Saturday, September 29, 2007
Hezbollah's 'Show of Force' [W. Thomas Smith Jr.]
BEIRUT – Hezbollah is rehearsing for something big here. Not sure what or when. But a few days ago, between 4,000 and 5,000 HezB gunmen deployed to the Christian areas of Beirut in an unsettling “show of force,” positioning themselves at road intersections and other key points throughout the city. Two additional objectives were achieved: First, the operation served as a probing action to determine local reaction. Second, it served as an exercise to gauge the time required (speed, synchronization, etc.) to achieve the key points and intersections.
Amazingly, there was no response from the police or the army.
HezB is also jamming cell-phone signals almost daily. Their lookouts are everywhere, at least from my vantage point, because they are watching the people I'm with and me.
HezB is also far better armed, equipped, and tactically proficient than most Americans might realize. They are terrorists to be sure: But they are also a very strong Iranian-trained guerrilla force here in Lebanon, and they seem to be getting a pass from far too many people in high places.
Last night, an anti-Hezbollah “weapons expert” said to me, smiling, “Lebanon needs about 25,000 U.S. Marines.”
This morning, I'm returning to the Lebanese Defense Ministry for a second meeting with General Sleiman.
UPDATE: Please see this editor's note.
Editor’s note: Please see this note.
09/29 02:34 AMShare