When most Americans think of Middle Eastern terrorist groups the names Al-Qaeda, ISIS and Hamas are generally the only ones that people can come up with. However, there is a very important terrorist group in Lebanon that the United States should have its eyes on: Hezbollah.
Hezbollah is a terrorist organization based in Lebanon’s Shiite-dominated areas. These areas include the Bekaa Valley, parts of Beirut and southern Lebanon. Hezbollah, also known as “Party of God,” surfaced during the First Lebanon War in 1982 in the aftermath of Israel’s invasion and subsequent occupation in 1982. Their main goal was, and still is, to destroy Israel. Its leader, Hassan Nasrallah, has been quoted in October 2002 saying, “If they (Jews) all gather in Israel, it will save us the trouble of going after them worldwide.”
Since then, under the leadership of Hassan Nasrallah, Hezbollah has conducted suicide bombings, kidnappings, guerrilla attacks and assassinations. They have received the honor of being known as the first organization in modern history to carry out suicide bombing attacks. To carry out these bombings they established terror sleeper cells around the world, weapon stores, safe houses and assets in addition to relying on local criminal organizations. On July 18, 1994, a Hezebollah suicide bomber drove a car with 275 kilograms of explosives in front of the Jewish Community Center in the downtown area of Buenos Aires, Argentina, destroying the building. This attack killed 85 people and wounded 300.
Hezbollah tends to target primarily civilian populations while using its own people has human shields. They hide their weapons and terrorist among civilian facilities such as homes, hospitals, schools and mosques. During the Second Lebanese War in 2006, Hezbollah targeted the populations in northern Israel. They fired over 4,000 rockets and killed 44 civilians in the time of the conflict. At the time that this war broke out Hezbollah had 20,000 rockets in their possession and in 2013 they had over 60,000. They have upgraded their weapons and their potential to reach deeper into Israel and to harm innocent civilians has increased drastically.
Hezbollah is not only attacking just Israel, but they are attacking Jews worldwide. In a recent New York Times article, Hezbollah Attack Along Bordern With Lebanon Wounds Two Israeli Soldiers, we see that Hezbollah has started up their attacks again on Israel. However, Prof. Eyal Zisser of Tel Aviv University thinks that this is not opening up a new front. They may just be trying to assert their presence on the Israeli border to make Israel aware that they are still there and not going anywhere.
“Yoram Schweitzer, an expert at the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv, said that by taking responsibility for the attack, Hezbollah appeared to be signaling that it wanted “to re-establish the rules of the game” in the border area and “to warn Israel not to exploit what it may see as Hezbollah’s weakness.” Mr. Schweitzer added that Hezbollah may also want to burnish its image as the Lebanese resistance against Israel, despite its involvement in Syria.”
My primary question about these recent attacks is what was the point? I am no expert on military tactics, but why are they killing innocent people just to make a point? Do you think they could actually start a full on attack within the next coming months? I think that Hezbollah is something that everyone should be keeping their eye on and monitoring their progress in the next few months.