(Arabic for "Party of God") A Lebanese Shi’a Muslim political group with a military wing. Founded by Shi’a clerics in the aftermath of the 1982 (First) Lebanon War as a guerilla organization with the goal of driving out Israel’s invasion and occupation forces from South Lebanon. Hezbollah participated in Lebanese elections for the first time in 1992 and has since gained significant support as a political party. In May 2000, Hezbollah’s military wing declared partial victory as Israeli troops withdrew unilaterally from South Lebanon after two decades of occupation. Between 2000 and 2006, Hezbollah was the de-facto ruler in South Lebanon, as well as in parts of southern Beirut. Though United Nations Resolution 1559 called for the disbanding and disarming of all Lebanese and non-Lebanese militias in 2004, Hezbollah remains militarized, and is considered a terrorist group by the United States and the European Union. It is a proponent of the Palestinian cause, and continues to demand Israeli withdrawal from the Sheba’a Farms
, a small stretch of disputed land between Israel, Lebanon and Syria. In July 2006, Hezbollah and Israel engaged in hostilities after Hezbollah kidnapped two and killed three Israeli soldiers. The 2006 (Second) Lebanon War lasted 34 days. See "Backgrounder: Hezbollah
," Jonathan Masters, Zachary Laub, Council on Foreign Relations.