Hezbollah

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Hezbollah (حزب الله) meaning "party of God") is a Shi'a Islamic militia and political organization based in Lebanon. It follows a distinct version of Islamic Shi'a ideology developed by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, leader of the Islamic Revolution in Iran.[1][http://www.ict.org.il/Articles/Hiz_letter.htm |accessdate=2006-10-25]

Hezbollah began to take shape in response to Israel's 1982 invasion of Lebanon (1982 Lebanon War); on February 16, 1985 Sheik Ibrahim al-Amin publicly declared the group's manifesto, which included three goals:

  • Eradication of Western imperialism in Lebanon,
  • Transformation of Lebanon's multi-confessional state into an Islamic state,
  • Complete destruction of the state of Israel.[2]

Although Hezbollah still believes in an Islamic republic like Iran, it finds it an inaccessible goal in Lebanon.[3]

Hezbollah has popular support in Shiite Lebanese society and has mobilised demonstrations of hundreds of thousandsIn pictures: Hezbollah rally. In addition Hezbollah receives arms, training, and financial support from Iran, it also recieves support from many Arab sympathizer countries[4] and has "operated with Syria's blessing."[5][6] Hezbollah, which started only with a militia, has grown to an organization which has seats in the Lebanese government, a radio and a satellite television station, and programs for social development.[7] Since 1992 the organization has been headed by Sheikh Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, its Secretary-General.

Six countries, including the United States, United Kingdom, and Israel, officially list Hezbollah, or its external security arm, as a terrorist organization. The terrorist label is controversial and highly political as many Arab and Muslim states support Hezbollah's goals and consider it legitimate.[8][9] Russia says that it doesn't list Hezbollah as a terrorist organization because it does not view Hezbollah as a threat to Russia.[10] Human rights organizations Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch accused Hezbollah of committing war crimes against Israeli civilians.[11] Hezbollah's supporters justify the killing of Israeli civilians[12] as reciprocal to what they see as Israeli crimes and past occupation of Lebanese territory.[13][14] [15][16]

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