Sunday, October 30, 2005

Just so we are clear on the Status of Hezbollah

Hezbollah (Arabic ‮حزب الله‬, meaning Party of God) is regarded by the Arab and Muslim world, and by some European Union countries, as a legitimate, militant, Shia political party in Lebanon, and by the Israeli government and several Western governments as an Islamic fundamentalist, or Islamist, terrorist organization.

The organization was conceived in 1982 as a guerrilla group, started by Lebanese clerics and financed by Iran, to oppose the 1982 Israeli invasion and subsequent occupation of southern Lebanon. The group's critics believe it was set up by Iran solely to spread the Iranian Islamic revolution into Lebanon and throughout the Arab world. It maintains an active fighting force, or militia, known as the Islamic Resistance. Since the May 2000 Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon, Hezbollah has continued fighting the Israeli Defense Forces around the disputed, Israeli-occupied Shebaa Farms area. Although the United Nations regards Shebaa Farms as Syrian territory, Hezbollah considers the area a part of Lebanon. Syrian officals have orally declared that Shebaa Farms are part of Lebanon. The Shebaa farms were taken by Israel from Syria during the 1967 war. Syria was asked to notify the UN that it considered the Shebaa farmsto be part of Lebanon but no offical statement was ever sent. This has lead most specialists to think that Hezbollah?s attempt to recapture the area was a Syrian-backed pretext to keep Israel under military pressure.

In addition to its military wing, Hezbollah maintains a civilian arm, which runs hospitals, schools, orphanages and a television station. Hezbollah currently holds eight seats in the 128-member Lebanese Parliament and is primarily active in the Bekaa Valley, the southern suburbs of Beirut, and southern Lebanon. The group is headed by Sheik Hassan Nasrallah and is financed largely by Iran and Syria, though it also raises funds itself through charities and commercial activities.

U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage has called Hezbollah the "A-team" of terrorism and Al Qaeda the "B-team." [1] ( Supporters of the group regard this kind of statement as anti-Arab propaganda.

Well, Well, of course they would!

" They are funded through charities and commercial activities", hmm, this is interesting. Recently a faction of this group was found guilty in federal court and now are in prison, although appeals are being processed as we speak.

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