WHAT IT IS
- Hezbollah is a Shia Islamist political party in Lebanon that holds significant military capabilities.
- Aided by Iran, Hezbollah emerged in the 1980s to protect the Lebanese against the Israeli occupation of Lebanon.
- Hezbollah is heavily backing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the Syrian Civil War.
- They are widely acknowledged for the 1983 Beirut barracks bombings, which killed roughly 250 Americans and 50 French.
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.
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