The United Nations must recognize Hezbollah as a force to be reckoned with in implementing the U.N. resolution calling for the withdrawal of all Syrian forces from Lebanon and the disarmament of the country's militias, Secretary-General Kofi Annan said Tuesday.
He was responding to a question about the disarmament of Hezbollah, which showed its strength Tuesday at a huge pro-Syrian rally in Beirut attended by hundreds of thousands of people who chanted anti-U.S. slogans. Two huge banners read in English: "Thank you Syria" and "No to foreign interference."
Annan said the world needs to accept that in every society different groups may hold different views.
"Of course, we need to be careful of the forces at work in Lebanese society as we move forward," he said.
"But even the Hezbollah — if I read the message on the placards they are using — they are talking about non-interference by outsiders ... which is not entirely at odds with the Security Council resolution, that there should be withdrawal of Syrian troops," Annan told reporters.
What part of "Thank you Syria" does Kofi fail to understand?
Now, to what really happened:
JERUSALEM – The giant Hezbollah rally that drew nearly half a million purported supporters of Syria's occupation of Lebanon actually was a staged hoax with non-Lebanese citizens, Syrian workers, students and municipal employees coerced into joining the protest, former Lebanese Prime Minister Michel Aoun told WorldNetDaily in an exclusive interview this morning.
"Yesterday's huge protest calling for Syria to stay made it look to the world like a large segment of the Lebanese population actually wants to live under Syrian occupation," said Aoun, speaking to WND from Paris. "But the protest wasn't what it appeared to be. It was an elaborately staged affair."
"This was not a Lebanese showing, and many of those who actually were Lebanese were not there because they support Syria. We know that at least three Palestinian camps were present. And there are 700,000 Syrian workers inside Lebanon, many of whom are not even supposed to be there. They were urged by Syria to attend so it looks like many Lebanese are protesting. Plus Syria bused in their own citizens from Syria through the border into Lebanon to join the rally."
The former prime minister also accused Hezbollah and pro-Syrian Lebanese intelligence forces of coercing students and municipal workers to attend.
"They shut down the schools and all the government and public buildings and pressured students and workers to get to the rally," he said.