We all know what it’s like to live in a post-9/11 America. Mention the name Al-Qaeda out of context and you may as well expect to have the Department of Homeland Security come knocking on your door. Now the government informs us there is another group to worry about: the Hezbollah.
The Hezbollah, meaning “party of God” in Arabic, is a Shiite Islamic militant group in Lebanon. According to PBS Frontline, the United States sees the Hezbollah as a terrorist organization. To the Lebanese population, they are a political organization with 14 seats in a 128-member Lebanese parliament; to the Israelis, they are the enemy.
Founded in 1982 in response to the Israeli invasion of Lebanon, CNN.com reports that the Hezbollah opposes Israel and strives for that country’s destruction. The group gains political support from voters by doing what people want their politicians to do for them–improve their lives. Consequently Hezbollah hands out money to war victims and survivors, and improves civic infrastructure, building schools and hospitals. Government and news reports state that Hezbollah gains financial support from the governments of Iran and Syria.
With the bloodshed that resulted from this summer’s month-long war along the Israel-Lebanon border, the question in the back of the minds of many Americans is: should the United States be concerned about the Hezbollah?
In a report from CBS News, Hezbollah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah insists the Hezbollah poses no threat to the United States. But our government has not forgotten the attacks that took place when the U.S. intervened in Lebanon’s civil war twenty years ago.
In 1983, suicide truck bombings of Marine barracks in Beirut killed 241 U.S. Marines. Throughout the mid-1980s American citizens were kidnapped by the Hezbollah, with the last hostages released at the end of the war in 1992.
And although ABC news claims there is no credible intelligence pointing to a Hezbollah attack on the U.S., former Senator Bob Graham once stated that “Hezbollah has a global network of radical Islamic supporters, with enough operatives in the U.S. to pose a terrorist threat here.”
An editorial from The Washington Times titled “Hezbollah in America” states the Islamic group is believed to have connections to supporters, branches and alliances in at least 10 U.S. cities, including Miami and Tampa. The network of the Hezbollah, when compared to that of Al-Qaeda, is much greater.
With the fighting having ended for now, it is up to the United Nations to attempt to reach a compromise with the Hezbollah. The U.N. Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 1701, which addresses “the situation in the Middle East.”
The resolution declares that Hezbollah’s actions caused the war between Lebanon and Israel and mandates the removal of the group from the south of Lebanon. Disarmament of the group is also called for, with prevention of rearming.
UNSC 1701 has yet to be enforced, but Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has called the resolution “…a victory for all who are committed to moderation and democracy in the Middle East–and a defeat for those who wish to undermine these principles with violence.”
The truth is Hezbollah is a Radical Islamic group. While the United Nations has not designated them as a terrorist group, there are plenty of other countries who have, including Canada, Israel and the United Kingdom. Our government believes the group is a global issue and a threat to the security of the United States. And in our post-9/11 society, it is better to be safe than sorry. www.house.gov/writerep.
United Nations Security Council
“…the immediate cessation by Hezbollah of all attacks and the immediate cessation by Israel of all offensive military operations” in Lebanon.
Visit the United Nations website athttp://www.un.org to view full text of UNSC 1701.