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Hizballah / Hizbollah / Hizbullah / Hezbollah
Party of God
Islamic Jihad
Islamic Jihad for the Liberation of Palestine
Organization of the Oppressed on Earth
Revolutionary Justice Organization

Hizballah is an Islamic movement founded after the Israeli military seizure of Lebanon in 1982, which resulted in the formation of Islamic resistance units committed to the liberation of the occupied territories and the ejection of Israeli forces. Hizbollah was established in 1982 during the Lebanon War when a group of Lebanese Shi'ite Muslims declared themselves to be the "Party of God" (Hizb Allah, which is clear in Hizbollah but progressively less so in Hizbollah / Hizbullah / Hezbollah).

Upon the realization that the IDF was entrenching itself in south Lebanon, and influenced and assisted by 1,500 Iranian Revolutionary Guards in Lebanon, Hizballah cells began developing with the immediate desire to resist the Israeli invasion. Hizbollah began establishing its base in Lebanon in 1982 and has expanded and strengthened ever since, primarily due to its wave of suicide bombings and foreign support by Iran and Syria.

Hizballah fought alongside troops loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Hezbollah said the war is necessary to protect Shi'ites from Sunni extremists who had been at the forefront of the Syrian opposition. Hezbollah's deployment of fighters to Syria has increased the group's enemies beyond its traditional rival, Israel, to include Sunni extremists. The Syrian regime and Hezbollah had a long military alliance, and Hezbollah leaders had sought safe haven in Syria and even routed weapons from Iran into Lebanon. So the interplay between the Assad regime and Hezbollah has been well chronicled.

In addition to the traditional Lebanese Hezbollah, which had deployed fighters to Syria since 2011, Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) General Hossein Hamedani declared in May 2014 that Iran had formed "a second Hezbollah in Syria." In early 2014, several Shiite militias in Syria began to call themselves, Hezbollah fi Suriya, or Hezbollah in Syria.

Description

Formed in 1982 in response to the Israeli invasion of Lebanon, this Lebanon-based radical Shia group takes its ideological inspiration from the Iranian revolution and the teachings of the late Ayatollah Khomeini. The Majlis al-Shura, or Consultative Council, is the group's highest governing body and is led by Secretary General Hasan Nasrallah. Hizballah is dedicated to liberating Jerusalem and eliminating Israel, and has formally advocated ultimate establishment of Islamic rule in Lebanon. Nonetheless, Hizballah has actively participated in Lebanon's political system since 1992. This radical Shia is dedicated to creation of Iranian-style Islamic republic in Lebanon and removal of all non-Islamic influences from area. It is strongly anti-Western and anti-Israeli.

A very important factor that developed Hizballah was the establishment of the Islamic Revolution in Iran that was led by the Imam Khomeini. This revolution consolidated new concepts in the field of Islamic thought mainly the concept of Willayat Al-Faqih. The revolution also generalized Islamic expressions against the west such as arrogance, the great Satan, hypocrites and the oppressed. Due to that it was only normal for the ideological doctrine in Iran to take root in Lebanon. This tie was very quickly translated on the ground by direct support from the Islamic Republic of Iran through its revolutionary guards and then to Hizballah that was resisting the Israeli occupation. This religious and ideological tie between Hizballah and Iran following the revolution with its stance towards the Zionist entity had a great effect on releasing vital material and moral support to Hizballah. Hizballah's ideological ideals sees no legitimacy for the existence of Israel, a matter that elevates the contradictions to the level of existence. And the conflict becomes one of legitimacy that is based on religious ideals. The seed of resistance is also deep in the ideological beliefs of Hizballah, a belief that found its way for expression against the occupation of Lebanon.

Strength

The State Department's 1993 report on international terrorism lists Hizbollah's "strength" at several thousand. Hizbollah sources assert that the organization has about 5,000-10,000 fighters. Other sources report that Hizbollah's militia consists of a core of about 300-400 fighters, which can be expanded to up to 3,000 within several hours if a battle with Israel develops. These reserves presumably are called in from Hizbollah strongholds in Lebanon, including the Bekaa Valley and Beirut's southern suburbs. The number of members involved in combat activity in southern Lebanon is under 1,000. But it has many activists and moral supporters. After the Israeli withdrawal Hizballah reduced the number of full time fighters to about 500, though estimates range from 300 to 1,200. There are also several thousand reserves, but these lack training or experience.

Hizbollah's militia is a light force, equipped with small arms, such as automatic rifles, mortars, rocket-propelled grenades, and Katyusha rockets, which it occasionally has fired on towns in northern Israel. Hizbollah forces are shown on television conducting military parades in Beirut, which often include tanks and armored personnel carriers that may have been captured from the Lebanese army or purchased from Palestinian guerrillas or other sources.

Location/Area of Operation

Operates in the Al Biqa' (Bekaa Valley), the southern suburbs of Beirut, and southern Lebanon. Has established cells in Europe, Africa, South America, North America, and elsewhere. Its training bases are mostly in the previously Syrian-controlled Biqa Valley, and its headquarters and offices are in southern Beirut and in Ba'albek.

Hezbollah presence in Latin America dates back to the mid-1980s, when the group began sending operatives to the tri-border area (TBA) of Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay. The TBA is known as a terrorist safe haven, given the wide range of illicit activities conducted within it, including money laundering, counterfeiting, drug trafficking, and human trafficking. Data provided by the U.S. Treasury Department indicate that since 2006 over a dozen individuals and several businesses in the TBA have been sanctioned for providing financial support to Hezbollah leadership in Lebanon.

Robert Noriega identified at least two parallel yet collaborative terrorist networks that he claimed are growing at an alarming rate in Latin America: the Nassereddine Network and the Rabbani Network. These networks encompass more than eighty operatives in at least twelve countries throughout the region. Those countries with the highest presence of operatives are Brazil, Venezuela, Argentina, and Chile.




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