Hizbullah likely to retain weapons

Deal brewing indicates arms would not be exhibited publicly.

Hizbullah missile 298.88 (photo credit: IDF)
Hizbullah missile 298.88
(photo credit: IDF)
Hizbullah will not hand over its weapons to the Lebanese government but rather refrain from exhibiting them publicly, according to a new compromise that is reportedly brewing between Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Seniora and Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah. The UN cease-fire resolution specifically demands the demilitarization of the area south of the Litani river. The resolution was approved by the Lebanese cabinet. In a televised address on Monday night, Nasrallah declared that now was not the time to debate the disarmament of his guerrilla fighters, saying the issue should be done in secret sessions of the government to avoid serving Israeli interests. "This is immoral, incorrect and inappropriate," he said. "It is wrong timing on the psychological and moral level particularly before the cease-fire," he said in reference to calls from critics for the guerrillas to disarm. According to Lebanon's defense minister, Elias Murr, "There will be no other weapons or military presence other than the army" after Lebanese troops move south of the Litani. However, he then contradicted himself by saying the army would not ask Hizbullah to hand over its weapons. Murr added that Lebanon's contribution of 15,000 soldiers could be on the north side of the Litani River by the end of the week. He noted that international forces could begin arriving next week to bolster the current 2,000-member UN force in southern Lebanon, which watched helplessly as fighting raged over the past month. In Europe, Italy and France have pledged troops. Malaysia, Turkey and Indonesia were among the mostly Muslim nations offering help.