UN: Hezbollah Has Increased Military Strength Since 2006 War

United Nations report says Hezbollah capacity now comparable to period before Second Lebanon War.

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More than a year after the summer war in southern Lebanon ended, the United Nations said Wednesday the Hezbollah militia has "rebuilt and even increased its military capacity."

A report to the United Nations Security Council on progress to pacify southern Lebanon said Hezbollah's military strength is now comparable to the period before the July-August 2006 war with the Israel Defense Forces, which ended with a council-ordered ceasefire.

The report said the findings about the situation in the region is "deeply disconcerting and stands in stark contradiction to the terms of Resolution 1559," which contains the ceasefire provisions. It called for disarming forces in southern Lebanon and for the UN peacekeeping operations and Lebanese army to monitor the ceasefire.

Under terms of the ceasefire, Hezbollah has to be disarmed and transformed into a political party that would take part in political life in Lebanon.

The report by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, which covered the past six months of activities in the region, called for renewed political dialogue in Lebanon to reaffirm the commitment by all parties to disarm.

"I also expect the unequivocal cooperation of all relevant regional parties who have the ability to support such a process, most notably the Syrian Arab Republic and the Islamic Republic of Iran, which maintain close ties with the party, for the sake of both Lebanon's and the wider region's security, stability and welfare," the report said.

The report said "most political parties" in Lebanon were preparing for the possible deterioration of the situation following the rash of political assassinations of Lebanese politicians.

"Rearmament and military training directly contravenes the call contained in Resolution 1559 for the disarming and disbanding of all Lebanese and non-Lebanese militias," the report said.

It called on Syria to cooperate with the ceasefire resolution and respect Lebanon's territorial integrity, sovereignty and political independence.



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