Israel is bombing Hezbollah forces which are situated in Lebanon.
Hezbollah is an umbrella organization of radical Shiite group founded in early 1982 to combat Israeli, French and American troops in Lebanon. It is supported by Iran and Syria and located in southern Lebanon.
Hezbollah is not the government of Lebanon
Hezbollah's spiritual leader is Sheikh Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah, and its senior political leader is Hassan Nazrallah, who has held the title of secretary general since 1992. Its military arm is known as Islamic Resistance.
Hezbollah gained popular support by providing social services such as hospitals and schools for Lebanese Shiites. Hezbollah was able to step into the power breach created by Lebanon’s weak government. Hezbollah has pursued a political and religious agenda that centers on the destruction of Israel and opposition to the United States and has been carried out through terrorism against Israeli and Western targets. In 1983 Hezbollah killed 241 US marines in Beirut. Syria admits supporting Hezbollah, but denies arming the group.
Hezbollah’s official rhetoric calls for the destruction of Israel and its replacement with an Islamist Palestinian government. Sinilarly, Hezbollah sought to replace Lebanon’s secular government with an Iranian-style Islamic government.
Hezbollah maximizes Israeli civilian casualties when they launch Syrian and Iranian designed antipersonnel missiles with ball-bearing shrapnel. Furthermore, in Lebanon, Hezbollah deliberately operates military wings out of densely populated areas to maximize Lebanese casualties and gain media attention through gruesome pictures of maimed children.
Hezbollah gains from maximizing civilian casualties on BOTH sides.
The war began at Hezbollah's time and choosing. Military analysts say that the way the Israel-Hezbollah war has been prosecuted up until Monday, July 24, is more likely to bring Nassrallah closer to his war objectives than Olmert.
When Syria withdrew its troops from Lebanon, Hezbollah could operate freely because of the weak Lebanese secular government. Hezbollah was able to step into the power breach.
What Hezbollah wants is political power in Lebanon and among the Palestinians, and freedom for action within the context of Syrian-Iranian relations. This war will cost it dearly, but it has been preparing for this for a generation. If it can avoid utter calamity, it will have won -- if not by defeating Israel, then by putting itself first among the anti-Israeli forces. It opposes Israel and is the most effective force fighting it. Hezbollah's job is to survive and hurt Israel and the IDF as long as possible. That is what this war is about for Hezbollah.
Hezbollah has complex objectives.
Hezbollah had prepared for war with Israel for years. It had received weapons and training from Iran and Syria. Hezbollah bridges the deep division between Syrian secularity and Iranian religiosity.
Syria's interests and Iran's are never quite the same.
Nor are Hezbollah's interests quite the same as those of its patrons. Hezbollah has business interests in legal and illegal businesses around the world. It has interests within Lebanese politics and it has interests in Palestinian politics. As a Syrian client, it looks at the region as one entity. As an Iranian client, it looks to create a theocratic state in the region.
As an entity in its own right, Hezbollah must keep itself going. If it can avoid utter calamity, it will have won -- if not by defeating Israel, then by putting itself first among the anti-Israeli forces.
Beirut Al-Manar TV interview
Wall Street Journal July 19, 2006; Page A12
· 1 decade ago