February 26, 2007

Hizbullah military zones off limits to the UN under a deal between Hizbullah and the Lebanese

From The Guardian:

Suspicion of UN troops grows in south Lebanon
… International forces are favouring Israel, say locals
… Fears of fresh conflict as Hizbullah's forces regroup

Six months after a UN-brokered ceasefire ended Israel's war with Hizbullah, scepticism about the role of 10,000 UN troops is growing in south Lebanon amid signs that the militant Shia group is retraining and re-equipping its forces.

The international force, deployed to keep the peace and support the expansion of the Lebanese army's authority over the previously Hizbullah-controlled south, is perceived by villagers to be favouring Israel. "They are not our guests any more," said Hajj Ali, a revered Hizbullah fighter from the large southern town of Bint Jbeil, who limps from an injury sustained during the summer war. "If they continue to help the Israelis we will have to take action against them."

The UN official also said there had been an increase in Hizbullah activity north of the Litani river, outside Unifil's jurisdiction. "There will be another war in the summer," Hajj Ali said. "It is the beginning of the end for Israel; we are preparing."