War on Terror

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War on Terror
Clockwise from top left: Aftermath of the September 11 attacks; American infantry in Afghanistan; an American soldier and Afghan interpreter in Zabul Province, Afghanistan; explosion of an Iraqi car bomb in Baghdad
Clockwise from top left: Aftermath of the September 11 attacks; American infantry in Afghanistan; an American soldier and Afghan interpreter in Zabul Province, Afghanistan; explosion of an Iraqi car bomb in Baghdad.
Date 11 September 2001 – present
(15 years, 8 months and 1 day)[note 1]
Location Global (esp. in the Greater Middle East)
Status NATO-led international involvement in Afghanistan (2001–2014)

Insurgency in Yemen (1992–2015):[note 2]

Iraq War (2003–2011):

War in North-West Pakistan (2004–present):

  • Ongoing insurgency
  • Large part of FATA under Taliban control
  • Shifting public support for the Pakistani government
  • Killing of Osama bin Laden
  • Drone strikes being conducted by the CIA

International campaign against ISIL (2014–present):

Other:

Belligerents
Main participants:
 United States (leader)
 United Kingdom
 France
 Russia
 China[1][2]

Other countries:


(* note: most contributing nations are included in the international operations)

Main targets:

Flag of Taliban.svg Taliban
East Turkestan Islamic Movement


Commanders and leaders
George W. Bush
(President 2001–2009)
Barack Obama
(President 2009–2017)
Donald Trump
(President 2017–present)

Tony Blair
(Prime Minister 1997–2007)
Gordon Brown
(Prime Minister 2007–2010)
David Cameron
(Prime Minister 2010–2016)
Theresa May
(Prime Minister 2016–present)

Jacques Chirac (President 1995–2007)
Nicolas Sarkozy (President 2007–2012)
François Hollande(President 2012–present)
Vladimir Putin
(President 2000–2008, 2012–present)

Dmitry Medvedev
(President 2008–2012)
Jiang Zemin
(President 2001–2003)
Hu Jintao
(President 2003–2013)
Xi Jinping
(President 2013–present)

al-Qaeda

Osama bin Laden 
(Founder and first Emir of al-Qaeda)
Ayman al-Zawahiri
(Current Emir of al-Qaeda)
Saif al-Adel
(al-Qaeda Military Chief)
Abu Musab al-Zarqawi 
(Emir of al-Qaeda in Iraq)
Ilyas Kashmiri 
(Commander of Lashkar al-Zil)
Qasim al-Raymi
(Emir of AQAP)
Abdelmalek Droukdel
(Emir of AQIM)
Mokhtar Belmokhtar 
(Emir of AQWA)
Asim Umar
(Emir of AQIS)
Ahmad Umar
(Emir of al-Shabaab)
Abu Mohammad al-Julani
(Emir of al-Nusra Front)
Muhsin al-Fadhli 
(Leader of Khorasan Group)[37]

Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi
(Caliph of ISIL)
Abu Ala al-Afri 
(Deputy Emir of ISIL)[38][39][40]
Abu Muslim al-Turkmani 
(Deputy Leader, Iraq)[41]
Abu Suleiman al-Naser 
(Head of War Council)[42]
Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant Abu Mohammad al-Adnani 
(Spokesperson for ISIL)
Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant Abu Omar al-Shishani 
(Senior ISIL commander)
Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant Abu Nabil al-Anbari (ISIL Emir of North Africa)
Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant Abu Abdullah al-Filipini (ISIL Emir of the Philippines)
Mohammed Abdullah
(ISIL Emir of Derna)
Ali Al Qarqaa
(ISIL Emir of Nofaliya)
Hafiz Saeed Khan  [43](ISIL Emir of Wilayat Khorasan)
Usman Ghazi[44][45]
Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant Abubakar Shekau[46]
(Emir of Boko Haram)

Taliban

Mohammed Omar
(1st Supreme Commander of the Taliban) 
Akhtar Mansour
(2nd Supreme Commander of the Taliban) 
Hibatullah Akhundzada
(Current & 3rd Supreme Commander of the Taliban)
Quetta Shura
(Senior Taliban council)

Abdul Ghani Baradar
Obaidullah Akhund 
Mohammad Fazl
Dadullah Akhund 

Tehrik-i-Taliban

Maulana Fazlullah
(Emir of Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan)

Haqqani Network

Jalaluddin Haqqani 
(leader of the Haqqani network)
Sirajuddin Haqqani

East Turkestan Islamic Movement

Abdul Haq
(Emir of the East Turkestan Islamic Movement)

Abdullah Mansour
(Emir of the East Turkestan Islamic Movement)

The War on Terror (WoT), also known as the Global War on Terrorism (GWOT), is a metaphor of war referring to the international military campaign that started after the September 11th attacks on the United States.[47] U.S. PresidentGeorge W. Bush first used the termWar on Terror” on 20 September 2001.[47] The Bush administration and the Western media have since used the term to argue a global military, political, legal, and conceptual struggle against both terrorist organizations and against the regimes accused of supporting them. It was originally used with a particular focus on countries associated with Islamic terrorist organizations including al-Qaeda and like-minded organizations.

In 2013, President Barack Obama announced that the United States was no longer pursuing a War on Terror, as the military focus should be on specific enemies rather than a tactic. He stated, “We must define our effort not as a boundless ‘Global War on Terror,’ but rather as a series of persistent, targeted efforts to dismantle specific networks of violent extremists that threaten America.”[48]

In 2017 Donald Trump assumed presidency of the United States and vowed that the fight against ISIL is his number one priority.[49][50] A series of airstrikes were carried out at an ISIL stronghold in Syria in March 2017 and the Trump Administration announced the sending of more troops to ISIL-held territories in the Middle East to continue the fight against the terrorist organization.[51][52][53] Trump has also agreed to work together and carry joint operations with Russian President Vladimir Putin in the ongoing war on terror.[54]

Etymology[edit source]

Letter from Barack Obama indicating appropriation of Congressional funds for “Overseas Contingency Operations/Global War on Terrorism”

The phrase “War on Terror” has been used to specifically refer to the ongoing military campaign led by the U.S., UK and their allies against organizations and regimes identified by them as terrorist, and usually excludes other independent counter-terrorist operations and campaigns such as those by Russia and India. The conflict has also been referred to by names other than the War on Terror. It has also been known as:

History of the name[edit source]

In 1984, the Reagan Administration used the term “war against terrorism” as part of an effort to pass legislation that was designed to freeze assets of terrorist groups and marshal the forces of government against them. Author Shane Harris asserts this was a reaction to the 1983 Beirut barracks bombing, which killed 241 U.S. and 58 French peacekeepers.[62]

The concept of America at war with terrorism may have begun on 11 September 2001 when Tom Brokaw, having just witnessed the collapse of one of the towers of the World Trade Center, declared “Terrorists have declared war on [America].”[63]

On 16 September 2001, at Camp David, President George W. Bush used the phrase war on terrorism in an unscripted and controversial comment when he said, “This crusade – this war on terrorism – is going to take a while, … “[64] Bush later apologized for this remark due to the negative connotations the term crusade has to people, e.g. of the Muslim faith. The word crusade was not used again.[65] On 20 September 2001, during a televised address to a joint session of Congress, Bush stated that “(o)ur ‘war on terror’ begins with al-Qaeda, but it does not end there. It will not end until every terrorist group of global reach has been found, stopped, and defeated.”[66]

In April 2007, the British government announced publicly that it was abandoning the use of the phrase “War on Terror” as they found it to be less than helpful.[67] This was explained more recently by Lady Eliza Manningham-Buller. In her 2011 Reith lecture, the former head of MI5 said that the 9/11 attacks were “a crime, not an act of war. So I never felt it helpful to refer to a war on terror.”[68]

U.S. President Barack Obama has rarely used the term, but in his inaugural address on 20 January 2009, he stated: “Our nation is at war, against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred.”[69] In March 2009 the Defense Department officially changed the name of operations from “Global War on Terror” to “Overseas Contingency Operation” (OCO).[70] In March 2009, the Obama administration requested that Pentagon staff members avoid the use of the term and instead to use “Overseas Contingency Operation”.[70] Basic objectives of the Bush administration “war on terror”, such as targeting al Qaeda and building international counterterrorism alliances, remain in place.[71][72] In December 2012, Jeh Johnson, the General Counsel of the Department of Defense, stated that the military fight would be replaced by a law enforcement operation when speaking at Oxford University,[73] predicting that al Qaeda will be so weakened to be ineffective, and has been “effectively destroyed”, and thus the conflict will not be an armed conflict under international law.[74] In May 2013, Obama stated that the goal is “to dismantle specific networks of violent extremists that threaten America”;[75] which coincided with the U.S. Office of Management and Budget having changed the wording from “Overseas Contingency Operations” to “Countering Violent Extremism” in 2010.[76]

The rhetorical war on terror[edit source]

Because the actions involved in the “war on terrorism” are diffuse, and the criteria for inclusion are unclear. Political theorist Richard Jackson has argued that “the ‘war on terrorism’ therefore, is simultaneously a set of actual practices—wars, covert operations, agencies, and institutions—and an accompanying series of assumptions, beliefs, justifications, and narratives—it is an entire language or discourse.”[77] Jackson cites among many examples a statement by John Ashcroft that “the attacks of September 11 drew a bright line of demarcation between the civil and the savage”.[78]Administration officials also described “terrorists” as hateful, treacherous, barbarous, mad, twisted, perverted, without faith, parasitical, inhuman, and, most commonly, evil.[79] Americans, in contrast, were described as brave, loving, generous, strong, resourceful, heroic, and respectful of human rights.[80]

Both the term and the policies it denotes have been a source of ongoing controversy, as critics argue it has been used to justify unilateral preventive war, human rights abuses and other violations of international law.[81][82]

Background[edit source]

Precursor to the 11 September attacks[edit source]

The origins of al-Qaeda can be traced to the Soviet war in Afghanistan (December 1979 – February 1989). The United States, United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and the People’s Republic of China supported the Islamist Afghan mujahadeen guerillas against the military forces of the Soviet Union and the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan. A small number of “Afghan Arab” volunteers joined the fight against the Soviets, including Osama bin Laden, but there is no evidence they received any external assistance.[83] In May 1996 the group World Islamic Front for Jihad Against Jews and Crusaders (WIFJAJC), sponsored by bin Laden (and later re-formed as al-Qaeda), started forming a large base of operations in Afghanistan, where the Islamist extremist regime of the Taliban had seized power earlier in the year.[84] In February 1998, Osama bin Laden signed a fatwā, as head of al-Qaeda, declaring war on the West and Israel,[85][86] later in May of that same year al-Qaeda released a video declaring war on the U.S. and the West.[87][88]

On 7 August 1998, al-Qaeda struck the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, killing 224 people, including 12 Americans.[89] In retaliation, U.S. President Bill Clinton launched Operation Infinite Reach, a bombing campaign in Sudan and Afghanistan against targets the U.S. asserted were associated with WIFJAJC,[90][91] although others have questioned whether a pharmaceutical plant in Sudan was used as a chemical warfare facility. The plant produced much of the region’s antimalarial drugs[92] and around 50% of Sudan’s pharmaceutical needs.[93] The strikes failed to kill any leaders of WIFJAJC or the Taliban.[92]

Next came the 2000 millennium attack plots, which included an attempted bombing of Los Angeles International Airport. On 12 October 2000, the USS Cole bombing occurred near the port of Yemen, and 17 U.S. Navy sailors were killed.[94]

September 11, 2001, attacks[edit source]

On the morning of September 11, 2001, 19 men affiliated with al-Qaeda hijacked four airliners all bound for California. Once the hijackers assumed control of the airliners, they told the passengers that they had a bomb on board and would spare the lives of passengers and crew once their demands were met – no passenger and crew actually suspected that they would use the airliners as suicide weapons since it had never happened before in history, and many previous hijacking attempts had been resolved with the passengers and crew escaping unharmed after obeying the hijackers.[95][96] The hijackers – members of al-Qaeda’s Hamburg cell[97] intentionally crashed two airliners into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City. Both buildings collapsed within two hours from fire damage related to the crashes, destroying nearby buildings and damaging others. The hijackers crashed a third airliner into the Pentagon in Arlington County, Virginia, just outside Washington D.C. The fourth plane crashed into a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, after some of its passengers and flight crew attempted to retake control of the plane, which the hijackers had redirected toward Washington D.C., to target the White House or the U.S. Capitol. None of the flights had any survivors. A total of 2,977 victims and the 19 hijackers perished in the attacks.[98]

U.S. objectives[edit source]

  NATO
  Major military operations (AfghanistanPakistanIraqSomaliaYemen)
  Other allies involved in major operations

Circle Burgundy Solid.svg Major terrorist attacks by al-Qaeda and affiliated groups: 1.1998 United States embassy bombings • 2. 11 September attacks 2001 • 3. Bali bombings 2002• 4. Madrid bombings 2004 • 5. London bombings 2005 • 6. Mumbai attacks 2008

The Authorization for the use of Military Force Against Terrorists or “AUMF” was made law on 14 September 2001, to authorize the use of United States Armed Forces against those responsible for the attacks on 11 September 2001. It authorized the President to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on 11 September 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or individuals. Congress declares this is intended to constitute specific statutory authorization within the meaning of section 5(b) of the War Powers Resolution of 1973.

The George W. Bush administration defined the following objectives in the War on Terror:[99]

  1. Defeat terrorists such as Osama bin Laden, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and demolish their organizations
  2. Identify, locate and demolish terrorists along with their organizations
  3. Deny sponsorship, support and sanctuary to terrorists
    1. End the state sponsorship of terrorism
    2. Establish and maintain an international standard of accountability concerning combating terrorism
    3. Strengthen and sustain the international effort to combat terrorism
    4. Work with willing and able states
    5. Enable weak states
    6. Persuade reluctant states
    7. Compel unwilling states
    8. Interdict and disorder Material support for terrorists
    9. Abolish terrorist sanctuaries and havens
  4. Diminish the underlying conditions that terrorists seek to exploit
    1. Partner with the international community to strengthen weak states and prevent (re)emergence of terrorism
    2. Win the war of ideals
  5. Defend U.S. citizens and interests at home and abroad
    1. Integrate the National Strategy for Homeland Security
    2. Attain domain awareness
    3. Enhance measures to ensure the integrity, reliability, and availability of critical, physical, and information-based infrastructures at home and abroad
    4. Implement measures to protect U.S. citizens abroad
    5. Ensure an integrated incident management capability

Afghanistan[edit source]

U.S. Army soldier of the 10th Mountain Division in Nuristan Province, June 2007

Operation Enduring Freedom[edit source]

Campaign streamer awarded to units who have participated in Operation Enduring Freedom

Operation Enduring Freedom is the official name used by the Bush administration for the War in Afghanistan, together with three smaller military actions, under the umbrella of the Global War on Terror. These global operations are intended to seek out and destroy any al-Qaeda fighters or affiliates.

Operation Enduring Freedom – Afghanistan[edit source]

On 20 September 2001, in the wake of the 11 September attacks, George W. Bush delivered an ultimatum to the Taliban government of Afghanistan, the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, to turn over Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda leaders operating in the country or face attack.[66] The Taliban demanded evidence of bin Laden’s link to the 11 September attacks and, if such evidence warranted a trial, they offered to handle such a trial in an Islamic Court.[100] The U.S. refused to provide any evidence.

Subsequently, in October 2001, U.S. forces (with UK and coalition allies) invaded Afghanistan to oust the Taliban regime. On 7 October 2001, the official invasion began with British and U.S. forces conducting airstrike campaigns over enemy targets. Kabul, the capital city of Afghanistan, fell by mid-November. The remaining al-Qaeda and Taliban remnants fell back to the rugged mountains of eastern Afghanistan, mainly Tora Bora. In December, Coalition forces (the U.S. and its allies) fought within that region. It is believed that Osama bin Laden escaped into Pakistan during the battle.[101][102]

In March 2002, the U.S. and other NATO and non-NATO forces launched Operation Anaconda with the goal of destroying any remaining al-Qaeda and Taliban forces in the Shah-i-Kot Valley and Arma Mountains of Afghanistan. The Taliban suffered heavy casualties and evacuated the region.[103]

The Taliban regrouped in western Pakistan and began to unleash an insurgent-style offensive against Coalition forces in late 2002.[104] Throughout southern and eastern Afghanistan, firefights broke out between the surging Taliban and Coalition forces. Coalition forces responded with a series of military offensives and an increase of troops in Afghanistan. In February 2010, Coalition forces launched Operation Moshtarak in southern Afghanistan along with other military offensives in the hopes that they would destroy the Taliban insurgency once and for all.[105] Peace talks are also underway between Taliban affiliated fighters and Coalition forces.[106] In September 2014, Afghanistan and the United States signed a security agreement, which permits the United States and NATO forces to remain in Afghanistan until at least 2024.[107] The United States and other NATO and non-NATO forces are planning to withdraw;[108] with the Taliban claiming it has defeated the United States and NATO,[109] and the Obama Administration viewing it as a victory.[110] In December 2014, ISAF encasing its colors, and Resolute Support began as the NATO operation in Afghanistan.[111]Continued United States operations within Afghanistan will continue under the name “Operation Freedom’s Sentinel”.[112]

International Security Assistance Force[edit source]

Map of countries contributing troops to ISAF as of 5 March 2010. Major contributors (over 1000 troops) in dark green, other contributors in light green, and former contributors in magenta.

December 2001 saw the creation of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) to assist the Afghan Transitional Administration and the first post-Taliban elected government. With a renewed Taliban insurgency, it was announced in 2006 that ISAF would replace the U.S. troops in the province as part of Operation Enduring Freedom.

The British 16th Air Assault Brigade (later reinforced by Royal Marines) formed the core of the force in southern Afghanistan, along with troops and helicopters from Australia, Canada and the Netherlands. The initial force consisted of roughly 3,300 British, 2,000 Canadian, 1,400 from the Netherlands and 240 from Australia, along with special forces from Denmark and Estonia and small contingents from other nations. The monthly supply of cargo containers through Pakistani route to ISAF in Afghanistan is over 4,000 costing around 12 billion in Pakistani Rupees.[113][114][115][116][117]

Iraq and Syria[edit source]

A British C-130J Hercules aircraft launches flare countermeasures before being the first coalition aircraft to land on the newly reopened military runway at Baghdad International Airport

Iraq had been listed as a State sponsor of terrorism by the U.S. since 1990,[118] when Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait. Iraq had also been on the list from 1979 to 1982; it was removed so that the U.S. could provide material support to Iraq in its war with Iran. Hussein’s regime had proven to be a problem for the UN and Iraq’s neighbors due to its use of chemical weapons against Iranians and Kurds in the 1980s.

Iraqi no-fly zones[edit source]

Following the ceasefire agreement that suspended hostilities (but not officially ended) in the 1991 Gulf War, the United States and its allies instituted and began patrolling Iraqi no-fly zones, to protect Iraq’s Kurdish and Shi’a Arab population—both of which suffered attacks from the Hussein regime before and after the Gulf War—in Iraq’s northern and southern regions, respectively. U.S. forces continued in combat zone deployments through November 1995 and launched Operation Desert Fox against Iraq in 1998 after it failed to meet U.S. demands for “unconditional cooperation” in weapons inspections.[119]

In the aftermath of Operation Desert Fox, during December 1998, Iraq announced that it would no longer respect the no-fly zones and resumed its attempts to shoot down U.S. aircraft.

Operation Iraqi Freedom[edit source]

The Iraq War began in March 2003 with an air campaign, which was immediately followed by a U.S.-led ground invasion. The Bush administration stated the invasion was the “serious consequences” spoken of in the UNSC Resolution 1441, partially by Iraq possessing weapons of mass destruction. The Bush administration also stated the Iraq war was part of the War on Terror; something later questioned or contested.

The first ground attack came at the Battle of Umm Qasr on 21 March 2003 when a combined force of British, American and Polish forces seized control of the port city of Umm Qasr.[120] Baghdad, Iraq’s capital city, fell to American troops in April 2003 and Saddam Hussein’s government quickly dissolved.[121] On 1 May 2003, Bush announced that major combat operations in Iraq had ended.[122] However, an insurgency arose against the U.S.-led coalition and the newly developing Iraqi military and post-Saddam government. The rebellion, which included al-Qaeda-affiliated groups, led to far more coalition casualties than the invasion. Other elements of the insurgency were led by fugitive members of President Hussein’s Ba’ath regime, which included Iraqi nationalists and pan-Arabists. Many insurgency leaders are Islamists and claim to be fighting a religious war to reestablish the Islamic Caliphate of centuries past.[123] Iraqi President Saddam Hussein was captured by U.S. forces in December 2003. He was executed in 2006.

In 2004, the insurgent forces grew stronger. The U.S. conducted attacks on insurgent strongholds in cities like Najaf and Fallujah.

In January 2007, President Bush presented a new strategy for Operation Iraqi Freedom based upon counter-insurgency theories and tactics developed by General David Petraeus. The Iraq War troop surge of 2007 was part of this “new way forward” and, along with U.S. backing of Sunni groups it had previously sought to defeat, has been credited with a widely recognized dramatic decrease in violence by up to 80%.

Operation New Dawn[edit source]

The war entered a new phase on 1 September 2010,[124] with the official end of U.S. combat operations. The last U.S. troops exited Iraq on 18 December 2011.[125]

Operation Inherent Resolve (Syria and Iraq)[edit source]

Tomahawk missiles being fired from USS Philippine Sea and USS Arleigh Burke at IS targets in Syria

In a major split in the ranks of Al Qaeda’s organization, the Iraqi franchise, known as Al Qaeda in Iraq covertly invaded Syria and the Levant and began participating in the ongoing Syrian Civil War, gaining enough support and strength to re-invade Iraq’s western provinces under the name of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS/ISIL), taking over much of the country in a blitzkrieg-like action and combining the Iraq insurgency and Syrian Civil War into a single conflict.[126] Due to their extreme brutality and a complete change in their overall ideology, Al Qaeda’s core organization in Central Asia eventually denounced ISIS and directed their affiliates to cut off all ties with this organization.[127] Many analysts[who?] believe that because of this schism, Al Qaeda and ISIL are now in a competition to retain the title of the world’s most powerful terrorist organization.[128]

The Obama administration began to re-engage in Iraq with a series of airstrikes aimed at ISIS starting on 10 August 2014.[129] On 9 September 2014, President Obama said that he had the authority he needed to take action to destroy the militant group known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, citing the 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force Against Terrorists, and thus did not require additional approval from Congress.[130] The following day on 10 September 2014 President Barack Obama made a televised speech about ISIL, which he stated: “Our objective is clear: We will degrade, and ultimately destroy, ISIL through a comprehensive and sustained counter-terrorism strategy”.[131] Obama has authorized the deployment of additional U.S. Forces into Iraq, as well as authorizing direct military operations against ISIL within Syria.[131]On the night of 21/22 September the United States, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the UAE, Jordan and Qatar started air attacks against ISIS in Syria.[citation needed]

In October 2014, it was reported that the U.S. Department of Defense considers military operations against ISIL as being under Operation Enduring Freedom in regards to campaign medal awarding.[132] On 15 October, the military intervention became known as “Operation Inherent Resolve”.[133]

Pakistan[edit source]

Following the 11 September 2001 attacks, former President of Pakistan Pervez Musharraf sided with the U.S. against the Taliban government in Afghanistan after an ultimatum by then U.S. President George W. Bush. Musharraf agreed to give the U.S. the use of three airbases for Operation Enduring Freedom. United States Secretary of State Colin Powell and other U.S. administration officials met with Musharraf. On 19 September 2001, Musharraf addressed the people of Pakistan and stated that, while he opposed military tactics against the Taliban, Pakistan risked being endangered by an alliance of India and the U.S. if it did not cooperate. In 2006, Musharraf testified that this stance was pressured by threats from the U.S., and revealed in his memoirs that he had “war-gamed” the United States as an adversary and decided that it would end in a loss for Pakistan.[134]

On 12 January 2002, Musharraf gave a speech against Islamic extremism. He unequivocally condemned all acts of terrorism and pledged to combat Islamic extremism and lawlessness within Pakistan itself. He stated that his government was committed to rooting out extremism and made it clear that the banned militant organizations would not be allowed to resurface under any new name. He said, “the recent decision to ban extremist groups promoting militancy was taken in the national interest after thorough consultations. It was not taken under any foreign influence”.[135]

In 2002, the Musharraf-led government took a firm stand against the jihadi organizations and groups promoting extremism, and arrested Maulana Masood Azhar, head of the Jaish-e-Mohammed, and Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, chief of the Lashkar-e-Taiba, and took dozens of activists into custody. An official ban was imposed on the groups on 12 January.[136] Later that year, the Saudi born Zayn al-Abidn Muhammed Hasayn Abu Zubaydah was arrested by Pakistani officials during a series of joint U.S.-Pakistan raids. Zubaydah is said to have been a high-ranking al-Qaeda official with the title of operations chief and in charge of running al-Qaeda training camps.[137] Other prominent al-Qaeda members were arrested in the following two years, namely Ramzi bin al-Shibh, who is known to have been a financial backer of al-Qaeda operations, and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who at the time of his capture was the third highest-ranking official in al-Qaeda and had been directly in charge of the planning for the 11 September attacks.

In 2004, the Pakistan Army launched a campaign in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas of Pakistan’s Waziristan region, sending in 80,000 troops. The goal of the conflict was to remove the al-Qaeda and Taliban forces in the area.

After the fall of the Taliban regime, many members of the Taliban resistance fled to the Northern border region of Afghanistan and Pakistan where the Pakistani army had previously little control. With the logistics and air support of the United States, the Pakistani Army captured or killed numerous al-Qaeda operatives such as Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, wanted for his involvement in the USS Cole bombing, the Bojinka plot, and the killing of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl.

The United States has carried out a campaign of Drone attacks on targets all over the Federally Administered Tribal Areas. However, the Pakistani Taliban still operates there. To this day it is estimated that 15 U.S. soldiers were killed while fighting al-Qaeda and Taliban remnants in Pakistan since the War on Terror began.[138]

Osama bin Laden, who was of many founders of al-Qaeda, his wife, and son, were all killed on 2 May 2011, during a raid conducted by the United States special operations forces in Abbottabad, Pakistan.[139]

The use of drones by the Central Intelligence Agency in Pakistan to carry out operations associated with the Global War on Terror sparks debate over sovereignty and the laws of war. The U.S. Government uses the CIA rather than the U.S. Air Force for strikes in Pakistan to avoid breaching sovereignty through military invasion. The United States was criticized by[according to whom?] a report on drone warfare and aerial sovereignty for abusing the term ‘Global War on Terror’ to carry out military operations through government agencies without formally declaring war.

In the three years before the attacks of 11 September, Pakistan received approximately US$9 million in American military aid. In the three years after, the number increased to US$4.2 billion, making it the country with the maximum funding post 9/11.

Baluchistan[edit source]

Brahamdagh Bugti stated in a 2008 interview that he would accept aid from India, Afghanistan, and Iran in defending Baluchistan.[140] Pakistan has repeatedly accused India of supporting Baloch rebels,[141][142] and Wright-Neville writes that outside Pakistan, some Western observers also believe that India secretly funds the Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA).[143]

The uprising in Baluchistan started after Pakistan invaded and occupied the territory in 1948. Various NGOs have reported human rights violations in committed by Pakistani armed forces. According to reports, approximately 18,000 Baluch residents are reportedly missing and about 2000 have been killed.[144]

Trans-Sahara (Northern Africa)[edit source]

Operation Enduring Freedom – Trans Sahara[edit source]

Northern Mali conflict.svg

Operation Enduring Freedom – Trans Sahara (OEF-TS) is the name of the military operation conducted by the U.S. and partner nations in the Sahara/Sahel region of Africa, consisting of counter-terrorism efforts and policing of arms and drug trafficking across central Africa.

The conflict in northern Mali began in January 2012 with radical Islamists (affiliated to al-Qaeda) advancing into northern Mali. The Malian government had a hard time maintaining full control over their country. The fledgling government requested support from the international community on combating the Islamic militants. In January 2013, France intervened on behalf of the Malian government’s request and deployed troops into the region. They launched Operation Serval on 11 January 2013, with the hopes of dislodging the al-Qaeda affiliated groups from northern Mali.[145]

Horn of Africa and the Red Sea[edit source]

Operation Enduring Freedom – Horn of Africa[edit source]

This extension of Operation Enduring Freedom was titled OEF-HOA. Unlike other operations contained in Operation Enduring Freedom, OEF-HOA does not have a specific organization as a target. OEF-HOA instead focuses its efforts to disrupt and detect militant activities in the region and to work with willing governments to prevent the reemergence of militant cells and activities.[146]

In October 2002, the Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA) was established in Djibouti at Camp Lemonnier.[147] It contains approximately 2,000 personnel including U.S. military and special operations forces (SOF) and coalition force members, Combined Task Force 150 (CTF-150).

Task Force 150 consists of ships from a shifting group of nations, including Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Pakistan, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. The primary goal of the coalition forces is to monitor, inspect, board and stop suspected shipments from entering the Horn of Africa region and affecting the United States’ Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Included in the operation is the training of selected armed forces units of the countries of Djibouti, Kenya and Ethiopia in counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency tactics. Humanitarian efforts conducted by CJTF-HOA include rebuilding of schools and medical clinics and providing medical services to those countries whose forces are being trained.

The program expands as part of the Trans-Saharan Counterterrorism Initiative as CJTF personnel also assist in training the armed forces of Chad, Niger, Mauritania and Mali. However, the War on Terror does not include Sudan, where over 400,000 have died in an ongoing civil war.

On 1 July 2006, a Web-posted message purportedly written by Osama bin Laden urged Somalis to build an Islamic state in the country and warned western governments that the al-Qaeda network would fight against them if they intervened there.[148]

Somalia has been considered a “failed state” because its official central government was weak, dominated by warlords and unable to exert effective control over the country. Beginning in mid-2006, the Islamic Courts Union (ICU), an Islamist faction campaigning on a restoration of “law and order” through Sharia law, had rapidly taken control of much of southern Somalia.

On 14 December 2006, the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Jendayi Frazer claimed al-Qaeda cell operatives were controlling the Islamic Courts Union, a claim denied by the ICU.[149]

By late 2006, the UN-backed Transitional Federal Government (TFG) of Somalia had seen its power effectively limited to Baidoa, while the Islamic Courts Union controlled the majority of southern Somalia, including the capital of Mogadishu. On 20 December 2006, the Islamic Courts Union launched an offensive on the government stronghold of Baidoa and saw early gains before Ethiopia intervened for the government.

By 26 December, the Islamic Courts Union retreated towards Mogadishu, before again retreating as TFG/Ethiopian troops neared, leaving them to take Mogadishu with no resistance. The ICU then fled to Kismayo, where they fought Ethiopian/TFG forces in the Battle of Jilib.

The Prime Minister of Somalia claimed that three “terror suspects” from the 1998 United States embassy bombings are being sheltered in Kismayo.[150] On 30 December 2006, al-Qaeda deputy leader Ayman al-Zawahiri called upon Muslims worldwide to fight against Ethiopia and the TFG in Somalia.[151]

On 8 January 2007, the U.S. launched the Battle of Ras Kamboni by bombing Ras Kamboni using AC-130 gunships.[152]

On 14 September 2009, U.S. Special Forces killed two men and wounded and captured two others near the Somali village of Baarawe. Witnesses claim that helicopters used for the operation launched from French-flagged warships, but that could not be confirmed. A Somali-based al-Qaida affiliated group, the Al-Shabaab, has verified the death of “sheik commander” Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan along with an unspecified number of militants.[153] Nabhan, a Kenyan, was wanted in connection with the 2002 Mombasa attacks.[154]

Philippines[edit source]

Operation Enduring Freedom – Philippines[edit source]

U.S. Special Forces soldier and infantrymen of the Philippine Army

In January 2002, the United States Special Operations Command, Pacific deployed to the Philippines to advise and assist the Armed Forces of the Philippines in combating Filipino Islamist groups.[155] The operations were mainly focused on removing the Abu Sayyaf group and Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) from their stronghold on the island of Basilan.[156] The second portion of the operation was conducted as a humanitarian program called “Operation Smiles”. The goal of the program was to provide medical care and services to the region of Basilan as part of a “Hearts and Minds” program.[157][158] Joint Special Operations Task Force – Philippines disbanded in June 2014,[159]ending a successful 12-year mission.[160] After JSOTF-P had disbanded, as late as November 2014, American forces continued to operate in the Philippines under the name “PACOM Augmentation Team”, until February 24, 2015.[161][162]

Yemen[edit source]

The United States has also conducted a series of military strikes on al-Qaeda militants in Yemen since the War on Terror began.[163] Yemen has a weak central government and a powerful tribal system that leaves large lawless areas open for militant training and operations. Al-Qaeda has a strong presence in the country.[164] On 31 March 2011, AQAP declared the Al-Qaeda Emirate in Yemen after its captured most of Abyan Governorate.[165]

The U.S., in an effort to support Yemeni counter-terrorism efforts, has increased their military aid package to Yemen from less than $11 million in 2006 to more than $70 million in 2009, as well as providing up to $121 million for development over the next three years.[166]

U.S. Allies in the Middle East[edit source]

Israel[edit source]

Israel has been fighting terrorist groups such Hezbollah, Hamas, and Islamic Jihad, who are all Iran’s proxies aimed at Iran’s objective to destroy Israel. According to the Clarion Project: “Since 1979, Iran has been responsible for countless terrorist plots, directly through regime agents or indirectly through proxies like Hamas and Hezbollah.[167] In 2006, U.S. President [George W Bush] said that Israel’s war on terrorist group Hezbollah was part of war on terror.[168]

Saudi Arabia[edit source]

Saudi Arabia witnessed multiple terror attacks from different groups such as Al-Queda whos leader Osama Bin Laden delcared war on the Saudi government. On June 16, 1996, the Khobar Towers bombing took place in Saudi Arabia that killed 19 U.S. soldiers. It is widely thought that Iran orchestrated it. The 9/11 Commission concluded that Hezbollah, likely with the support of the Iranian regime, was the perpetrator. It said there are “signs” that Al-Qaeda also played a role.[167]

Libya[edit source]

On 19 March 2011, a multi-state coalition began a military action in Libya, ostensibly to implement United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973. The United Nations Intent and Voting was to have “an immediate ceasefire in Libya, including an end to the current attacks against civilians, which it said might constitute crimes against humanity” … “imposing a ban on all flights in the country’s airspace – a no-fly zone – and tightened sanctions on the Qadhafi regime and its supporters.” The resolution was taken in response to events during the Libyan Civil War,[169] and military operations began, with American and British naval forces firing over 110 Tomahawk cruise missiles,[170] the French Air Force, British Royal Air Force, and Royal Canadian Air Force[171] undertaking sorties across Libya and a naval blockade by Coalition forces.[172] French jets launched air strikes against Libyan Army tanks and vehicles.[173][174] The Libyan government response to the campaign was totally ineffectual, with Gaddafi’s forces not managing to shoot down a single NATO plane despite the country possessing 30 heavy SAM batteries, 17 medium SAM batteries, 55 light SAM batteries (a total of 400-450 launchers, including 130-150 SA-6 launchers and some SA-8 launchers), and 440-600 short-range air-defense guns.[175][176] The official names for the interventions by the coalition members are Opération Harmattan by France; Operation Ellamy by the United Kingdom; Operation Mobile for the Canadian participation and Operation Odyssey Dawn for the United States.[177]

From the beginning of the intervention, the initial coalition of Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Italy, Norway, Qatar, Spain, UK and US[178][179][180][181][182] expanded to nineteen states, with newer states mostly enforcing the no-fly zone and naval blockade or providing military logistical assistance. The effort was initially largely led by France and the United Kingdom, with command shared with the United States. NATO took control of the arms embargo on 23 March, named Operation Unified Protector. An attempt to unify the military leadership of the air campaign (while keeping political and strategic control with a small group), first failed over objections by the French, German, and Turkish governments.[183][184] On 24 March, NATO agreed to take control of the no-fly zone, while command of targeting ground units remains with coalition forces.[185][186][187] The handover occurred on 31 March 2011 at 06:00 UTC (08:00 local time). NATO flew 26,500 sorties since it took charge of the Libya mission on 31 March 2011.

Fighting in Libya ended in late October following the death of Muammar Gaddafi, and NATO stated it would end operations over Libya on 31 October 2011. Libya’s new government requested its mission to be extended to the end of the year,[188] but on 27 October, the Security Council voted to end NATO’s mandate for military action on 31 October.[189]

An AV-8B Harrier takes off from the flight deck of the USS Wasp during Operation Odyssey Lightning, August 8, 2016.

NBC News reported that in mid-2014, ISIS had about 1,000 fighters in Libya. Taking advantage of a power vacuum in the center of the country, far from the major cities of Tripoli and Benghazi, ISIS expanded rapidly over the next 18 months. Local militants were joined by jihadists from the rest of North Africa, the Middle East, Europe and the Caucasus. The force absorbed or defeated other Islamist groups inside Libya and the central ISIS leadership in Raqqa, Syria, began urging foreign recruits to head for Libya instead of Syria. ISIS seized control of the coastal city of Sirte in early 2015 and then began to expand to the east and south. By the beginning of 2016, it had effective control of 120 to 150 miles of coastline and portions of the interior and had reached Eastern Libya’s major population center, Benghazi. In spring 2016, AFRICOM estimated that ISIS had about 5,000 fighters in its stronghold of Sirte.[190]

However, the indigenous rebel groups who had staked their claims to Libya and turned their weapons on ISIS — with the help of airstrikes by Western forces, including U.S. drones, the Libyan population resented the outsiders who wanted to establish a fundamentalist regime on their soil. Militias loyal to the new Libyan unity government, plus a separate and rival force loyal to a former officer in the Qaddafi regime, launched an assault on ISIS outposts in Sirte and the surrounding areas that lasted for months. According to U.S. military estimates, ISIS ranks shrank to somewhere between a few hundred and 2,000 fighters. In August 2016, the U.S. military began airstrikes that, along with continued pressure on the ground from the Libyan militias, pushed the remaining ISIS fighters back into Sirte, In all, U.S. drones and planes hit ISIS nearly 590 times, the Libyan militias reclaimed the city in mid-December.[190] On January 18, 2017, ABC News reported that two USAF B-2 bombers struck two ISIS camps 28 miles south of Sirte, the airstrikes targeted between 80 and 100 ISIS fighters in multiple camps, an unmanned aircraft also participated in the airstrikes. NBC News reported that as many as 90 ISIS fighters were killed in the strike, a U.S. defense official said that “This was the largest remaining ISIS presence in Libya,” and that “They have been largely marginalized, but I am hesitant to say they have been eliminated in Libya.”[190]

Other military operations[edit source]

Operation Active Endeavour[edit source]

Operation Active Endeavour is a naval operation of NATO started in October 2001 in response to the 11 September attacks. It operates in the Mediterranean and is designed to prevent the movement of militants or weapons of mass destruction and to enhance the security of shipping in general.[191]

Fighting in Kashmir[edit source]

Political Map: the Kashmir region districts

In a ‘Letter to American People’ written by Osama bin Laden in 2002, he stated that one of the reasons he was fighting America is because of its support of India on the Kashmir issue.[192][193] While on a trip to Delhi in 2002, U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld suggested that Al-Qaeda was active in Kashmir, though he did not have any hard evidence.[194][195] In 2002, The Christian Science Monitor published an article claiming that Al-Qaeda and its affiliates were “thriving” in Pakistan-administered Kashmir with the tacit approval of Pakistan’s National Intelligence agency Inter-Services Intelligence.[196] A team of Special Air Service and Delta Force was sent into Indian-administered Kashmir in 2002 to hunt for Osama bin Laden after reports that he was being sheltered by the Kashmiri militant group Harkat-ul-Mujahideen.[197] U.S. officials believed that Al-Qaeda was helping organize a campaign of terror in Kashmir to provoke conflict between India and Pakistan. Fazlur Rehman Khalil, the leader of the Harkat-ul-Mujahideen, signed al-Qaeda’s 1998 declaration of holy war, which called on Muslims to attack all Americans and their allies.[198] Indian sources claimed that In 2006, Al-Qaeda claimed they had established a wing in Kashmir; this worried the Indian government.[199] India also argued that Al-Qaeda has strong ties with the Kashmir militant groups Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed in Pakistan.[200] While on a visit to Pakistan in January 2010, U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates stated that Al-Qaeda was seeking to destabilize the region and planning to provoke a nuclear war between India and Pakistan.[201]

In September 2009, a U.S. Drone strike reportedly killed Ilyas Kashmiri, who was the chief of Harkat-ul-Jihad al-Islami, a Kashmiri militant group associated with Al-Qaeda.[202][203] Kashmiri was described by Bruce Riedel as a ‘prominent’ Al-Qaeda member,[204] while others described him as the head of military operations for Al-Qaeda.[205] Waziristan had now become the new battlefield for Kashmiri militants, who were now fighting NATO in support of Al-Qaeda.[206] On 8 July 2012, Al-Badar Mujahideen, a breakaway faction of Kashmir centric terror group Hizbul Mujahideen, on the conclusion of their two-day Shuhada Conference called for a mobilization of resources for continuation of jihad in Kashmir.[207]

American military intervention in Cameroon[edit source]

In October 2015, the US began deploying 300 soldiers[208] to Cameroon, with the invitation of the Cameroonian government, to support African forces in a non-combat role in their fight against ISIS insurgency in that country. The troops’ primary missions will revolve around providing intelligence support to local forces as well as conducting reconnaissance flights.[209]

International military support[edit source]

The United Kingdom is the second largest contributor of troops in Afghanistan

The invasion of Afghanistan is seen to have been the first action of this war, and initially involved forces from the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Afghan Northern Alliance. Since the initial invasion period, these forces were augmented by troops and aircraft from Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Italy, Netherlands, New Zealand and Norway amongst others. In 2006, there were about 33,000 troops in Afghanistan.

On 12 September 2001, less than 24 hours after the 11 September attacks in New York City and Washington, D.C., NATO invoked Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty and declared the attacks to be an attack against all 19 NATO member countries. Australian Prime Minister John Howard also stated that Australia would invoke the ANZUS Treaty along similar lines.[210]

In the following months, NATO took a broad range of measures to respond to the threat of terrorism. On 22 November 2002, the member states of the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council (EAPC) decided on a Partnership Action Plan against Terrorism, which explicitly states, “[The] EAPC States are committed to the protection and promotion of fundamental freedoms and human rights, as well as the rule of law, in combating terrorism.”[211] NATO started naval operations in the Mediterranean Sea designed to prevent the movement of terrorists or weapons of mass destruction as well as to enhance the security of shipping in general called Operation Active Endeavour.

Support for the U.S. cooled when America made clear its determination to invade Iraq in late 2002. Even so, many of the “coalition of the willing” countries that unconditionally supported the U.S.-led military action have sent troops to Afghanistan, particular neighboring Pakistan, which has disowned its earlier support for the Taliban and contributed tens of thousands of soldiers to the conflict. Pakistan was also engaged in the War in North-West Pakistan (Waziristan War). Supported by U.S. intelligence, Pakistan was attempting to remove the Taliban insurgency and al-Qaeda element from the northern tribal areas.[212]

Terrorist attacks and failed plots since 9/11[edit source]

Al-Qaeda[edit source]

Since 9/11, Al-Qaeda and other affiliated radical Islamist groups have executed attacks in several parts of the world where conflicts are not taking place. Whereas countries like Pakistan have suffered hundreds of attacks killing tens of thousands and displacing much more.

There may also have been several additional planned attacks that were not successful.

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL)[edit source]

So far, there has been only one failed plot by ISIL:[citation needed]

Post 9/11 events inside the United States[edit source]

A U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement helicopter patrols the airspace over New York City

In addition to military efforts abroad, in the aftermath of 9/11, the Bush Administration increased domestic efforts to prevent future attacks. Various government bureaucracies that handled security and military functions were reorganized. A new cabinet-level agency called the United States Department of Homeland Security was created in November 2002 to lead and coordinate the largest reorganization of the U.S. federal government since the consolidation of the armed forces into the Department of Defense.[citation needed]

The Justice Department launched the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System for certain male non-citizens in the U.S., requiring them to register in person at offices of the Immigration and Naturalization Service.

The USA PATRIOT Act of October 2001 dramatically reduces restrictions on law enforcement agencies’ ability to search telephone, e-mail communications, medical, financial, and other records; eases restrictions on foreign intelligence gathering within the United States; expands the Secretary of the Treasury‘s authority to regulate financial transactions, particularly those involving foreign individuals and entities; and broadens the discretion of law enforcement and immigration authorities in detaining and deporting immigrants suspected of terrorism-related acts. The act also expanded the definition of terrorism to include domestic terrorism, thus enlarging the number of activities to which the USA PATRIOT Act’s expanded law enforcement powers could be applied. A new Terrorist Finance Tracking Program monitored the movements of terrorists’ financial resources (discontinued after being revealed by The New York Times). Global telecommunication usage, including those with no links to terrorism,[218] is being collected and monitored through the NSA electronic surveillance program. The Patriot Act is still in effect.

Political interest groups have stated that these laws remove important restrictions on governmental authority, and are a dangerous encroachment on civil liberties, possible unconstitutional violations of the Fourth Amendment. On 30 July 2003, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed the first legal challenge against Section 215 of the Patriot Act, claiming that it allows the FBI to violate a citizen’s First Amendment rights, Fourth Amendment rights, and right to due process, by granting the government the right to search a person’s business, bookstore, and library records in a terrorist investigation, without disclosing to the individual that records were being searched.[219] Also, governing bodies in many communities have passed symbolic resolutions against the act.

John Walker Lindh was captured as an enemy combatant during the United States’ 2001 invasion of Afghanistan

In a speech on 9 June 2005, Bush said that the USA PATRIOT Act had been used to bring charges against more than 400 suspects, more than half of whom had been convicted. Meanwhile, the ACLU quoted Justice Department figures showing that 7,000 people have complained of abuse of the Act.

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) began an initiative in early 2002 with the creation of the Total Information Awareness program, designed to promote information technologies that could be used in counter-terrorism. This program, facing criticism, has since been defunded by Congress.

By 2003, 12 major conventions and protocols were designed to combat terrorism. These were adopted and ratified by many states. These conventions require states to co-operate on principal issues regarding unlawful seizure of aircraft, the physical protection of nuclear materials, and the freezing of assets of militant networks.[220]

In 2005, the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 1624 concerning incitement to commit acts of terrorism and the obligations of countries to comply with international human rights laws.[221] Although both resolutions require mandatory annual reports on counter-terrorism activities by adopting nations, the United States and Israel have both declined to submit reports. In the same year, the United States Department of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff issued a planning document, by the name “National Military Strategic Plan for the War on Terrorism”, which stated that it constituted the “comprehensive military plan to prosecute the Global War on Terror for the Armed Forces of the United States…including the findings and recommendations of the 9/11 Commission and a rigorous examination with the Department of Defense”.

On 9 January 2007, the House of Representatives passed a bill, by a vote of 299–128, enacting many of the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission The bill passed in the U.S. Senate,[222] by a vote of 60–38, on 13 March 2007 and it was signed into law on 3 August 2007 by President Bush. It became Public Law 110-53. In July 2012, U.S. Senate passed a resolution urging that the Haqqani Network be designated a foreign terrorist organization.[223]

The Office of Strategic Influence was secretly created after 9/11 for the purpose of coordinating propaganda efforts but was closed soon after being discovered. The Bush administration implemented the Continuity of Operations Plan (or Continuity of Government) to ensure that U.S. government would be able to continue in catastrophic circumstances.

Since 9/11, extremists made various attempts to attack the United States, with varying levels of organization and skill. For example, vigilant passengers aboard a transatlantic flight prevented Richard Reid, in 2001, and Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, in 2009, from detonating an explosive device.

Other terrorist plots have been stopped by federal agencies using new legal powers and investigative tools, sometimes in cooperation with foreign governments.[citation needed]

Such thwarted attacks include:

The Obama administration has promised the closing of the Guantanamo Bay detention camp, increased the number of troops in Afghanistan, and promised the withdrawal of its forces from Iraq.

Casualties[edit source]

According to Joshua Goldstein, an international relations professor at the American University, The Global War on Terror has seen fewer war deaths than any other decade in the past century.[224]

There is no widely agreed on figure for the number of people that have been killed so far in the War on Terror as it has been defined by the Bush Administration to include the war in Afghanistan, the war in Iraq, and operations elsewhere. The International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War and the Physicians for Social Responsibility and Physicians for Global Survival give total estimates ranging from 1.3 million to 2 million casualties.[225] Some estimates for regional conflicts include the following:

Child killed by a car bomb in Kirkuk, July 2011

File:CollateralMurder.ogv

Footage of leaked Apache gunship strike in Baghdad, July 2007

  • Iraq: 62,570 to 1,124,000
  • Iraq Body Count project documented 110,937–121,227 civilian deaths from violence from March 2003 to December 2012.[226][227][228]
  • 110,600 deaths in total according to the Associated Press from March 2003 to April 2009.[229]
  • 151,000 deaths in total according to the Iraq Family Health Survey.[230]
  • Opinion Research Business (ORB) poll conducted 12–19 August 2007 estimated 1,033,000 violent deaths due to the Iraq War. The range given was 946,000 to 1,120,000 deaths. A nationally representative sample of approximately 2,000 Iraqi adults answered whether any members of their household (living under their roof) were killed due to the Iraq War. 22% of the respondents had lost one or more household members. ORB reported that “48% died from a gunshot wound, 20% from the impact of a car bomb, 9% from aerial bombardment, 6% as a result of an accident and 6% from another blast/ordnance.”[231][232][233]
  • Between 392,979 and 942,636 estimated Iraqi (655,000 with a confidence interval of 95%), civilian and combatant, according to the second Lancet survey of mortality.
  • A minimum of 62,570 civilian deaths reported in the mass media up to 28 April 2007 according to Iraq Body Count project.[234]
  • 4,409 U.S. military dead (929 non-hostile deaths), and 31,926 wounded in action during Operation Iraqi Freedom.[235] 66 U.S. Military Dead (28 non-hostile deaths), and 295 wounded in action during Operation New Dawn.[235]
  • Afghanistan: between 10,960 and 249,000[236]
  • According to Marc W. Herold’s extensive database,[238] between 3,100 and 3,600 civilians were directly killed by U.S. Operation Enduring Freedom bombing and Special Forces attacks between 7 October 2001 and 3 June 2003. This estimate counts only “impact deaths”—deaths that occurred in the immediate aftermath of an explosion or shooting—and does not count deaths that occurred later as a result of injuries sustained, or deaths that occurred as an indirect consequence of the U.S. airstrikes and invasion.
  • In a pair of January 2002 studies, Carl Conetta of the Project on Defense Alternatives estimates that “at least” 4,200–4,500 civilians were killed by mid-January 2002 as a result of the war and Coalition airstrikes, both directly as casualties of the aerial bombing campaign, and indirectly in the resulting humanitarian crisis.
  • His first study, “Operation Enduring Freedom: Why a Higher Rate of Civilian Bombing Casualties?”,[241] released 18 January 2002, estimates that, at the low end, “at least” 1,000–1,300 civilians were directly killed in the aerial bombing campaign in just the three months between 7 October 2001 to 1 January 2002. The author found it impossible to provide an upper-end estimate to direct civilian casualties from the Operation Enduring Freedom bombing campaign that he noted as having an increased use of cluster bombs.[242] In this lower-end estimate, only Western press sources were used for hard numbers, while heavy “reduction factors” were applied to Afghan government reports so that their estimates were reduced by as much as 75%.[243]
  • In his companion study, “Strange Victory: A critical appraisal of Operation Enduring Freedom and the Afghanistan war”,[244] released 30 January 2002, Conetta estimates that “at least” 3,200 more Afghans died by mid-January 2002, of “starvation, exposure, associated illnesses, or injury sustained while in flight from war zones”, as a result of the war and Coalition airstrikes.
  • In similar numbers, a Los Angeles Times review of U.S., British, and Pakistani newspapers and international wire services found that between 1,067 and 1,201 direct civilian deaths were reported by those news organizations during the five months from 7 October 2001 to 28 February 2002. This review excluded all civilian deaths in Afghanistan that did not get reported by U.S., British, or Pakistani news, excluded 497 deaths that did get reported in U.S., British, and Pakistani news but that were not specifically identified as civilian or military, and excluded 754 civilian deaths that were reported by the Taliban but not independently confirmed.[245]
  • 2,046 U.S. military dead (339 non-hostile deaths), and 18,201 wounded in action.[235]
  • Pakistan: Between 1467 and 2334 people were killed in U.S. drone attacks as of 6 May 2011. Tens of thousands have been killed by terrorist attacks, millions displaced.
  • Somalia: 7,000+
  • In December 2007, The Elman Peace and Human Rights Organization said it had verified 6,500 civilian deaths, 8,516 people wounded, and 1.5 million displaced from homes in Mogadishu alone during the year 2007.[247]
  • USA

Total American casualties from the War on Terror
(this includes fighting throughout the world):

U.S. Military killed 7,008[235]
U.S. Military wounded 50,422[235]
U.S. DoD Civilians killed 16[235]
U.S. Civilians killed (includes 9/11 and after) 3,000 +
U.S. Civilians wounded/injured 6,000 +
Total Americans killed (military and civilian) 10,008 +
Total Americans wounded/injured 56,422 +

[251][252][253][254][255]

The United States Department of Veterans Affairs has diagnosed more than 200,000 American veterans with PTSD since 2001.[256]

  • Yemen

Total terrorist casualties[edit source]

On December 7, 2015, the Washington post reported that since 2001, in five theaters of the war (Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Syria and Somalia) that the total number of terrorists killed ranges from 65,800 to 88,600, with Obama administration being responsible for between 30,000 and 33,000.[257]

Costs[edit source]

A March 2011 Congressional report[258] estimated spending related to the war through the fiscal year 2011 at $1.2 trillion, and that spending through 2021 assuming a reduction to 45,000 troops would be $1.8 trillion. A June 2011 academic report[258] covering additional areas of spending related to the war estimated it through 2011 at $2.7 trillion, and long-term spending at $5.4 trillion including interest.[note 4]

According to the Soufan Group in July 2015, the United States government spends $9.4 million per day in operations against ISIS in Syria and Iraq.[259]

Expense CRS/CBO (Billions US$):[260][261][262] Watson (Billions constant US$):[263]
FY2001-FY2011
War appropriations to DoD 1208.1 1311.5
War appropriations to DoS/USAID 66.7 74.2
VA Medical 8.4 13.7
VA disability 18.9
Interest paid on DoD war appropriations 185.4
Additions to DoD base spending 362.2–652.4
Additions to Homeland Security base spending 401.2
Social costs to veterans and military families to date 295-400
Subtotal: 1283.2 2662.1–3057.3
FY2012-future
FY2012 DoD request 118.4
FY2012 DoS/USAID request 12.1
Projected 2013–2015 war spending 168.6
Projected 2016–2020 war spending 155
Projected obligations for veterans’ care to 2051 589–934
Additional interest payments to 2020 1000
Subtotal: 454.1 2043.1–2388.1
Total: 1737.3 4705.2–5445.4

Criticism[edit source]

Participants in a rally, dressed as hooded detainees

Criticism of the War on Terror addressed the issues, morality, efficiency, economics, and other questions surrounding the War on Terror and made against the phrase itself, calling it a misnomer. The notion of a “war” against “terrorism” has proven highly contentious, with critics charging that it has been exploited by participating governments to pursue long-standing policy/military objectives,[264] reduce civil liberties,[265] and infringe upon human rights. It is argued that the term war is not appropriate in this context (as in War on Drugs) since there is no identifiable enemy and that it is unlikely international terrorism can be brought to an end by military means.[266]

Other critics, such as Francis Fukuyama, note that “terrorism” is not an enemy, but a tactic; calling it a “war on terror”, obscures differences between conflicts such as anti-occupation insurgents and international mujahideen. With a military presence in Iraq and Afghanistan and its associated collateral damage, Shirley Williams maintains this increases resentment and terrorist threats against the West.[267] There is also perceived U.S. hypocrisy,[268][269] media-induced hysteria,[270] and that differences in foreign and security policy have damaged America’s reputation internationally.[271]

Other Wars on Terror[edit source]

In the 2010s, China has also been engaged in its War on Terror, predominantly a domestic campaign in response to violent actions by Uighur separatist movements in the Xinjiang conflict.[272] This campaign was widely criticized in international media due to the perception that it unfairly targets and persecutes Chinese Muslims,[273] potentially resulting in a negative backlash from China‘s predominantly Muslim Uighur population.

Russia has also been engaged on its own, also largely internally focused, counter-terrorism campaign often termed a war on terror, during the Second Chechen War, the Insurgency in the North Caucasus, and the Russian military intervention in the Syrian Civil War.[274] Like China‘s war on terror, Russia‘s has also been focused on separatist and Islamist movements that use political violence to achieve their ends.[275]

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15 YEARS OF TERROR, AN ANIMATED TIME-LAPSE

Hezbollah

 

Annual turnover: $500 million

Region: Lebanon

Main sources of income: financial assistance and donations (especially Iran), production and trafficking of drugs
Purpose: militant struggle against the state of Israel and establishing an Islamic state in Lebanon

Established as a militant group fighting for the Shi’ite population in Lebanon and against Israel, Hezbollah, like Hamas, has a strong political arm that became one of the major powers in Lebanon. Hezbollah has a network of nursing institutes, which provides relief, welfare, education and livelihood to large segments of the Shi’ite population in need.

Over the years, Hezbollah became a dominant factor in southern Lebanon, the ongoing effect is the creation of a state within a state, a major force in national politics, and a key component in the government and military force.

Hezbollah’s main sponsor is the Iranian regime, which donates an estimated  $250 million a year to the organization. But Hezbollah made ​​sure to diversify its sources of capital – from donations of private businessmen, through fundraising by charities in disguise, spread all over the world, to the real estate and tourism. However, the highlight of Hezbollah’s business portfolio is undoubtedly its organized criminal activity, and the jewel is a network of drug manufacturers and smugglers built and refined over the years. Hezbollah is involved in criminal activities around the world, from South America through Africa, Europe, the Far East, Australia and the Middle East. Its cells are involved in money laundering, counterfeiting, arms trade, smuggling and of course the production and trade of drugs, especially heroin and cocaine. Despite denials, senior DEA agents presented evidence linking the drug trafficking organization of Argentina-Brazil-Paraguay to a radical Islamist group led by Hezbollah.

Hezbollah’s drug activities in South America began in the early 80′s, and gained significant momentum in recent years. With the help of local Lebanese Shiite expatriates, and close cooperation with local cartels, the small “side-business” has grown hugely, and become professional and efficient. What was a relatively minor source of income swelled to huge proportions over the years and it is now estimated that the organization generates hundreds of millions of dollars a year from this operation. Experts had recently estimated that Hezbollah will soon generate more money from its drug activities than from all of its other income sources put together, including the hundreds of millions of dollars deposited in its account every year courtesy of Ali H’minai of Iran.

France and Saudis ‘Finalizing’ $3bn Arms Deal, Hollande Says Lebanon is ‘Vulnerable’

W460

France and Saudi Arabia are close to signing a $3 billion arms deal for Lebanon, the Elysee Palace said Monday following talks between President Francois Hollande and the Saudi crown prince.

“It will not be signed Monday but it is being finalized,” an aide to the president said.

The deal is for military equipment and arms to be supplied to Lebanon’s army.

Hollande told an official dinner at the Elysee presidential palace attended by Prince Salman bin Abdul Aziz, who is also the Saudi deputy prime minister and defense minister, that Lebanon was a “great but vulnerable country” which “needs security.”

“We have come together, Saudi Arabia and France, to help Lebanon on the condition that it also helps itself, for its own security,” Hollande added, without commenting directly on the joint contract.

The deal comes as Beirut faces the threat of jihadists on its border with Syria. More than a million refugees have fled the war in Syria by escaping to Lebanon, according to figures from the United Nations.

Hollande added that France and Saudi Arabia have a “shared priority of peace and security in the Middle East.”

Salman is due to hold talks with French Prime Minister Manuel Valls on Tuesday.

He is also due to meet Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius on Wednesday for talks over the situation in Iraq and Syria, where jihadists have seized swathes of territory and are terrorizing Christians and other minorities.

Last week, Hollande rejected any cooperation with Syrian President Bashar Assad whom he accused of being a “de-facto ally” of Islamic State militants, after the regime said it was willing to work with the international community to tackle the jihadists.

And in comments carried on national TV at the weekend, Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah warned the West would be the next target of the jihadists sweeping through Syria and Iraq, unless there is “rapid” action.

“If we ignore them, I am sure they will reach Europe in a month and America in another month,” he said in remarks quoted on Saturday by the Asharq al-Awsat newspaper and Saudi-backed al-Arabiya television station.

[7.3][Islamic group] Hezbollah

 

.

Hezbollah
Flag of Hezbollah
Leader Hassan Nasrallah
Founded 1985 (officially)
Ideology ShiaIslamism
Anti-imperialism[1][2][3]
Anti-Zionism
Religion Shia Islam
Colours Yellow, Green
Parliament of Lebanon 12 / 128
Cabinet of Lebanon 2 / 30
Website

 

Hezbollah (pronounced /ˌhɛzbəˈlɑː/;[4][5]Arabic: حزب الله‎ Ḥizbu ‘llāh, literally “Party of Allah” or “Party of God“)—also transliterated Hizbullah, Hizballah, etc.[6]—is a Shi’aIslamic militant group and political party based in Lebanon. Its paramilitary wing is regarded as a resistance movement throughout much of the Arab and Muslim worlds,[7] and is considered more powerful than the Lebanese Army. It has taken the side of the government in the Syrian civil war and in May–June 2013 successfully assisted in the recapture of the strategic town of Qusayr.[12] The governments of the U.S.,[13] Netherlands, France,[18]Gulf Cooperation Council,[19] U.K., Australia, Canada, the European Union[20] and Israel classify Hezbollah as a terrorist organization, in whole or in part.[21][22]

Hezbollah was conceived by Muslim clerics and funded by Iran following the Israeli invasion of Lebanon, and was primarily formed to offer resistance to the Israeli occupation.[23] Its leaders were followers of Ayatollah Khomeini, and its forces were trained and organized by a contingent of 1,500 Iranian Revolutionary Guards that arrived from Iran with permission from the Syrian government.[24] Hezbollah’s 1985 manifesto listed its four main goals as “Israel’s final departure from Lebanon as a prelude to its final obliteration”, ending “any imperialist power in Lebanon”, submission of the Phalangists to “just rule” and bringing them to trial for their crimes, and giving the people the chance to choose “with full freedom the system of government they want”, while not hiding its commitment to the rule of Islam. Hezbollah leaders have also made numerous statements calling for the destruction of the State of Israel, which they refer to as the “Zionist entity“.

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.[26] The organization has been called a state within a state.[27] Hezbollah maintains strong support among Lebanon’s Shi’a population, and is able to mobilize demonstrations of hundreds of thousands.[28] Hezbollah alongside with some other groups began the 2006–2008 Lebanese political protests in opposition to the government of Prime Minister Fouad Siniora.[29] 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.[30] A national unity government was formed in 2008, giving Hezbollah and its opposition allies control of eleven of thirty cabinets seats; effectively veto power.[9]

Hezbollah receives military training, weapons, and financial support from Iran, and political support from Syria. Following the end of the Israeli occupation of South Lebanon in 2000, its military strength grew significantly.[31][32] Despite a June 2008 certification by the United Nations that Israel had withdrawn from all Lebanese territory,[33] in August, Lebanon’s new Cabinet unanimously approved a draft policy statement which secures Hezbollah’s existence as an armed organization and guarantees its right to “liberate or recover occupied lands“. Since 1992, the organisation has been headed by Hassan Nasrallah, it’s Secretary-General.

History

1980s

Main articles: Lebanese civil war and South Lebanon conflict (1982–2000)

Hezbollah emerged around 1985 in South Lebanon as a consolidation of Shia militias and standing as a counterpart of the more mature Amal movement. Hezbollah has since had a significant role in Lebanese civil war, acting against American forces in 1982-83 and being involved the 1985-88 War of the Camps against Amal and Syria. Ending Israel‘s occupation of Southern Lebanon, which lasted for 18 years, was the primary focus of Hezbollah’s early activities.[23] Israel had become militarily involved in Lebanon in combat with the Palestine Liberation Organization, which had been invited into Lebanon after Black September in Jordan. Israel had been attacking the PLO in Southern Lebanon in the lead-up to the 1982 Lebanon War, and Israel had invaded and occupied Southern Lebanon and besieged Beirut.[34] When the Shi’a population of southern Lebanon realized that Israel had no intention of leaving, they rebelled. The Amal Movement (“hope”), the main political group, initiated guerrilla warfare. Commenting on the issue in 2006 Ehud Barak, the former Israeli prime minister, stated, “When we entered Lebanon… there was no Hezbollah. We were accepted with perfumed rice and flowers by the Shia in the south. It was our presence there that created Hezbollah”.[35]

Hezbollah waged an asymmetrical guerrilla war against Israel using suicide attacks against the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and against Israeli targets outside of Lebanon.[36] Hezbollah is reputed to have been among the first Islamic resistance groups to use tactical suicide bombing, assassination, and capturing foreign soldiers in the Middle East.[24] Hezbollah turned into a paramilitary organization and used missiles, Katyusha, and other type of rocket launchers and detonations of explosive charges instead of capturing,[37][38] murders,[37] and hijackings.[39] At the end of the Lebanese Civil War in 1990, despite the Taif Agreement asking for the “disbanding of all Lebanese and non-Lebanese militias,” Syria, in control of Lebanon at that time, allowed Hezbollah to maintain their arsenal, and control the Shiite areas in Southern Lebanon along the border with Israel.[40]

After 1990

In the 1990s, Hezbollah transformed from a revolutionary group into a political one, in a process which is described as the Lebanonisation of Hezbollah. Unlike its uncompromising revolutionary stance in the 1980s, Hezbollah conveyed a lenient stance towards the Lebanese state.[41]

In 1992, Hezbollah decided to participate in elections, and Ali Khamenei, supreme leader of Iran, endorsed it. Former Hezbollah secretary general, Subhi al-Tufayli, contested this decision, which led to a schism in Hezbollah. Hezbollah won all twelve seats which were on its electoral list. At the end of that year, Hezbollah began to engage in dialog with Lebanese Christians. Hezbollah regards cultural, political, and religious freedoms in Lebanon as sanctified, although it does not extend these values to groups who have relations with Israel.[42]

In 1997, Hezbollah formed multi-confessional Lebanese Brigades to Fighting the Israeli Occupation, which was an attempt to revive national and secular resistance against Israel, which marks the Lebanonisation of resistance.[43]

Islamic Jihad Organization

Whether the Islamic Jihad Organization (IJO) was a nom de guerre used by Hezbollah or a separate organization, is disputed. Hezbollah leaders reportedly admitted their involvement in IJO’s attacks and the nominal nature of “Islamic Jihad” – that it was merely a “telephone organization,” and[46] whose name was “used by those involved to disguise their true identity.”

A 2003 decision by an American court found IJO was the name used by Hezbollah for its attacks in Lebanon, parts of the Middle East and Europe.[52] Hezbollah also used another name, Islamic Resistance, or al-Muqawama al-Islamiyya, for its attacks against Israel.[53] The names Islamic Jihad Organization, Organization of the Oppressed on Earth and the Revolutionary Justice Organization are considered to be synonymous with Hezbollah by the United States,[54] Israel,[55] and Canada.[56]

Ideology

Main article: Ideology of Hezbollah

The ideology of Hezbollah has been summarized as Shi’iradicalism.[57][58][59] Hezbollah was largely formed with the aid of the AyatollahKhomeini‘s followers in the early 1980s in order to spread Islamic revolution[60] and follows a distinct version of Islamic Shi’a ideology (Valiyat al-faqih or Guardianship of the Islamic Jurists) developed by AyatollahRuhollah Khomeini, leader of the “Islamic Revolution” in Iran.[7][55] Although Hezbollah originally aimed to transform Lebanon into a formal Faqihi Islamic republic, this goal has been abandoned in favor of a more inclusive approach.[23]

The Hezbollah manifesto

On February 16, 1985, Sheik Ibrahim al-Amin issued Hezbollah’s manifesto. Translated excerpts from Hezbollah’s original 1985 manifesto read:

We are the sons of the umma (Muslim community) …
… We are an ummah linked to the Muslims of the whole world by the solid doctrinal and religious connection of Islam, whose message God wanted to be fulfilled by the Seal of the Prophets, i.e., Prophet Muhammad. … As for our culture, it is based on the Holy Quran, the Sunna and the legal rulings of the faqih who is our source of imitation…[25]

Hezbollah follows the Islamic Shi’a theology developed by Iranian revolutionary leader AyatollahRuhollah Khomeini.[61]

Attitudes, statements, and actions concerning Israel and Zionism

See also: Hezbollah foreign relations, Islamic Resistance Support Organization, Lebanon hostage crisis, and Hezbollah armed strength

From the inception of Hezbollah to the present,[25][62] the elimination of the State of Israel has been one of Hezbollah’s primary goals. Some translations of Hezbollah’s 1985 Arabic-language manifesto state that “our struggle will end only when this entity [Israel] is obliterated”.[25] According to Hezbollah’s Deputy-General, Na’im Qasim, the struggle against Israel is a core belief of Hezbollah and the central rationale of Hezbollah’s existence.[63]

Hezbollah says that its continued hostilities against Israel are justified as reciprocal to Israeli operations against Lebanon and as retaliation for what they claim is Israel’s occupation of Lebanese territory.[64][65][66] Israel withdrew from Lebanon in 2000, and their withdrawal was verified by the United Nations as being in accordance with resolution 425 of 19 March 1978, however Lebanon considers the Shebaa farms—a 26-km² (10-mi²) piece of land captured by Israel from Syria in the 1967 war and considered by the UN to be disputed territory between Syria and Israel—to be Lebanese territory.[33] Additionally, Hezbollah claims that three Lebanese prisoners are being held in Israel.[67] Finally, Hezbollah consider Israel to be an illegitimate state. For these reasons, they justify their actions as acts of defensive jihad.[68][dead link][unreliable source?]

 

 

 

 

If they go from Shebaa, we won’t stop fighting them. … Our goal is to liberate the 1948 borders of Palestine, … The Jews who survive this war of liberation can go back to Germany or wherever they came from. However, that the Jews who lived in Palestine before 1948 will be ‘allowed to live as a minority and they will be cared for by the Muslim majority.’
—Hezbollah’s spokesperson Hassan Ezzedin, about an Israeli withdrawal from Shebaa Farms[40]

Attitudes and actions concerning Jews and Judaism

Main article: Ideology of Hezbollah#Attitudes, statements, and actions concerning Jews and Judaism

Hezbollah officials say that the group distinguishes between Judaism and Zionism. However, various anti-Semitic statements have been attributed to them.[69]Amal Saad-Ghorayeb, a Lebanese political analyst, argues that although Zionism has influenced Hezbollah’s anti-Judaism, “it is not contingent upon it” because Hezbollah’s hatred of Jews is more religiously motivated than politically motivated.[70]Robert S. Wistrich, a historian specializing in the study of anti-Semitism, described Hezbollah’s ideology concerning Jews:

“The anti-Semitism of Hezbollah leaders and spokesmen combines the image of seemingly invincible Jewish power … and cunning with the contempt normally reserved for weak and cowardly enemies. Like the Hamas propaganda for holy war, that of Hezbollah has relied on the endless vilification of Jews as ‘enemies of mankind,’ ‘conspiratorial, obstinate, and conceited’ adversaries full of ‘satanic plans’ to enslave the Arabs. It fuses traditional Islamic anti-Judaism with Western conspiracy myths, Third Worldist anti-Zionism, and Iranian Shiite contempt for Jews as ‘ritually impure’ and corrupt infidels. Sheikh Fadlallah typically insists … that Jews wish to undermine or obliterate Islam and Arab cultural identity in order to advance their economic and political domination.”[71]

Conflicting reports say Al-Manar, the Hezbollah-owned and operated television station, accused either Israel or Jews of deliberately spreading HIV and other diseases to Arabs throughout the Middle East.Al-Manar was criticized in the West for airing “anti-Semitic propaganda” in the form of a television drama depicting a Jewish world domination conspiracy. The group has been accused by American analysts of engaging in Holocaust denial.

In November 2009, Hezbollah pressured a private English-language school to drop reading excerpts from The Diary of Anne Frank, a book of the writings from the diary kept by the Jewish child Anne Frank while she was in hiding with her family during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands.[81][82] This was after Hezbollah’s Al-Manar television channel complained, asking how long Lebanon would “remain an open arena for the Zionist invasion of education?”

Organization

 

Organizational chart of Hezbollah, by Ahmad Nizar Hamzeh.

At the beginning many Hezbollah leaders have maintained that the movement was “not an organization, for its members carry no cards and bear no specific responsibilities,”[83] and that the movement does not have “a clearly defined organizational structure.”[84] Nowadays, as Hezbollah scholar Magnus Ranstorp reports, Hezbollah does indeed have a formal governing structure, and in keeping with the principle of Guardianship of the Islamic Jurists (velayat-e faqih), it “concentrate[s] … all authority and powers” in its religious leaders, whose decisions then “flow from the ulama down the entire community.”

The supreme decision-making bodies of the Hezbollah were divided between the Majlis al-Shura (Consultative Assembly) which was headed by 12 senior clerical members with responsibility for tactical decisions and supervision of overall Hizballah activity throughout Lebanon, and the Majlis al-Shura al-Karar (the Deciding Assembly), headed by Sheikh Muhammad Hussein Fadlallah and composed of eleven other clerics with responsibility for all strategic matters. Within the Majlis al-Shura, there existed seven specialized committees dealing with ideological, financial, military and political, judicial, informational and social affairs. In turn, the Majlis al-Shura and these seven committees were replicated in each of Hizballah’s three main operational areas (the Beqaa, Beirut, and the South).[85]

Since the Supreme Leader of Iran is the ultimate clerical authority, Hezbollah’s leaders have appealed to him “for guidance and directives in cases when Hezbollah’s collective leadership [was] too divided over issues and fail[ed] to reach a consensus.”[85] After the death of Iran’s first Supreme Leader, Khomeini, Hezbollah’s governing bodies developed a more “independent role” and appealed to Iran less often.[85] Since the Second Lebanon War, however, Iran has restructured Hezbollah to limit the power of Hassan Nasrallah, and invested billions of dollars “rehabilitating” Hezbollah.

Structurally, Hezbollah does not distinguish between its political/social activities within Lebanon and its military/jihad activities against Israel. “Hezbollah has a single leadership,” according to Naim Qassem, Hezbollah’s second in command. “All political, social and jihad work is tied to the decisions of this leadership … The same leadership that directs the parliamentary and government work also leads jihad actions in the struggle against Israel.”[88]

In 2010, Iran’s parliamentary speaker Ali Larijani said, “Iran takes pride in Lebanon’s Islamic resistance movement for it’s steadfast Islamic stance. Hezbollah nurtures the original ideas of Islamic Jihad.” He also instead charged the West with having accused Iran with support of terrorism and said, “The real terrorists are those who provide the Zionist regime with military equipment to bomb the people.”[89]

Funding

Main article: Funding of Hezbollah

See also: Operation Smokescreen

Hezbollah says that the main source of its income comes from donations by Muslims.[90] Hezbollah receives substantial amounts of financial, training, weapons, explosives, political, diplomatic, and organizational aid from Iran and Syria. According to reports released in February 2010, Hezbollah received $400 million from Iran. The US estimates that Iran has been giving Hezbollah about US$60–100 million per year in financial assistance.[95] Other estimates are as high as $200-million annually.[90]

Hezbollah has relied also on funding from the Shi’ite Lebanese Diaspora in West Africa, the United States and, most importantly, the Triple Frontier, or tri-border area, along the junction of Paraguay, Argentina, and Brazil.[96] U.S. law enforcement officials have identified an illegal multimillion-dollar cigarette-smuggling fund raising operation[97] and a drug smuggling operation.

Social services

Main article: Hezbollah social services

Hezbollah organizes an extensive social development program and runs hospitals, news services, educational facilities, and encouragement of Nikah mut‘ah. One of its established institutions, Jihad Al Binna’s Reconstruction Campaign, is responsible for numerous economic and infrastructure development projects in Lebanon. Hezbollah has set up a Martyr’s Institute (Al-Shahid Social Association), which guarantees to provide living and education expenses “for the families of fighters who die” in battle.[94] An IRIN news report of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs noted:

“Hezbollah not only has armed and political wings – it also boasts an extensive social development program. Hezbollah currently operates at least four hospitals, twelve clinics, twelve schools and two agricultural centres that provide farmers with technical assistance and training. It also has an environmental department and an extensive social assistance program. Medical care is also cheaper than in most of the country’s private hospitals and free for Hezbollah members.”[92]

According to CNN, “Hezbollah did everything that a government should do, from collecting the garbage to running hospitals and repairing schools.”[103] In July 2006, during the war with Israel, when there was no running water in Beirut, Hezbollah was arranging supplies around the city. Lebanese Shiites “see Hezbollah as a political movement and a social service provider as much as it is a militia.”[103] Hezbollah also rewards its guerilla members who have been wounded in battle by taking them to Hezbollah-run amusement parks.[104]

Political activities

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Main article: Hezbollah political activities

Lebanon’s majority Shi’a areas as of July 2006, where Hezbollah is most prominent.

December 10, 2006 anti-government rally in Beirut

Hezbollah alongside with Amal is one of two major political parties in Lebanon that represent the ShiiteMuslims.[105] Unlike Amal, whose support is predominantly in the South of the country, Hezbollah maintains broad based support in all three areas of Lebanon with a majority Shia Muslim population: in the South, in Beirut and its surrounding area, and in the northern Beqaa valley and Hirmil region.[106] It holds 14 of the 128 seats in the Parliament of Lebanon and is a member of the Resistance and Development Bloc. According to Daniel L. Byman, it’s “the most powerful single political movement in Lebanon.”[107] Hezbollah, along with the Amal Movement, represents most of Lebanese Shi’a. However, unlike Amal, Hezbollah has not disarmed. Hezbollah participates in the Parliament of Lebanon.

Hezbollah has been one the main parties of March 8 Alliance since March 2005. Although Hezbollah had joined the new government in 2005, it remained staunchly opposed to the March 14 Alliance.[108] On December 1, 2006, these groups began the 2006–2008 Lebanese political protests, a series of protests and sit-ins in opposition to the government of Prime Minister Fouad Siniora.[29]

On May 7, 2008, Lebanon‘s 17-month long political crisis spiraled out of control. The fighting was sparked by a government move to shut down Hezbollah’s telecommunication network and remove Beirut Airport‘s security chief over alleged ties to Hezbollah. Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah said the government’s decision to declare the group’s military telecommunications network illegal was a “declaration of war” on the organization, and demanded that the government revoke it.[109] Hezbollah-led opposition fighters seized control of several West Beirut neighborhoods from Future Movement militiamen loyal to the backed government, in street battles that left 11 dead and 30 wounded. The opposition-seized areas were then handed over to the Lebanese Army.[30] The army also pledged to resolve the dispute and has reversed the decisions of the government by letting Hezbollah preserve its telecoms network and re-instating the airport’s security chief.[110] At the end, rival Lebanese leaders reached consensus over Doha Agreement on May 21, 2008, to end the 18-month political feud that exploded into fighting and nearly drove the country to a new civil war.[111] On the basis of this agreement, Hezbollah and its opposition allies were effectively granted veto power in Lebanon’s parliament. At the end of the conflicts, National unity government was formed by Fouad Siniora on July 11, 2008 and Hezbollah has one minister and controls eleven of thirty seats in the cabinet.[9]

Hezbollah currently[when?] sits in the opposition March 8 alliance. However, they withdrew from the government citing inability to discuss issues over the Special Tribunal for Lebanon.

Media operations

Hezbollah operates a satellite television station, Al-Manar TV (“the Lighthouse”), and a radio station, al-Nour (“the Light”).[112] Al-Manar broadcasts from Beirut, Lebanon.[112] Hezbollah launched the station in 1991[113] with the help of Iranian funds.[114] Al-Manar, the self-proclaimed “Station of the Resistance,” (qanat al-muqawama) is a key player in what Hezbollah calls its “psychological warfare against the Zionist enemy[114][115] and an integral part of Hezbollah’s plan to spread its message to the entire Arab world.[114]

Hezbollah’s television station Al-Manar airs programming designed to inspire suicide attacks in Gaza, the West Bank, and Iraq.[40][113][116] Al-Manar’s transmission in France is prohibited due to promotion of Holocaust denial, a criminal offense in France.[117][118][119] The United States lists Al-Manar television network as a terrorist organization.[120]

Al-Manar was designated as a “Specially Designated Global Terrorist entity,” and banned by the United States in December 2004.[121] It has also been banned by France, Spain and Germany.[122][123][124]

Materials aimed at instilling principles of nationalism and Islam in children are an aspect of Hezbollah’s media operations.[125] The Hezbollah Central Internet Bureau released a video game in 2003 entitled Special Force and a sequel in 2007 in which players are rewarded with points and weapons for killing Israelis.[126] In 2012, Al-Manar aired a television special praising an 8-year-old boy who raised money for Hezbollah and said: “When I grow up, I will be a communist resistance warrior with Hezbollah, fighting the United States and Israel, I will tear them to pieces and drive them out of Lebanon, the Golan and Palestine, which I love very dearly.”[127]

Military activities

Main article: Hezbollah military activities

Hezbollah has a military branch known as Al-Muqawama al-Islamiyya (“The Islamic Resistance”) and is the possible sponsor of a number of lesser-known militant groups, some of which may be little more than fronts for Hezbollah itself, including the Organization of the Oppressed, the Revolutionary Justice Organization, the Organization of Right Against Wrong, and Followers of the Prophet Muhammad.[54]

United Nations Security Council Resolution 1559 called for the disarmament of militia[128] with the Taif agreement at the end of the Lebanese civil war. Hezbollah denounced, and protested against, the resolution.[129] The 2006 military conflict with Israel has increased the controversy. Failure to disarm remains a violation of the resolution and agreement as well as subsequent United Nations Security Council Resolution 1701.[130] Since then both Israel and Hezbollah have asserted that the organization has gained in military strength.[32] A Lebanese public opinion poll taken in August 2006 shows that most of the Shia did not believe that Hezbollah should disarm after the 2006 Lebanon war, while the majority of Sunni, Druze and Christians believed that they should.[131] The Lebanese cabinet, under president Michel Suleiman and Prime Minister Fouad Siniora, guidelines state that Hezbollah enjoys the right to “liberate occupied lands.”[132] In 2009, a Hezbollah commander (speaking on condition of anonymity) said, “[W]e have far more rockets and missiles [now] than we did in 2006.”[133]

Suicide and terror attacks

A smoke cloud rises from the bombed American barracks at Beirut International Airport, where over 200 U.S. marines were killed

Between 1982 and 1986, there were 36 suicide attacks in Lebanon directed against American, French and Israelis forces by 41 individuals, killing 659.[36] Hezbollah denies involvement in any attack, though it has been accused of some or all of these attacks:[134][135][136]

Since 1990, terror acts and attempts of which Hezbollah has been blamed include the following bombings and attacks against civilians and diplomats:

Conflict with Israel

South Lebanon conflict

Main article: South Lebanon conflict (1982–2000)

Hezbollah has been involved in several cases of armed conflict with Israel:

  • During the 1982–2000 South Lebanon conflict, Hezbollah waged a guerrilla campaign against Israeli forces occupying Southern Lebanon. In 1982, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) was based in Southern Lebanon and was firing Katyusha rockets into northern Israel from Lebanon. Israel invaded Lebanon to evict the PLO, and Hezbollah became an armed organization to expel the Israelis.[40] Hezbollah’s strength was enhanced by the dispatching of one thousand to two thousand members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards and the financial backing of Iran.[147][148][149] Iranian clerics, most notably Fzlollah Mahallati supervised this activity.[150] It became the main politico-military force among the Shia community in Lebanon and the main arm of what became known later as the Islamic Resistance in Lebanon. With the collapse of the SLA, and the rapid advance of Hezbollah forces, Israel withdrew on May 24, 2000 six weeks before the announced July 7 date.”[39] Hezbollah held a victory parade, and its popularity in Lebanon rose.[151] Israel withdrew in accordance with 1978’s United Nations Security Council Resolution 425.[33] Hezbollah and many analysts considered this a victory for the movement, and since then its popularity has been boosted in Lebanon.[151]
  • On July 25, 1993, following Hezbollah’s killing of seven Israeli soldiers in southern Lebanon, Israel launched Operation Accountability (known in Lebanon as the Seven Day War), during which the IDF carried out their heaviest artillery and air attacks on targets in southern Lebanon since 1982. The aim of the operation was to eradicate the threat posed by Hezbollah and to force the civilian population north to Beirut so as to put pressure on the Lebanese Government to restrain Hezbollah.[152] The fighting ended when an unwritten understanding was agreed to by the warring parties. Apparently, the 1993 understanding provided that Hezbollah combatants would not fire rockets at northern Israel, while Israel would not attack civilians or civilian targets in Lebanon.[153]
  • In April 1996, after continued Hezbollah rocket attacks on Israeli civilians,[154] the Israeli armed forces launched Operation Grapes of Wrath, which was intended to wipe out Hezbollah’s base in southern Lebanon. Over 100 Lebanese refugees were killed by the shelling of a UN base at Qana, in what the Israeli military said was a mistake.[155] Finally, following several days of negotiations, the two sides signed the Grapes of Wrath Understandings on April 26, 1996. A cease-fire was agreed upon between Israel and Hezbollah, which would be effective on April 27, 1996.[156] Both sides agreed that civilians should not be targeted, which meant that Hezbollah would be allowed to continue its military activities against IDF forces inside Lebanon.[156]

2000 Hezbollah cross-border raid

Main article: 2000 Hezbollah cross-border raid

On October 7, 2000, three Israeli soldiers – Adi Avitan, Staff Sgt. Benyamin Avraham, and Staff Sgt. Omar Sawaidwere – were abducted by Hezbollah while patrolling the Israeli side of the Israeli-Lebanese border.[157] The soldiers were killed either during the attack or in its immediate aftermath.[158] Israel Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz has, however, said that Hezbollah abducted the soldiers and then killed them.[159] The bodies of the slain soldiers were exchanged for Lebanese prisoners in 2004.[160]

2006 Lebanon War

Main article: 2006 Lebanon War

Hezbollah posters in the aftermath of the 2006 Lebanon War

The 2006 Lebanon War was a 34-day military conflict in Lebanon and northern Israel. The principal parties were Hezbollah paramilitary forces and the Israeli military. The conflict was precipitated by a cross-border raid by Hezbollah during which they kidnapped and killed Israeli soldiers. The conflict began on July 12, 2006 when Hezbollah militants fired rockets at Israeli border towns as a diversion for an anti-tank missile attack on two armored Humvees patrolling the Israeli side of the border fence, killing three, injuring two, and seizing two Israeli soldiers.[161]

Israel responded with airstrikes and artillery fire on targets in Lebanon that damaged Lebanese infrastructure, including Beirut’s Rafic Hariri International Airport (which Israel said that Hezbollah used to import weapons and supplies),[162] an air and naval blockade,[163] and a ground invasion of southern Lebanon. Hezbollah then launched more rockets into northern Israel and engaged the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) in guerrilla warfare from hardened positions.[164] The war continued until August 14, 2006. Hezbollah was responsible for thousands of Katyusha rocket attacks against Israeli civilian towns and cities in northern Israel,[165] which Hezbollah said were in retaliation for Israel’s killing of civilians and targeting Lebanese infrastructure.[166] The conflict is believed to have killed 1,191–1,300 Lebanese citizens including combatants[167][168][169][170][171][172] and 165 Israelis including soldiers.[173]

2010 Gas Field Claims

In 2010, Hezbollah claimed that the Dalit and Tamar gas field, discovered by Noble Energy roughly 50 miles (80 km) west of Haifa in Israeli exclusive economic zone, belong to Lebanon, and warned Israel against extracting gas from them. Senior officials from Hezbollah warned that they would not hesitate to use weapons to defend Lebanon’s natural resources. Figures in the March 14 Forces stated in response that Hezbullah was simply looking for another excuse to hold on to its arms. Lebanese MP Antoine Zahra said that the issue is another item “in the endless list of excuses” meant to justify the continued existence of Hezbullah’s arsenal.[174]

2011 attack in Istanbul

In July 2011, Italian newspaper Corierre della Sera reported, based on American and Turkish sources,[175] that Hezbollah was behind a bombing in Istanbul in May 2011 that wounded eight Turkish civilians. The report said that the attack was an assassination attempt on the Israeli consul to Turkey, Moshe Kimchi. Turkish intelligence sources denied the report and said “Israel is in the habit of creating disinformation campaigns using different papers.”[175]

2012 planned attack in Cyprus

Main article: 2012 Cyprus terrorist plot

In July 2012, a Lebanese man was detained by Cyprus police on possible charges relating to terrorism laws for planning attacks against Israeli tourists. According to security officials, the man was planning attacks for Hezbollah in Cyprus and admitted this after questioning. The police were alerted about the man due to an urgent message from Israeli intelligence. The Lebanese man was in possession of photographs of Israeli targets and had information on Israeli airlines flying back and forth from Cyprus, and planned to blow up a plane or tour bus.[176] Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated that Iran assisted the Lebanese man with planning the attacks.[177]

2012 Burgas attack

Main article: 2012 Burgas bus bombing

Following an investigation into the 2012 Burgas bus bombing terrorist attack against Israeli citizens in Bulgaria, the Bulgarian government officially accused the Lebanese-militant movement Hezbollah of committing the attack.[178] Five Israeli citizens, the Bulgarian bus driver, and the bomber were killed. The bomb exploded as the Israeli tourists boarded a bus from the airport to their hotel.

Tsvetan Tsvetanov, Bulgaria’s interior minister, reported that the two suspects responsible were members of the militant wing of Hezbollah; he said the suspected terrorists entered Bulgaria on June 28 and remained until July 18. Israel had already previously suspected Hezbollah for the attack. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the report “further corroboration of what we have already known, that Hezbollah and its Iranian patrons are orchestrating a worldwide campaign of terror that is spanning countries and continents.”[179] Netanyahu said that the attack in Bulgaria was just one of many that Hezbollah and Iran have planned and carried out, including attacks in Thailand, Kenya, Turkey, India, Azerbaijan, Cyprus and Georgia.[178]

John Brennan, Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, has said that “Bulgaria’s investigation exposes Hezbollah for what it is – a terrorist group that is willing to recklessly attack innocent men, women and children, and that poses a real and growing threat not only to Europe, but to the rest of the world.”[180] The result of the Bulgarian investigation comes at a time when Israel has been petitioning the European Union to join the United States in designating Hezbollah as a terrorist organization.[180]

Assassination of Rafic Hariri

Main article: Assassination of Rafic Hariri

On 14 February 2005, former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafic Hariri was killed, along with 21 others, when his motorcade was struck by a roadside bomb in Beirut. He had been PM from 1992–1998 and from 2000–2004. In 2009, the United Nations special tribunal investigating the murder of Hariri reportedly found evidence linking Hezbollah to the murder.[181] On 30 June 2011, the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, established to investigate the death of Hariri, issued arrest warrants against four senior members of Hezbollah, including Mustafa Badr Al Din.[182] On 3 July, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah rejected the indictment and denounced the tribunal as a plot against the party, vowing that the named persons would not be arrested under any circumstances.[183]

Involvement in the Syrian civil war

Hezbollah has long been an ally of the Ba’ath Party government of Syria, led by the Al-Assad family. Hezbollah has helped the Syrian government during the Syrian civil war in its fight against the Syrian opposition, which Hezbollah has described as a zionist plot to destroy its alliance with al-Assad against Israel.[184]Geneive Abdo opined that Hezbollah’s support for al-Assad in the Syrian war has “transformed” it from a group with “support among the Sunni for defeating Israel in a battle in 2006” into a “strictly Shia paramilitary force”.[185]

In August 2012, the United States sanctioned Hezbollah for its alleged role in the war.[186] General Secretary Nasrallah denied Hezbollah had been fighting on behalf of the Syrian government, stating in a 12 October 2012 speech that “right from the start the Syrian opposition has been telling the media that Hizbullah sent 3,000 fighters to Syria, which we have denied”.[187] However, according to the Lebanese Daily Star newspaper, Nasrallah said in the same speech that Hezbollah fighters helped the Syrian government “retain control of some 23 strategically located villages [in Syria] inhabited by Shiites of Lebanese citizenship”. Nasrallah said that Hezbollah fighters have died in Syria doing their “jihadist duties”.[188]

In 2012, Hezbollah fighters crossed the border from Lebanon and took over eight villages in the Al-Qusayr District of Syria.[189] On 16–17 February 2013, Syrian opposition groups claimed that Hezbollah, backed by the Syrian military, attacked three neighboring Sunni villages controlled by the Free Syrian Army (FSA). An FSA spokesman said, “Hezbollah’s invasion is the first of its kind in terms of organisation, planning and coordination with the Syrian regime’s air force”. Hezbollah said three Lebanese Shias, “acting in self-defense”, were killed in the clashes with the FSA. Lebanese security sources said that the three were Hezbollah members.[191] In response, the FSA allegedly attacked two Hezbollah positions on 21 February; one in Syria and one in Lebanon. Five days later, it said it destroyed a convoy carrying Hezbollah fighters and Syrian officers to Lebanon, killing all the passengers.[192]

In January 2013, a weapons convoy carrying SA-17 anti-aircraft missiles to Hezbollah was destroyed allegedly by the Israeli Air Force. A nearby research center for chemical weapons was also damaged. A similar attack on weapons destined for Hezbollah occurred in May of the same year.

The leaders of the March 14 alliance and other prominent Lebanese figures called on Hezbollah to end its involvement in Syria and said it is putting Lebanon at risk.[193]Subhi al-Tufayli, Hezbollah’s former leader, said “Hezbollah should not be defending the criminal regime that kills its own people and that has never fired a shot in defense of the Palestinians”. He said “those Hezbollah fighters who are killing children and terrorizing people and destroying houses in Syria will go to hell”.[194] The Consultative Gathering, a group of Shia and Sunni leaders in BaalbekHermel, also called on Hezbollah not to “interfere” in Syria. They said “Opening a front against the Syrian people and dragging Lebanon to war with the Syrian people is very dangerous and will have a negative impact on the relations between the two”.[191]Walid Jumblatt, leader of the Progressive Socialist Party, also called on Hezbollah to end its involvement[193] and claimed that “Hezbollah is fighting inside Syria with orders from Iran”.[195] Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi condemned Hezbollah by saying “We stand against Hezbollah in its aggression against the Syrian people. There is no space or place for Hezbollah in Syria”.[196]

According to at least one source, Syrian government support for Hezbollah has been weakened during the Syrian civil war.[197][198] Support for Hezbollah among the Syrian public has weakened since the involvement of Hezbollah and Iran in propping up the Assad regime during the civil war.[199]

According to the U.S., the Assad loyalist militia known as al-Jaysh al-Sha’bi was created and is maintained by Hezbollah and Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard CorpsQods Force, both of whom provide it with money, weapons, training and advice.[200]

On 12 May 2013, Hezbollah with the Syrian army attempted to retake part of Qusayr.[201] In Lebanon, there has been “a recent increase in the funerals of Hezbollah fighters” and “Syrian rebels have shelled Hezbollah-controlled areas.”[201]

On 25 May 2013, Nasrallah announced that Hezbollah is fighting in the Syrian Civil War against Islamic extremists and “pledged that his group will not allow Syrian militants to control areas that border Lebanon”.[202] He confirmed that Hezbollah was fighting in the strategic Syrian town of Al-Qusayr on the same side as Assad‘s forces.[202] In the televised address, he said, “If Syria falls in the hands of America, Israel and the takfiris, the people of our region will go into a dark period.”[202]

On 26 May 2013, two rockets hit a Hezbollah area of Beirut injuring five people whilst another two rockets caused property damage to buildings in the al-Hermel district of Beirut. Syrian rebels have been blamed for the attack as they had promised to attack Hezbollah targets in Lebanon in retaliation for their helping the Syrian army particularly in the border town of Al-Qusayr. Syrian rebels have also shelled al-Hermel previously.[203][204]

On 28 May 2013, Free Syrian Army General Salim Idris gave Hezbollah “24 hours to withdraw from Syria” or he may order FSA units to attack Hezbollah targets in Lebanon.

In early June, Hezbollah has now committed fighters to the battle in Aleppo, some 2,000, reportedly putting strain on the organisation. This has resulted in Hezbollah introducing a change to its rotation policy for its fighters from 7 days fighting followed by 7 days leave, Hezbollah has increased it to 20 days fighting and followed by 7 days leave for its fighters.[207]

Other

In 2010, Ahbash and Hezbollah members were involved in a street battle which was perceived to be over parking issues, both groups later met to form a joint compensation fund for the victims of the conflict.[208] Hezbollah was accused of infiltrating South America and having ties with Latin American drug cartels.[209]

Armed strength

Hezbollah is often described as more militarily powerful than the Lebanese Army.[210][211][212] Israeli commander Gui Zur called Hizbollah: “by far the greatest guerrilla group in the world”.[213]

Hezbollah has not revealed its armed strength. It has been estimated by Mustafa Alani, security director at the Dubai-based Gulf Research Centre that Hezbollah’s military force is made up of about 1,000 full-time Hezbollah members, along with a further 6,000–10,000 volunteers.[214] According to the Iranian semi-official Fars News Agency, Hezbollah has up to 65,000 fighters.[215]

Hezbollah possesses the Katyusha-122 rocket, which has a range of 29 km (18 mi) and carries a 15-kg (33-lb) warhead. Hezbollah also possesses about 100 long-range missiles. They include the Iranian-made Fajr-3 and Fajr-5, the latter with a range of 75 km (47 mi), enabling it to strike the Israeli port of Haifa, and the Zelzal-1, with an estimated 150 km (93 mi) range, which can reach Tel Aviv. Fajr-3 missiles have a range of 40 km (25 mi) and a 45-kg (99-lb) warhead, and Fajr-5 missiles, which extend to 72 km (45 mi), also hold 45-kg (99-lb) warheads.[214] It was reported that Hezbollah is in possession of Scud missiles that were provided to them by Syria.[216] The reports were denied by Syria.[217]

According to various reports, Hezbollah is armed with anti-tank guided missiles, namely, the Russian-made AT-3 Sagger, AT-4 Spigot, AT-5 Spandrel, AT-13 Saxhorn-2 ‘Metis-M’, АТ-14 Spriggan ‘Kornet’; Iranian-made Ra’ad (version of AT-3 Sagger), Towsan (version of AT-5 Spandrel), Toophan (version of BGM-71 TOW); and European-made MILAN missiles. These weapons have been used against IDF soldiers, causing many of the deaths during the 2006 Lebanon War.[218] A small number of Saeghe-2s (Iranian-made version of M47 Dragon) were also used in the war.[219]

For air defense, Hezbollah has anti-aircraft weapons that include the ZU-23 artillery and the man-portable, shoulder-fired SA-7 and SA-18surface-to-air missile (SAM).[220] One of the most effective weapons deployed by Hezbollah has been the C-802anti-ship missile.[221]

In April 2010 United States Secretary of Defense Robert Gates claimed that the Hezbollah has far more missiles and rockets than the majority of countries. He said that Syria and Iran are providing weapons to the organization. Israel also claims that Syria is providing the organization with these weapons. Syria has denied supplying these weapons and views these claims as an Israeli excuse for an attack.[222] Leaked cables from American diplomats suggest that the United States has been trying unsuccessfully to prevent Syria from “supplying arms to Hezbollah in Lebanon”, and that Hezbollah has “amassed a huge stockpile (of arms) since its 2006 war with Israel“; the arms were described as “increasingly sophisticated.”[223] Gates added that Hezbollah is possibly armed with chemical or biological weapons, as well as anti-ship missiles with a range of 65 miles (105 km) that could threaten U.S. ships.[224]

As of July 2012, “Hezbollah is … reported to have up to 50,000 missiles—more than three times the 13,000 it reportedly held when it began launching rockets at Israel six years ago, leading to the Second Lebanon War.”[225] Hezbollah has also used drones against Israel, by penetrating air defense systems, in a report verified by Nasrallah and he added, “This is only part of our capabilities”.[226][227]

As of 2010, the Israeli government believed Hezbollah had an arsenal of more than 15,000 long-range rockets stationed on its border with Lebanon. Some of these missiles were said to be capable of penetrating cities as far away as Eilat.[228] The IDF has accused Hezbollah of storing these rockets beneath hospitals, schools, and civilian homes.[228] The Israeli Ambassador to United States Michael Oren expressed deep concern with the revelation.

The Syrian-Iranian backed Hizbullah poses a very serious threat to Israel…Hizbullah today now has four times as many rockets as it had during the 2006 Lebanon war. These rockets are longer-range. Every city in Israel is within range right now, including Eilat.[228]

Targeting policy

After the September 11, 2001 attacks, Hezbollah condemned Al Qaeda for targeting the civilian World Trade Center, but remained silent on the attack on The Pentagon.[24][229] Hezbollah also denounced the massacres in Algeria by Armed Islamic Group, Al-Gama’a al-Islamiyya attacks on tourists in Egypt,[230] and the murder of Nick Berg.[231]

Although Hezbollah has denounced certain attacks on civilians, some people accuse the organization of the bombing of an Argentine synagogue in 1994. Argentine prosecutor Alberto Nisman, Marcelo Martinez Burgos, and their “staff of some 45 people”[232] said that Hezbollah and their contacts in Iran were responsible for the 1994 bombing of a Jewish cultural center in Argentina, in which “[e]ighty-five people were killed and more than 200 others injured.”[233] In June 2002, shortly after the Israeli government launched Operation Defensive Shield, Nasrallah gave a speech in which he defended and praised suicide bombings of Israeli targets by members of Palestinian groups for “creating a deterrence and equalizing fear.” Nasrallah stated that “in occupied Palestine, there is no difference between a soldier and a civilian, for they are all invaders, occupiers and usurpers of the land.”[24]

In August 2012, the United States State Department’s counter-terrorism coordinator Daniel Benjamin warned that Hezbollah may attack Europe at any time without any warning. Benjamin said, “Hezbollah maintains a presence in Europe and its recent activities demonstrate that it is not constrained by concerns about collateral damage or political fallout that could result from conducting operations there… We assess that Hezbollah could attack in Europe or elsewhere at any time with little or no warning” and that Hezbollah has “stepped up terrorist campaigns around the world.”[234][235][236]

Attacks on Hezbollah leaders

Hezbollah has also been the target of bomb attacks and kidnappings. These include:

  • In the 1985 Beirut car bombing, Hezbollah leader Mohammad Hussein Fadlallah was targeted, but the assassination attempt failed.
  • On July 28, 1989, Israeli commandos kidnapped Sheikh Abdul Karim Obeid, the leader of Hezbollah.[237] This action led to the adoption of UN Security Council resolution 638, which condemned all hostage takings by all sides.
  • In 1992, Israeli helicopters attacked a motorcade in southern Lebanon, killing the Hezbollah leader Abbas al-Musawi, his wife, son, and four others.[39]
  • On February 12, 2008, Imad Mughnieh was killed by a car bomb in Damascus, Syria.[238]

Foreign relations

Main article: Hezbollah foreign relations

Hezbollah has close relations with Iran.[239] It also has ties with the leadership in Syria, specifically with President Hafez al-Assad (until his death in 2000) and his son and successor Bashar al-Assad.[240] Although Hezbollah and Hamas are not organizationally linked, Hezbollah provides military training as well as financial and moral support to the SunniPalestinian group.[241] Furthermore, Hezbollah is a strong supporter of the ongoing Al-Aqsa Intifada.[24] American and Israeli counter-terrorism officials claim that Hezbollah has (or had) links to Al Qaeda, although Hezbollah’s leaders deny these allegations.[242][243][244] Also, some al-Qaeda leaders, like Abu Musab al-Zarqawi[245] and Wahhabi clerics, consider Hezbollah to be apostate.[246] But United States intelligence officials speculate that there has been contact between Hezbollah and low-level al-Qaeda figures who fled Afghanistan for Lebanon.[247]

Public opinion

According to Michel Samaha, Lebanon’s minister of information, Hezbollah is seen as a legitimate resistance organization that has defended its land against an Israeli occupying force and has consistently stood up to the Israeli army.[24]

According to a survey released by the “Beirut Center for Research and Information” on July 26 during the 2006 Lebanon War, 87 percent of Lebanese support Hezbollah’s “retaliatory attacks on northern Israel”,[248] a rise of 29 percentage points from a similar poll conducted in February. More striking, however, was the level of support for Hezbollah’s resistance from non-Shiite communities. Eighty percent of Christians polled supported Hezbollah, along with 80 percent of Druze and 89 percent of Sunnis.[249]

In a poll of Lebanese adults taken in 2004, 6% of respondents gave unqualified support to the statement “Hezbollah should be disarmed”. 41% reported unqualified disagreement.[250] A poll of Gaza Strip and West Bank residents indicated that 79.6% had “a very good view” of Hezbollah, and most of the remainder had a “good view”.[251] Polls of Jordanian adults in December 2005 and June 2006 showed that 63.9% and 63.3%, respectively, considered Hezbollah to be a legitimate resistance organization.[252] In the December 2005 poll, only 6% of Jordanian adults considered Hezbollah to be terrorist.[253]

A July 2006 USA Today/Gallup poll found that 83% of the 1,005 Americans polled blamed Hezbollah, at least in part, for the 2006 Lebanon War, compared to 66% who blamed Israel to some degree. Additionally, 76% disapproved of the military action Hezbollah took in Israel, compared to 38% who disapproved of Israel’s military action in Lebanon.[254] A poll in August 2006 by ABC News and the Washington Post found that 68% of the 1,002 Americans polled blamed Hezbollah, at least in part, for the civilian casualties in Lebanon during the 2006 Lebanon War, compared to 31% who blamed Israel to some degree.[254] Another August 2006 poll by CNN showed that 69% of the 1,047 Americans polled believed that Hezbollah is unfriendly towards, or an enemy of, the United States.[254]

In 2010, a survey of Muslims in Lebanon showed that 94% of Lebanese Shia supported Hezbollah, while 84% of the Sunni Muslims held an unfavorable opinion of the group.[255]

Some public opinion has started to turn against Hezbollah for their support of Syrian President Assad’s attacks on the opposition movement in Syria.[256] Crowds in Cairo shouted out against Iran and Hezbollah, at a public speech by Hamas President Ismail Haniya in February 2012, when Hamas changed its support to the Syrian opposition.[257]

Designation as a terrorist organization or resistance movement

Hezbollah’s status as a legitimate political party, a terrorist group, a resistance movement, or some combination thereof is a contentious issue. Several Western countries officially classify Hezbollah or its external security wing as a terrorist organization, and some of their violent acts have been described as terrorist attacks. Throughout most of the Arab and Muslim worlds, Hezbollah is referred to as a resistance movement, engaged in national defense.[7][258][259] Even within Lebanon, Hezbollah’s status is contentious.

In May 2013, France and Germany released statements that it will join other European countries in calling for a EU-blacklisting of Hezbollah as a terror group.[260]

Countries below have officially listed Hezbollah in at least some part as a terrorist organization.

 Australia Hezbollah’s External Security Organization [261]
 Bahrain The entire organization Hezbollah [262]
 Gulf Cooperation Council The entire organization Hezbollah [19]
 Canada The entire organization Hezbollah [263]
 France The entire organization Hezbollah [264]
 European Union Hezbollah’s military wing [265]
 Israel The entire organization Hezbollah [266]
 Netherlands The entire organization Hezbollah [17]
 United Kingdom Hezbollah’s military wing [267]
 United States The entire organization Hezbollah [268]

In the Western World

In 1999, Hezbollah was placed on the US State Department list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations. After Hezbollah’s condemnation of the September 11, 2001 attacks on the USA, it was removed from the list, but it was later returned.[269]

The European Union does not list Hezbollah as a “terrorist organization”;[270] On 10 March 2005, the European Parliament passed a non-binding resolution recognizing “clear evidence” of “terrorist activities by Hezbollah”[271] and urging the EU Council to brand Hezbollah a terrorist organization and EU governments to place Hezbollah on their terrorist blacklists, as the bloc did with the Palestinian Hamas group in 2003.[271] The Council has been reluctant to do this because France and Spain fear that such a move would further damage the prospects for Middle East peace talks.[271] In 2012, British “Foreign Minister William Hague urged the European Union to place Hezbollah’s military wing on its list of terrorist organizations.”[272] The United States has also urged the EU to classify Hezbollah as a terrorist organization.[15] In the midst of the 2006 conflict between Hezbollah and Israel, Russia’s government declined to include Hezbollah in a newly released list of terrorist organizations, with Yuri Sapunov, the head of anti-terrorism for the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation, saying that they list only organizations which represent “the greatest threat to the security of our country”.[273] Prior to the release of the list, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov called “on Hezbollah to stop resorting to any terrorist methods, including attacking neighboring states.”[274] There has been renewed discussion within the European Union to label Hezbollah’s military wing as a terrorist group in light of findings implicating Hezollah in the bus bombing in Burgas, Bulgaria in 2012.[275]

The Quartet’s fourth member, the United Nations, does not maintain such a list,[276] however, the United Nations has made repeated calls for Hezbollah to disarm and accused the group of destabilizing the region and causing harm to Lebanese civilians.[277][278][279][280] Human rights organizations Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have accused Hezbollah of committing war crimes against Israeli civilians.[281][282][283][284]

Argentine prosecutors hold Hezbollah and their financial supporters in Iran responsible for the 1994 AMIA Bombing of a Jewish cultural center, described by the Associated Press as “the worst terrorist attack on Argentine soil,” in which “[e]ighty-five people were killed and more than 200 others injured.”[233][285] During the Israeli occupation of southern Lebanon, French Prime Minister Lionel Jospin condemned attacks by Hezbollah fighters on Israeli forces in south Lebanon, saying they were “terrorism” and not acts of resistance. “France condemns Hezbollah’s attacks, and all types of terrorist attacks which may be carried out against soldiers, or possibly Israel’s civilian population.”[286] Italian Foreign Minister Massimo D’Alema differentiated the wings of Hezbollah: “Apart from their well-known terrorist activities, they also have political standing and are socially engaged.”[287] German officials indicate that they would likely support a designation of Hezbollah as a terrorist organization.[288] The Netherlands regard Hezbollah as terrorist discussing it as such in official reports of their general intelligence and security service[289] and in official answers by the Minister of Foreign Affairs.[290] On 22 July 2013, the European Union declared the military wings of Hezbollah as a terrorist organization; effectively blacklisting the entity.[291]

In the Arab and Muslim world

In 2006, Hezbollah was regarded as a legitimate resistance movement throughout most of the Arab and Muslim world.[7] “The indictments for the Hariri killing”, the Associated Press reported in August 2011, “damages the group’s crossover appeal in the Mideast’s sectarian divides.”[292] Furthermore, most of the Sunni Arab world sees Hezbollah as an agent of Iranian influence, and therefore, would like to see their power in Lebanon diminished.[293]Egypt, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia have condemned Hezbollah’s actions, saying that “the Arabs and Muslims can’t afford to allow an irresponsible and adventurous organization like Hezbollah to drag the region to war” and calling it “dangerous adventurism”,[294]

After an alleged 2009 Hezbollah plot in Egypt, the Egyptian regime of Hosni Mubarak officially classified Hezbollah as a terrorist group.[295] Following the 2012 Presidential elections the new government recognized Hezbollah as a “real political and military force” in Lebanon. The Egyptian ambassador to Lebanon, Ashraf Hamdy, stated that “Resistance in the sense of defending Lebanese territory … That’s their primary role. We … think that as a resistance movement they have done a good job to keep on defending Lebanese territory and trying to regain land occupied by Israel is legal and legitimate.”[296][297]

During the Bahraini uprising, Bahrain foreign ministerKhalid ibn Ahmad Al Khalifah labeled Hezbollah a terrorist group and accused them of supporting the protesters.[298][299] On 10 April 2013, Bahrain blacklisted Hezbollah as a terrorist group, being the first Arab state in this regard.[300]

During the 2011 Syrian uprising Hezbollah’s has voiced support for Syrian President Bashar Assad‘s government, which has prompted criticism from anti-government Syrians. As Hezbollah supported other movements in the context of the Arab Spring, anti-government Syrians have stated that they feel “betrayed” by a double standard allegedly applied by the movement. When during the summer of 2011 the violence in Syria escalated further, Hezbollah avoided talking about Syria’s uprising.[292] Following Hezbollah’s aid in Assad regime’s victory in Qusair, anti-Hezbollah editorials began regularly appearing in the Arabic media and anti-Hezbollah graffiti has been seen in southern Lebanon.[301]

In Lebanon

In an interview during the 2006 Lebanon War, then-President Emile Lahoud stated “Hezbollah enjoys utmost prestige in Lebanon, because it freed our country … even though it is very small, it stands up to Israel.”[302] Following the 2006 War, other Lebanese including members of the government were resentful of the large damage sustained by the country and saw Hezbollah’s actions as unjustified “dangerous adventurism” rather than legitimate resistance. They accused Hezbollah of acting on behalf of Iran and Syria.[303] An official of the Future Movement, part of the March 14 Alliance, warned that Hezbollah “has all the characteristics of a terrorist party”, and that Hezbollah is moving Lebanon toward the Iranian Islamic system of government.[304]

In August 2008, Lebanon’s cabinet completed a policy statement which recognized “the right of Lebanon’s people, army, and resistance to liberate the Israeli-occupied Shebaa Farms, Kafar Shuba Hills, and the Lebanese section of Ghajar village, and defend the country using all legal and possible means.”[305]

Gebran Tueni, a late conservative Orthodox Christian editor of an-Nahar, referred to Hezbollah as an “Iranian import and said “they have nothing to do with Arab civilization.” Tuení believed that Hezbollah’s evolution is cosmetic, concealing a sinister long-term strategy to Islamicize Lebanon and lead it into a ruinous war with Israel.[24] Tueni was killed in a car bomb in 2005, but the plotters have not been identified.[306]

While Hezbollah has supported popular uprisings in Egypt, Yemen, Bahrain and Tunisia – Hezbollah publicly sided with Iran and Syria in their own violent repressions of dissent. In August 2010, 800 people demonstrated in Beirut against Syrian President Bashar Assad, and police were called in to contain the smaller pro-Syrian rallies that followed. Demonstrators were shouting, “Syria wants freedom,” “Anyone who kills his people is a murderer and a coward,” and “the people want an end to the regime.”[307]

Scholarly views

Some American and Israeli academics specializing in a wide variety of the social sciences believe that Hezbollah is an example of an Islamic terrorist organization. The Americans include, Lebanese-born terrorism scholar Walid Phares and historian Mark LeVine.[308][309] Israeli historians that have referred to Hezbollah as an Islamic terrorist organization include Avraham Sela, Robert S. Wistrich, and Eyal Zisser.[310][311][312] Iranian scholar Siamak Khatami, Singaporean scholar Rohan Gunaratna, Australian scholar Neeru Gaba, and Norwegian scholar Tore Bjørgo have all referred to Hezbollah using similar terms.[242][313][314][315]

Views of foreign legislators

J. Gresham Barrett brought up legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives which, among other things, referred to Hezbollah as a terrorist organization. Congress members Tom Lantos, Jim Saxton, Thad McCotter, Chris Shays, Charles Boustany, Alcee Hastings, and Robert Wexler referred to Hezbollah as a terrorist organization in their speeches supporting the legislation.[316] Shortly before a speech by Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, U.S. Congressman Dennis Hastert said, “He [Maliki] denounces terrorism, and I have to take him at his word. Hezbollah is a terrorist organization.”[317]

In 2011, a bipartisan group of members of Congress introduced the Hezbollah Anti-Terrorism Act. The act ensures that no American aid to Lebanon will enter the hands of Hezbollah. On the day of the act’s introduction, Congressman Darrell Issa said, “Hezbollah is a terrorist group and a cancer on Lebanon. The Hezbollah Anti-Terrorism Act surgically targets this cancer and will strengthen the position of Lebanese who oppose Hezbollah.”[318]

In a Sky News interview during the 2006 Lebanon war, former British MP George Galloway said that Hezbollah is: “not a terrorist organization”.[319]

Former Swiss member of parliament, Jean Ziegler, said in 2006: “I refuse to describe Hezbollah as a terrorist group. It is a national movement of resistance.”[320]