Frontline World

LEBANON - Party of God, May 2003


Related Features THE STORY
Synopsis of "Party of God"

BULLETS TO BALLOT BOX
A History of Hezbollah

INTERVIEW WITH DAVID LEWIS
Negotiating With Hezbollah

FACTS & STATS
Lebanon Country Profile

LINKS & RESOURCES
Hezbollah, the Region and U.S. Policy

MAP

REACT TO THIS STORY

   


2001-Present: Hezbollah's Future
Civil WarHezbollah EmergesTarget AmericaGlobal TerrorThe Fate of Hezbollah
Geographical Key
Hezbollah Comes Next

A Hezbollah store in Beirut sells

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 life.
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.

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."

A video shows Hezbollah guerrillas during a training exercise

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 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.

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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