus, Syria. He was buried two days later in the presence of Hezbollah leader Nasrallah and a high-ranking Iranian delegation.
March 12, 2002, in a Hezbollah shooting attack on the Shelomi-Metzuba route in northern Israel, six Israelis civilians were killed.cite news|url=http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Terrorism/hizattacks1.html/MFA/MFAArchive/2000_2009/2001/2/Israelis+Held+by+the+Hizbullah+-+Oct+2000-Jan+2004.htm
title=Hizballah Terrorist Incidents Since May 2000|publisher=Jewish Virtual Library|date=
August 10, 2003, a 16 year old Israeli boy was killed by shrapnel from an anti-aircraft shell fired by Hezbollah, and four others were wounded.
* In January 2005, Hezbollah planted five "improvised explosive devices" (IEDs) just on the Israeli side of the border near Zarit. An armored bulldozer sent to remove the mines was fired upon by anti-tank missiles, killing the bulldozer’s driver, Sgt. Maj. Jan Rotzanski. [ [http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=N2UxZjI3MTRhNGM5YTc1MDkyM2NkZmVhZjdiYzUzODU= U.N.’s Human Shields] Michael I. Krauss & J. Peter Pham, "National Review Online"
July 252006 ]
November 21, 2005 Hezbollah launched a heavy attack along the entire border with Israel which was intended to provide tactical cover for a squad of Hezbollah special forces attempting to abduct Israeli troops from the Israeli side of the village of Al-Ghajar. [cite web|url=http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/pages/ShArt.jhtml?itemNo=648271&contrassID=1&subContrassID=5|author=Amos Harel|publisher=Haaretz.com|date=2005-11-22|accessdate=2006-07-25|title=11 Israelis injured, at least 4 Hezbollah gunmen killed in failed kidnap attempt] The attack failed when IDF Paratroopersambushed and killed 4 Hezbollah members and scattered the rest. [cite web|url=http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/objects/pages/PrintArticleEn.jhtml?itemNo=648771|author=Eli Ashkenazi|publisher=Haaretz.com|date=2005-11-03|accessdate=2006-07-25|title=I'm not the hero of the day] The IDF counter-attacked and destroyed Hezbollah's front line outposts and communication centers. The scope of the attack forced Lebanon (whose army does not control southern Lebanon) to request a cease-fire. Following the attack the UN Security Council denounced Hezbollah. [cite web|url=http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=16671&Cr=middle&Cr1=east|publisher=U.N News Centre|date=2005-11-23|accessdate=2006-07-25|title=Security Council calls for respect of entire Lebanon-Israel Blue Line] Commentators have speculated that the attack was an attempt to draw Israel into renewed conflict in Lebanon, alleviating diplomatic pressure on its backers Syria (which is under investigation for the assassination of Lebanese prime minister Rafiq Hariri) and Iran (which is under UN investigation regarding alleged violations of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty). [cite web|url=http://www.defense-update.com/2005/12/al-ghajar-village-flashpoint.html|publisher=Defense Update|date=2005-12-05|accessdate=2006-07-25|title= Al-Ghajar Village Flashpoint]
December 27, 2005, BM-21Grad rockets fired from Hezbollah territory smashed into houses in the northern Israeli city of Kiryat Shmonawounding three people.Fact|date=February 2007 UN Secretary General Kofi Annan called on the Lebanese Government "to extend its control over all its territory, to exert its monopoly on the use of force, and to put an end to all such attacks." [cite web|url=http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=17049&Cr=Middle&Cr1=Lebanon|publisher=U.N News Centre|title=Annan deplores rocket attack from Lebanon into Israel|date=2005-12-28|accessdate=2006-07-25] Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Sinioradenounced the attack as "aimed at destabilizing security and diverting attention from efforts exerted to solve the internal issues prevailing in the country."Fact|date=February 2007 Hezbollah denied any responsibility or knowledge that an attack was going to take place.
Hezbollah activities in the al-Aqsa Intifada
December 2001three Hezbollah operatives were caught in Jordan while attempting to bring BM-13 Katyusha rockets into the West Bank. [USA Today, August 202005 [http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/2005-08-20-jordan-launcher_x.htm Jordan finds rocket launcher used in Aqaba] Accessed August 42006] Sayyeed Hassan Nasrallah, secretary general of Hezbollah, responded [Hindu Vivek Kendra citing The New York Times, March 242002 [http://www.hvk.org/articles/0302/101.html A Secret Iran-Arafat Connection Is Seen Fueling the Mideast Fire] Accessed August 42006] that "It is every freedom loving peoples right and duty against occupation to send arms to Palestinians from any possible place." [cite web|url=http://www.dailystar.com.lb/article.asp?edition_id=10&categ_id=5&article_id=6519|title=Sticking to the rules in South Lebanon|author=Nicholas Blanford|publisher=The Daily Star(Lebanon)|accessdate=2006-07-25] [See:
* [http://www.globalpolicy.org/security/issues/lebanon/2004/0914lcard.htm Nicholas Blanford - Hizballah and Syria's Lebanese Card]
* [http://www.dailystar.com.lb/article.asp?edition_id=10&categ_id=5&article_id=6519 Nicholas Blanford - Sticking to the rules in South Lebanon]
In June 2002, shortly after the Israeli government launched Operation Defensive Shield, which culminated in the invasion of the Jenin refugee camp, Nasrallah gave a speech in which he defended and praised suicide bombings of Israeli targets by members of Palestinian groups for "creating a deterrence and equalizing fear."
During 2002, 2003 and 2004, the
Israeli Security Forcesthwarted numerous suicide bombingattacks, some of which Israel claims were planned and funded by Hezbollah and were to have been carried out by Tanzim( Fatah's armed wing) activists. Israeli officials accused Hezbollah of aiding Palestinian political violenceand participating in weapon smuggling (see also: Santorini, Karin A).Fact|date=February 2007
After Israel's assassination of Hamas spiritual leader Sheikh
Ahmed Yassinin March 2004, Hezbollah attacked the IDF along the Blue Line. [ [http://www.dailystar.com.lb/article.asp?article_ID=1315&categ_ID=2&edition_id=1 Karine Raad - Nasrallah to Hamas: We are under your command] March 292004]
It has been claimed that a Hezbollah expert advised on construction of the bomb used for the March 2002 bombing of the Park Hotel. [Washington Post,
August 182002 [http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn?pagename=article&contentId=A31236-2002Aug17¬Found=true Suicide Bombers Change Mideast's Military Balance] Accessed August 42006]
June 23, 2004, another allegedly Hezbollah-funded suicide bombingattack was foiled by the Israeli security forces. [http://www.maarivintl.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=article&articleID=8960]
February 2005the Palestinian Authorityaccused Hezbollah of attempting to derail the truce signed with Israel. Palestinian officials and former militants described how Hezbollah promised an increase in funding for any occupation resistance group able to carry out an attack on Israeli military targets.Fact|date=February 2007
UN resolution 1559
U.N. Security Council Resolution 1559 was a resolution sponsored by France and the United States and adopted on
September 22004. It called upon Syria to end its military presence in Lebanon by withdrawing its forces and to cease intervening in internal Lebanese politics. The resolution also called for "the disbanding and disarmament of all Lebanese and non-Lebanese militias". The Lebanese army did not disarm or disband Hezbollah prior to the 2006 Israel-Lebanon conflict.Fact|date=February 2007
2006 Israel-Lebanon conflict
Early Rivalry with Amal
Amal reached its peak of influence in Lebanese affairs in 1985, but was challenged by Hezbollah by claims that Amal collaborated with Israel and the United States and was inefficient and corrupt. This rivalry reached a peak in the latter part of 1990 that required a ceasefire, effective in December 1990.
Hassan Nasrallah, elected leader of Hezbollah in 1992 after the assassination of Abbas Musawi, was responsible for the Beka'a area on behalf of the Amal Movementin the early 1980s. He left the organization in 1982 and affiliated with Hizbullah, taking with him many of his followers. [Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, April 111996 [http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/MFAArchive/1990_1999/1996/4/HIZBULLAH+-+11-Apr-96.htm HIZBULLAH] Accessed August 182006]
Lebanese election : 1992
This election was boycotted by Christian groups, which allowed Hezbollah and other Muslim groups to take control of parliament.AME Info [http://www.ameinfo.com/lebanon_history_government Lebanon » History and Government] Accessed
August 42006] Hezbollah won a total of eight seats and Nabih Berri, Leader of Amal, was elected parliamentary speaker.
Lebanese election : 1996
Hezbollah's electoral platform for the 1996 elections prominently featured "Resisting the occupation" as a primary goal. [Hezbollah via Al-Manar TV and al-Mashriq [http://almashriq.hiof.no/lebanon/300/320/324/324.2/hizballah/hizballah-platform.html The Electoral Program of Hizbullah, 1996] Accessed
Lebanese election : 2000
The Lebanese election of 2000 saw Hezbollah forming an electoral alliance with
Amalthat took all 23 seats in South Lebanon(of 128 total). This was the first election to include South Lebanonsince 1972, due to the intervening 1975-90 civil war and the Israeli occupation that followed. [Washington Post, September 62000 [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/aponline/20000906/aponline150227_000.htm Hezbollah Defines Its Political Role] Accessed August 42006]
Hezbollah and the "Cedar Revolution"
After the assassination of
Rafik Haririin February 2005, Hezbollah strongly supported Syria through demonstrations. On March 8, in response to the demonstrations of the Cedar Revolutionwhich resulted in Syria's withdrawal, Hezbollah organized a counterdemonstration, reiterating Hezbollah's rejection of Resolution 1559 and its support for a Lebanese-Syrian alliance. [cite web|url=http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/7128785/|title=‘Coming out party’ for Hezbollah in Lebanon|publisher=NBC News|date=2005-03-08|accessdate=2006-07-25]
Lebanese election : 2005
After the 2005 elections, Hezbollah held 14 seats (up from eight previously in 2000) in the 128-member Lebanese Parliament. The "resistance" bloc centered in South Lebanon won a total of 23 seat of which Hezbollah is a part.Dubious|date=March 2008 It also participated for the first time in the
Lebanese government of July 2005. Hezbollah has two ministers in the government, and a third is Hezbollah-endorsed. [ [http://yalibnan.com/site/archives/2005/07/_lineup_of_leba.php YaLibnan, "Lineup of Lebanon's new Cabinet"; Wednesday, 20 July2005] ] [ [http://lebanesebloggers.blogspot.com/2005/07/lineup-check-names.html LebaneseBloggers, "The Lineup: Check the Name"; 15 July2005] ] It is primarily active in the Bekaa Valley, the southern suburbs of Beirut, and southern Lebanon.
In spite of having a foot inside the government, Hezbollah has been frequently at odds with certain members of
Fouad Siniora's cabinet and in early 2006 formed an alliance with Michel Aounand his anti-Syrian Free Patriotic Movement.
May 2008's crisis saw the worst sectarian fighting since Lebanon's civil war, with over 80 people killed and sections of West Beirut taken over by Hezbollah in a bid to push the Siniora government to give in to its demands.
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