Hezbollah Celebrates ‘Victory’ on Ceasefire Anniversary

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[article from The Middle East Times, August 14, 2007]
BEIRUT — Thousands of people gathered Tuesday in a Beirut suburb to listen to a “victory” speech by Hezbollah’s leader marking the one-year anniversary of the ceasefire that ended the war between the militant group and Israel.”Come on Nasrallah. We are waiting for you Nasrallah,” chanted a huge crowd of men, women, and children as they waited for Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah to speak.

Giant screens were set up in the Dahiyeh area controlled by the Shiite group but it was unclear whether Nasrallah would appear in person to address the crowd.

The last time the charismatic leader, considered Israel’s enemy number one, appeared in public was September 22, 2006 when he made a speech in the same neighborhood to proclaim victory following the devastating 34-day war with Israel.

The conflict ended August 14 of last year in line with a UN-brokered ceasefire.

Nasrallah since then has made a number of speeches that were always broadcast.

“We are here because Hezbollah is the only one that managed to defeat Israel, despite the high price we paid,” said Hassan Korkomaz, who gathered with his family Tuesday to listen to Nasrallah’s speech.

Siham Karout, a 22-year-old student, said she was attending the rally as Hezbollah represented “the country’s future.”

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It isn’t politically correct, or the most pleasant thought, but some conservatives wonder why the Israeli Air Force doesn’t drop a load of bombs on these demonstrations? It isn’t going to happen for a variety of reasons (collateral damage, the potential to create many more terrorists, incredibly bad P.R. for Israel, etc.). A targeted assassination of Nasrallah, on the other hand, is surely on the table.

In a related article, the London Sunday Telegraph reports that Christian and Druze residents of southern Lebanon are selling their property to supporters of Hezbollah. The money is most likely coming from Iran. The Telegraph claims this is all part of a larger scheme to prepare for another war with Israel.

Hizbollah is buying up large tracts of land owned by Christians and other non-Shias in southern Lebanon as the militant group rebuilds its defences in preparation for a new war with Israel, The Sunday Telegraph has been told.
The land grab is thought to be driven by the Iranian-backed guerrillas’ efforts to rearm themselves and fortify the strategically important ravines north of the Litani River, just north of the front line in last year’s 34-day conflict with its Jewish neighbour.

Here, Hizbollah has been free to press forward without harassment from the 13,000 United Nations peacekeepers and 20,000 Lebanese army troops who were deployed south of the Litani as part of the ceasefire agreement that ended the conflict.

Just south of the Litani, the UN is conducting hundreds of patrols each day in a bid to keep Hizbollah weapons out of the area, but the peacekeepers’ mandate ends at the river.

The Lebanese army, meanwhile, is about 50 per cent Shia and seems to be turning a blind eye to Hizbollah activities north of the river.

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Once again, IDF soldiers will have to go in, town by town, house by house, as in this video (it takes a bit of time to load so be patient):

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