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Lebanon the Israel Hamas Hezbollah Conflict

Lebanon the Israel Hamas Hezbollah Conflict

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02/04/2013

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Congressional Research Service 
 
˜
 
The Library of Congress 
CRS Report for Congress
Received through the CRS Web
Order Code RL33566
Lebanon: The Israel-Hamas-Hezbollah Conflict
Updated September 15, 2006
Jeremy M. Sharp, CoordinatorForeign Affairs, Defense, and Trade DivisionChristopher Blanchard, Kenneth Katzman, Carol Migdalovitz,Alfred Prados, Paul Gallis, Dianne Rennack, John Rollins,Steve Bowman, and Connie VeilletteForeign Affairs, Defense, and Trade Division
 
Lebanon: The Israel-Hamas-Hezbollah Conflict
Summary
This report analyzes the conflict between Israel and two U.S. State Department-designated Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTOs), the Lebanese Shiite Muslimgroup Hezbollah and the radical Palestinian Hamas organization. On July 12, 2006,what had been a localized conflict between Israel and Palestinian militants in theGaza Strip instantly became a regional conflagration after Hezbollah captured twoIsraeli soldiers in a surprise attack along the Israeli-Lebanese border. Israelresponded by carrying out air strikes against suspected Hezbollah targets in Lebanon,and Hezbollah countered with rocket attacks against cities and towns in northernIsrael. In order to push Hezbollah back from its border, Israel launched a full-scaleground operation in Lebanon with the hopes of establishing a security zone free of Hezbollah militants. Meanwhile, Israeli clashes with Hamas and other Palestinianmilitants have continued in the Gaza Strip.A United Nations-brokered cease-fire came into effect on August 14, 2006.Based on United Nations Security Council Resolution 1701 passed a few days earlier,the cease-fire is intended to be monitored by the Lebanese Armed Forces inconjunction with an expanded U.N. peacekeeping force in Lebanon. The internationalcommunity initially hesitated to contribute troops, though it appears now that enoughcountries have stepped forward to significantly expand the existing U.N. force(UNIFIL).On July 18, 2006, the Senate passed S.Res. 534, which, among other things,calls for the release of Israeli soldiers who are being held captive by Hezbollah orHamas; condemns the governments of Iran and Syria for their continued support forHezbollah and Hamas; urges all sides to protect innocent civilian life andinfrastructure; and strongly supports the use of all diplomatic means available to freethe captured Israeli soldiers. On July 20, 2006, the House passed H.Res. 921, whichalso condemns Hezbollah’s attack on Israel and urges the President to bring sanctionsagainst the governments of Syria and Iran for their alleged sponsorship of Hezbollah.The extension of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict into the Lebanese arena createda multifaceted crisis that cut across a number of U.S. policy issues in the MiddleEast. This report provides an assessment of the month-long war and its implicationsfor regional stability and other key U.S. policy issues. This report will be updatedperiodically. A number of CRS analysts have contributed to this report. Foradditional questions, please contact the individual specialist listed under each sectionof the report. For more information on the major countries in the current conflict,please see CRS Report RL33476,
 Israel: Background and Relations with the United States
; CRS Report RL33509,
 Lebanon
; CRS Report RL33487,
Syria: U.S. Relationsand Bilateral Issues
; CRS Report RL32048,
 Iran: U.S. Concerns and Policy Responses
; and CRS Report RL33530,
 Israeli-Arab Negotiations: Background, Related Developments, and U.S. Policy
.
 
Contents
Introduction......................................................1A Multi-Dimensional Conflict....................................1The Root Causesof the Conflict................................1The Cease-Fire....................................................4U.N. Security Council Resolution 1701.............................4An Expanded UNIFIL......................................4Lebanese Armed Forces.....................................5Unresolved Issues.............................................5The Difficulty of Disarming Hezbollah.........................5Release of Prisoners........................................6Continued Fighting in Gaza..................................7Shiba (Shebaa) Farms......................................8The Wars Aftermath..............................................10Assessing Hezbollah..........................................10Debate within Israel...........................................11Domestic Political Repercussions in Israel.....................12The Race to Rebuild Lebanon...................................13The Wars Impact on Lebanese Internal Politics.....................15Issues for U.S. Policy and Congress..................................18U.S. Foreign Assistance to the Middle East.........................18Israels Loan Guarantees...................................18Lebanon................................................19Humanitarian Issues...........................................19Condemning Hezbollah....................................19Israels Use of Cluster Weapons.............................20Israeli Reaction..........................................21Administration Response...................................21Congressional Responses...................................22U.S. Efforts and Other Efforts to Combat Hezbollah.................23U.S. Terrorism Designations and Related Effects................23Recent Al-Manar Related Activity in the United States...........23U.S. and Israeli Action Against Hezbollah Finances..............24Al-Manar: Hezbollahs Satellite Television Station..............25Islam, Al Qaeda, and the Global War on Terrorism..................25Conclusion......................................................27Appendix A: Prelude to the Crisis....................................30Appendix B: Chronology of Conflict on the Israeli-Lebanese-Syrian Border..35Appendix C: Recent Legislation.....................................37Congressional Oversight.......................................37Evacuation Costs for U.S. Citizens...............................38

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