Hezbollah entrenched in Lebanon years after Israel left

BBC – Excerpts: “Ten years on since the withdrawal, the UN together with the Lebanese army patrol the border area. But flapping in the breeze along the fence are yellow and green flags of Hezbollah. Waving next to them is the flag of the group’s biggest foreign backer – Iran. It is Hezbollah that has real control over what happens in southern Lebanon and many villagers say they like the arrangement. ‘It’s the resistance, its weapons and [Hezbollah leader] Hassan Nasrallah who make us feel safe here,’ says Fawwaz Mohammed. ‘Without the resistance we could never be free.’ …While Hezbollah remains extremely secretive about its military, the museum is in many ways, a sign of just how much the group has evolved over the last 10 years. Today, it is arguably the most powerful militia in the Middle East and inside Lebanon it also functions as a sophisticated political organisation which has won elections, which has a track record of doing serious social work, and which is clever at marketing itself. …In fact many in Lebanon believe that the group does have some sort of long-range missile, if only because in some of his recent speeches the group’s leader, Hassan Nasrallah, has threatened to hit targets deep inside Israel. ‘I don’t know what kind of rockets Hezbollah has, but what I do know is that Hassan Nasrallah does not make empty threats. Israel knows that, which is why they are worried,’ says Beirut-based analyst Rami Khoury.”

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