Having successfully paralyzed the Lebanese government for more than a year, the political/terrorist group Hezb'allah will now apparently turn its attention back to Israel.
The Guardian reports that villages in southern Lebanon are emptying of young men by Hezb'allah recruiters who are sending them to Syria and Iran for intensive training - all in preparation for another war against the Israelis:
Western governments are becoming alarmed at the build up. And the threat isn't lost on Arab governments either. But there is nothing they can do to stop Hezb'allah from carrying out whatever plans they may have to attack the Israelis.
But what is becoming more obvious, even as Hizbollah tries to hide it, is that the group has embarked on an unprecedented build-up of men, equipment and bunker-building in preparation for the war that almost everyone - Lebanese and Israeli - considers inevitable. 'The villages in the south are empty of men,' said one international official. 'They are all gone, training in Bekaa, Syria and Iran.'
A trip by The Observer through villages in the Hizbollah heartland confirmed a conspicuous lack of fighting-age men. Visible were several new martyr posters, but unlike the traditional ones they portrayed anonymous, fresh-faced youngsters without military garb. According to locals, these are boys who have been killed accidentally in the latest wave of training in Iran. In the city of Tyre, too, posters showing young men killed in training exercises are cropping up. One is of Ahmad Hashem, killed while instructing recruits in the use of rocket-propelled grenades.
The initial training and selection of recruits is done in Lebanon, with Iran preferred for training on specialities - use of certain weapons, RPGs and anti-tank missiles - that require firing live rounds. 'But mostly the training in Iran is in theoretical things: philosophy, religion. The best training for fighting is done here in Lebanon,' said a fighter. 'We are so close to Israel here that our training becomes real.'
With Syria firmly in their camp and the Iranians acting as paymaster-trainers, Lebanon may once again become the battleground in Islam's holy war against the Jews.