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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees

Crisis in the Middle East: Day 13; Mission: Diplomacy; Strategy Session; Phosphorus Fact Check; Waging War; Sunni vs. Shia; Inside Hezbollah; Underground Agony

Aired July 24, 2006 - 23:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: And hello again from Haifa where the sun is coming up on week two of brutal fighting and a peace mission that is drawing fire of its own.
ANNOUNCER: A surprise visit to the Middle East by the U.S. secretary of state.


CONDOLEEZZA RICE, SECRETARY OF STATE: I'm obviously here because we're deeply concerned about the Lebanese people and what they are enduring.


ANNOUNCER: But what will the U.S. do?

Day 13 and the fighting continues on the ground and in the air. Israeli forces pushing deeper into Lebanon, and Hezbollah digging in.

Civilians, many children, caught in the crossfire. Katyusha rockets from the north. Israeli missiles from the south. Are horrible injuries like these being caused by illegal weapons of war? A medical fact check with 360 M.D. Dr. Sanjay Gupta.

And it's one of the most volatile fault lines in the Middle East. Sunnis versus Shia. Why do they hate each other so much and why is Hezbollah such a threat to so many Arab leaders?

This is a special edition of ANDERSON COOPER 360, "Crisis in the Middle East Day 13." Reporting tonight from Haifa in northern Israel, here's Anderson Cooper.

COOPER: And thanks very much for joining us. Day 13 here in Israel is done. Day 14, just beginning. As you can see behind me, the sun already rising. It's just past 6:00 a.m. The long and short of it this morning, in the Middle East, a bruising battle may get worse before it is over. Hezbollah still has thousands of rockets. Israel still has the drive and apparently a green light from the U.S. to go after them. And Hezbollah has already said no to an American plan for peace. A lot happening. We begin with a war bulletin to bring you up to speed.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) COOPER (voice-over): That is how day 13 began. Under the cover of darkness, Israeli soldiers moving deeper into Lebanon to battle militants in two Hezbollah strong holds.

Using heavy guns, ground troops and air strikes, Israel is determined to drive Hezbollah from striking distance of northern Israel.

But the well-armed, well-trained guerrilla army continues to put up fierce resistance. As the violence escalates, so do the casualties. Since the fighting began, Lebanon security forces say at least 375 people have died, more than 1,000 people have been injured. Israel is reporting 37 Israeli deaths and more than 300 civilians wounded.

In Lebanon the attacks from above did not let up. Israeli war planes bombed a site it says were used for Katyusha launching pads. But Hezbollah's rockets are still falling.

In Haifa the familiar sound of air raid sirens was followed by the thud of Katyushas. Hezbollah launched scores more again today, injuring seven Israelis across the north.

And amid the death and destruction, the diplomacy. Today, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice made a surprise visit to Beirut, meeting with Lebanon's prime minister.

CONDOLEEZZA RICE, SECRETARY OF STATE: I'm obviously here because we are deeply concerned about the Lebanese people and what they are enduring. We are talking about the humanitarian situation. And we're also talking about a durable way to end the violence.

COOPER: Rice left Beirut without agreeing to push for the one thing the Lebanese government says it desperately wants, an immediate cease-fire.

More now on Secretary Rice's mission and the reception that she got today in Beirut from CNN's Nic Robertson.



NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Racing through Beirut streets, a security careful cavalcade for Condoleezza Rice.

Although you don't see it from this angle, half a dozen SUVs filled with plain-clothes U.S. secret service. The windows down, their weapons pointing out at the street. No chance was being taken with Rice's visit.

(On camera): The Secretary of State Rice's visit was kept a closely guarded secret. Security on the street stepped up and the roads closed off to normal traffic. (Voice-over): But only a handful of protesters showed up. No match for the security. They blasted Rice and the U.S., accusing them of backing Israel. In a predominantly Christian neighborhood, the talk in the cafes was disarm the Shiite guerrilla group Hezbollah, but allow their political party to survive.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sure we don't want them to be completely destroyed. Because they represent the Shia and the Shia is a very important entity in Lebanon.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Politically we must press Iran and Damascus in order -- because they are the one who are controlling Hezbollah.

ROBERTSON: It was views like those that Rice got when she heard from the anti-Syrian coalition of Christians, Sunni Muslims and Drews (ph), all powerless to rein in Hezbollah, but agreeing after listening to Rice's plans that the fighting is still far from over.

DORI CHAMMOUN, HEAD INTERNATIONAL LIBERAL PARTY: The fighting's going to continue. Until such a moment that one of the two is defeated.

ROBERTSON: Hezbollah or Israel?

CHAMMOUN: Either Hezbollah or Israel.

ROBERTSON: Whether either side can really be defeated on the battlefield is not clear. The view on the streets here, like that of the politicians, the violence will continue.

Once Rice leaves, Marcel (ph), the corner store keeper told me, the bombing will start again.

Beirut was relatively quiet. Marcel (ph) was doing good business. But in the south, the barrages of Hezbollah missiles fired into Israel, and the Israeli bombs dropped in Lebanon, never stopped.


COOPER (on camera): Joining Nic along in Beirut, Christiane Amanpour is along the Lebanese-Israel border. So is CNN's John Roberts. And John king is in Jerusalem.

Good to see you all with us tonight.

Nic, let's start off with you. Has Hezbollah given any indication that they would be willing to disarm?

ROBERTSON (on camera): No, they haven't. And that would be in the eyes of their supporters here probably a very big defeat for them if they were put in the position of admitting to do that. And that's not something they've talked about countenancing. The one thing that they've said that they wanted to do from the outset was negotiate, but negotiate after a ceasefire. And that's their major stumbling block right now -- Anderson COOPER: Christiane Amanpour, you've said in the past that what Israel is doing on the ground in south Lebanon is in some ways setting the stage for some sort of political solution. Explain that.

CHRISTIAN AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's what the general said today. Basically, I mean, it amounts to if they can smash their capability enough and force them to accept some kind of political solution, that's what part of the aim is. So that's what they're trying to do.

COOPER: John Roberts, you talked also now -- it seems like Israel is going deeper into Lebanon. Not just in the one town that they had this so-called foothold in. Why are they pushing deeper? What are they trying to achieve?

JOHN ROBERTS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, they believe that Bint Jbeil, which is a town probably about two and a half, three miles north of the border between Israel and Lebanon, is a Hezbollah stronghold in the southern part. They feel if they can get control of that town, that they might be able to somehow degrade Hezbollah's command and control capabilities.

But don't forget with Hezbollah, they've had six years on their own in southern Lebanon after Israel withdrew from that area to consolidate their resources, to build these bunkers, these tunnels, these elaborate places to store their weapons and keep them out of harm's way and out of sight of the Israel Defense Forces. There's elaborate camouflage techniques that they're engaging in.

So Israel believes that if they can get control of that area, they may be able to degrade Hezbollah's capability. But I think Hezbollah's pretty confident that even if they got control of that city that they'd still be able to at least harass the idea for weeks to come.

COOPER: John King in Jerusalem, what happens next for Secretary Rice? I mean, what is the next step? In Lebanon they want immediate ceasefire. Hezbollah wants some sort of ceasefire and indirect negotiations. The U.S. position and Israel position is no to an immediate ceasefire. Multiple action on multiple fronts. What needs to happen next?

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, what you will hear next from Secretary Rice in the morning in very brief statements, we assume, is solidarity with Israel. She'll meet with the prime minister and the defense minister and she will say that unless conditions change, unless Hezbollah is open to disarming, open to being part of a political process, not a militia, then the Israel military activities will continue.

The bigger question then comes in Rome when she meets again with Lebanese officials, with moderate Arab nations, with United Nations officials and with Europeans. Can they reach some sort of an agreement on an international force? Can they reach some sort of an agreement on ceasefire? But Nic Robertson just hit on one of the key points. One of the adamant positions of the United States is that any deal has to include enforcing U.N. resolution 1559, endorsed by the United Nations Security Council two years ago. It calls for Hezbollah to disarm and it calls for the Lebanese army to take control of southern Lebanon. The Lebanese government said it's not strong enough to do that. Hezbollah says it won't disarm. So that is the significant, the big blocking point right now, and until you can resolve that, the Israeli military action will continue.

COOPER: Nic, there have been U.N. peacekeepers in south Lebanon. They were supposed to be getting Hezbollah to disarm. There's this resolution 1559 which called for all militias in Lebanon to disarm. Hezbollah is the only one hasn't. Why did the U.N. mission there fail? Why isn't it working?

ROBERTSON: Well, it certainly as it stands right now, probably at its most least functional, apart from the fact that it's provided a little security to some of the displaced people that we've seen over the last few days get caught up in the fighting and even get injured.

The fact is that their mandate hasn't put them in a position where they can reach out to Hezbollah and say, you're arming stop it. The new mandate as imagined or envisioned to the new peace deal that Secretary of State Rice is talking about envisions a more robust mission that has far greater numbers and can fight back, is in a position to stop Hezbollah doing what it's doing. And presumably if Hezbollah challenges them militarily, be in a position to challenge them back. And the U.N. mission that's been in the country right now has never been mandated or in such a position, military strength-wise to be able to do that -- Anderson.

COOPER: John King, it seems the U.S. is even more concerned now than perhaps they were before Secretary Rice's visit to Beirut about the stability of the Lebanese government. How is humanitarian aid by the U.S. playing a part in sort of trying to bolster up not only the U.S. position here in the region, but also bolstering the Lebanese government? What is the U.S. planning to do to try to get humanitarian aid in?

KING: You will see U.S. military helicopters and U.S. military ships as early as this day, as the new day dawns here in the region, bringing humanitarian supplies -- food, medicine, other humanitarian supplies into Lebanon from the north. And Secretary Rice will push the Israelis to open humanitarian quarters in the south. It is all part of an effort to show the Lebanese government that the United States wants to help it, wants to help the Lebanese government prove to its own people that it can get vital services to them.

But Anderson, let's not miss the key point, what the Lebanese government wanted most was the U.S. to change its mind and to say it will come to Israel and it will push Israel for an immediate ceasefire. That is what the Lebanese government says it needs most. And the Lebanese government will not get that from the United States.

COOPER: Christiane Amanpour, what about Syria's role in all of this? The U.S. not meeting directly with Syria. Yet they clearly must play a part. They're the major funder of Hezbollah.

AMANPOUR: Yes, well today Prime Minister Olmert basically said and was very dismissive, as one could imagine, about Syria, saying that Syria has not played at all a constructive role, and intimating that Syria was not part of the solution. But really, behind closed doors, they all tell us that Syria should be part of the solution. The big question is how to get it part of the solution. Most people believe that Syria is only really going to talk and take notice of somebody as powerful as the secretary of state of the United States, or the president, and that getting others to try to do that work for them is going to be less effective.

On the other hand as well, as well as trying to get Syria to pressure Hezbollah to do what they want to do, the international forces envision to also patrol the Lebanon-Syria border, to prevent any kind of future infiltration of weapons or the like.

COOPER: John Roberts, what is the likelihood the U.S. can sort of try to wean Syria away from Iran, get Syria to make a break with Hezbollah?

ROBERTS: It depends on how much pressure it can get other Arab states in the region to put on Syria. It's really counting on Egypt, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia, that triumvirate, to be able to put pressure on Bashar al-Assad, to get him to wedge himself away or they're trying to actually put the wedge in between Syria and Iran. They're saying to Bashar Assad, what kind of state do you want Syria to be? What kind of player do you want it to be in the region? Do you really want to be in bed with Iran or do you want to be a community of Arab nations?

Don't forget, there is a historic split between Iran and the rest of the Arab world because the background of Iran is Persian, not Arab. So they're trying to put this pressure on Assad to say, we want you to be a part of the Arab world, and if you want to be a part of the Arab world, you have to play nice and you have to put pressure on Hezbollah to put down its arms and you have to help Lebanon maintain a stable democracy.

AMANPOUR: And Anderson, of course and John, you can't do it without also offering Syria incentives. It's a package of incentives and disincentives. And as far as we know, there have been none of that offered to Syria. And some analysts are saying, look, the U.S. should decide what it wants from Syria because we don't want to wait two years down the line before deciding it actually would have been a good idea to bring Syria into the process, much like we've seen happen with Iran.

Two years ago the U.S. said, no deal, nothing, nothing, nothing with Iran. Two years later, they did incentives, disincentives. And, you know, the time is now, according to analysts.

COOPER: John King, what about Christiane's report? Any possibility of incentives for Syria?

KING: No direct face to face. You won't have a conversation, say, between Secretary Rice and her counterpart, the Syrian foreign minister. There are some indications the United States is willing to have a down the road conversation if Syria will come to the table first. And that is why the Saudi intervention, the Jordanian intervention, the Egyptian intervention -- interesting to hear from Israeli officials. They're also hoping that Turkish officials and Russian officials will put pressure on Syria in the coming days. But in terms of a grand gesture from Washington to Damascus, Bush administration officials say at least for now don't hold your breath.

COOPER: All right. We won't hold a breath.

John Roberts, John King, Christiane Amanpour, Nic Robertson, thanks. We'll talk to you throughout these next couple days.

We're hearing charges from Lebanon that Israel is using bombs containing phosphorus, which is an incendiary substance that can cause severe burns. Here's the raw data.

White phosphorus is a colorless substance with a garlic-like smell. It ignites when exposed to air. It's primarily used as smoke screens or signaling devices. The United States and Great Britain have used it in Iraq. White phosphorus is not specifically banned by the international rules of war. And in a statement the Israeli Defense Forces said all its weapons comply with international law.

Coming up, we're going to take a look at those charges that Lebanon has been making about the white phosphorus. They really stem from the types of injuries that doctors are reporting seeing in south Lebanon. Terrible burns unlike the usual wounds of war. How can you tell if phosphorus is to blame? A medical fact check from 360 M.D. Sanjay Gupta, when 360 continues live from Haifa.


COOPER: Lebanon has said that it has good reason to believe that Israel is using a new type of weapon containing phosphorus, which is a substance that can cause deep and terribly painful burns.

An Israeli spokesman for the foreign ministry denied that charge and in a statement, the Israeli military said that all of its weapons and ammunition comply with the international law. For the record, under international law, white phosphorus is permitted. It all depends how you use it.

To help us sort through the medical facts on this, 360 M.D., Dr. Sanjay Gupta joins me right here in Haifa.

Sanjay, good to see you.


COOPER: What about this Haifa? What do we know about it? How can you tell if it's been used?

GUPTA: Yes, it's interesting. First of all it's always white phosphorus that we're talking about. Phosphorus is obviously a general term. White phosphorus -- I mean, they have used it for all sorts of different things including tracers for weapons, which is why I think it's allowed under a lot of international law.

There's no test for it specifically and it's really present just about everywhere. It can be present in fertilizer as well. So it is very hard to test for.

The thing that we found, we did a little bit of digging on this, is that the pattern of burns is very differently as opposed to regular burns. When you get regular burns, you have a lot of heat and you get a very sort of diffuse burn across an arm or an extremity of some sort. With phosphorus it's patchy, right? Because you get a little bit of the powder on your arm, leg, wherever, and it causes these patches of burns. That's a pretty distinctive thing.

COOPER: And does it continue to burn when it hits your skin?

GUPTA: It does. As soon as it reacts with oxygen it continues to burn. Water really doesn't do anything for that. The only -- and so people will put water on it, that doesn't help at all.

COOPER: So how do you treat it?

GUPTA: You can get your clothes off. One thing, if it's on your clothes, the best thing is to cut off the oxygen supply in some way. And, you know, obviously that's hard to do, but actually dousing your arm in water, for example, to cut off the oxygen supply will help just because of that reason.

COOPER: What else do we know about it?

GUPTA: Well, you know, white phosphorus again has been used for some time. It's not something that people have outlawed in some way. It's present in a lot of different things. But with regard to the pattern of burns, it's very distinctive and very hard to treat.

COOPER: All right, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, thanks.

GUPTA: Thank you.

COOPER: Appreciate that.

We want to talk to our Military Analyst, CNN Analyst, Retired Brigadier General James "Spider" Marks. He joins me now from Washington.

General Marks, good to see you. First, let's talk about this white phosphorus. What do you know about it? Why would the Israeli military be using weapons that had white phosphorus and what do you make of these allegations they're targeting civilians?

BRIG. GEN. JAMES "SPIDER" MARKS, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Well, first of all, Anderson, I don't know anything about Israeli targeting methods and specifically whether they're using white phosphorus or not. I will tell you white phosphorus is not to be used against troops in the open. And certainly they would not be targeting civilians. They have certain clearance procedures and rules of engagement that would prohibit that.

White phosphorus is an effective weapon that's used to establish -- to burn stuff down, it's used to establish markings in certain areas. So it's effective. It's in the arsenal and it's used for certain missions. But it's not used against civilians. So I can't comment on whether they're targeting civilians and I would be surprised -- in fact, I would deny that they even were, frankly.

COOPER: What they certainly are saying is, look, we're point blank not targeting civilians, we're targeting Hezbollah positions. They say Hezbollah very knowingly, you know, has their infrastructure, has their mobile rockets, launching from residential neighborhoods and that's why we're seeing the civilian damage to the extent that we have.

Let's move on to today's fighting. What is the latest? What are we seeing on the battlefields in south Lebanon?

MARKS: Well, Anderson, as has been reported very, very thoroughly, the IDF continues to push north into southern Lebanon. Let me go to the map and describe for you. As you recall a couple of days ago, the IDF moved from the village in Israel of Avivim into Maroun al-Ras.

Today they pushed it a little farther north and they took the city, a much larger city than Maroun al-Ras, of Bint Jbeil. Now, let's take it in a little closer as we move in to Maroun al-Ras. Again, this is on a hilltop and it provides some really commanding views into Lebanon to the north. Now, when you walk over this hillside and you walk yourself down into Bint Jbeil, which is about another mile farther to the north, you can see that this large city puts Israel that much farther north and that much farther beyond Maroun al-Ras, that commanding piece of terrain.

Now, when we come out of that, Anderson, of interest is the Litani River, primarily because Hezbollah still controls this area mostly. And its rockets can still do damage, as you've already had to live through, being in Israel.

Now, as you can see, this is some of the -- these are some of the locations where the rockets have landed today. Now, what's significant is with the creation of a buffer zone that pushes Hezbollah north of the Litani River, as demonstrated and described here, you begin to degrade the inventory, the arsenal of the rockets that the Hezbollah has. If Hezbollah is north of the Litani, the Katyusha rocket which has a 12-mile range, lands harmlessly within that buffer zone.

The Fajer rocket, which has a range of 45 miles, can reach down into Israel, but Haifa now is lifted from that threat. Now, however, what we have not seen yet is the firing of the Zelzal, which has a range of 120 miles which continues to threaten both Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.

So significant in that the rockets would be degraded with the use of the buffer zone. It's a real solution, but it's not a complete solution.

COOPER: Interesting. You know, the Israeli Defense Forces seem poised over the weekend for a major ground offensive, troops massing at the border. Those troops are still at the border. The ground offensive, though, the major full on ground offensive, has not happened. Do you think it's going to? Do you think it ever will?

MARKS: Anderson, conditions have to be set. And what Israel has in its favor right now is time. Also, Hezbollah has time too improve its defenses. I would anticipate that Israel will continue to push north. I predicted that they would go across the border and they'd run up to the Litani River and then reduce the Hezbollah as they moved to south. Get up to the Litani and then reduce those forces within that buffer zone. That hasn't taken place yet. Israel obviously is seeing something on the ground that allows them to take advantage of this penetration that they've achieved at Maroun al-Ras, penetrate a little deeper in Bint Jbeil, but I would tell you there are other forces that are along the border and in many cases have already started to create passage points for the eventual introduction of more forces.

COOPER: This has got to be the worst kind of fighting for a soldier. I mean, to be anticipating this kind of, you know, street by street -- and I should just point out we're hearing some large explosions off in the distance, a pretty good distance. It's really impossible for us to tell where they're coming from right now, but you can sort of feel the impacts from far away. Can't tell if it's outgoing or incoming, I'm not that experienced.

But General Marks, I mean, for Israeli troops who are massing at the border, knowing what awaits them in south Lebanon, it's just got to be the worst possible kind of combat for a soldier to be facing.

MARKS: Well, it is. It's a combination of factors, Anderson. First of all, you have soldiers that have been whipped into shape. They've got butterflies, they're leaning forward, they are in prepared positions and ready to launch at a moment's notice. You can't maintain that posture for more than just a few days, maybe a week at most, before you degrade your capability. And then it takes more time to gear back up.

But once they go across, they know they're going to be facing an enemy that has had many years to get itself prepared for this inevitable fight.

One thing that could happen that we haven't discussed is that Hezbollah could withdraw from those positions, allow Israel to occupy, and then live to fight another day. We haven't seen that yet, though.

COOPER: Well we'll be watching. General Marks, appreciate your expertise, thanks. A lot more from the region in a moment. One of the most unstable fault lines in the Middle East and what it means to the crisis now unfolding.

First let's check in with Heidi Collins, who has some of the other stories we're following from around the world -- Heidi.

HEIDI COLLINS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, heat, extreme heat is driving the headlines tonight.

In California, dangerously high temperatures are sapping the energy of firefighters around the state, including those fighting a fast-growing wildfire in San Diego County now. The blaze already burned more than 10 square miles. But today residents did catch a break when the fire turned away from hundreds of homes east of San Diego. It's just one of 11 major fires burning across the state.

Authorities in California are looking into several deaths possibly related to the scorching heat wave. It's threatening to push the state into a power emergency. Having use of air conditioners over the weekend caused blackouts throughout the state. Today power companies worked to restore electricity to more than 100,000 customers.

In St. Louis, nearly a quarter million homes and businesses are still without electricity, five days after severe thunderstorms knocked out power in that city. Close to 4,000 utility workers from as far away as Arizona are working around the clock in sweltering heat to restore service.

That's it for now -- Anderson.

COOPER: Heidi, thanks very much.

Coming up, a different view of the battle here in the Middle East. A look at how it is affecting the age-old tensions between Sunni and Shia Muslims. Will they unite against a common enemy? Will they continue to fight one another? That's ahead on 360.


COOPER: Well, two weeks of violence -- nearly two weeks of violence now in the Middle East have killed more than 400 people. Diplomacy now is ratcheting up. Here's the latest information in our "War Bulletin."


COOPER (voice-over): Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will soon meet with the Israeli prime minister to try to broker a deal to end the violence. Ms. Rice is in Israel after paying a surprise visit to Lebanon earlier today.

The Lebanese health minister has accused Israeli Defense Forces of using incendiary phosphorus weapons. Israel's foreign ministry has denied it and its military says its weapons comply with international law. Phosphorus weapons are not illegal.

More than 12,000 U.S. citizens have been shipped out of Lebanon since fighting began, several hundred more believed to be trapped in south Lebanon.

And the United States has promised $30 million to the region in humanitarian aid. The fighting has displaced an estimated 800,000 people.


COOPER (on camera): And I should just point out the amazing job that the U.S. Marines, the U.S. Navy, and consular officials in Beirut have done getting Americans out of Beirut. It is a thankless and difficult job and the fact that they've been able to get so many Americans out in this week is simply remarkable. More than 1,000 taken out by choppers directly from the U.S. embassy. Many more taken out on ships. The effort by ships will continue. The effort of taking Americans out by chopper has been ratcheted down now and will come to a complete stop. But all the Americans who need to get out from this point on will be taken out by vessels.

In terms of what the embassy and what the military is focusing on increasingly now is getting humanitarian aid into Beirut, giving aid to NGOs in Beirut and then it will be funneled further south and elsewhere.

You know, you might expect Arab states to support an assault against Israel. In many cases this time you would be wrong.

CNN's Candy Crowley takes a look at some deep divides within the Muslim world.


CANDY CROWLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The enemy of my enemy is my friend. Except when the balance of power tips. The balance began tipping when Saddam's Sunni government fell and with it the counterbalance to Shia-dominated Iran.

Iran now has strengthening ties with Iraq's Shia faction and a partnership with Syria. Now this. Iranian-backed Hezbollah takes on Israel. In Sunni Arab states like Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Jordan, the enemy of their enemy is a big problem.

JUAN COLE, UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN: Hezbollah is emerging as a major protagonist in the battle with Israel. So from a Saudi or Jordanian point of view, this looks like the Shiites are coming, the Iranians are coming, and they are afraid that these developments could end up toppling their thrones.

CROWLEY: So far, these largely pro-western Arab states have criticized, even condemned, Hezbollah for touching off this conflict by kidnapping Israeli soldiers.

But on the Arab streets, support for Hezbollah grows. Its leader is seen as a hero for taking on Israel. The governments are beginning to look weak.

PETER SINGER, BROOKINGS INSTITUTE: They're in power to represent the populace against the big, bad Israelis. And actually what this crisis is showing is that they have no actual influence. They've gotten no capacity to do what they say. That at most they're bystanders right now.

CROWLEY: With each day there are pictures of dead and injured Lebanese children and civilians and bombed out buildings being aired across the Middle East. The gap widens between the streets and the palaces.

COLE: The elites and their publics are at odds on this issue. And the elites probably cannot delay very much longer.

CROWLEY: It is, said one expert, a rock and a hard place for major players -- Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Jordan. All now look to the U.S. to broker them out of the uncomfortable spot between two enemies.

Candy Crowley, CNN, Washington.


COOPER: Well, we've spent the last several days in Beirut and we spent a lot of that time trying to talk to Hezbollah officials. What we found is it's not as easy as one might expect. Surprisingly, though, when you go into Hezbollah-controlled territory in south Beirut, even after more than two weeks of bombings or nearly two weeks of bombings, Hezbollah you'll learn is still firmly in control. Find out in a moment just how much in control they really are.


COOPER: Some pictures made by children who are sleeping here in a Beirut park. This park has become home to several hundred Lebanese families who are fleeing the fighting. All throughout this country there are people on the move.

According to Lebanese authorities, nearly three quarters of a million Lebanese have had to flee from their homes. Many have made a long and dangerous journey crossing the border into Syria for safety. Others end up internally displaced, stuck in places like this park in the center of Beirut, where they're waiting they're just waiting for the bombing to stop.

So many Lebanese civilians, some of them support Hezbollah, some of them don't -- many of them don't, and yet all are paying the price, caught in the crossfire.

Before coming to Haifa, I spent several days in Beirut. And while there, I went to the southern part of the city, to the Hezbollah-controlled region, where despite the destruction from Israeli fighter jets, Hezbollah still controls everything and just about everyone as we found out. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) COOPER (voice-over): Drive into southern Beirut, and you quickly discover another city entirely. A heavily bombed state within a state, beyond the control of the Lebanese government.

This is Hezbollah territory. Along the road posted like billboards, pictures of so-called martyrs, Hezbollah fighters who died battling Israel.

(On camera): You can drive around. It doesn't seem like there's anyone around, and all of a sudden your eyes, it's almost like adjusting to the darkness. Suddenly, you realize there are people who are watching you and guys on motorcycles talking on cell phones who pass you by, watching very closely what you're doing.

(Voice-over): Tension in this neighborhood is high. Many here are convinced Israel is sending in agents to help guide their aerial attacks.

(On camera): We're not allowed to enter Hezbollah territory really without their permission. They control this whole area, even after the sustained Israeli bombing campaign. We've arranged with a Hezbollah representative to get permission to come here. We've been told to pull over to the side of the road and just wait.

(Voice-over): We'd come to get a look at the damage and had hoped to talk with a Hezbollah representative. Instead, we found ourselves with other foreign reporters taken on a guided tour by Hezbollah.

Young men on motor scooters followed our every movement. They only allowed us to videotape certain streets, certain buildings. Once, when they thought we'd videotaped them, they asked us to erase the tape.

These men are called al-Shabab, Hezbollah volunteers who are the organization's eyes and ears.

(On camera): You still see their CD's on the wall still.

Hezbollah representatives are with us now, but don't want to be photographed. We'll say -- we'll point to something like that and they'll say, well, look, this is a store. The civilians lived in this building. This is a residential complex. And while that may be true, what the Israelis will say is that Hezbollah has their offices, their leadership has offices and bunkers even in residential neighborhoods. And if you're trying to knock out the Hezbollah leadership with air strikes, it's very difficult to do that without killing civilians.

As bad as this damage is, it certainly could have been much worse in terms of civilian casualties. Before they started heavily bombing this area, Israeli warplanes did drop leaflets in this area, telling people to get out.

The civilian death toll, though, has angered many Lebanese. Even those who do not support Hezbollah are outraged by the pictures they've seen on television of civilian casualties. (Voice-over): Civilian casualties are clearly what Hezbollah wants foreign reporters to focus on. It keeps the attention off them. And questions about why Hezbollah should still be allowed to have weapons when all the other militias in Lebanon have already disarmed.

After letting us take pictures of a few damaged buildings, they take us to another location, where there are ambulances waiting.

(On camera): This is a heavily orchestrated Hezbollah media event. When we got here, all the ambulances were lined up. We were allowed a few minutes to talk to the ambulance drivers. Then one by one, they've been told to turn on their sirens and zoom off so that all the photographers here can get shots of ambulances rushing off to treat civilians. That's the story -- that's the story that Hezbollah wants people to know about.

(Voice-over): These ambulances aren't responding to any new bombings. The sirens are strictly for effect.

When a man in a nearby building is prompted to play Hezbollah resistance songs on his stereo, we decide it's time to go.

Hezbollah may not be terribly subtle about spinning a story, but it is telling perhaps that they try. Even after all this bombing, Hezbollah is still organized enough to have a public relations strategy, still in control enough to try and get its message out.


COOPER (on camera): We'll have more from Beirut later on on 360, but coming up next, from Haifa, what it's like inside a bomb shelter waiting for the rockets to fall.


COOPER: While the rockets continue to land here in northern Israel, people who live on both sides of the border are now forced to dwell in hot, underground shelters. And while they may protect people from the war outside, they don't stop them from continuing the hostilities sometimes inside.

CNN's John Vause takes us underground, four miles from the border in Nahariya.


JOHN VAUSE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): You can hear the panic in her voice. There are more Katyushas, this woman yells, as she calls everyone inside the bomb shelter.

Safe below ground, they wait. Wait for the explosions above, wait for all clear which never seems to come because the Hezbollah rockets never seem to stop.

Once inside, Dahlia (ph), a mother of three, tells me she's terrified. So too is everyone else. This is the debris from an earlier missile strike, she says, which landed just outside the bunker.

We're stuck underground and this is not healthy, she says. We support the prime minister and Israeli military but we want to be evacuated. The Lebanese were evacuated. We want to be as well.

The days are long and tense. The nights are worse, they say. The electricity cuts in and out. This is the biggest bomb shelter in Nahariya, a northern Israeli town which has been hit by dozens of Katyusha rockets. Here Israeli Jews and Arabs seek cover together. Tempers are frayed. Heated arguments follow.

The Israeli-Arab woman on the right accuses the Jewish woman of celebrating when Arabs are killed. The Jewish woman yells back, how can you say that when we give you shelter.

Here the Jews support the Israeli offensive. The Arabs want a ceasefire.

We don't want Israel striking Lebanon or Lebanon hitting Israel, Fyka Sawad (ph), an Israeli-Arab. I'm scared, she tells me. It's not easy in this bunker.

(On camera): This bunker is about 20 feet underground. It's incredibly hot and the air is thick and stale. It seems difficult to breathe. And the people here have been living like this for almost two weeks now.

(Voice-over): It's hardest on the children. They're bored. Some are too young to understand.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They don't go to the schools, they don't go to play. Of course the children are not used to it. And sometimes I cry when they heard the bomb.

VAUSE: Here they cook meals, watch television for the latest news, and wait. Wait for either a ceasefire, or more rockets.

John Vause, CNN, Nahariya, northern Israel.


COOPER: Wow. Well, when we come back, we'll take you back to Beirut. My reporter's notebook, what it's like here behind the scenes.

But first, Heidi Collins has the day's business headlines -- Heidi.

COLLINS: Anderson, let's start off on Wall Street. Investors taking the weekend off to get into a buying mood, driving the Dow up 182 and the NASDAQ by 41. By a percentage it was the NASDAQ's second- best day of the year. That said, the name of the game, still volatility. Market watchers say until that changes, look for a lot more ups and downs.

European governments slamming the U.S. after world trade talks broke down over the weekend. Europe, Brazil, India and Japan all criticizing the Bush administration for refusing to offer deeper cuts on American farm subsidies. The impasse that followed apparently prompting a decision to suspend the talks.

And a change of scenery for this guy, Richard Hatch, the scheming bottom baring winner of the first season of the reality TV show, "Survivor." He was transferred today to a federal prison in Oklahoma from a facility in Massachusetts, where he's been serving a four-year stretch for tax evasion. No word on why the transfer or whether fellow inmates simply voted him off their little island, you know -- Anderson.

COOPER: Wow, Richard Hatch in prison, that's like a reality show all unto itself. Heidi, appreciate that, thanks very much. We'll check in with you a little bit later on.

When we come back, we'll take you back to Beirut. Behind the scenes look, what it's like reporting this story, a story unlike any other. Stay with us.


COOPER: We've been covering this story now well, I guess for nearly 13 days or so. And we've had photographers traveling with us, sort of documenting what it's like reporting this story behind the scenes. The story you're about to see is a reporter's notebook. The photographs are from Farah Nosh of Getty Images.


COOPER (voice-over): We landed in Beirut on an LZ in the U.S. embassy. It was like something out of a movie -- snipers on nearby buildings, lines of Americans waiting to get out. You could see the anxiety on everyone's face. A lot of people were leaving family members behind. No one could believe how quickly things here had fallen apart.

It's terrible what's happening here, but the strange thing is, you don't feel the war everywhere in Beirut. Downtown the hotels are open. You check in like normal. There's room service, Internet connections. It's not as if the whole place has collapsed.

(On camera): At times you feel disconnected from what's really happening here. You hear the shells landing. You turn to look. There's a distant flash in the night sky. A plume of smoke. Maybe the ground shakes. The windows vibrate. But you don't often see the impact. Not right away.

On Arab TV the story is civilian deaths. Crying children, Israeli tanks. There's bloodshed on both sides of the border. There's plenty of suffering to go around. It all depends where you point your camera. We've been moving around a lot, trying to see this war from different angles.

In Israel, running from Hezbollah rockets, the adrenaline pulses through your veins. There's fear and anger, emotions of resolve. (Voice-over): In Beirut, civilians are caught in the middle. Even those who don't support Hezbollah end up paying a price. Hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced from their homes. Many like these people are now sleeping in public parks, waiting for the fighting to stop.

We went to Hezbollah territory, south Beirut. It's really a separate state unto itself. We couldn't walk around freely. Hezbollah guys on motorbikes would yell at us if we pointed their cameras at things they didn't want us to photograph.

This family said they were spending the night in the basement of their building. They were Hezbollah supporters and slept under a picture of Hezbollah's Leader Hassan Nasrallah. They're poor. Hezbollah gives them help, gives them a sense of pride, a feeling of power. They don't want Hezbollah to disarm.

(On camera): The lines here are so deeply drawn, the positions so entrenched. It's different world views, different objectives. For one side to win, the other has to lose. There's little room it seems for common ground.

I keep thinking back to last year. In March 2005 we were here in Beirut, pro-democracy demonstrations swept the country. A million Lebanese filled this square, calling for Syria to get out. There was so much hope here, so much optimism. A democracy was being born. Now, Martyr Square is empty. The future is unclear. When the fighting stops, the city, this country, these people have to decide what they want it to be, which direction to move toward. Right now it seems everything is just standing still


COOPER: Most of those pictures are from Farah Nosh of Getty Images, and we appreciate all her hard work these last several days in Beirut.

Our tour of Hezbollah controlled south Beirut is getting a lot of attention on the blog. You should check that out. A lot of back and forth.

BST in Atlanta writes, "I'm glad CNN appears to see through Hezbollah's barely veiled propaganda tour. It's time for the world to stop granting these radical Islamists the moral equivalency to Israel and the west that they certainly do not deserve."

From Bill in New York, "Well, Hezbollah could be good or bad. But that doesn't change the fact that American-made bombs are killing innocent people.

And Missy writes, also in Atlanta, "How surreal. Nice perspective on the absurdities of war." But, she writes, "Remember, even the pursuit of irony can be dangerous. Keep your heads down."

Missy, we always do. We'll try.

Appreciate all the kind wishes on the blog and the headlines and "On the Radar" tonight. More from the region, more from Haifa, next.


COOPER: You ever wonder what you would do if you were trapped in a country in the middle of an intense war? We're going introduce you to a Harvard student who was in Lebanon to research its rebuilding and rebirth, when he was rescued by California private security firm Harvard hired to escort him out.

You can find out more tomorrow, on "AMERICAN MORNING," from 6:00 a.m., to 10:00 a.m., with of course, Soledad O'Brien live from New York, and Miles O'Brien, he'll be live reporting from Jerusalem.

Thanks for watching this special edition of 360. We'll be in the region tomorrow.

"LARRY KING" is next.