In the midst of the Israel-Hamas conflict, Israel’s determination to eliminate Hamas from the Gaza Strip has inadvertently brought another adversary into the spotlight—Hezbollah. This Lebanese political force, situated in the north of Israel, has been a significant player for decades.
The clashes between Israel and Hamas have been ongoing since October 7, with a deadly attack by Hamas that resulted in the loss of 1,400 lives.
Notably, Hezbollah’s leader, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, recognized for issuing threats against Israel in his speeches, has maintained a low profile since the crisis unfolded this month.
What is Hezbollah?
Hezbollah, meaning the “Party of God,” is an ally of Hamas. Established in 1982 by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, its primary purpose was to combat Israeli forces that had invaded Lebanon. It has remained a staunch enemy of Israel, which regards Hezbollah as a significant threat to its borders.
Hezbollah and Israeli forces have engaged in intense confrontations along the Lebanese-Israeli frontier, marking the most serious escalation since 2006 when a war erupted between the two. Over the years, Hezbollah has expanded its arsenal, and its fighters have participated in the Syrian civil war in support of President Bashar al-Assad.
Hezbollah’s influence has extended beyond its borders, as it has trained paramilitary groups in Syria and Iraq, while also inspiring other factions such as Yemen’s Iran-allied Houthis.
US Designation of Hezbollah
The United States officially designates Hezbollah as a terrorist group. This classification stems from its involvement in a suicide bombing that destroyed the Marine headquarters in Beirut in October 1983, resulting in the loss of 241 servicemen. Additionally, two suicide bombings targeted the U.S. embassy in 1983 and its annex in 1984.
Hezbollah in Lebanon
Despite suffering a setback in losing their majority in Lebanon’s Parliament during an election last year, Hezbollah and its political allies remain a potent political force. They continue to exercise de facto control over various parts of the country, including southern Lebanon.
Israel’s Actions in Lebanon
Israel has launched airstrikes on both Gaza and southern Lebanon. They struck two Hezbollah cells in Lebanon that were planning to launch anti-tank missiles and rockets toward Israel. The Israeli military has also targeted other Hezbollah-related sites, including a compound and an observation post.
Countries Supporting Gaza and Palestine Amid the Conflict
In the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict, which began on October 7, the Iran-backed Lebanese group Hezbollah has taken action against Israel. Additionally, several other nations have voiced their support for Gaza and Palestine, including Lebanon, Turkey, Syria, Yemen, Iraq, and Sudan.
Concluding the hostilities in the Middle East remains a complex challenge, with various actors involved in the region’s dynamics.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. Is Hezbollah solely focused on opposing Israel?
– Hezbollah’s primary adversary is Israel, but it has also been involved in regional conflicts and has a broader influence.
2. What is the connection between Hezbollah and Iran?
– Hezbollah has strong ties with Iran and receives support from the Iranian government.
3. What are the implications of the US designating Hezbollah as a terrorist group?
– The designation restricts Hezbollah’s activities and its ability to access international financial systems.
4. How has the Israel-Hamas conflict impacted the broader Middle East region?
– The conflict has drawn in various regional actors and has broader implications for stability in the Middle East.
5. What is the role of the United Nations in mediating the Israel-Hamas conflict?
– The United Nations plays a role in facilitating ceasefires and humanitarian aid, but a lasting solution remains a complex challenge.