Islam / Orientations / Shi'i /
Arabic: hizb allah
Hizbullah, an Arabic word meaning "Party of God," was formed in 1982, with Hussayn Musawi as leader. Hizbullah is an umbrella organization with groups like Islamic Jihad, Revolutionary Justice organization, Islamic Jihad for a Free Palestine and Revolutionary Arab Groups as subdivisions.
Hizbullah has about 5,000 members, and receives much support and training facilities from Iran and Syria. Accordingly, the party acknowledges leadership from these two countries.
Hizbullah has its strongest holds in southern Beirut and in the Bekaa' Valley.
Hizbullah demands that Westerners leave Lebanon, and they seek to charge the Christian Lebanese population for crimes against their Muslim compatriots.
Hizbullah was formed by members of a faction within the Lebanese Amal party. But following the Iranian revolution in 1979, there was split within the party. The final split, however, came earlier in 1982 after the Israeli invasion of Lebanon.
In many cases, Hizbullah's main enemy has been Israel. Hizbullah's struggle is regarded as jihad, holy war, and members, dying in action become, shadid, martyrs, who are guaranteed a place in Paradise.
Hizbullah claimed responsibility for bombing the US embassy and marine headquarters in Beirut in 1983, as well as hijackings, and taking of Western and Israeli hostages. But Hizbullah also carries out peaceful actions, and is in charge of important social welfare programs for the Lebanese population.
In 1984 Shaykh Muhammad Hussayn Fadlallah took over the control of Hizbullah, and the organization became more of an instrument to oppose Israel on political and religious grounds. Hizbullah has attacked Israeli forces in southern Lebanon and Israelis in northern Israel, and Israel has retaliated. Neither party has been capable of neutralizing the other.
Iran has in recent years managed to persuade Hizbullah to release hostages, in an effort to improve international relations.