Hezbollah Comes Next
With Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein seemingly weakened for the time
being, Hezbollah has fallen under consideration as the next target
in the Bush administration's war on terror. Deputy Secretary of
State Richard Armitage is a key proponent of the view that Hezbollah
is the "A-team" of the world's terrorist organizations. Armitage
argues that Hezbollah poses more of a threat to the United States
than does al Qaeda.
A Hezbollah store in Beirut sells a
full line of Hezbollah paraphernalia. Hezbollah has become
an accepted and welcomed part of Lebanon's social and political
Senator Bob Graham, D-Fla., a former chair of the Senate Intelligence
Committee and a presidential candidate, contends that President
Bush should have dealt with Hezbollah even before striking Iraq.
Shortly before the start of the American campaign in Iraq, Graham
told CBS's 60 Minutes, "In my opinion, there's no question
that Hezbollah is the greater threat, and yes, we should go
after it first and go after it before we go to war with Iraq."
The United States finds itself in a quandary, with puzzling
military and diplomatic choices. Hezbollah's status as a legitimate
political party in Lebanon limits U.S. options. Once a ragtag
militia, Hezbollah has successfully transformed itself into
a powerful political and social force. The New York Times
recently reported that Hezbollah has become a "media-friendly,
computer-savvy" organization with its own press kits, several
Web sites and a television station called Al-Manar, which is
officially licensed by the Lebanese government.
A video shows Hezbollah guerrillas
during a training exercise. Many videos like this are broadcast
on Hezbollah's television station, Al Manar, which has an
estimated following of 10 million viewers.
The organization markets a full line of paraphernalia touting
the cause, including a series of videotapes depicting suicide
bombers and guerrilla attacks against Israeli soldiers. Hezbollah
also administers a network of schools and hospitals that provide
services to tens of thousands of Lebanese families.
NEXT - Hezbollah's Future (continued):
Turning From Bullets to Ballots
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