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Military Evacuates Americans; Israel Pounds Beirut; Israel Targets Rocket Sites; Hiding In Bunkers; Evacuees In The States; Will U.S. Broker Cease-Fire?
Aired July 20, 2006 - 07:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: Set up at the port, not very far from where they actually docked. And then, for many folks, they headed right off to the airport where they would sit and sit and sit and wait. And, in some cases, a really, really long wait. Some flights people had to wait 24 hours or more before they'd be able to make their way out. So it is just the beginning.
We've been hearing some terrific news, though, from Bob Franken as he's been waiting at BWI, one of the first charter flights headed out there. And that's some great news. There are other people, Miles, that we know of who are also headed to BWI. But again, that's just another leg in their very long journey. Some folks we talked to from California are arriving at that airport today and really across the country.
MILES O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: All right, thank you very much, Soledad. Back with you in just a little bit.
Let's get you up to date on the latest developments in the Middle East crisis.
Israeli soldiers are fighting Hezbollah forces inside Lebanon as we speak. There is talk Israel may send a large force into Lebanon to root out Hezbollah positions.
In the air, Israeli fighters pursuing Hezbollah's leader, Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, dropping 23 tons of explosives on a Hezbollah command bunker in Beirut.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will meet with the U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan today. Expected to talk about a stronger peace-keeping force to be deployed in some sort of buffer zone in southern Lebanon.
U.S. Marines on the shores of Lebanon again for the first time since the bombing at the Marine barracks in Beirut 22 years ago. Those Marines helping Americans on to Navy ships, passage to Cyprus lies ahead. CNN's Barbara Starr aboard one of those amphibious landing ships.
BARBARA STARR, CNN CORRESPONDENT, (voice over): We are now on board the first U.S. military ship that has landed here in Beirut Harbor and it's picked up hundreds and hundreds of Americans coming down the hill from the city, being boarded onto this boat. We will now make a trip back to a larger warship where they will be given food, water and shelter.
But I think, as you can see from the pictures we're showing you, these are hundreds of Americans. There are families here. Children in strollers. Very young people. There are some very elderly people. People with medical challenges.
Some of the children on board this ship are doing pretty good. They seem to be in pretty good shape. They're taking this all in their stride, as young children often do. A lot of parents very worried, very concerned about getting their children and their families out.
The Marines on board right now are just loading this ship up as fast as they can with as many people as they can. They're trying to make several runs into Beirut today, get everybody out they can by dark and then (INAUDIBLE) until another day when they may have to come back.
But right now, the story here is that hundreds of Americans are now on essentially U.S. military turf. They are on a U.S. Navy ship and they are now safe and they are headed back to their homes.
M. O'BRIEN: Thank you very much, Barbara Starr.
Israeli warplanes again pounding away today, aiming at targets in southern Beirut and beyond. Israel saying they have hit at least 1,000 targets so far in this war by either air or artillery. Anthony Mills, live now from Beirut with more.
ANTHONY MILLS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, the capital of Beirut has been fairly quiet in the last few hours as evacuations really get underway as thousands of foreigners leave this city, leave this country. But overnight, further bombings struck the capital, struck across the country, in the south and in the east, and the southern suburbs of Beirut hit once again and we understand as well a portion of the capital, Schwifet (ph), also in the suburbs of the capital. So the capital has been quiet within the last few hours but the bombing continues as was.
M. O'BRIEN: Anthony, can you tell me, once again, I'm always curious. We're getting, you know, kind of a blinder's eye view of a very small portion of Beirut. But once again, as you speak and we talk about bombing, I see what appears to be a normal city street with people going about their business. Give us a sense of how alive and well Beirut is.
MILLS: In the last few days, it had been completely dead. But let's bear in mind that this is a city and a country that have known war in the not too distant past. Indeed from 1975 until 1990. So the people of Lebanon are, as it were, hardened to war. And after a few days of this bombardment, this constant bombardment, some of them are venturing out again. They're at least coming out into the streets. They're not staying cooped up inside.
However, it should be said that this street at this time of year in the middle of summer would normally be jam packed full. You'd be seeing way more people than you are now. There would be thousands of tourists around. The Lebanese would all be down here. It's a work day. So it really would be packed. And so this is still very empty compared to what this street would look like, this square behind me would look like on a normal July day.
M. O'BRIEN: Anthony Mills in the center of Beirut, thank you very much.
Skirmishes again breaking out in southern Lebanon. Israeli troops moving in, facing off against Hezbollah militants. They say they're there with very targeted campaigns aimed at rooting out those sites where rockets are being fired into northern Israel. And while those battles go on on the ground in southern Lebanon, Israeli artillery continuing to blast away just south of the border into southern Lebanon. CNN's Paula Newton, once again, at one of those locations in northern Israel near the Lebanese border.
PAULA NEWTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And good morning, Miles.
We, in fact, hear the echoes from all those explosions in the hills behind me. All that artillery fire now landing, exploding mortars behind me. What is going on here, Miles, is that, as we saw yesterday, this morning again, two different special forces groups went into southern Lebanon. They say they're trying to cleanse Hezbollah posts, trying to find missiles, rockets, and launchers that are buried deep within caves.
Some of this work, Miles, can only be done with troops on the ground. They got into a lot of trouble there. One tank was hit by an anti-tank missile. An armored bulldozer, same thing. And they also came under heavy machine gunfire. We understand that three Israeli soldiers are wounded.
But in the hills behind me, Miles, this firefight continues to go on. What is happening is that every time now that Israel tries to incur into the border, Hezbollah is taking them on. The other problem here, Miles, is that while the Israeli army says that in fact they've wiped out 50 percent of Hezbollah's capability, they are admitting to us, Miles, that to really get rid of that extra 15 percent that, that last half, it will take troops on the ground, something that they're not ruling out, but that they're not promising to do at this point.
M. O'BRIEN: All right, Paula, tells us once again. -- we talked about this a little bit yesterday -- how those artillery crews there can really tell if they're having an effect, if they're hitting their targets? And how are they acquiring those targets in the first place?
NEWTON: Well, Miles, I can't tell you where we are. We're at a post where they certainly have a certain surveillance. They have unmanned drones deep within southern Lebanon and they also have people just eyes and ears here on the ground perched on the mountains. They feel, from all their intelligence -- and remember they've been gathering it for five or six years now -- that they've wiped out what they know of. What they know still exists is that stuff that's buried deep beneath caves, deep beneath the ground in tunnels. And, of course, they also claim is in villages. They claim that these things are buried in the basements of homes.
And that is what is proving more difficult. If they even want a five to 10-mile buffer zone in Lebanon, it will take some boots on the ground. Will it be an international force? Will Israel go in first, do some of the heavy lifting and then the international force will come in? This is what everyone's trying to see.
What's significant here, though, Miles, is that Hezbollah's taking them on and they're taking them on with some success. They knocked out a tank today. We've got three soldiers seriously wounded. That's on top of the two soldiers who died yesterday and the others who were wounded. And that's in the same area. It doesn't matter -- we have Blackhawks in the air right now, Miles. It doesn't seem to matter how much air support they're getting. This is a tough fight on the ground.
M. O'BRIEN: Well, you mentioned that tough fight on the ground. Is there some concern among the border there, among the Israeli forces, that Hezbollah could try some sort of incursion into Israel?
NEWTON: We had reports of that last night in the town where we're staying, Miles. We had a few tense moments and forces moved in to try and foil that. They said that they did. That, in fact, it was a group of Hezbollah militants trying to come into that Israeli town right on the border.
And they said that they did deal with it. Again, the battle there was quite fierce and it went on. The idea (ph) forces, the Israeli forces tell me it went on for about 20 minutes at its most intense moment. But from what we saw around us, it was pretty intense for a good couple of hours. Keeping in mind that now if they're going to have to go and do this on the ground, you're talking about calling up another one or two reserve units.
All of this taking a heavy toll not just on the military, but on the people here in northern Israel. Miles, there are still Katyushas flying around these hills. Not so busy this morning. Not as bad of a day with the Katyushas as it was yesterday, but still tough on the ground here on the ground, whether in uniform or not.
M. O'BRIEN: And a final, quick thought here, Paula. You're not wearing a vest or a helmet today. Does that imply that things are safe? NEWTON: We had to move far away, Miles. We just came back from the front line. We are at least 10 miles back. Not to worry. We're been assured that we're OK where we are right here. We have some video we'll try and bring you in the next hour of us on the front line. We had our helmets and our flack jackets on.
M. O'BRIEN: OK.
NEWTON: They did move us away, unfortunately. We tried to broadcast live from there and couldn't.
M. O'BRIEN: I see. All right. All right, thank you very much, Paula Newton, right there along the border.
Day nine of that intense shelling that Paula's been telling you about right into southern Lebanon. Many civilians have fled, but those that are less fortunate are huddling in bomb shelters in many cases. CNN's Karl Penhaul is on the other side of the border. He's in one of those bunkers in Tyre, Lebanon.
KARL PENHAUL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: In fact, Miles, this is the basement of a regular apartment block. And this is the hardest cover that these people can find, so they've turned it into a bunker themselves. This is not a specially designed bomb shelter. This wouldn't necessarily defend against some of those 500-pound bombs that we believe that the Israelis have been dropping.
In fact, those warplanes have been dropping those bombs around the clock. Yesterday I actually stood inside the crater of one of those bombs that had fallen. It was at least 30 feet deep. So little indication that this basement would actually withstand that kind of bombing. But it is the hardest cover they can find.
But that said, obviously, other civilians that I've talked to in the last few days have also taken cover in underground buildings, in the basements, and they haven't suffered the same fate. Some have been killed. I was talking to a girl in the hospital yesterday. She was badly burned by the blast of a bomb as she huddled down.
But the main problem now, in this basement there are about 40 people between the men, women and children. The children here, all the families here, have been here for nine days. No sanitary conditions, no running water, no toilets either. Only a few brave members of the family going out each day to forage for food. The others stay here around the clock, Miles.
M. O'BRIEN: Karl, there's got to be some concern. Describing those conditions, there's got to be concern about disease in these bunkers. Are there doctors there? Is there any way to keep things sanitary as this grinds on?
PENHAUL: No. A lot of the people of Tyre have fled, Miles. Anybody really who has some money and can organize it has either left in a taxi and gone north to Beirut. They may have headed into the mountains where they believe it may be quieter from bombing.
But disease right now, it's too early still for these people to even be worried about disease. What they're worried about is round the clock bombing by Israeli warplanes. They're not worried maybe about -- I'm not sure maybe we'd be talking about things like Typhoid, possibly cholera, that kind of thing, from poor sanitary conditions. They also do say there are rats down here in the basement that scurry around at night.
But these people's main worry is the bombing raids by Israeli warplanes. And that's really their message from this bunker where we are. Regular folks saying to us, send a message to the world, just tell them to stop this war.
M. O'BRIEN: All right. Let's hope somebody's listening to that message. Karl Penhaul in a bunker in Tyre, Lebanon.
Let's get back to Soledad in Larnaca, Cyprus.
S. O'BRIEN: All right, Miles.
I want to share the results of a CNN poll with you. The question was, how would you say the U.S. government has handled the evacuation of its own citizens? Fifty-three percent of people who are polled said they gave it a good rating, 29 percent gave it a poor rating.
Some of those who gave it a poor rating said, at least from the folks we've talked to, would be the kind of people who have told us, you know what, it was too slow, impossible to get through to the embassy. A lot of the work that we had to do we did ourselves using our friends in the states or our relatives. Those, though, who have said that they think actually the response was pretty good, said they recognize that the embassy is overwhelmed and also that the U.S. has security issues that are different from some of the other countries that got in a little bit earlier.
But if you have made your way home, I've got to tell you, one common thread is you feel happy and relieved regardless of what you thought the response was, how you would rate. It let's get to Bob Franken. He's at BWI, the airport right outside of Washington, D.C., where some of the evacuees and refugees have made their way home finally.
BOB FRANKEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. This is what we have right now is one of the passengers gotten off has decided he wants to hold a news conference. Meanwhile, we are waiting for Ryan Sumi. Ryan Sumi is the 16-year-old who is, I guess, waiting at luggage now, right, Anna (ph)? This is his mom.
ANNA SUMI, MOTHER OF EVACUEE: He's waiting for his luggage, yes. FRANKEN: You just talked to him on the phone.
ANNA SUMI: Yes, I did. He said the table has stopped turning. So he was just standing there waiting.
FRANKEN: Starting to sound pretty ordinary, isn't it?
ANNA SUMI: Well, yes.
FRANKEN: And we have, as I say, one of the passengers who's up there talking now and he had no statement. He's talking about the fact that he was there for a wedding, et cetera. They're arriving now to a variety of government services to help them relocate. Let's listen to him for a second.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So we pulled it off. The mountains above Juni (ph), which is a Christian enclave north of Beirut. So, you know, we pulled it off. But, unfortunately, everybody -- that's when they bombed Juni, the port of it, and everyone had known that during the wedding that that had happened and everyone assured me that would never happen, as they did a few days earlier, that they would never bomb Beirut. And so even hardened Lebanese were completely freaked out. So the wedding was quickly dismantled. Everyone stopped taking pictures of the bride and groom and ran.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I feel horrible. I have family there. And, you know, I was at the U.S. embassy yesterday just pretty uncontrollable tears and, you know, I don't cry that often and . . .
FRANKEN: And while we're waiting for one of the passengers to get off, Ryan Sumi, the 16-year-old son of Anna Sumi. Ryan's mother and his girlfriend have been waiting here with us. He apparently is slowed down in luggage. But, anyway, we're going to stay back here. There are about 140 people on the plane. Some are going to be talking to the media and some simply want to get back to their families and end their ordeal.
S. O'BRIEN: Bob, thanks.
It's been interesting to hear sort of the mundane things people were doing when they were on vacation or attending a wedding or a attending a party or whatever when suddenly the bombs started falling out of the sky and wiped those vacation plans or those wedding plans or any plans pretty much off the map. Bob Franken for us this morning at BWI. Thanks, Bob.
Let's get to Chad Myers. He's watching the weather for us this morning.
Hey, Chad, good morning.
CHAD MYERS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: You know, don't you find it ironic that basically the kid goes through a war, he finally gets out and then they lose his luggage? That's funny.
We have breaking news. Back to you, Soledad.
S. O'BRIEN: All right. You know what, let's get right back to Bob Franken. Looks like our friend, Ryan, who we've been watching and waiting for, is here.
FRANKEN: Here we go. I'm going to get out of this picture.
ANNA SUMI: Oh my God, I'm so glad you're back. You see who I brought with me? And she's glad to see you too. I guess you can hug her too.
Do you want to come underneath here?
FRANKEN: Want to come and talk to us? Tell us about quite an adventure you've had. You're 16-year-old Ryan Sumi. You're seeing your mother. Was there a period of time when you thought this might not be happening?
RYAN SUMI, EVACUATED FROM LEBANON: Well, I was in a pretty safe area in Beirut, so we weren't really worried about it. We were in the Christian area, so.
FRANKEN: So it was just an adventure?
RYAN SUMI: It was. You could hear everything going off and you could see bombs and hear the planes. It's pretty intense. And the helicopter ride over was quite an experience.
FRANKEN: So this is . . .
ANNA SUMI: I didn't know you were on a helicopter. I didn't know how you guys made it to Cyprus. I didn't know.
RYAN SUMI: Big helicopter.
ANNA SUMI: Helicopter. Good.
FRANKEN: What do you want to say to him?
ANNA SUMI: I'm just glad you're home. I'm glad you're home.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Me too.
FRANKEN: And I bet you are, too?
RYAN SUMI: Yes, I am.
ANNA SUMI: And everybody's waiting for you to call. Gigi's waiting for your call.
FRANKEN: Well, should I let you go then?
ANNA SUMI: I hope you learned something from this, though, how fortunate you are where you live. But there's still -- my prayers won't stop because I know there's still suffering and there's a lot of civilians dying and it's just really sad.
FRANKEN: Any response to that, Ryan?
RYAN SUMI: Um, no.
FRANKEN: Have you had a chance to reflect on, you know, the kind of thing your mother's talking about?
RYAN SUMI: Yes, it's, you know, you hear about everything -- a lot of people died in Beirut or just in Lebanon, southern Lebanon.
ANNA SUMI: Civilians.
RYAN SUMI: I just think about how lucky I was to be in such a safe area.
FRANKEN: You had to split up with your father. What was that like?
RYAN SUMI: That wasn't too hard. I'm used to traveling on my own, so it was just . . .
ANNA SUMI: Hard on him.
RYAN SUMI: I found out the plane was coming to Maryland and I live here, so it was just -- it was perfect. He was going to Morocco on business, so I just thought I'd come back.
FRANKEN: Well, now you've got your son back.
ANNA SUMI: I've got my son back. Thank you so much, yes.
FRANKEN: Congratulations. Thanks for sharing this with us.
ANNA SUMI: Thank you.
RYAN SUMI: Thank you very much.
ANNA SUMI: Let's go. I'm ready.
RYAN SUMI: Thanks.
FRANKEN: So we have seen -- she just said that he was very lucky and there are an awful lot of people who are hoping to have the same luck, Soledad.
S. O'BRIEN: Yes, there sure are. Bob Franken for us at BWI with a nice reunion there, 16-year-old and his mom and his girlfriend. Thanks, Bob.
A short break. We're back in a moment with a special split edition, from New York and Cyprus, of AMERICAN MORNING. We're back in a moment.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) S. O'BRIEN: The Orient Queen, the ship carrying more than 1,000 Americans here to Cyprus, came in early this morning. It was a long and difficult ride, but, boy, what a difference a day makes. It was nothing like the Norwegian cargo ship that came in with about 200 Americans yesterday. We got a tour, in a way, so to speak, of the ship. Take a look.
S. O'BRIEN: Right now they're cleaning up The Orient Queen. The whole purpose is to be able to turn this ship around in two hours and head back out again. We only have a couple minutes to give you a quick tour of how it looks on the inside, so we'll take you in.
First and foremost, 1,011 passengers on board, approximately 200 people in the crew. We'll going to take you up to the very top, beginning with reception, give you a sense of how it worked when the Americans first came on this ship.
Take a look at this chandelier. It's a pretty clear indication that you're on a pretty top of the line ship. Rooms go from somewhere around $2,000 starting price to about $7,000. One of the things they did on this ship was to open up all the rooms, make everything accessible and available to the people on board. And one of the goals, too, is to try to many people as comfortably as possible.
Pelum (ph), let's show a quick shot right down here. They told us they opened up duty-free. Meaning you could buy cigarettes, you could buy cigars, you could buy liquor. Basically they just wanted to make people feel as normal as possible in a situation, of course, that was completely abnormal.
They're trying to turn this ship around in two hours and that means a little bit of cleanup and pretty fast. They want to send it right back to Beirut to pick up more Americans. We got a chance to take a quick peek inside one of the suites. Every single person was assigned a room. Come take a quick look.
Now this ship was traveling way above capacity. Normally they have 750 passengers on a normal trip. More than 1,100 people were on this trip. They put them in rooms, they put them in suites. They didn't close up any room. Every room was opened up to house people, make them as comfortable as possible.
Another big difference was the food, frankly. And we heard lots of reports of people who came over on the other vessels really not having a lot of access to food. Here they were feeding people two meals. For lunch they got sandwiches. For dinner, burgers and fries.
We told you this was a sort of over the top ship. Look behind the bar. This would be the bottom of the swimming pool. There are people, as they took the trek over, who spent a little time in the pool, relaxed on the open deck.
One of the things that they would do as well would be to watch the American destroyer that was escorting the cruise ship out of the waters of Lebanon. So one of the first things we had a chance to see were people, in some cases holding their kids or looking out off this balcony or down below looking out of some of the windows, really ready to reach land, even on a quiet and expensive and spectacular mode of transport. When you're ready to be home, there's really nothing that would want to keep you on the ship at that point.
S. O'BRIEN: Yes, it's true, no matter how nice it is, people who are ready to go got off, disembarked very quickly and then came into the port to be processed and to move on to the next step.
Ahead this morning, we're going to share the story -- I mean imagine if you're a parent and you are traveling on vacation with your children and suddenly that vacation becomes a war zone. How do you comfort your children? What do you tell them as the bombs fall around you? We'll take a look just ahead as we continue right here on AMERICAN MORNING. Stay with us.
S. O'BRIEN: Welcome back, everybody. You're watching a special split edition of AMERICAN MORNING. We're coming to you both from New York and from Larnaca Port in Cyprus.
Good morning, Miles.
M. O'BRIEN: Good morning, Soledad.
I'm Miles O'Brien in New York.
You know, this is not your father's Middle East war. Instead of shoveled diplomacy, we're watching a volley of bombs, artillery and rockets with no high-level, high-profile U.S. mission to try and broken a cease-fire. Why not yet this time? Joining us from Washington is Martin Indyk, former U.S. ambassador to Israel. He's now head of the Saban Center for Middle East policy.
Ambassador Indyk, good to have you back with us.
MARTIN INDYK, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO ISRAEL: Thanks, Miles. Good morning.
M. O'BRIEN: Good morning to you.
A lot of people would say, among them former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, that it's time for Condoleezza Rice to be there in the region shuttling back and forth, engaging in high-level diplomacy. What do you say to that?
INDYK: Well, I think that she will be going out, but she's kind of dragging her feet. And there are two reasons for that.
First of all, Hezbollah, which has seemed to have provoked this crisis, backed by Iran and Syria, are part of the panoply of terrorist organizations and sponsors that the administration is fighting a war against. So in a sense they do not want Hezbollah to come out victorious and a cease-fire in place would in effect be a victory for Hezbollah, give them a chance to strike again at will.
Secondly, there's a real question of, if she goes out, who is she going to talk to. Hezbollah is not going to cease firing just because Condoleezza Rice wants them to. The United States has a close relationship with Israel, and basically can get Israel to stop firing, but who stops Hezbollah? That's the big question.
M. O'BRIEN: Well, the question might be answered in Damascus, and a lot of people would suggest that that should be on any secretary of state's itinerary if you want to come up with a cease-fire in this case. What would you say to that idea?
INDYK: Well, that's certainly what we did when I worked with Madeleine Albright in the Clinton administration, but there we had a different approach. We were trying to make peace. We were engaged in negotiations with Syria, and Syria had 15,000 troops in Lebanon, which we could go to Damascus and say you'd better get them to stop this if you want to engage in peace negotiations, and they said, OK, we will. In this case, the Bush administration has supported the Cedar Revolution in Lebanon and forced Syrian troops out of there. If she goes to Damascus now, she's, in effect, inviting Damascus to come back in under the cover of insisting that Hezbollah stop. It will give Syria the perfect excuse to come in, and it would be a betrayal by the United States of the Cedar Revolution, of all those two million Lebanese who came out in the streets demanding that Syria leave.
M. O'BRIEN: Well, talk about a rock and a hard place, because the government in Beirut is incapable of doing anything at this juncture. Syria is probably the only force who holds any sway, and of course, the U.S. does not want to sit down with Nasrallah. So what would you suggest?
INDYK: It's worse than that, Miles. It's between Iran and a hard place. Because in this case, it's the Iranians that are really behind Hezbollah, Syria's a kind of a fellow traveler, and I think Iran and Syria for that matter are hoping the United States will come to them and ask them to turn off what they turned on, and that's not an acceptable situation for the Bush administration. Frankly, I wouldn't recommend it either.
So in fact, we have to find a way to orchestrate the international community behind the Lebanese government, and get a U.N. Security Council resolution. Condoleezza Rice is going up to New York today, I believe. A Security Council resolution that contains the critical elements of a cease-fire, the removable of Hezbollah from Southern Lebanon and its replacement with the Lebanese army backed by an international force.
Once we have those elements in place, then we're going to have to get behind the Lebanese government, with the Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Jordan. She'll be stopping in those capitals, I believe, next week. And have the Lebanese government go to Hezbollah and demand that they stop because of the pain that is being inflicted on the Lebanese people is too much to bear. Whether that will work or not remains a big very question. I'm afraid it won't, and it's only when the flames begin to engulf Syria, that Iran and Syria will decide it's in their own interests to start turning this off.
M. O'BRIEN: So what you're saying is if in fact the Israelis engage in some kind of strike against Syria, that would precipitate some kind of change in the dynamic?
INDYK: Yes. Miles, please don't mistake me. I'm not recommending this by any means, and the Israelis are saying they're not interested in it. But if we're not going cap in hand to Damascus and ask them to turn it off, then it's just a question of whether their interests dictate that they turn it off, and that, I'm afraid, is only when the war escalates to an Israeli-Syrian conflict that Iran and Syria decide that they don't want the Syrian army defeated and the Syrian regime toppled, and they'll decide that this has gone too far.
M. O'BRIEN: So what you say there, though, makes it almost seems inevitable that it will widen.
INDYK: I'm afraid so. I hope not. I think the Israelis have limited their objectives to getting Hezbollah out of the south. We're going to see the ground operations there -- we see it already -- to move them out of the south, and then have the Lebanese army come in and take control of its southern border, backed by an international force. That's the way in which diplomacy will interact with the war on the ground.
But I'm fearful that it's not going to work, that Hezbollah can see this game. They've already rejected the elements of this that were presented to them by the U.N. team, and I think that they will decide that this kind of solution is a solution which leaves them much worse off, and they don't have much stake in it. So it's really a question of whether their patrons decide that it's in their interests to stop them.
M. O'BRIEN: Martin Indyk, thanks for your time and insights.
INDYK: Thank you, Miles.
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