By Robert Fisk
"You have to be down here with the Hizbollah amid this terrifying destruction - way south of the Litani river, in the territory from which Israel once vowed to expel them - to realise the nature of the past month of war and of its enormous political significance to the Middle East. Israel's mighty army has already retreated from the neighbouring village of Ghandoutiya after losing 40 men in just over 36 hours of fighting. It has not even managed to penetrate the smashed town of Khiam where the Hizbollah were celebrating yesterday afternoon. In Srifa, I stood with Hizbollah men looking at the empty roads to the south and could see all the way to Israel and the settlement of Mizgav Am on the other side of the frontier. This is not the way the war was supposed to have ended for Israel.
Far from humiliating Iran and Syria - which was the Israeli-American plan - these two supposedly pariah states have been left untouched and the Hizbollah's reputation lionised across the Arab world. The "opportunity" which President George Bush and his Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, apparently saw in the Lebanon war has turned out to be an opportunity for America's enemies to show the weakness of Israel's army. Indeed, last night, scarcely any Israeli armour was to be seen inside Lebanon - just one solitary tank could be glimpsed outside Bint Jbeil and the Israelis had retreated even from the "safe" Christian town of Marjayoun. It is now clear that the 30,000-strong Israeli army reported to be racing north to the Litani river never existed.
Far from driving the Hizbollah north across the Litani river, Israel has entrenched them in their Lebanese villages as never before. "