go to top

Hezbollah: The Challenge of Subnational Actors

Monday, Feb. 16, 2009

On July 12, 2006, highly-trained Hezbollah militants managed to kill several Israeli soldiers and kidnap two others in a carefully coordinated raid into Israel near the Lebanese village of Ayta ash-Shabb. Ever since Israel's withdrawal from southern Lebanon in 2000, Hezbollah had sought to kidnap Israeli soldiers in order to then exchange them for Lebanese prisoners held in Israel. The 2006 operation was the first time since an initial effort in 2000, though, that it succeeded.

The raid, whose fire and withdrawal plan suggested careful planning and rehearsals, was executed without the knowledge of the government of Lebanon. Even Hezbollah's own ministers in parliament are not believed to have had any prior warning. Nevertheless, Hezbollah's actions on July 12 were to have serious implications for Lebanon and its citizens. Israel promptly launched an offensive, and in the 34 days of fighting that followed, more than 1,000 Lebanese were killed. As in previous Israeli offensives on southern Lebanon -- such as Operation Accountability in 1993 and Operation Grapes of Wrath in 1996 -- hundreds of thousands of Lebanese were displaced, and much of the infrastructure of southern Lebanon was reduced to rubble. Furthermore, Israel took its frustration out on the rest of Lebanon, too, bombing the airport as well as bridges, power plants, and roads throughout the country. ...

Want to Read the Rest?
Login or Subscribe Today.
Get unlimited access to must-read news, analysis and opinion from top experts. Subscribe to World Politics Review and you'll receive instant access to 9,000+ articles in the World Politics Review Library, along with new comprehensive analysis every weekday . . . written by leading topic experts.

YES, I want to subscribe now.