Hezbollah is a Shiite group that the United States considers a terrorist group and has been influential in Lebanon. In the 1980s, Hezbollah emerged in Lebanon with financial backing from Iran and then began to oppose Israeli troops that invaded southern Lebanon. Hezbollah’s main goal was to offer resistance to the Israeli occupation. Ever since they drove Israel out of Lebanon, the popularity of Hezbollah has only risen. After Hezbollah won the war against Israel, it gained a lot of popularity in Lebanon. Originally, Hezbollah wanted to enhance the Islamic way of life by imposing strict laws, but it did not sit well with the citizens of southern Lebanon. Later, Hezbollah made more positive impacts in Lebanon. Hezbollah members have become apart of the Parliament, and they have repeatedly not allowed the country to elect a president because campaigns have not been successful. Also, Hezbollah has expressed their support for Shiite President Assad of Syria and have argued against “Western Interference” which includes the United States. Throughout the years, Hezbollah has expanded their role from being an influence solely in Lebanon to other regions in the Middle Eastern area.
Hezbollah has played a major role inside of Lebanon and has benefited the citizens, prevented attacks, and has become apart of the Lebanese government. Hezbollah has provided free college tuition, schooling, and health care throughout Lebanon for their followers. Also, they have kept Lebanon safe from Israel’s attacks by strengthening their army which has exceeded the Lebanese army in some ways. As mentioned before, in 2000 Hezbollah drove out Israeli forces in Lebanon and gained popularity. In this 34-day conflict between Israel and Hezbollah, about 1,125 Lebanese citizens lost their lives, but Hezbollah emerged emboldened. As Hezbollah continued to strengthen its army, it started to play a big part in the Lebanese government. Eventually, Hezbollah gained the veto power in the cabinet. Now that Michel Aoun has been elected president with Hezbollah as his ally many citizens including Christians and Shia Muslims believe that Hezbollah will be beneficial to the country.
In recent years, Hezbollah has expanded its role overseen by helping Syria’s Shiite president Assad. Even though Hezbollah has been beneficial to the country, they have been supporting Assad, the president of Syria, and assisting him in the civil war. Also, Hezbollah is believed to be behind the attacks of the U.S. embassy and U.S. barracks in 1983. Hezbollah has done damage to the U.S which means they could be a threat to them. Some people in the United States see Hezbollah support of Assad in the civil war as a threat. Assad can be considered a dictator in Syria. He has launched many attacks and has oppressed his people to stay in power. Hezbollah has vowed that they will fight “wherever needed,” and they are now fighting in Syria, specifically Aleppo. The situation in Aleppo has worsened by Syrian and Russian airstrikes with the help of Hezbollah forces that have hit seven hospitals and killed countless citizens. Assad needs the help of Hezbollah because they provide intelligence from the ground about where to target their airstrikes. Many Syrian officers and many other people around the world don’t like the idea of Hezbollah assisting Mr. Assad.
Lebanon has not had a president from 2014-2016, but Hezbollah – the party of God – still remained a prominent role in the Lebanese political system. On October 31st 2016, Lebanon elected Michel Aoun – a former member of the Parliament – for presidency. Michel Aoun’s main ally is Hezbollah and the country wonders how Lebanon will be affected now that Hezbollah has more power.
Originally, Hezbollah emerged in southern Lebanon to defend Israeli invaders and quickly gained popularity with the Lebanese government. Now Hezbollah plays an important role in the government as an ally of President Michel Aoun and now has expanded regionally to assist president Assad in Syria.