Hizbullah Rejects Syrian Position
Lebanese Army Begins reaching South
DPA/ al-Zaman report that [Ar.] in Beirut, Hizbullah declined to adopt the position of Syrian President Bashar al-Asad in accusing the reformist politicians of standing against Hizbullah and the resistance in Lebanon. (Bashar has a feud with the 14 March group, but Hizbullah joined it in a national unity government.) Husayn al-Hajj Hasan, a Hizbullah member of parliament said, “we reject the idea of considering the 14 March group to be agents of Israel and America.”
In an emotional speech in Beirut Thursday morning, shown on LBC, Saad Hariri said that the 33-day long Israeli campaign against Lebanon had inflicted profound damage on the country. He went on to say that it was painful to find a sibling Arab leader adding insult to injury by instigating division and infighting among Lebanese. Hariri was referring to Tuesday’s speech by Bashar al-Asad of Syria in which he accused Hariri and other members of his coalition of being agents of foreign powers and urged Hizbullah to stand up to them. Hariri said that Lebanon had seen nothing from Syria but hatred, hypocrisy and lies. He accused Syria of trading for its own advantage on the blood of Arab children at Qana, in Gaza and in Baghdad. He said he sympathized with the suffering masses of Syria who labored under a tyrannical regime that denied them the possibility of free elections. He reminded Damascus that steadfastness in the face of Israeli attacks was a famed Lebanese product, stemming from Lebanese national unity. (Asad had said that the 14 March group was a product of Israel.)
Pretty much all the major Lebanese politicians of all sects and tendencies condemned Asad’s remarks [Ar.], characterizing them as an attempt by an external power to take advantage of Lebanon’s successful weathering of the Israeli attack to achieve Syrian goals in Lebanon.
Some 2000 Lebanese troops began deploying on Wednesday and Thursday in the Lebanese South. Altogether 15,000 would be sent.
According to LBC satellite news, most Israeli troops have withdrawn from Lebanon, except for some villages right on the border between the two countries.
The deployment of Lebanese troops to the south for the first time in decades is a matter of national pride to the Lebanese, who are unbowed by a month of savage Israeli bombardment of their national infrastructure and destruction of entire villages.
The main Lebanese players, both the reform government and Hizbullah spokesmen, appear convinced that a conflict between the state and the party-militia in the south can be avoided. Lebanese suffered through civil war 1975-1989 (and beyond a bit) and are determined not to risk a return to that horrible era. The Daily Star suggests that this is because a compromise is in the works, whereby Hizbullah won’t actually be disarmed, but will have to keep its arms out of sight south of the Litani River near Israel.
Armageddon in Khiam: Shiite Lebanese returning to towns and villages in the south are finding them completely flattened.
The Israeli pilots engaged in massive collective punishment and the deliberate targetting of civilian populations for displacement, which is a war crime in international law.