Understanding the Organization Hezbollah

WHAT IT IS

WHY IT MATTERS

Since the 1980s, Hezbollah has consistently worked to undermine Israel’s presence in the Middle East and gain a foothold in Lebanon. Financially backed by Iran, Hezbollah has an active role in the Syrian Civil War and claims that the Syrian rebellion is merely an Israeli plot to overthrow al-Assad, who holds anti-Israel positions.

  • SUPPORT HEZBOLLAH – “Established protection”

    • Israel = The West: Supporters of Hezbollah view the jihadi militant group’s actions as a resistance to Western intervention in the Arab World.
    • Established party: Both Iran and Russia view the group as a legitimate political party.
    • Shia Support: 94% of Lebanese Shia supported Hezbollah in 2010. This number has most likely changed since the Syrian Civil War.
  • AGAINST HEZBOLLAH – “Established terrorists”

    • Terrorism: Countries and organizations that list Hezbollah as a terrorist organization include France, the U.S., Israel, and the Arab League. Arab countries that denounce Hezbollah do so because they believe the group destabilizes the region.
    • Military threat: Hezbollah’s military strength, which is considered stronger than the Lebanese Military, poses a legitimate threat to Lebanese Sunnis.
    • Sunni support: 84% of Sunnis opposed Hezbollah in 2010. This percentage has likely increased because of the Syrian Civil War.

WHERE WE ARE NOW

  • May, 2017: Iran gave Hezbollah $600 million.
  • Hezbollah holds 12 seats in the Lebanese Parliament.
  • Hezbollah’s military wing and the Syrian Army currently occupy 113 km (70 miles) of the Lebanese-Syrian border.
  • As a result of Lebanese backlash for supporting al-Assad, Hezbollah is ramping up its anti-Israel rhetoric to remind Lebanon of its initial cause.

THINGS TO THINK ABOUT

  • Russia’s involvement in the Syrian Civil War
  • The history between Bashir Al Assad’s Ba’ath Party and Hezbollah
  • Sanctions against Iran and how that affects Hezbollah’s funding