Hizbullah - the Party of God

Hizballah - social radicals.

The prevelant perception of Hizbullah in the "west" is of a militant, armed terrorist organization bent on abduction and murder. While the initial years of its emergence as a political movement in Lebanon were turbulent and controvertial, The Party of God has matured to become an important and pivotal force in Middle East politics in general and Lebanese society in particular. Hizbullah has its immediate historic roots in the social uprising of the Lebanese Shi'a community in the late 1960's and early 70's that took its inspiration from the charismatic Imam Musa Sadr who "disappeared" in Libya in 1978.

Sadr's Movement of the Deprived (Harakat al-Mahrumin) with it's military wing and present-day political party, Amal soon became mired in the convolutions of Lebanese politics and the 15-year civil war. The Israeli invasion of 1982 provided the catalyst for Shiite radicalism. Hizbullah emerged with the aim of expelling the occupants and alleviating the social sufferings of the Shia community.

While Al Moqawama al Islamia (The Islamic Resistance) has attracted much of world attention, the various other community activities of Hizbullah are of equal if not greater importance at home. It runs a range of philanthropic and commercial activities including hospitals, medical centers,schools, orphanages, rehabilitation centers for the handicapped, supermarkets, gas stations, construction companies, a radio station (Nur) and public service television station (Al Manar). Up until the middle 1990's Hizbullah was also responsible for public services and utilities in the southern suburbs of Beirut.

In the early days, Hizbullah gained much notoriety through the kidnappings of several westerners by one of its fringe groups. But what caused most political consternation were the quite spectacular actions against various foreign occupants by its predecessors. The bombing of the barracks of the US Marines and French headquarters in 1983 killed 300 soldiers of the Multinational Force that by then had lost its semblance of neutrality of intervention in the punishing Israeli siege and occupation of West Beirut. That humiliation led the US to lose its nerve in trying to police the conflict which no longer was restricted to an Israeli - Palestinian matter, with force. The subsequent bombing of the "Israeli Defence Forces" headquarters in Tyre with 75 soldiers lost took its toll on Israeli resolve and led to it's retreat to the present occupation zone in the south. The present activities of the resistance in southern Lebanon continue to try both morale and staying-will of the Israeli occupation whose losses in 1997 alone were 35 men. What is not commonly understood abroad is that the aim of the resistance in southern Lebanon is not military activity against northern Israel as carried on by the Palestinian guerillas of the 70's and early 80's, but the liberation of occupied Lebanon.

The revolution against the Shah in Iran undoubtedly carried much inspiration for the Shi'a community in Lebanon, but it's modern historic roots go back to the Islamic revival at the centers of learning in Najf, Iraq in the 1960's. Hizbullah's spiritual leader is Sheikh Muhammad Husayn Fadlallah who remains somewhat distant from the running of the party who's general secretary is Sheikh Sa'id Hassan Nasrallah.

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Hizbullah documents, institutions and sites.

Media Relations Office
The Media Relations Office of Hizbullah
Statement of purpose
From Hizballah's press office.
The Party of God
Hizbullah: Views and Concepts
The Electoral Program of Hizbullah, 1996
The honorable Supreme Pontiff Pope John Paul the Second
A message addressed by Hizbullah to the Pope up on his visit to Lebanon in May, 1997
Emdad Commitee for Islamic Charity
Social work and assistance for the needy
Al-Shahid Social Association
Support for the families of the martyrs of the resistance.
Hizbollah Central Press Office
The main Hizbullah site in Beirut.
Hizbullah, The Party of God
The Association for supporting the Islamic Resistance
Al Manar TV
Manar, the television station of the Islamic resistance.
Al Jarha Association
The Al-Jarha Association helps wounded resistance fighters build themselves a future.
Jehad Al Benaa
Development association for construction and reconstruction.
Video-clip from the celebration of Ashoura in Beirut, May 1998

Related documents

The April War of 1996
History of Agression in Lebanon
Map of the occupation zone
Jan. 1998
Images from South Lebanon,
Qana and the April War of 1996
Occupied villages
in South Lebanon
The Imam Musa Sadr
Background on the occupation in the south.
Martyrs of the Resistance
Islamism in Lebanon: A Guide
by Nizar Hamzeh
Hizballah: From Radicalism to Pragmatism?
by Augustus Richard Norton, 1996
A Voice of Resistance: the Point of View of Hizballah
by Mats Wärn, 1997
Staying the Course: the "Lebanonization" of Hizbollah; - the integration of an Islamist movement into a pluralist political system
Masters thesis by Mats Wärn, 1999
Hizbullah; A Contextual Study Focusing on Human Freedom
Bachelor thesis by Erik Abild - UiO, 2007
Books and literature

External resources

(These documents are from various sources including some that are hostile to Hizbullah and its activities.)

Iraeli government documents on Hizballah


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