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Hezbollah (Arabic: حزب الله‎ ḥizbu-illāh(i), literally "Party of God") is a Shi'a Islamist political and paramilitary organisation based in Lebanon. Hezbollah is also a major provider of social services, which operate schools, hospitals, and agricultural services for thousands of Lebanese Shi'a, and plays a significant force in Lebanese politics. It is regarded as a resistance movement throughout much of the Arab and Muslim world. Many governments, including Arab ones, have condemned actions by Hezbollah while others have praised the party. Some western countries, including the United States, regard it in whole or in part as a terrorist organization.

Hezbollah first emerged in 1982 as a militia in response to the Israeli invasion of Lebanon, also known as Operation Peace for Galilee, set on resisting the Israeli occupation of Lebanon during the Lebanese civil war. Its leaders were inspired by Ayatollah Khomeini, and its forces were trained and organized by a contingent of Iranian Revolutionary Guards. Hezbollah's 1985 manifesto listed its three main goals as "putting an end to any colonialist entity" in Lebanon, bringing the Phalangists to justice for "the crimes they perpetrated," and the establishment of an Islamic regime in Lebanon. Hezbollah leaders have also made numerous statements calling for the destruction of Israel, which they refer to as a "Zionist entity... built on lands wrested from their owners."

Hezbollah, which started with only a small militia, has grown to an organization with seats in the Lebanese government, a radio and a satellite television-station, and programs for social development. Hezbollah maintains strong support among Lebanon's Shi'a population, and gained a surge of support from Lebanon's broader population (Sunni, Christian, Druze) immediately following the 2006 Lebanon War, and is able to mobilize demonstrations of hundreds of thousands. Hezbollah alongside with some other groups began the 2006–2008 Lebanese political protests in opposition to the government of Prime Minister Fouad Siniora. A later dispute over Hezbollah preservation of its telecoms network led to clashes and Hezbollah-led opposition fighters seized control of several West Beirut neighborhoods from Future Movement militiamen loyal to Fouad Siniora. These areas were then handed over to the Lebanese Army. A national unity government was formed in 2008, giving Hezbollah and its opposition allies control of eleven of thirty cabinets seats; effectively veto power.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.
It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Hezbollah."
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