The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Hezbollah

Aug 7, 2006

Hezbollah or the Party of God was born from the regroupment of different Lebanese Shiite movements who took part in the resistance to the Israeli occupation of Lebanon in June 1982. It was formed with the support of the Iranian Islamic regime headed by the Ayatollah Khomeini, was well as by the Syrian regime. It published its political program in 1985.

Hezbollah appeared during the Lebanese civil war, when the parties representing different religious communities had their own militias. The majority of them were tolerated and even encouraged by the great powers of that time when they took on the Palestinian militias which had formed in refugee camps and were supported by the Lebanese population in the poor neighborhoods. Syria, with the backing of the great powers, intervened in 1976 to push back the “Palestinian-progressive” militias and let the far-right militias carry out a massacre in the Tell al-Zaatar Palestinian refugee camp. It was the same in 1982, when Israel let right-wing militias massacre Palestinians in the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps.

The confrontations between the various Palestinian and Lebanese militias continued until 1989, when the Taef agreement marked the end of the civil war and provided for the disarmament of all the militias who were supposed to give way before the Lebanese army. But Hezbollah, rooted in the south and therefore near the border with Israel, kept its militias and continued to carry out military actions which the Lebanese state was incapable of preventing.

Hezbollah won the support of the poor population in the south of Lebanon through its intransigence toward Israel, and especially its establishment of organizations to aid the population and provide schools, more than for its reactionary political program founded on Islamic fundamentalism. In a state where political power is based on the division of posts between the different religious communities, Hezbollah obtained 14 representatives in the Lebanese parliament out of 128 in the elections in the spring of 2005, as well as one cabinet position in the government.