Michael Ware


PZN: Hezbollah forces "by and large still intact."

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Length: 3:12

ZAHN: Hezbollah would be pushed north to Lebanon's Bekaa Valley. And that could be the new front line. It is already a very dangerous area. You could call it Hezbollah's heartland.

And, tonight, Michael Ware is in Beirut, just back from a trip to the Bekaa Valley, where he has seen firsthand what a well-organized military machine Hezbollah has built up there.

And he joins us now with the details -- Michael.


Yes, what we saw in the Bekaa Valley brings into question one of the central planks of the Israeli Defense Force campaign. Despite the intensive bombardment, and despite the deep-strike commando raid by the Israeli forces, there is very clear signs that Hezbollah's military apparatus not only remains in place, but is still effectively functioning.

What we saw is that, where a bridge was destroyed, very quickly another bridge was thrown up. Where a road was cratered one day, the next, it was filled back in. In other places where bombs had made obstacles in roadways, very rapidly, people found detours, even as the dust was still settling.

And it was evident, from dealing with their militia fighters, some of their commanders, and some of their political people, that their forces still remain, by and large, intact.

Indeed, according to one Hezbollah official that we spoke to, he cautioned that the guerrillas have yet to call up their reserve forces, claiming that, even if the Israeli statements of killing hundreds of Hezbollah fighters is true, that still is only a very small proportion -- he suggested 10 percent -- of their total fighting force. Paula.

ZAHN: So, in your conversations with any of the Hezbollah military leaders you spoke with, they won't even concede they have been degraded at all, whether it comes to supplies or their ability to bring weapons in from Syria?

WARE: Well, clearly, as in all wars, the information campaign is almost as much a part of it as the actual fight on the ground.

The Israeli Defense Forces are very guarded about what they say and their capabilities, as are Hezbollah and its guerrilla forces. Clearly, they're not willing to concede any ground publicly. What we took is our own observation.

I mean, apart from the fact that well over 100 missiles flew again today south across the border into Israel, we could visibly see their forces in place. We could visibly see the supply routes, though bombed, still open. We could visibly see the wealth of support they had among the community.

So, very much, what we have learned is based upon what was before our eyes -- Paula.

ZAHN: Michael Ware, giving us a really good view of what the Israelis are up against.

And, of course, I guess the most stunning thing to come out of the report is just how well-equipped they are to rebuild, and rebuild so efficiently.