In this morning’s BBC News broadcast, the reporter specifically stated that “Hezbollah’s keeping a low profile”. The report showed lots of destroyed buildings, Lebanese army and UN trucks, and almost nothing on Hezbollah.
Meanwhile, over at France2, last night’s broadcast showed Hezbollah moving in, in force and in full view (see “Liban : la FINUL élargie et le déploiement des forces libanaises” “Lebanon: UNIFIL increases, and the deployment of Lebanese forces’, 13 minutes into the video. Please note the video’s available until 2PM EDT today).
The report starts by showing the Lebanese army landing in Tyre “for the first time in 40 years”, supposedly to replace the Israeli army, with some kids going over and shaking hands with the soldiers. A soldier states “We’re here because of a state decision”, and the reporter, Bertrand Coq, clarifies, “the state of Lebanon, not the state of Hezbollah”. General Peregrini of UNIFIL says that they expect to work for two weeks until reinforcements arrive to help the Lebanese army, and Bertrand Coq explains that no one takes the Lebanese army seriously.
Hezbollah, in fact, has beaten the Lebanese government to the punch. It’s not keeping a low profile at all.
The next report (“Liban: le Hezbollah prend les devants“, “Lebanon: Hezbollah helps the homeless”) by reporter Samah Soula shows bombed areas of Beirut where Hezbollah architects are going through the Shiite neighborhoods. One of architecs, Ali Chouka, says that people on the streets are approaching them for help in the reconstruction.
The reporter next shows an office of sorts where several Hezbollah employees (six on screen) have set up desks and are writing down information from people apparently displaced by the destruction; other hezbollah workers are pointing at spots on a map in the adjacent wall. A man, identified only as a homeless victim, says “The party will give me a year’s worth of rent money, and money to buy furniture.” Dr. Zineb Haibar, says, “we trust Hezbollah to keep their promises”. Cheikh Mounir, Hezbollah spokesman in charge of that district, says Hezbollah will deliver on what it promises because “Hezbollah has money”.
“From where?”, asks Soula.
“It’s no problem. Hezbollah has money”.
Soula says, “money and meticulous organization worthy of the Soviet Union”.
Samah Soula concluded her report by saying “the party of God won’t allow discontent to mar its victory over Israel”.
On the one hand, the Beeb stayed at their hotels. On the other hand, the French did a propaganda piece if there ever was one. At least the French actually showed what was happening on the ground.
France, which had agreed to lead the force, said it would send only 200 extra troops immediately, far fewer than expected.
The UN had hoped for a larger European contingent and was disappointed by France’s offer.
But French Defence Minister Michele Alliot-Marie defended the decision. “You can’t send in men telling them: Look what’s going on but you don’t have the right to defend yourself or to shoot,” she told RTL radio.
How French of her. May I remind my readers that, as you read right here, the French Minister for Foreign Affairs said three days ago that France’s two conditions for the ceasefire agreement were
1.that once Lebanon would agree to deploy 15,000 troops to South Lebanon, there would be no multinational force.
2. and that no one was talking about an army with a mandate to forcibly disarm Hezbollah.
Update 2: Hezbollah is popping $12000 wads of cash into the hands of South Lebanese who have had their houses destroyed.
Via Maria, HEZBOLLAH 3, ISRAEL 0, by Ralph Peters.