Also called Lebanese Hizballah, the terrorist group was formed in 1982 after the Israeli invasion of Lebanon (which was itself the "fault" of someone else, etc.)
The Consultative Council, or Majlis al-Shura, is Hezbollah's top governing body. Hassan Nasrallah is the head, or Secretary General, of the council.
Hezbollah is dedicated to "liberating" Jerusalem and eliminating Israel – hence its hatred of the U.S., one of Israel's staunchest allies.
It has formally advanced the notion of absolute Islamic rule in Lebanon. All the same, Hezbollah has actively participated in Lebanon's political system since 1992.
Although Hezbollah does not advocate Syria's fairly secular government, the terrorist group has been a strong ally in helping Syria advance its political objectives in the region.
Hezbollah is often allied with the Shi'ite government of Iran, but has been known to act alone.
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Three members of the group – 'Imad Mughniyah, Ali Atwa and Hasan Izz-al-Din – are among the FBI's 22 Most-Wanted Terrorists for their part in the 1985 hijacking of TWA Flight 847, in which an American Navy diver was murdered.
In 2003, Hezbollah seemed to initiate a presence in Iraq, but it appears its activities there are limited.
Hezbollah currently enjoys the support of several thousands in countries like Lebanon, Iran and Syria, as well as that of a few hundred terrorist operatives.
The group primarily operates in southern Lebanon, especially in the southern outskirts of Beirut and the Bekaa Valley.
Hezbollah receives its aid from Shi'ite factions. Hence it often enjoys training in weapons and explosives, as well as diplomatic, political, financial, and organizational aid from Iran; political, diplomatic and logistic aid from Syria; and immense financial aid from Lebanese business interests and individuals worldwide, especially through the Lebanese diaspora.
Many expatriate Lebanese reside in Latin America, and often utilize certain countries' free trade zones for their own purposes.
Howard Vincent Meehan wrote a Master's Thesis in December 2004 for the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, CA entitled, "Terrorism, Diasporas, and Permissive Threat Environments: A Study of Hizballah's Fundraising Operations in Paraguay and Ecuador." Approved by James Wirtz, chairman of the National Security Affairs Department, it serves as a good study into Hezbollah's fundraising in Latin America.
The study states that:
"Most of the attention of international counter-terrorist organizations has been directed toward Hizballah's fundraising operations in the Tri-Border Area (TBA) of Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay...
"For example, Paraguay's geostrategic proximity to the free trade zone of the TBA is conducive to piracy and money laundering and explains their use by Hizballah. Also, high levels of communal and ideological support for Hizballah from Paraguay's Lebanese diaspora are conducive to extortion and donations and explain their use."
So states should probably not be our principal anti-terrorism focus. Instead, it's those places around the globe which contain significant numbers of sympathetic nationalities who are most likely to have financial and ideological ties with terror organizations.
In other words, places containing large numbers of Saudis will be most likely to have financial backers of al Qaeda among its group; large Lebanese or Iranian groups should be most likely to have among its number Hezbollah supporters, and so on.
So what happens when the presidents of two countries in Central America (Venezuela and Nicaragua) join forces with Iran, which has been a public spectacle in recent months?
What happens when radical Islam has supporters in the Western hemisphere?
They can easily sneak terrorists, money, and weapons by the thousands into the United States using Mexican drug / alien smuggling routes. Mexico did it – in fact there's estimated to be over 11 million illegal aliens from Mexico inside the U.S.
So, how many illegal Middle Easterner are there?
Tens of thousands?
We need to secure our borders.
But it's probably too late.