Israel's military is transferring control of southern Lebanon to a United Nations force. The Lebanese government has also begun sending its armed forces into the area. The deployments are raising hopes that Hezbollah will no longer be able to operate as a terrorist state within a state and flout the will of Lebanon's democratically elected government.
Hezbollah's main sponsors, the governments of Iran and Syria, celebrated the tragic conflict, which Hezbollah started by killing and kidnapping Israeli soldiers in Israel. The fighting claimed the lives of nearly one-hundred-sixty Israelis and twelve-hundred Lebanese. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said that Hezbollah had "hoisted the banner of victory over Israel and toppled U.S.-led plans for the Middle East." Syrian President Bashar Assad said Israel had been humiliated and that "future generations in the Arab world" would "find a way to defeat" the Jewish state.
U.S. Assistant Secretary of State David Welch said the comments of the Iranian and Syrian leaders demonstrate the destructive role they have been playing in the region:
(ACT :37 - DALET: POLICY/ACTUALITIES) "I find it terrible that the president of Iran, who seeks to have his nation respected in the international community, should take advantage of this tragedy in the manner that he is doing. As for the president of Syria, you can make your own judgment about the quality of his discourse throughout this crisis and his recent speech. It's, once again, a signal of how little they add to the solution of these conflicts. Instead they're trying to pile on popular emotion and anger at a time of tragedy for their own selfish advantage." (END ACT)
U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Welch said attempts to exploit the "destruction that has occurred with such tremendous loss of life on all sides" of the Lebanon conflict will ultimately fail.
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