RealNews

Hezbollah Seen Making Subtle Changes After War in Iraq

With President Saddam Hussein’s government a thing of the past, the United States has turned to putting pressure on one of its most persistent foes, Hezbollah, the militant group entrenched in Lebanon. But the organization insists that nothing has changed in its implacable opposition to Israel and its ally, the United States. In an interview on Thursday, a top Hezbollah official, Hajji Hussein al-Khalil, rejected American demands that it cease military operations and leave the area in southern Lebanon bordering Israel. Mr. Khalil, responding to statements here last week by Secretary of State Colin L. Powell, said Washington was merely doing Israel’s bidding. “I look at Colin Powell as if he is an official spokesman for Israel,” said Mr. Khalil, who is the chief aide to Hezbollah’s general secretary, Sheik Hassan Nasrallah. “Colin Powell is asking Hezbollah to withdraw from the south, and this cannot be applied to us. Hezbollah are the sons of these towns and villages. So where would they withdraw to?” The United States considers Hezbollah a terrorist organization that caused the deaths of hundreds of Americans in the 1980’s and carried out a wave of kidnappings of Westerners. It later emerged as a relentless antagonist of Israeli troops in southern Lebanon and took credit for the Israeli departure in May 2000. Full Story

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