Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Second Round to come?

From DEBKAfile August 16, 2006, 12:03 PM (GMT+02:00):

Nasrallah is transferring his entire fighting force from northern Lebanon to the South

The rockets and guns were silent up to Wednesday, Day 3 of the ceasefire – although Tuesday, Israeli troops shot at 5 Hizballah fighters in two separate incidents, killing at least three. However, the swelling numbers of returning Hizballah fighters with their families are jamming the roads south – also blocking the deployment of the 15,000-strong Lebanese force ordered by UN SC resolution 1701 to take over the South and disarm Hizballah. The Hizballah are moving back into their still undamaged bunkers and fortified civilian dwellings opposite the Israeli border.

Therefore, while thousands of displaced people in Israel and Lebanon headed back to their ravaged homes, DEBKAfile’s military sources report trepidation about the durability of the ceasefire which Israel declared Monday morning. Everyone is talking about the inevitability of a second round. Hours after the ceasefire went into effect Monday morning, 6 Hizballah fighters were shot dead in three incidents with Israeli troops. Israeli forces inside Lebanon will hold their positions until a strengthened international force and the Lebanese army take over. The discharge of reservists called up for the war begins at the end of the week although the Lebanese defense minister promised to move his men into position by then only north of the Litani. Northern Israelis towns and farms face immense reconstruction and recovery projects after Hizballah’s 33-day rocket blitz. (Picture of Nahariya hospital) After the ceasefire Monday, Hizballah staged victory celebrations in Beirut, while its leader, Hassan Nasrallah proclaimed a “historic and strategic victory” over Israel. Hizballah fighters in uniform directed the traffic in Beirut and took up police duties. Nasrallah also promised his men would help repair destroyed villages in the south.

From DEBKAfileAugust 16, 2006, 9:33 AM (GMT+02:00):

Lebanese units plan to deploy north of the Litani Wednesday and start moving south Thursday – provided PM Siniora clinches a deal with Hizballah’s Nasrallah

They are discussing the juxtaposition between Lebanese and Hizballah deployments in the south and along the borders with Syria, on the assumption -which the Israeli government refuses to acknowledge: the beefed up UNIFIL force is a non-starter. Only three Muslim nations have offered contingents, Indonesia, Malaysia and Morocco. The main component from France is no longer in the running, as French foreign minister Philippe Douste-Blazy informed Beirut Tuesday. Other countries dropped out too after learning that Fouad Siniora will neither disarm Hizballah nor end its presence in the south, having bowed to Nasrallah’s threats.

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