Mariano López de Miguel is a historian with a master’s degree in Contemporary History from the University of Cantabria, a specialist in conflicts in Eastern Europe (Ukraine, the Balkans and the former Yugoslavia), the Caucasus (Chechnya, Abkhazia and Georgia) and the Middle East (mainly concerning the Arab-Israeli conflict). He is also a doctoral researcher at the University of Murcia and a member of the Editorial Board of the Online Blog “Conversación sobre la Historia”. He is currently studying for a doctorate at the Faculty of Philosophy and Letters of the University of Murcia.
The history of Hezbollah is an evolutionary history that has made its way from the death of Imam Hussein in AD 680 until the end of European colonialism and the mobilization of the Shiite community in Lebanon during the 20th century. The martyrdom of Imam Hussein presents a pattern of encouragement and sacrifice that warns future generations of Shiites not to focus on fatalism and to act to help themselves. The emergence of Hezbollah has its roots in the religious and political movements of the late 1960s and early 1970s that united the Lebanese Shiites before the Lebanese Civil War. No one expected the 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon to “uncork the Shiite element,” as Israeli academic and diplomat Itamar Rabinovich put it. With the fall of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and the rise of Hezbollah, Israel was not simply trading one enemy for another. Hezbollah is recognized as one of the most significant terrorist groups in the world. In 2002, Florida Senator Bob Graham, then head of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, declared that Hezbollah was more lethal than Al Qaeda. Subsequently, Undersecretary of State Richard Armitage echoed Graham’s concern, noting that “Hezbollah could be team A of terrorists”, while “Al Qaeda is actually team B”.
Keywords: Hezbollah, Middle East, Terrorism, Global Jihad, Fundamentalism.