Backgrounder: Hezbollah

November 21, 2017

Ross Dayton

Nasrallah, cc Flickr thierry ehrmann, modified, https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

 

Summary

Lebanon’s Hezbollah (“Party of God” in Arabic) is a Shi’a politico-military grouping at the forefront of Iran’s bid for control of the Middle East. The militant group serves to bolster Iranian influence via operations in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, and Yemen. These activities have made the group a sworn enemy of Saudi Arabia, which has tried to isolate and pressure Hezbollah wherever it operates. The Saudi-backed prime minister of Lebanon, Saad Hariri, recently resigned from office in protest of Hezbollah’s influence in Lebanon and Iranian expansionism in the region. Two days later, Saudi Arabia accused Hezbollah and Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corp (IRGC) of being directly responsible for a missile attack on Riyadh from Yemeni territory. Furthermore, the United States has also sought to ramp up pressure on Hezbollah by implementing new sanctions against the group, which is already designated by the US State Department as a Foreign Terrorist Organization.

While anti-Iranian powers regard Hezbollah as a threat, the group has established itself in Lebanon as an armed political movement with strong support from the Lebanese Shi’a community.

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