The Hezbollah military command structure is often discussed by political activists, but it is rarely understood; this is likely due to the secretive nature of this Lebanese resistance organization and the preconceived notion that their military wing is not only disorganized, but also, dysfunctional.
It is illogical to assume that Hezbollah is disorganized; after all, their military operations during the 2006 Lebanese War against Israel proved that they are not only a formidable foe to the powerful Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), but also, a legitimate military force that possesses a complex command structure and organized infantry of soldiers.
Hezbollah has had three decades to develop their military command structure and in truth, this time has paid dividends to the Lebanese Resistance organization, as they have evolved from a localized, armed militia to a regional powerhouse that possesses a large arsenal of missiles and heavy weaponry.
The Command Structure:
There are three distinct branches that make-up the Hezbollah structural tree of military command:
- Head of the divisional units (Wahda)
- Head of the departmental units (Qusom)
- Head of the Brigade/Regiment units (Foro’)
These three branches are governed by military commanders that differ from the traditional structure of command most professional armies utilize:
- The highest level of leadership is designated to the Majlis Jihadi (equivalent to a General)
- A Shurah Council governs and presides over all members of the military wing of Hezbollah
- Members of the Shurah Council also select, nominate, and approve the Majlis Jihadis; however, they have no military authority on the battlefield – they are similar to a parliament
- The leader of the departmental units and Brigades is the “Al-Hajj Al-Sajeed”
The Al-Wahda is equivalent to a traditional military’s “division” and possesses the similar numbers. The Al-Wahda can be as small as a brigade unit and as large as 3,000 soldiers that are under the direct command of the Majlis Jihadi. In terms of their divisional structure, they possess many departmental and brigade units.
The Al-Qusom is the departmental unit of Hezbollah’s military structure – there can be many Al-Qusom units in an Al-Wahda (e.g. Engineering, infantry, and et al.). The Al-Qusom’s are generally comprised of no more than 200 soldiers and they can be as small as brigade or regimental unit.
This is the final branch of Hezbollah’s command structure and it the most commonly seen part of their army. The Al-Foro’ are equivalent to a brigade/regiment and they are led by the Al-Hajj Al-Sajeed, who oversees and commands these units in battle.
The Al-Foro’ are no larger than 12 Hezbollah soldiers and they can as small as only 6 men. It is a rarity to see a Hezbollah unit any larger than 12 soldiers; this is one of the reasons why many Hezbollah units seem relatively small.
Hezbollah has grown exponentially over the last two decades, as they have increased their numbers from just over 16,000 fighters in 1995 to their present-day total of 70,000 well-trained soldiers that are spread out across the Beirut, Beqa’a, and Nabitiyeh Governorates of Lebanon.