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IDF Not Ready For Weekend Pullout

While it was originally reported that Israel would pull its last forces out of Lebanon by the weekend, the coordination between the IDF and the international forces in place has hit a snag, causing a delay. The IDF’s General Dan Halutz had said Tuesday, “If all goes without a hitch, to the satisfaction of all sides, the working assumption is the IDF will leave all the areas it controls by the Jewish New Year holiday. If not, it would be delayed another week.” Enter the hitch as the Seattle Times reports that “final details remained to be worked out” between the IDF and the UN-sanctioned international force now at 5,000 troops.

But perhaps there is another cause, as Hizballah has planned a ‘Victory rally’ Friday in Beirut. Breitbart notes that “Villagers gathered in the southern port town of Tyre for a 80-kilometre (50-mile) march to Beirut donned the yellow T-shirts of Hezbollah and caps marked ‘Nasrallah, we respond to your call.’” Whether or not Hassan Nasrallah will make his first public appearance since the July 12 abduction of two IDF soldiers remains unclear.

Meanwhile, eight German navy vessels have set sail to join the international forces in Lebanon. This deployment is the largest naval deployment by Germany since World War II.

Even with both Israeli and international troops present, Hizballah still enjoys unbridled support from state sponsors Iran and Syria. Responding to President Bush’s statement condemning Iranian support for terrorism - including its creation of Hizballah in Lebanon - and Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons, Ahmadinejad said to CNN, “This is not the kind of language you speak talking with a great nation. It is an insult to a great nation.” Ahmadinejad did not reference Hugo Chavez’s much-criticized tirade at the UN in support of Iran regarding “the kind of language you speak.”

As for Syria, ruler Bashar Assad said that war with Israel is a possibility because Israel is “looking for a way out of the crisis it is in through a new [military] operation,” offering further that Israel would use Syrian aid to Iran as a justification. Assad concluded that “Syria will resist, stand strong and never give in.” Syria’s hollow military forces, however, are said to likely buckle with much alacrity as Syria sinks into insurgency with any outbreak of war with Israel. An insurgency would be the immediate end to the days of the Assads’ rule.

To Israel’s south, Hamas praised a statement by the Quartet which supported the formation of a unity government in the Palestinian Territories. Arutz Sheva quotes Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri as saying, “The decision by the Quartet… is a progressive position, and we hope that this position will contribute to stopping all forms of political and economic siege.” The same article also quotes Hamas’ PA Prime Minister Haniyeh as calling it a sign of “political flexibility and understanding.”

Yet, the primary source of disagreement between the Fatah and Hamas elected factions is Hamas’ own inflexibility and refusal to recognize pre-existing agreements with Israel, let alone recognizing Israel as a state at all. Through the negotiations in the Palestinian Territories and elsewhere, Hamas’ founding charter remains unaltered, still calling openly for the destruction of Israel.