Hezbollah

Lebanese Shia Islamist political party and militant group

Hezbollah (literally "Party of Allah" or "Party of God")—also transliterated Hizbullah, Hizballah, etc.—is a Shi'a Islamist militant group and political party based in Lebanon. Hezbollah's paramilitary wing is the Jihad Council, and its political wing is Loyalty to the Resistance Bloc party in the Lebanese parliament. After the death of Abbas al-Musawi in 1992, the group has been headed by Hassan Nasrallah, its Secretary-General.

Quotes

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  • Although Hezbollah and Hamas are not organizationally linked, Hezbollah provides military training as well as financial and moral support to the Palestinian group and has acted in some ways as a mentor or role model for Hamas, which has sought to emulate the Lebanese group’s political and media success. Hamas’s kidnapping of the Israeli soldier follows a different Hezbollah example. Moreover, two groups share the goal of driving Israel from occupied territories and ultimately eliminating it; both maintain close ties with Iran.
  • If you want to call Hezbollah a terrorist organization, then you must call Israel a terrorist organization.
    • David Duke’s radio show broadcast, 10 August 2006: The Israeli Invasion and Bombing of Lebanon) [1]
  • The new cooperation [between Hezbollah and al-Qaeda] … includes coordination on explosives and tactics training, money laundering, weapons smuggling and acquiring forged documents, according to knowledgeable sources. This new alliance, even if informal, has greatly concerned U.S. officials in Washington and intelligence operatives abroad who believe the assets and organization of Hezbollah's formidable militant wing will enable a hobbled al Qaeda network to increase its ability to launch attacks against American targets.
  • Hizbollah is not and has never been a terrorist organisation. It is the legitimate national resistance movement of Lebanon. [...] I glorify the Hizbollah national resistance movement, and I glorify the leader of Hizbollah, Sheikh Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah.
  • In the training camp set up by the Revolutionary Guards near Baalbek, the young men received religious instruction from clerics like Tufayli and Mussawi, now wearing military fatigues under their clerical robes. The men learned to handle AK-47 rifles and rocket propelled grenades, they were taught hand-to-hand combat and the art of camouflage. In the same Beqaa Valley where just a few years ago Palestinian guerrillas had trained Iranian revolutionaries, Iranians were now training Lebanese Shias, birthing a new movement that would forever change Lebanon’s Shia community and America’s relationship with the Middle East. Soon the Lebanese would run the training camps themselves. The still amorphous movement would remain unnamed for a couple more years. But this was the founding of Hezbollah, the Party of God, molded after Iran’s own Hezbollah, and it would be the revolution’s most successful export.
    • Kim Ghattas Black Wave: Saudi Arabia, Iran, and the Forty-Year Rivalry That Unraveled Culture, Religion, and Collective Memory in the Middle East (2020)
  • Still a loose movement, the group coalesced around clear tenets: Islam was a complete program for a better life. It provided the intellectual, religious, ideological, and practical foundations for their new movement. Resistance against Israel was the priority, its total obliteration the end goal. Crucially, the movement submitted to the wilayat al-faqih and the leadership of the faqih, Khomeini. In its official manifesto published in 1985 as a forty-eight-page Open Letter, Hezbollah made clear it desired an Islamic state in Lebanon, a Shia one just like in Iran, though the group was careful not to explicitly threaten to impose it. Society would embrace it, they believed, including Christians, because it was the righteous path. The story that would be most widely told in the decades to come about the birth of Hezbollah is that it was born from the ashes of Israel’s invasion of Lebanon in 1982. After rose petals came bullets, and then car bombs. The story is not entirely wrong. Without the Israeli invasion and occupation, Hezbollah may not have been able to take root in the country. But this is not the whole story. Sheikh Tufayli’s eureka moment at the Damascus airport preceded the rage of occupation. Even before 1979, Khomeini’s disciples had identified Lebanon as fertile terrain for their revolutionary projects.
    • Kim Ghattas, Black Wave: Saudi Arabia, Iran, and the Forty-Year Rivalry That Unraveled Culture, Religion, and Collective Memory in the Middle East (2020)
  • Hezbollah enjoys utmost prestige in Lebanon, because it freed our country. All over the Arab world you hear: Hezbollah maintains Arab honor, and even though it (Hezbollah) is very small, it stands up to Israel. And of course Nasrallah has my respect.
  • I know that the temptation to engage with extremists can be strong. It may seem to promise stability and quiet. We may hope that by feeding the beast we can gradually tame it. As free societies, we pride ourselves, rightly, on our respect for difference and diversity. But we do a disservice to diversity when, in its name, we tolerate the intolerant. Bitter experience has shown that buying off extremists is a short-term fix for which we will pay dearly in the long run. Instead, groups such as Hamas and Hizbullah must be presented with a clear choice between the path of violence and the path of legitimacy. They cannot have both. And it is this same stark choice that must be presented to the radical regime in Iran.
  • Hezbollah will never accept the existence of Israel.
  • No one has a greater motive for these assassinations than Israel, their ambition is to drag Hizbullah into an internal war in Lebanon. There are those inside Lebanon who blame Hizbullah for the murders and this serves Israel's agenda. Israel is trying to drive a wedge between Syria and Lebanon and these killings weaken Syria and its allies in Lebanon.
  • "On the matter of political relations with Iran, the sheikh was absolutely clear. Hizbollah regards the Iranian supreme leader, in this case Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, as its ultimate authority; all major political decisions regarding Hizbollah are referred to – when not actually taken in – Iran. He gave the example of the decision taken in 1992 to enter Lebanese national politics: Hizbollah set up a commission, which prepared a report, with various options; this report was sent to Iran; it was Ayatollah Khamenei himself who took the final decision, in favour of participation."
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