Who is Hamas Blog

Hezbollah – A Natural Ally of Hamas

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Hezbolla leader Hassan Nasralla. Credit: YNET FB page.

Hezbollah and Hamas: Existential Threats to the State of Israel from the North and South 

Hezbollah and Hamas, both designated as terrorist groups by several countries, including the U.S., share a common goal of seeking the destruction of Israel. However, they are distinct organizations with different origins, objectives, and affiliations. In order to understand the complex security dilemma facing the state of Israel, it is crucial to understand the nuances that set them apart.

Hezbollah: Origins and Goals 

Lebanon flag. Credit: ‘We Are Lebanon’ FB page.

Hezbollah came into existence after the 1982 Lebanon War and was created to unite different Shiite groups in Lebanon under one umbrella. In the 1990s, Hezbollah transitioned into a more formal political role in Lebanon and has since become a significant player in the country’s ruling alliance.

Hezbollah’s ambitions extend beyond fighting Israel; it also aligns with Iran’s broader objectives in the Middle East, opposing Western and Israeli presence in the region.

Hamas: Palestinian and Sunni

Hamas terrorist. Credit: Vered Revivo’s FB page.

Formation and Origins: Hamas is a Palestinian organization with Iranian backing and is designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) by the U.S. Hamas’s primary focus is on establishing a Palestinian state. 

Religious Sect: Hamas primarily identifies with the Sunni branch of Islam, which is in line with the majority of the Islamic world.

Hezbollah’s Involvement in Current Conflict

In the aftermath of the October 7th massacre, many feared Israel would face a multi-front war, one against Hamas in Gaza and another against Hezbollah in the north. There have been daily rocket attacks and attempted infiltration of Hezbollah terrorist squads along with the border with Lebanon since Hamas’s attack. The IDF has responded in return and has already taken out many of Hezbollah’s rocket launchers and terrorist bases. Given strong financial and military support Hezbollah receives from the Islamic Republic of Iran, there is a risk of a much wider conflict breaking out. Iran also controls shiite militias in Syria which have also been testing Israel’s resolve along the border with Syria. Following the October 7th massacre, US President Joe Biden moved US military ships and aircraft carriers close to Israel. If not for this major show of force and deterrence, many believe Israel would already be fighting a full scale war with Hezbollah in Lebanon. 

Hezbollah’s Historical Background

Hezbollah’s roots trace back to the Lebanese Civil War that began in 1975. During this period, Iran and its Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) provided funding and training to Shiite fighters who opposed Israeli forces. The group eventually adopted the name Hezbollah, which translates to “The Party of God.” Initially, its goal was to drive the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) out of southern Lebanon. Even after the IDF’s withdrawal in 2000, Hezbollah continued its armed activities, citing Israel’s presence in Shebaa Farms as justification.

In summary, while both Hezbollah and Hamas share the objective of Israel’s destruction, they are distinct in their origins, religious affiliations, and broader goals. Understanding these differences is essential for comprehending their roles and actions in the ongoing conflicts.

 

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