The 2006 Lebanese Israeli war was one of the longest Arab Israeli wars in the past 70 years. As a response to Hizbollah fighters abducting two Israeli soldiers for prisoner swap, Israel waged a 34 day war; enforcing a sea and air blockade on Lebanon, destroying bridges and infrastructure, targeting factories and farms, spraying the south with 1.2 million cluster bombs, causing the worst oil spill in the Mediterranean Sea, destroying more than 10,000 homes, killing 1,300 Lebanese civilians (1/3 of which were children under age of 13) and wounding 4500, and killing around 50 Lebanese soldiers (in targeted airstrikes) and wounding 100. The internal division in Lebanon is no secret; it’s been there since independence. However, it’s one thing to call for disarming Hizbollah, or even blaming it for the war (although it gives the enemy an implicit justification), and it’s another to incite war, ask for more destruction or invasion of villages, call for an extension of hostilities, or even invite another war against your own country. The latter is simply and universally called High Treason. March14 politicians’ impertinence towards the Lebanese people and the extent to which they became mere American/Israeli pawns is staggering, and even the American Ambassador appeared amused recounting the baldness of their statements. In the past 2 years, Lebanese Intelligence has arrested tens of Israeli agents in Security Forces, Army, and Telecommunications Companies, as well as ground spies. This is about the American/Israeli Agents in the political elite, who, because of Lebanon’s confessional/sectarian nature, don’t get arrested! In 1996’s Grapes of Wrath Israeli operation, PM Rafiq Al AlHariri used his extensive connections worldwide to reach a ceasefire and stop the Israeli bloodshed; he legitimized the Resistance internationally in what came to be known as the April Understanding Agreement, to spare Lebanese civilians’ lives. It’s a disgrace that those pawns claim to be his followers!
1- Conspiring with a foreign nation to wage war against Lebanon.
2- Asking a foreign nation to prolong its hostilities against Lebanon.
3- Asking a foreign nation to occupy parts of Lebanon.
4- Asking a foreign nation to cause more destruction in Lebanon and to target civilians of a certain religious group.
5- Giving inside information to a foreign nation in a time of war.
6- Conspiring to keep the Lebanese Army weak in order to satisfy a foreign nation.
7- Conspiring against the resistance mentioned in Government Declarations and Taif Protocol.
8- Ultimately causing the death and injury of thousands of civilians and army personnel.
This is not to mention the billions they stole from the treasury.
American Ambassador Jeffrey Feltman; now Assistant to State Secretary
Below is a timeline of their talks with the American Ambassador in Beirut and other American officials. Also, parts of cables from other capitals are shown. The sentences in bald are taken as-is from the cables. You can find references to the full cables below.
You can also find background to this conflict, both historically and politically at the end of this article/report.
– A day after the abduction, Fares Souaid was highlighting the dangers of letting Hizbollah get away with it. The Christian politician couldn’t help but view the conflict in Sunni-Shiite terms.
Fares Suaid, 14March coordinator & political stooge
He said that if Nasrallah gets away with his dangerous gambit, the Shia could well be perceived as the new “defender of the Arab cause,” (1)
– 5 days after the war began, a meeting in UN envoy Terje Roed-Larsen’s hotel room with UNSYG Personal Representative to Lebanon Geir Pederson and the American Ambassador, stormed later on by Jumblatt and Minister Hamadeh. This meeting highlights how high UN officials and Lebanese politicians were complicit in the war, and were both encouraging an Israeli ground invasion. While their country is being destroyed, Jumblatt, and Hamadeh were ecstatic and asked for more, celebrating with fine booze.
Mid-way through the meeting three visitors arrived at Larsen’s room unannounced. Druze leader Walid Jumblatt, Minister of Telecommunications Marwan Hamadeh, and Minister of Information Ghazi Aridi entered the room in good humor and indulged in generous orders to room service with the others present.
The cable subtitle then says “INVADE MY COUNTRY”
Walid Jumblatt, Druze leader, ex-warlord & controversial politician
Over a glass of red wine, a large bottle of vodka (the quality of which sparked a long exchange between Jumblatt and the startled room service waiter), and three bottles of Corona beer, Jumblatt gave a briefing on the thinking of the March 14 coalition
Jumblatt explained that although March 14 must call for a cease-fire in public, it is hoping that Israel continues its military operations until it destroys Hizballah’s military capabilities. “If there is a cease-fire now, Hizballah wins,” said Jumblatt.
Marwan Hmadeh, Communications Minister
“We don’t want it to stop,” Hamadeh chimed in.
Hamadeh said that an Israeli invasion would give Siniora more ammunition to deal with Hizballah’s arms.
UN envoy Terje Roed-Larsen
“After finishing their room service, Jumblatt and company departed. Pederson, now back at the meeting said he thought Israel might launch a ground incursion into southern Lebanon. Larsen agreed, noting that much could be achieved if Israel invades southern Lebanon. “No one wants the status quo ante,” said Larsen.
UNSYG Personal Representative to Lebanon Geir Pederson
Pederson sensed Hizballah was getting nervous. “They called me several times today; they seem desperate,” Pederson said. (2)
It should be noted, that 5 UN Soldiers (UNIFIL) were killed and many were injured as a result of the heavy Israeli shelling and airstrikes in Southern Lebanon.
– French Ambassador Bernard Emie met the American Ambassador, Feltman. He seemed way more concerned about the impact of the damage and deaths especially in Army forces and civilians than 14March politicians:
Emie: the “March 14” coalition led by Saad Hariri appears to want Israel to “do the dirty work” (3)
– In the midst of the Israeli war, King Abdullah of Jordan was in perfect sync with the Americans & Israelis, and even a step ahead. This shows to what extent some Arabs are willing to help advance their masters’ plans.
Jordanian King Abdullah II
King Abdullah expressed understanding for Israel’s situation and its desire to “take down” Hizballah
he supported creation of a multinational force prepared to take on and fight Hizballah and would support that idea in Rome
the King pledged to work closely with us and support that effort, but said it was important that process not appear to be simply U.S.-driven. Such an appearance would create suspicion that we were all working off an Israeli agenda. (4)
– Almost two weeks into the war Murr was disappointed the Israeli Army was losing, and was complaining about his ally Saad Hariri using Christians and Druze against Hizbollah.
Elias Murr, Defense Minister & son of corrupt businessman & Interior Minister for 10 years Michel Murr
He complains about poor Israeli military performance: “The IDF put us in a difficult situation”
Then, he was speaking of Hariri’s stance against Hizbollah: “the problem with the Sunna, they want to fuck with the dick of others” (5)
– Geagea meets Feltman. Counting on Israeli attacks to weaken Hizbollah, he also wants to use the destruction caused by his Israeli friends to turn people against Hizbollah.
Samir Geagea, militiaman-cum-convict-cum-politician,head of Lebanese Forces militia-cum-party
Geagea: key to dismantling Hizballah as a military force was in making it an “internal problem,” that is, make it clear to the Lebanese people that Hizballah is the threat that caused so much destruction to their country. The resulting political pressure, along with a steady degradation of its capability by IDF, is the only path to its disarmament. (6)
– Hamadeh, a big shot wannabe, expresses his condescending view of Southern Lebanese fleeing the war to the American Ambassador while flattering himself over his position in cabinet meetings filling his master, Feltman, of details of these meetings.
Hamadeh advised Hariri not to return to Lebanon at this time. “I told him that he would be met at Qoraytem by 20,000 refugees begging for food,” (7)
– Cable from Cairo describing the mounting anger in Egypt. This and other cables demonstrate how Arab public opinion is monitored, and any attempts at unity are described thoroughly.
The Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood (MB) issued a statement on July 29 entitled, “”The MB Stand Towards the Resistance,”” in which the Sunni organization declares its support of the Shi’a Hizbullah.
..demonstrations in support of Lebanon and against Israel have become near daily occurrences in Cairo since Israeli military operations began.
The MB Statement: “the MB views the Ja’fari Shiites as a Muslim sect …. there is a certain degree of differences in ideas and views concerning historic events. However, these differences and views do not necessarily make them depart from Islam.”” It goes on to criticize “”those who are advocating that Hizbullah should not be supported because of its Shiite affiliation,”” and asserts that, “”helping the resistance in Lebanon, represented by Hizbullah, is a duty, because they are Arabs and Muslims who are resisting injustice and occupation.” (8)
– Aoun, head of the largest Christian bloc, asserts his support for the resistance to Feltman
General Michel Aoun, head of Free Patriotic Movement
Aoun said that as long as the fighting continued, all of Lebanon must rally behind the force engaged with the Israelis. (9)
– MP Harb met Feltman. Cable title says: “MP BOUTROS HARB: NASRALLAH CANNOT BECOME REGION’S RAMBO”. Being more Zionist than Israelis, Harb was very concerned about Israel’s standing in the region and its forces’ reputation as an invincible army. He then recommends occupation of certain towns in the South.
Boutrus Harb, feudal politician & wannabe president
Harb: This may give an impression to the Arab world that Israel is vulnerable may result in a “new region” in which Israel’s existence is not secure.
Harb: ..if Israel cannot weaken Hizballah, then how will Israel face Hamas and future anti-Israeli regimes that will inevitably emerge.
He recommended that a strong Israeli advance that completely controls the Hizballah strongholds of Maroun El Ras and Bint Jbeil (10)
– A cable from Riyadh. Again, this shows how Arab sentiments, especially along sectarian lines, are monitored closely. Conventional Wahhabism views Shia, Sufis and other Muslims as heretics and infidels, and opinions of clerks in Saudi Arabia do matter when it comes to Shiites fighting Israel.
On July 17, prominent Wahhabi Sheikh Abdullah bin Jabreen issued an advisory opinion, reported as a fatwa declaring it impermissible for Muslims to support Hizballah in any manner, including through prayers.
In contrast, another prominent conservative religious scholar, Salman al-Oudah, issued an advisory opinion July 22, also reported as a fatwa, that emphasized the need for Shi’a and Sunnis to unite against Israeli aggression.(11)
– Hamadeh, Feltman’s loyal servant and the person he met the most during the war, wants to use the tribunal to try Hariri’s murderers as a means to silence Syria during the war; further proof that the tribunal was set up for mere political goals.
For Hamadeh, now is the time to pass a resolution to establish the tribunal, as this would serve to “keep Syria quiet” on the current Lebanese-Israeli conflict (12)
– A group of young 14March figures in Media and business met with Feltman. Among them was current MP Naila Tueni and daughter of assassinated MP Joubran Tueni; massacres didn’t seem to bother her at all. They were more moderate than their leaders; however, were disappointed that Israel is losing the war and wanted it to do more in terms of ground invasion. It seems they didn’t learn the history of 1982’s bloody invasion!
These educated, Christian professionals describe Hassan Nasrallah as a man of vision, commitment, and leadership.
After over three weeks of fighting, the group is disappointed with what Abu Samra calls Israel’s military unwillingness to fully commit itself to its political goals. Israel wants to disarm Hizballah, but is not ready to make the massive ground incursion that is needed to do so. In their view, it is evident that Israel is losing this war because large numbers of rockets are still being fired into Israel, no villages in the south have been really taken by IDF, and Hizballah is winning the media battle.
Chaer reminded the group that Nasrallah promised that his weapons were only to resist Israeli aggression and not to be used against other Lebanese. Thus far his words have held true.
The gathering was held before the Israeli bombing attacks against bridges along the coastal road in heavily Christian areas of Mount Lebanon. (13)
– Nassib Lahoud met Feltman offering advice and insider info on damage inflicted against Hizbollah
Nassib Lahoud, president wannabe & head of a party with no popular base
Despite the damage inflicted on his country, he expressed his hope that IDF’s continuing
operations would materially degrade Hizballah’s military strength. (14)
– Jumblatt and Hmadeh meet Feltman and David Welch, Assistant Secretary of State. Jumblatt expressed his frustration that Israel is losing the war, and concern over its status in the region. Hmadeh, on the other hand, was more optimistic and called for more destruction in Shiite areas, and occupation of their villages, to make them submit.
Jumblatt expressed regret that, in his view, Israel failed to assess Hizballah’s operations on the ground…In addition, there is a new generation of Israeli soldiers that are not as driven and motivated as their predecessors. He thinks this was illustrated in the past weeks of fighting and warns that it is dangerous for Israel and the region for this to be revealed.
Hmadeh: more destruction and occupation of the Shia south might be needed
Hamade suggested that the occupation of villages would be blow to Hizballah
Hamade agreed with the assessment and added that the Shia are weak. All of the Shia from the south, except for two villages, have been displaced.
Hmadeh: pressure on the Shia should continue
Jumblatt added that Syria will loose face if Lebanese territory is occupied (15)
– A week before the end of the war, a group of 14March Christian politicians met with their masters Feltman and Welch. They wanted to give Israel more time to finish the job, and expressed their attitudes towards the refugees from the south.
Boutros Harb: if we are convinced that Israel can finish the job, then we can allow a few more weeks
Naila Moawad, Minister of Social Services & widow of assassinated President Rene Moawad
Quite ironically Nayla Moawad, who happens to be Minister of Social Services, was upset about presence of Shia refugees in the North: It’s harder to control them in the cities than in their towns soon I’ll have to wear a chador just to go down into Beirut (16)
It’s worth to note here that after the war, Moawad launched a private relief campaign in the US showing the destruction in the South; however, none of the refugees, orphans, or injured saw a dime.
-Defense Minister Murr met with Ambassador filling him in, and proudly told him, he was intercepting weapons on behalf of Israel.
Elias Al Murr claimed that three days ago the LAF successfully interdicted a Hizballah-bound container of rockets and impounded them in the Ministry of Defense, refusing to release them to Hizballah. (17)
– Hariri finally comes back to Lebanon 2 days before the end of the war and boosts himself as an advisor in regional affairs (treating the tribunal as a political tool) and a powerful politician who will topple the president, and the Army Chief (current President).
Saad Hariri, son of Late PM Rafiq Hariri, Billionaire & head of 14March coalition
he intends to push anew for the ouster of President Emile Lahoud and senior Lebanese army officials, including LAF chief Michel Sleiman.
On Iran, he urged that we secure a tough new Security Council resolution on the nuclear program in early September. On Syria, he pressed for the quick establishment of an international tribunal to try those suspected in his father’s assassination. (18)
– A week after the end of the war, Saad was really pissed. Feltman couldn’t deal with the combination of disappointment and maybe some alcohol or drugs. The army, to Hariri, is like the security forces which he controls, a political tool, and not an institution to defend the people, particularly those in the south.
Locked away in his palace, ‘Sheikh Saad’ was in an erratic mood
But once the army has “some teeth and some morale,” Saad urged, then he promises to “smack Hizballah down.” Growing more strident (and clearly hoping to be recorded verbatim), Saad assured the Ambassador, “Give me a chance, and I will fuck Hizballah.” (19)
– Cable from Tel Aviv. US Ambassador meets Israeli Transportation Minister Mofaz asking him for permission to give the Lebanese Army very basic military equipment.
The Ambassador noted that the U.S. wants to provide military equipment to the LAF, and that equipment lists have been provided to the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office and the MOD for review. He said that the list includes encrypted radios, night-vision goggles (NVGs), and anti-tank weapons that are less capable than those already possessed by the LAF.
The Ambassador urged that Israel agree to allow this equipment to be turned over to the LAF (20)
Please find following cables which provide further proof that Israel has absolute veto over any piece of arms given to the Lebanese Army, which again raises this puzzling question, how can the Lebanese Army defend Lebanon with night-vision goggles and thus eliminate the need for Hizbollah? http://www.al-akhbar.com/node/9097– http://www.al-akhbar.com/node/9098 – http://www.al-akhbar.com/node/9099 – http://www.al-akhbar.com/node/9100
– Murr meets American Ambassador and expresses his wishes for an Israeli war & gives military advice disguising it in diplomatic talk.
He said: they (Hizballah) are scared, terrorized. They know the Israelis will not lose again.
Murr predicted that Hizballah’s war with Israel will not be like 2006 and that the fight in the Beka’a Valley will be very different. Saying that Israel paid the price by fighting in the villages in 2006, Murr harbors no illusion that they will not get bogged down in the village a second time. Instead, Murr thinks they will bypass strongholds in villages and pursue the main forces, the rockets.
Murr told us that Israel would do well to avoid two things when it comes for Hizballah….. Israel cannot bomb bridges and infrastructure in the Christian areas. The Christians were supporting Israel in 2006 until they started bombing their bridges. If Israel has to bomb all of these places in the Shia areas as a matter of operational concern, that is Hizballah’s problem.
Murr is trying to ascertain how long an offensive would be required to clean out Hizballah in the Beka’a. The LAF will move to pre-position food, money, and water with these units so they can stay on their bases when Israel comes for Hizballah–discreetly, Murr added.
American Ambassador then concludes: we have not seen indications that validate Murr’s concern that an Israeli offensive might be imminent (21)
What the Ambassador is basically saying at the end, is that Murr is expressing a wish rather than a prediction. Americans know before anyone else that Israel wasn’t ready for another war that could be lost.
-It seems Geagea, head of the Lebanese Forces Party, was longing for his militia days. He’s been training fighters since he got out of jail, waiting for the right time to do what he does best, killing his fellow citizens!
Geagea said he wanted to make sure Washington knows he has between 7,000 and 10,000 well-trained Lebanese Forces fighters who could be mobilized. “We can fight against Hizballah,” he stated with confidence, adding, “We just need your support to get arms for these fighters.” (22)
It’s important to note that Geagea was convicted of murdering Prime Minister Rashid Karami in the 80s. He’s also accused of assassinating Christian rivals, clergymen and army officers. His Israeli-aligned militia was notorious for its crimes, especially Sabra and Shateela massacres where more than 3,000 Palestinian civilians were slaughtered under the protection and guidance of Israeli forces.
– Defence Minister Murr meets his master Ambassador Mrs. Sison. She orders him to refute a statement that was misunderstood. He explains in length that he refused very valuable Russian gifts (no strings attached) to the Lebanese army, and promises to turn down an offer to give Lebanon free fighter jets (Lebanon has none), but would like to use it as propaganda against Hizbollah for now. He was afraid the Russians would see him as a “traitor” to his country, and an American pawn! Quite astonishing! A helpless servant is an understatement!
Explaining that his negative remarks on international military assistance made from Moscow were directed against the French (and not the USG), Murr agreed to make a positive statement on U.S. support for the LAF during a Future TV interview scheduled to air later the same day.
In a December 22 meeting with the Ambassador, Defense Minister Elias Murr struggled to explain that the Russians “surprised” him with a grant aid offer of 77 free T-72 or T-90 tanks and 130 mm mortars, among other equipment, to which he reportedly declined and made the “completely unrealistic” counteroffer to receive MiG-29 fighter aircraft. After the Russian Defense Minister “trapped” Murr by agreeing to provide ten MiG-29s, Murr said he had “no choice” but to thank the Russians. Murr stated that he intended to delay the process during 2009 through a series of MiG-29 assessments, commencing before the spring 2009 parliamentary elections, to study the Lebanese Armed Forces’ (LAF) ability to pay for the associated costs. Murr said he would ultimately reject the offer, after using it to bolster President Michel Sleiman.
Murr said his counterpart handed him a six-page document, in Arabic, outlining a “gift to the LAF.” Murr said the list included 77 T-72 tanks (which he later referred to as T-90 tanks — it is unclear which was actually offered), 130mm mortars, and 50 thousand rounds each for the tanks and the mortars.
Noting that he alone had read the document, Murr said that he passed the list back to his counterpart, thanking him. Murr said he also indicated that the LAF no longer needed what had been offered.
According to Murr, the Russian Defense Minister was angry, and retorted, “What is it that you need?” Murr explained (at great length and detail) to the Ambassador that he drummed up what he thought was a most unrealistic request in order to save face, and responded, “MiG fighter aircraft.”
the Russian Defense Minister returned and declared that Russia would give Lebanon 10 MiG-29s, free of charge
Murr argued at length that he had no choice but to accept the offer, because if he rejected both the offer of T-72s/T-90s and the MiG-29s, he would be accused of being a “traitor to Lebanon and a pawn to the U.S.”
He said succinctly, “The MiGs are the best tool to fuck up Hizballah, even without possessing them, at the National Dialogue table.”
While U.S. public statements would highlight strong international support for Lebanon and the LAF, the stated aim of an MiG-29 acquisition — counterterror efforts focused on the Palestinian camps — did not make sense.
Murr claimed to the Ambassador that he planned to nominate an LAF Air Force Brigadier General, that would ultimately conclude that the offer is not financially feasible for Lebanon.
Murr: “I will dilute this.” (23)
Always claiming they want to empower the army and that they want it to defend Lebanon, 14 March politicians proved they are just pathetic Israeli/American pawns at the end of the day.
– The Americans continued to work in light and dark to ensure those fighter jets never reached Lebanon, although 10 of them wouldn’t tip the balance between the LAF and Israeli army.
NEA Deputy Assistant Secretary David Hale “pointed out that the Russian deal raised many questions, not only about the LAF capability to use, maintain, and finance the long-term costs of the Russian equipment, but also about Lebanon’s intentions, particularly toward Israel.”
“We have registered opposition clearly in private, and will continue to work behind-the-scenes to ensure that the LAF’s assessment concludes (probably after the Spring elections) that the the LAF neither needs the MiGs, nor can afford the maintenance costs, giving the GOL a graceful way to decline the Russian offer. (24)
– A few months later, Murr still doesn’t know how to reject such a generous deal without embracing himself.
Murr stressed that he wants the Russian offer to “disappear” (25)
– Priding himself, Defence Minister asserted to his master that he wouldn’t accept fighter jets, not in 30 years. Can you clap your hands for such patriotism?
Murr said he had already begun hinting to the Russians that he did not want the fighter aircraft. He reiterated to the Ambassador that Lebanon would not be accepting the MiG-29s for a long time, “not before 2040!” he stressed. (26)
Historical Context: Isreali activity in Lebanon predates 1948; renowned Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Dayan was an undercover spy in Lebanon then. In 1948, Israel committed a number of massacres, including the Salha Mosque massacre and occupied and ethnically cleansed seven villages (which are now part of Israel). As a result of the mass ethnic cleansing in Palestine, a large number of refugees poured into Lebanon. With Lebanon’s weak army and lack of interest in protecting civilians in the south, Israeli settlers and soldiers crossed the border freely and in 1949 committed the first Houla Massacre where houses were destroyed over people’s heads. In 1967, Israeli forces killed 5 women in Houla’s second Massacre, and invaded Haneen village killing the residents with axes, stealing their possessions, and burning the houses. In November 2nd1969, Yasser Arafat and Lebanese Army commander reached what was known as the Cairo Agreement, which establishes principles under which Palestinian militant activity against Israel is allowed. After Jordan’s Black September, an influx of refugees and militants entered Lebanon. The south officially became a Palestinian base, where Lebanese civilians were caught between PLO’s control in the south and Israel’s attacks on their villages, with Lebanese Army out of the scene. In 1974, Israeli forces invaded Yareen where they destroyed 17 houses and killed 9 civilians. In 1975, Israeli forces killed 9 children in Aitaroon, and in 1976, Isreali forces bombed the local Thursday Market in Bent Jbeil killing 23. In 1975, the Lebanese civil war broke between the PLO and communist, leftist & nationalist Lebanese militias on one side and the right wing Christiaan militias on the other; Syrian army entered on the Christian militia’s request to help fight off the Palestenians. Amal as the first Shiite movement was formed, it was known as the movement of the deprived, in reference to the poverty and lack of development in Shiite areas. It’s leader Mousa AlSadr wanted an end to the Civil War. Amal wasn’t involved in the civil war or any resistance activities against Israel then. In 1978, Israel invaded Southern Lebanon committing a score of massacres in Rashayya, Kawneen, & AlAbbasiaya. Israel established the Southern Lebanon Army as a proxy militia to control the area south of Laitani River. Later in 1978, Musa AlSadr disappeared while on an official trip in Libya. In 1980, Amal entered the civil war. In 1982, Bashir Jmayel, head of Lebanese Forces, most powerful Christian militia, invited Israeli troops to invade Lebanon to get rid of the PLO. Israel invades, killing more than 17,000 people and occupying Beirut, and Jmayel becomes president. Young religious men and clerks break from Amal and form Hizbollah, with Iranian backing, with an aim to liberate Southern Lebanon. In the following years, Hizbollah along with other leftist and nationalist movements kept attacking Israeli forces and its proxy militia leading to Israeli withdrawals. In 1989, the Taif agreement was signed marking the end of the Civil War and all Lebanese militias were disarmed, except Hizbollah to stay as a resistance group against the Israeli Occupation. Major Israeli offences took place in 1993 and 1996 committing Qana’s first massacre. In 2000, as a result of continued losses, Israel withdrew from Southern Lebanon keeping Kafr Shouba Hills and Shebaa farms under it’s control. On several occasions from 1982 onwards, Hizbollah kidnapped Israeli soldiers or took their bodies to swap them with Lebanese prisoners and bodies.
Political Context: In 2004, objection to re-electing president, Emile Lahoud rose, and Syrian presence in Lebanon was being questioned by many factions. USA and France seized the opportunity and UN resolution 1559 was issued asking Syrian troops to leave, and militias to be disarmed in a reference to Hizbollah (it was later used by Israel in the war). Syria took some steps to comply with the resolution without fully withdrawing. On February 14, 2005, Rafiq AlHariri was assassinated and international and popular Lebanese pressure on Syria mounted leading to its withdrawal. This led to the return of exiled Chrisitan Army General Michel Aoun, and the release of Christian militiaman Samir Geagea. It resulted in new political alliances; a wide pro-American anti-Syrian alliance was born. It was called March14 after the grand anti-Syrian protest in that day; however, Aoun, whose popular base was active in that protest didn’t join the alliance. March14 was composed of unlikely alliances of factions ranging from extreme left to extreme right, who had a history of long conflicts militarily and politically. In the elections that followed, March14 were in alliance with Shiite parties Amal and Hizbollah. March14 announced their support for the resistance; and Walid Joumblat, Druze Leader, reached as far as calling for the liberation Jerusalem. The alliance won and a government was formed from this alliance, plus ministers appointed by president Lahoud, who later deserted him and joined the March 14 giving them absolute majority in the government. Government’s declaration included a mention of a popular resistance against Israel as a defense strategy, in a reference to Hizbollah. Assassinations against 14 March figures continued, and they continued to blame Syria. A UN investigation team was set up which initially accused Syria, and four Lebanese generals (heads of Security) in Lebanon and put them in Jail (they were released in 2009 due to lack of evidence). American coordination with March 14 politicians was blatant. American Ambassador Jeffrey Feltman has become the strong man behind the coalition. US Cables reveal how Feltman was the real coordinator between 14 March politicians; they used to complain about each other to him, give inside information and boost their political value in their private meetings. The tension on many issues in Lebanon increased until 2006; many March 14 figures began to raise their voices against Hizbollah’s arms. Hizbollah signs a communiqué or a statement of mutual understanding that covers all points of internal conflict with General Michel Aoun, who holds the Christian majority in the parliament. A dialogue table in Parliament was established by speaker Nabih Berri. Agreements have been reached on some issues, pending an agreement on remaining issues, including Hizbollah’s arms. Hizbollah fighters kidnap two Israeli soldiers, and ask for negotiation for a prisoner swap deal. Israel wages a 33-day full-scale war on Lebanon killing more than 1300 civilians, and destroying tens of thousands of houses and buildings, and spraying the south with more than 1.2 million cluster bombs that kill people to this day. The war had special American backing; Secretary Rice blocked any attempt to stop it before objectives were met, and to the US, it meant a “New Middle East”. Objectives couldn’t be met with Israelis failing to invade, and the war came to a stop with UN Resolution 1701. Hizbollah secretary general, Nasrallah, said that Hizbollah wouldn’t have launched the abduction operation had they expected such a response; and later, it was revealed that Israel had been planning such war to destroy Hizbollah for some time, and the incident hastened it.