Tuesday, April 10, 2007
· Cheney sanctioned covert operations, says leader
· Militant group does not rule out clashes with Israel
Clancy Chassay in Beirut
Wednesday April 11, 2007
"Washington is waging a covert war against Hizbullah, according to the militant group, which accuses the US administration of arming anti-Hizbullah militias and seeking to undermine the Lebanese army in moves which could plunge the country back into civil war. "Dick Cheney [US vice president] has given orders for a covert war against Hizbullah...there is now an American programme that is using Lebanon to further its goals in the region," Sheikh Naim Qasim, Hizbullah's deputy secretary general, told the Guardian in an interview in a safe house deep in Beirut's Hizbullah-controlled southern suburbs......
But Hizbullah accused the Lebanese government of arming groups across the country. "This happens with the knowledge of the prime minister and is facilitated by the security forces under his command," said Sheikh Qasim......
Sheikh Qasim rejected the accusation, claiming Washington had scuppered attempts by the Lebanese government and the Hizbullah-led opposition to reach a compromise. "We think that if it wasn't for America's interference, we would have resolved the issue of participating in the government a long time ago," he said.
"America is forcing the government forces to prolong this crisis, because they want a price for it... They want to tie Lebanon into negotiations that benefit Israel and their plan for a new Middle East."......
Sheikh Qasim said Hizbullah did not rule out another confrontation with Israel this summer and confirmed that the group was rearming: "We are prepared for the possibility of another adventure or the demand of American policy that might push the IDF [Israeli Defence Force] in that direction.""