Military Power: Hezbollah remains a de facto security force in southern Lebanon, and its military presence is felt throughout the country. The military successes Nasrallah had in the late nineties are seen as the main factor for Israel’s withdrawal from southern Lebanon in 2000, and the repulsion of Israeli forces in July 2006 earned Nasrallah many more supporters. Hezbollah fighters have been key in strengthening the Syrian regime during the Syrian civil war, and their presence there has pushed out da’ish but draws reactions from Israel. Hezbollah has continued to develop its arsenal, and as well as developing accuracy, latest estimates include at least 100,000 rockets and missiles.
Social Services: Hezbollah has also won significant grassroots support by cultivating a social welfare system that provides schools, clinics and housing in the predominantly Shia parts of Lebanon. These welfare activities are run with efficiency and rival those carried out by the state, giving the organisation even broader appeal. It also runs Al Manar—an influential television station.
Popularity: His popularity peaked just after the 2006 conflict with Israel, when many Sunni Muslims looked to him as a figure of defiance against Israel. Since the Syrian conflict, however, many if not all of these supporters have left him because of his support of the Syrian (Alawi) regime against the Syrian people, the majority of whom are Sunnis. His claim that the Syrian conflict is not sectarian in essence is not one that many Sunni Muslims agree with. He is widely seen as one of the main victors of the Syrian conflict. Nasrallah recently declared “victory” in the Syrian war, adding that what remained was “scattered battles.”
Current Issues: Nasrallah has been very critical of recent peace initiatives with Israel and recently met with Hamas leader, Ismail Haniyeh, in the latter’s first visit to Lebanon in 30 years. Also, the aftermath of the huge blast in Beirut in August 2020 is still unfolding.