Wednesday, October 11, 2006

The Propaganda War Continues......

According to The Guardian today, the Lebanese government have claimed that Hizbullah fighters will retian their arms in the south for the time being. According to the paper Nabih Berri, the speaker of the Lebanese parliament, claimed that:

Hizbullah will remain armed and fully operational in south Lebanon, despite the newly deployed UN forces, until Israel withdraws from all Lebanese territory and ceases its air, sea and land violations, Mr Berri said. "The Unifil presence will not hinder Hizbullah's defensive operations. The resistance doesn't need to fly its flags high to operate. It's a guerrilla movement; it operates among the people," he said.

This extract (and indeed the article on the whole) seemed to claim that Hizbullah were not co-operating with the terms of the peace treaty between the two countries. Although the treaty calls for Hizbullah to completely disarm, there has been some grudging acceptance that this is unreasonable and that a disarmament south of the Litani river would be acceptable. The wording of the piece seems to suggest that they are not prepared to forfeit their arms in the south.

There does seem to be some confusion on this issue, however. According to Haaretz, an Israeli based newspaper, Hizbullah have been giving up their weapons to the Lebanese government. Haaretz reported that:

The Lebanese Army has confiscated arms apparently belonging to Hezbollah in South Lebanon, Lebanese Defense Minister Michel al-Murr said Tuesday.

Asked by journalists to confirm reports to that effect, Murr said: "The reports in the media about arms confiscated were correct." This is the first time the Lebanese Army has been known to take away arms belonging to any forces in Lebanon.

Murr declined to provide further details, telling reporters only, "We perform our duties and our job properly. It is a natural thing. This is our task to confiscate all the arms."

This has in itself changed as the original story said the following:

'The Iranian-backed Shiite group has said it supports the government's decision to arrest any of its gunmen and confiscate his weapons if they are displayed.'

Clearly something doesn't quite add up here, and it is interesting that Haaretz has 'updated its story somewhat (pity I don't have the facilities to screen grab). Unfortunately, it seems like the propaganda will continue for sometime to come.