Hezbollah has committed itself to the betterment of societal Lebanon not just in the context of Muslim families and organizations but all those who stand for an independent Lebanon. They have also provided a great deal of assistance when conflict has rendered regions without electricity or water (International Crisis Group, 2005). It was Hezbollah who provided not only medical supplies and food to Beirut during the 2006 conflict, but they also provided electricity and clean water for the people left without such vital resources. In a revolutionary move, Hezbollah even offers free medical care to every individual who pledges themselves to the organization. While it is clearly propaganda to further their cause, the access to free healthcare in a region plagued by poverty, starvation, and disease is truly radical and identifies Hezbollah as a militia genuinely concerned with the welfare of the people it is fighting to liberate (Fisk, 2001).
Hezbollah has a satellite radio station as well as a satellite television station. Somewhat sensationally dubbed the station of the resistance Hezbollah produces a great deal of news and educational content which is widely available and eagerly consumed (Picard, 1993). There has been concern though regarding the overall anti-Zionist message of a great deal of the programming. Some inflammatory reports even indicate that the programming is designed to encourage listeners to acts of suicide bombing against Israeli targets. Such an assertion though stands in direct opposition to the goals of the organization (Gronbech- Jensen, 1999). Though it is true that in the manifesto of their operations, Hezbollah leadership indicate that they will not be able to rest until their Zionest enemy has fallen, it is also true that Hezbollah is very much against the unnecessary death of civilians or the destruction of civilian targets (International Institute for Strategic Studies, 2000). It is likely though, that in the multitude of anti- Zionist propaganda which is put forth daily, there is a degree of anti-Semitic propaganda spread as well. It is important to note though that Hezbollah clearly states that its enemy is the state of Israel, not the civilian population or their beliefs (Greene, 1984).
Hezbollah currently exists as one of two primary political parties within Lebanon. As such it is necessary for continued political advancement for there to be significant infrastructure and socially reconstructive branches of the party. It has been remarked that Hezbollah presents itself as any other "government" would (International Institute for Strategic Studies, 2000). It is possessing of an armed branch as well as branches concerned with economy, social welfare, environment, and education. Hezbollah is even making strides in beginning to interact diplomatically with the world at large. Making the first genuine foray of any former revolutionary militia still regarded as a militia and not a formal government into the world of international politics (International Crisis Group, 2002).
The political protests of 2006 perhaps mark the most striking departure from Hezbollah of the 1980's and 1990's to the Hezbollah in power currently. Though joining the government officially in 2005, Hezbollah leaders opposed a number of perceived sectarian policies demanding a government which would be representative of the entire population (International Institute for Strategic Studies). When such an agreement could not be reached rather than resorting to violence as would have been their past position, senior ministers in the Hezbollah organization resigned their post and rallied hundreds of thousands of protesters to peacefully demonstrate against the incumbent government. The rallies lasting from 2006- 2008 mark the first step in the shift of Hezbollah from a terrorist organization to a political one. Though eventually in late 2008 fighting did erupt as a result of the government assertion that Hezbollah telecommunications were illegal and the removal of an airport security chief with ties to the organization. Even then, the violence was at a bare minimum leaving only eleven dead in small street skirmishes (Rubin, 2010). Hezbollah seized control of key neighborhoods in Beirut but promptly then handed control back to the Army in an effort to secure military sympathy. Their bid worked and the government not only revoked its suspension of Hezbollah broadcasting but agreed to the original political requirements of Hezbollah on the new government. Hezbollah was granted veto power and its opposition allies were all given seats in parliament (Rubin, 2010).
The 1991 launch of Hezbollah's television and radio stations through the support of Iranian financial backing identified Iran as a significant contributor to the coffers of the organization. historically Hezbollah has identified only the donations of Muslims worldwide as the source of its income, it has been conclusively proven that this is not entirely the case. It has been estimated that approximately $200 million dollars annually is funneled into the organization via the Islamic Republic of Iran (Halliday, 2005). Though this financial assistance is ostensibly only used for political and social programs such as hospitals, schools, and election campaigns it cannot be conclusively proven that such is the case. Further it has been observed that an increasingly large amount of money is being brought into the organization through a number of illegal methods in and around North and South America. In an operation called "smoke screen" a multimillion dollar cigarette smuggling operation was uncovered whose profits were going directly to Hezbollah (Halliday, 2005).
Additional to more mundane operations such as cigarette smuggling there are also reports of smuggling actual individuals into the United States and South America for the purposes of fund raising. Though it is currently unclear as to how accurate that assessment is in that those individuals seeking to move to the United States may well be doing so for reasons other than strictly raising money for the organization, it has been confirmed that people are among the wide range of commodities smuggled by Hezbollah (International Crisis Group, 2005). Additionally a significant amount of narcotic production and transportation has been linked with the organization. It is believed that a significant amount of high quality hashish as well as heroin produced in the region is coming from fields likely operated by the Hezbollah organization. It is estimated approximately $10 million dollars per annum is filtered into Hezbollah as a result of international drug trafficking. However, because the primary region in which Hezbollah distributes its product is so rife with competition from other illegal organizations which are paramilitary in their own right it can be difficult to establish the precise bounds of the drug smuggling and disbursement operation (Haddad & Jamali, 2003).
Though smuggling can be rather lucrative, it is not the only illegal means through which it is suggested that Hezbollah turns the type of financial profit necessary to fund its continued social and military activities (Fisk, 2001). While reports of kidnapping for ransom and even counterfeiting abound it is entirely more feasible that degrees of extortion are employed in areas where Hezbollah forces enforce law and order. It is also probable that since their supply of munitions and weapons is steady and furnished willingly by the Islamic Republic of Iran that arms dealing is another means through which Hezbollah supports itself (Saad- Ghorayeb, 2002). While the illegal funding options are perhaps more interesting to investigate the contribution of the very many wealthy Shiite's whose portfolios are at the beckon call of the organization cannot be underestimated. Though the small contributions made by individual citizens around the world are important their use is more as a sign of solidarity and public opinion barometer than an actual reliable source of income (Qassem, 2005).
Arming of Hezbollah:
Though the story of Hezbollah specifically begins in 1982, the social and political climate which fostered such a group begins nearly forty years earlier with the establishment of Israel as a country through the Un General Assembly Resolution 181 which established effectively a partition in the country formerly known as Palestine in which a Jewish state and a Muslim state were established (Greene, 1984). Following the mass displacement of World War II, the international community established Israel as a sovereign country which could offer refuge to the millions of displaced Jews who survived the concentration camps of the Nazi party, this position was cemented through the 1948 Israeli Declaration of Independence, a move supported by the international community (Kalibi, 1988). Though in theory an excellent and effective resolution to a serious international crisis, the area which would become sovereign Israel was already inhabited by citizens whose national allegiance was Palestinian. Preceding the effects of World War II on the mass exodus of Jews from Europe, the demographics of Palestine were such that the overwhelming majority of the population was Muslim followed by Jews and then Christians who combined numbered less than half of the residential Muslims. By 1947 though, this demographic balance had shifted such that there were nearly equal numbers of native residential Palestinian Muslims and displaced European Jews vying for political control of the region (Cobban, 1988). The establishment of a new country effectively within an existing country resulted…