Hezbollah: Origins, Objectives, Doctrines

Origins

Originating from the advent of civil war in Lebanon and the Iranian Revolution of 1979, Hezbollah is a radical Shiite Muslim political party and militant group fighting against Israel and western occupation and influence within Lebanon. With aims of expelling the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) combatants in southern Lebanon, Israel invaded Lebanon in 1982. The invasion and subsequent occupation prompted sectarian division within the region and gave rise to the loose formation of Shiite resistance and Iranian alliance, which formed the foundation of Hezbollah.

Lebanon

Trained and supported by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, Hezbollah issued their founding manifesto to the world in 1985 declaring, “our primary assumption in the fight against Israel states that the Zionist entity is aggressive from its inception, and built on lands wrested from their owners, at the expense of the rights of the Muslim people” (Masters). Championing an edict of predatory defensiveness, Hezbollah “considers themselves a part of the world Islamic community, attacked at once by the tyrants of the East and the West” (Hoffman). In tandem with Iranian political, financial, and military support, Hezbollah calls for the expulsion of Israel and the United States from Lebanese territory, as well as for the destruction of the Israeli state in its entirety (Masters).

Objectives

Hezbollah’s objective, in response to Israeli invasion into Lebanon, was to drive the Israeli military out of southern Lebanon and to establish an Islamic state encompassing Lebanon and Israel. They view an Islamic republic, modeled after Iran, to be the ideal form of a state, and they seek to introduce such a government in Lebanon through peaceful democratic means. They wish to “participate in Lebanese national politics and influence domestic and foreign policy for the betterment of the region.” (Hezbollah and its Goals) Hezbollah will do this by fighting Israel and western imperialism in Lebanon, and through the removal of all non-islamic influences.

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After Israel was expelled from Lebanon, Hezbollah’s objectives evolved. They still seek to establish an Islamic state, and support’s the destruction of the state of Israel, but have more ideological objectives. Hezbollah aims to “introduce the islam that is confident in achieving justice, as well as introducing the islam that protects all human rights” (Hezbollah: History and Overview). They wish to present a picture of islam that is logical, practical, and in accordance with modern day requirements. Hezbollah also seeks to brand itself as the only group to successfully battle the Israeli army. They want to become a voice of Lebanese citizens and show that Israel is not invincible.

Doctrines

The group of Hezbollah is known as a political party in Lebanon to represent idealistic and radical Shi’ite beliefs. The group claims to be the party of Allah, and as such, they believe they represent His goals as interpreted in their sect of Shi’ite Islam. Hezbollah’s doctrines oppose colonialist influences in Lebanon and in the Middle East, and have been considered a terrorist group because of their support and organization of terrorist attacks (Haddad). After its declared existence, they released a manifesto describing their grievances and stance against American, French allies, and French influences. Their stance is against all these influences, and call for hostility until all of these colonial influences have been expelled from Lebanon. Furthermore, their manifesto demands justice be done to these influences who committed alleged grievances in the past to Lebanese peoples. Lastly, the final point in their doctrine is to establish a wholly radical Shi’ite regime in the country, with all Lebanese people converted to their form of Shi’ite Islam.

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According to Simon Haddad, the majority of Lebanese Muslims, with stronger religious intensity, are sympathetic if not supportive of their Islamic doctrines, and support their goals for an Islamic Lebanese regime, regardless of their governmental approval levels. Hezbollah believes in the use of force and coercion for its goals, and an alarming amount of the Lebanese Shi’ite hold favorable attitudes towards the manifesto and methods used by Hezbollah (Haddad).

 

Works Cited

Hoffman, Bruce. Inside Terrorism. New York: Columbia University Press, 2006.

Haddad, Simon. “The origins of popular support for Lebanon’s Hezbollah.” Studies in Conflict & Terrorism 29.1 (2006): 21-34.

Masters, Jonathan. Hezbollah. 3 January 2014. 25 June 2015 <http://www.cfr.org/lebanon/hezbollah-k-hizbollah-hizbullah/p9155>.

“Hezbollah — ADL: Terrorist Symbol Database.” Hezbollah — ADL: Terrorist Symbol Database. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 June 2015. <http://archive.adl.org/terrorism/symbols/hezbollah.html>.

“Hezbollah and Its Goals.” N.p., n.d. Web. 26 June 2015. <http://www.palestinefacts.org/pf_1991to_now_hezbollah.php>.

“Hezbollah: History and Overview.” Jewish Virtual LIbrary. American-Israeli Cooperative Enterprise, n.d. Web. 26 June 2015. <www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org>.