Hizballah Rising: Iran's Proxy Warriors
NATIONAL DEFENSE UNIV WASHINGTON DC INST FOR NATIONAL STRATEGIC STUDIES
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While al Qaeda has claimed the world headlines in recent years, Hizballah has established itself in a class of its own-what some terrorism experts call the best in the business. In 2006, Hizballah infiltrated Israel, ambushed an Israeli patrol, took two soldiers hostage, fought the Israeli Defense Forces for 34 days, and launched nearly 4,000 rockets into Israel. The organization is now flush with cash, receiving hundreds of millions of dollars from Iran annually. Expanding its influence, the organization is now making inroads into Iraq and the Horn of Africa in a bid to counter American foreign policy interests and further those of its main sponsor, Iran. In short, Hizballahs stock has never been higher. Part political party, part humanitarian agency, part paramilitary terrorist organization, Hizballah has planted itself firmly on the radical Islamic landscape. Formed in 1982 during the Lebanese civil war, its genesis initially focused on ending Israels occupation of Southern Lebanon while promoting an Iranian-based revolutionary Shiite-Islamic doctrine. Its philosophy was laid out in a 1985 open letter to the world, a document that has been updated and amended over the years to reflect the organizations growing ambitions. In the letter, Hizballah commits itself to the destruction of Israel, the expulsion of Israelis and Western powers from Lebanon, and the removal of American hegemony in our land. According to a 2007 Department of State report, Hizballah remains the most technically capable terrorist group in the world. Beyond its espoused focus on Lebanon, it is linked to terrorist operations in Argentina, Greece, Iraq, Israel, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, and Thailand and has established cells in Europe, Africa, South America, North America, and Asia. Its 25-year history includes some of the deadliest terrorist attacks in modern time.
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