Preview Screening: Hunting for Hezbollah

In his State of the Union address, George Bush described Hezbollah as one of the most dangerous terrorist organisations in the world. This documentary takes us to the heartland of the Party of God a year after the group claimed a “Divine Victory” in the bloody 33-day conflict with Israel. Just after the filmmakers arrived in Beirut, Hezbollah’s Press Office put a blanket ban on all filming. So this is a film they didn’t want you to see.

Our guide through Hezbollah-land is Dawoud – a wisecracking former Shia militiaman with all the right connections to the city’s darkly vibrant underbelly. He’s a Hezbollah voter, but isn’t an official a member of the organisation. Having lived 18 years in the US he understands the West, but in his heart he is a loyal Shia Muslim. Dawoud is the perfect bridge between our world and theirs.

We discover a country smashed by war and on the brink of the abyss. Sectarian tensions fuel talk of a new civil war, black-market arms dealers are selling weapons looted from dead American soldiers in Iraq and a giant tent city is paralysing downtown Beirut. Hidden Hezbollah bunkers and a secret new military security zone outside the zone of UN control indicate Hezbollah are re-arming.

We meet a noted commander in Bint Jbeil who gives us an exclusive insight into Hezbollah’s operations in the south, and a woman with no regrets despite being the mother of an 18 year-old martyr who died firing Katyusha rockets at Israel.

Hezbollah have grafted their ideology into the hearts and minds of almost every Lebanese Shia. As Dawoud says: “For Israel to win or to defeat Hezbollah, they will have to kill every Shia in this country because we will fight to the last drop of blood.”

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