The Actions and Agenda of the Hizbullah

The Actions and Agenda of the Hizbullah

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The Actions and Agenda of the Hizbullah

The Hizbullah are an extreme Islamic fundamentalist group. In fact, Hizbullah means 'Party of God." The Hizbullah came into existence in the social uprising of the late 1960's to the early 1970's by a Lebanese shia community. Then, following their charismatic leader Imam Musa Sadr, who mysteriously disappeared in Libya in 1978, the group developed until the Israeli invasion of 1982. This brought about Shiite radicalism, which is the Hizbullah's basis when it was created. Since then, the Hizbullah have been an influential part of Lebanon. The Hizbullah is a group of tactical genius. They have created an image as being of good intentions. They have helped to rebuild many communities in return for the people's backing.

The agenda of the Hizbullah, which is known for its attacks on Israeli forces in occupied southern Lebanon, is now unclear. Israel withdrew from the "security zone" of southern Lebanon in May 2000. The only area of Lebanon where Israeli forces remained was Sheba'a farms. Many believed that because of the Hizbullah victory and the Israeli pullout, the Hizbullah would now focus on political and social agendas inside Lebanon. However Hizbullah has chosen to persist in its military strategy against Israel. Hizbullah's actions have the potential to trigger a full-scale, inter-state war.

Some militant actions after the withdrawal have been:

- the kidnapping of three Israeli soldiers from Mount Dov / Sheba'a farms. Hizbullah claimed that this advanced Lebanese interests: 'the liberation of disputed Sheba'a farms and the freeing of Lebanese detainees in Israel' and the Palestinian struggle.
-the killing of an IDF solider in the Sheba'a area on November 26.

Despite press reports of a possible Israel-Hizbullah swap of prisoners, Hizbullah continues to lay the groundwork for future military actions.

For Israel, heavy retaliation against Hizbullah and its ally Syria, especially at a time of Israeli-Palestinian violence, risks opening Israel's northern settlements to Hizbullah fire and maybe even a full-scale military confrontation along the northern border.

Aims for Hizbullah today:

1. Survival - leader, Nasrallah has said that Hizbullah is defined by its "Jihadic identity," a philosophy of continual military struggle. When Israel withdrew from southern Lebanon, recognized by the UN Secretary General as fulfilling the requirements of UNSC resolution 425, Nasrallah declared this inadequate. Hizbullah states that it will continue to fight to liberate Sheba'a. We will continue to fight to liberate Sheba'a."

2. Balance in Lebanon. Hizbullah wishes to seek a balance between continuing to fight against Israel and also to maintain popular support.

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However, Hizbullah does not wish to trigger a full-scale war. This would cause wreckage to southern Lebanon, which is Hizbullah's main base. This is why Hizbullah has taken such care to construct a broad Lebanese consensus regarding the Sheba'a farms and is so far careful to limit operations to that area.

In terms of the United States and its new "war on terrorism," we are not sure of what actions it must take against the Hizbullah. We believe that the Hizbullah have been careful to target only Israeli soldiers and that they are fighting for the Sheba'a farms. Should the Hizbullah keep attacking when/if Israel pulls out, then we believe the United States should take action against the Hizbullah.

If this would be the case, where the United States takes action against the Hizbullah, it would be an extremely difficult battle. The Hizbullah does not want a full-fledged war. They have been highly successful against the Israelis in calculated guerrilla attacks. Should the United States cause destruction to southern Lebanon, public support for the Hizbullah will rise even greater than the already popular Hizbullah.

The United States should commit to the assistance of south Lebanon reconstruction and for stability in the area. This will hopefully decrease the public support for the Hizbullah and give rise to Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri. Hariri, who is mainly interested in internal Lebanese rebuilding, will use this assistance to resurrect Lebanon's economy and then the need for the Hizbullah will also decrease.
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