Thursday, July 20, 2006

Who is Hezbollah?

Toon Credit: Glenn McCoy

"...the Hizbollah movement has occupied a central position as the "A-team" of terrorist organizations with a global reach for successive American administrations. Prior to 9/11, Hizballah was charged with being responsible for the greatest number of American casualties worldwide in terrorist attacks..."--From the book The Making of a Terrorist, Chp. 15--The Hizballah Training Camps of Lebanon by Magnus Ranstorp

Before 9/11 I didn't know much about Al-Qaeda and similarly before now I didn't know much about Hezbollah and Hamas. I decided to do some research and do some posts on the background of Hezbollah, Hamas, Syria, Iran and all the connections. I'm going to start with a post on Hezbollah. I had heard many people say that these groups are all linked to Iran and Syria and I found that to be oh, so true.


"The conflict with Israel is viewed as a central concern. This is not only limited to the IDF presence in Lebanon. Rather, the complete destruction of the State of Israel and the establishment of Islamic rule over Jerusalem is an expressed goal."--From the political platform of Hezbollah, first published in 1985

"As a political entity, Hezbollah is dedicated to the destruction of Israel."

ORIGINS

Hezbollah made its appearance in 1982. It became public in 1985. Aliases of Hezbollah are: Islamic Jihad, Organization of the Oppressed on Earth, Islamic Jihad for the Liberation of Palestine, Party of God, Revolutionary Justice Organization, The Islamic Resistance. It is a Lebanese Shia Islamic group that got its inspiration from the Iranian Revolution in 1979.


Their current leader is Hassan Nasrallah. The U.S. government estimates there are several thousand members.
Here are some of the basics from wikipedia:
"It was formed primarily to combat Israeli occupation following the 1982 Lebanon War. The United States and Israel say that Hezbollah has received financial and political assistance, as well as weapons and training, from Iran and Syria. Founded with the aid of Iran and funded by it, Hezbollah follows the distinct Shia Islamic ideology developed by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, leader of the Islamic Revolution in Iran. Hezbollah is considered a terrorist organization by Israel, the United States the United Kingdom and Canada."

TERRORIST ATTACKS

Since 1982 Hezbollah is believed to be responsible for nearly 200 terrorist attacks that have killed more than 800 people according to The Terrorism Knowledge Base.
Here is a listing of some of the attacks:
--The suicide bombing of the U.S. Embassy, which killed 63, including 17 U.S. citizens
--The 1983 bombing of the U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut which killed 241 U.S. servicemen
--The bombing of the French multinational force headquarters which killed 58 French troops
--The bombing of the replacement U.S. Embassy in East Beirut on September 20, 1984, killing 20 Lebanese and two U.S. soldiers
--The 1985 hijacking of TWA Flight 847 en route from Athens to Rome
--Attacks in Argentina in 1990 and 1994
--Israeli Embassy attack in Buenos Aires, Argentina on March 17, 1992
--The AMIA (AsociaciĆ³n Mutual Israelita Argentina) bombing, the building was the headquarters of Argentina's Jewish community, 85 people died (mostly Jews) and over 300 were wounded

They are also suspected of kidnapping and torturing 32 westerners from 1982-92.

CONNECTIONS TO IRAN AND SYRIA
"Hizballah was established by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards who came to Lebanon during the 1982 "Peace for Galilee" war, as part of the policy of exporting the Islamic revolution. It receives substantial amounts of financial, training, weapons, explosives, political, diplomatic, and organizational aid from Iran and Syria. Published reports that Iran provides hundreds million dollars of aid annually are probably exaggerated. Iran probably provides financial assistance and military assistance worth about $25-50 million.

Hizballah is closely allied with, and often directed by, Iran but has the capability and willingness to act independently. Closely allied with, and often directed by Iran, it may have conducted operations that were not approved by Tehran. Though Hizballah does not share the Syrian regime’s secular orientation, the group has been a strong ally in helping Syria advance its political objectives in the region."--GlobalSecurity.org

ATTEMPTS TO DISARM HEZBOLLAH

Hezbollah has defied numerous attempts that have been made to disarm them. In 1989
"the Taif Agreement that ended the Lebanese civil war, required the "disbanding of all Lebanese and non-Lebanese militias" and required the government to "deploy the Lebanese army in the border area adjacent to Israel."
Ofcourse this was never enforced and Hezbollah was allowed to continue. Then in 2004
"the UN Security Council adopted UN Security Council Resolution 1559, coauthored by France and the United States. Echoing the Taif Agreement, the resolution "calls upon all remaining foreign forces to withdraw from Lebanon" and "for the disbanding and disarmament of all Lebanese and non-Lebanese militias." Lebanon is currently in violation of Resolution 1559 over its refusal to disband the military wing of Hezbollah."


What I am incredulous about is how it has become the biggest joke that you can commit genocide, mass murder, terrorist attacks, commit human rights abuses and what will the UN do? They will draft a resolution!!! Will they ever enforce it? No!! Does everyone know this? Yes!! So evil people have nothing to fear and thus the UN is worthless. The UN and the rest of the world is still upset that the US actually had the gaul to do something about Iraq and give some teeth to the 17 resolutions that Iraq violated. Resolutions mean nothing unless you back them up with consequences. This is basic common sense 101. If you threaten a child with punishment but never punish him he knows he can get away with murder. And with Hezbollah that is literally true. Since no has called them to account for violating Resolution 1559 they have continued to attack and murder people.


And in another example of how appeasement never works it is reported that Hezbollah gained a lot of respect in the Arab and Islamic world when Isreal left Lebanon in 2000. The pullout did not bring peace but only emboldened Hezbollah to continue its aggression towards Israel.

Isreal is defending itself right now against Hezbollah's terrorism. It has been stated that Iran and Syria are getting nervous about losing their hold on the Middle East. As they see Iraq becoming a democracy they are getting scared that their time may be running out to grab control. I think this is all true. If the citizens of Iraq enjoy freedom and Iranian and Syrian citizens see this they too will want to taste freedom. Thus we must support and stand with Israel as they fight their branch of the war on terror. And when the time comes the U.S. will have to take our stand against Iran and Syria.

SOURCES:
Main source-Wikipedia-Hezbollah
The Hizballah Training Camps of Lebanon--Magnus Ranstorp
Hizbollah--GlobalSecurity.org
Hezbollah--Council on Foreign Relations
Hat Tip to Mike for being my Resource guy

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