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Hezbollah Leader Speaks on Lebanese Television

Aired August 3, 2006 - 13:00   ET


I'm Kyra Phillips live at the CNN world headquarters in Atlanta.

Ultimatums on both sides -- Israel drops bombs, Hezbollah sends hundreds of rockets into Israel.

Where is the diplomacy?

The East Coast bakes. Heavy storms move in.

Is there any relief from the heat?

LIVE FROM starts right now.

While the world focus on the Middle East crisis, the other war comes hurdling back to the forefront.

U.S. lawmakers on the Hill today grilling military commanders. Senator John McCain says troops are playing whack a mole.

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld says you can't pull troops out early. And the man in charge of U.S. Central Command says the battle cry is changing.


GEN. JOHN ABIZAID, COMMANDER, U.S. CENTRAL COMMAND: I believe that the sectarian violence is probably as bad as I've seen it, in Baghdad in particular, and that if not stopped, it is possible that Iraq could move toward civil war.


PHILLIPS: We're going to hear more from Rumsfeld and what he said to senators in that Armed Services Committee hearing in just a moment.

But first, the headline affecting you from coast to coast -- the heat. Oppressive and seemingly unrelenting, it's brutally hot still in the Plains and up and down the Eastern Seaboard. The intense heat has taken a tragic toll. At least a dozen people, possibly 20, have died from it, including a 74-year-old Pennsylvania man found dead in his apartment, windows closed, only a table fan running.

It's downright sweltering in subway stations, where temperatures are 10 degrees hotter. Paramedics are working over time caring for all the passengers overcome by the heat.

And you can't get much lower than this -- stealing air conditioner units right out of the windows. Bristol, Connecticut. Police are on the case.

Well, take this to heart. Relief is on the way for some of you. You just have to get through one more day of this sticky and stifling heat.

Our senior correspondent, Allan Chernoff, has found one place to stay cool in New York.

A pretty smart move, watching you go from the sidewalks in downtown New York to the swimming pool -- Allan.

ALLAN CHERNOFF, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Kyra, you know, if I had been really smart, I wouldn't be dressed like this. I'm not dressed appropriately.

This is the Astoria pool and this is the biggest swimming pool in New York City. And you can see lots of people enjoying the wonderful water here.

Let me tell you, that water a lot cooler than the temperature right now, topping 100 degrees, as it did yesterday. But people really enjoying it.

How are you guys enjoying the water now?


CHERNOFF: Now, Aubrey (ph) over here actually did not have power. A few weeks ago, she was one of the thousands who was without power, no air conditioning.

What was it like?

AUBREY: It was really bad. There was no air conditioners. The stoves didn't work. It was really bad. I had to like go to other people's houses.

CHERNOFF: But in this heat, you're actually holding up?



AUBREY: I'd say. Yes, now we have A.C. and everything works. So...

CHERNOFF: Well, the pool is probably the best place to be, I bet.

AUBREY: Today, yes.


Lots of people here are really having a great time, Kyra. If people can't make it to the beach, this is certainly the next best thing -- back to you.

PHILLIPS: All right, Allan Chernoff.

We'll talk to you in a little bit again.

Defense Secretary Don Rumsfeld spent time on the hot seat this morning, testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee. As you might expect, he faced some tough questions about Iraq and other issues.

Our Congressional correspondent, Dana Bash, joins me now with an update -- Dana.


Well, to be honest with you, it's not often that I can say that what I witnessed in a committee hearing here on Capitol Hill is riveting, but that is exactly how I would describe what we saw this morning in the Senate Armed Services Committee.

That is essentially because the top military commanders of the United States went before the committee and they were quite sober and even, some would say, candid in their assessments of what is going on on the ground in Iraq.

General John Abizaid, as we heard earlier in the show, said that the sectarian violence in Baghdad is as bad as I have seen it. And he did say it could move toward a civil war. But he was also careful to say that he does think that could be averted.

This is different and, perhaps, further than we have heard from the conversation leadership, from Secretary Rumsfeld, even this morning, and certainly from President Bush.

Now, John McCain, the senator from Arizona, asked the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff about this idea and about whether he would -- had anticipated something like this going on at this time a year ago.

Let's listen.


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: General Pace, you said there's a possibility of the situation in Iraq evolving into civil war.

Is that correct?


MCCAIN: Did you anticipate this situation a year ago?

PACE: No, sir.

MCCAIN: Did you, General Abizaid?

ABIZAID: I believe that a year ago it was clear to see that sectarian tensions were increasing. That they'd soar this high? No.


BASH: John McCain also describes the situation, as he see it, in Iraq, as a game of whack them all. He criticized the military for, in his eyes, going right now toward Baghdad, increasing troops there, where just last year it was -- or two years ago -- it was Fallujah, Ramadi and so forth, essentially making it clear he doesn't think that they have an adequate plan to deal with the insurgency there.

But, Kyra, the subplot of this hearing has been the fact that Secretary Rumsfeld did actually appear. He wasn't going to. He has said that he would rather just meet behind closed doors, but switched course last night and decided to appear.

One of the reasons he said he didn't want to come in public before this hearing is because he thought it would be, perhaps, political. Well, certainly it was the Democrats who were the toughest in their questioning of Secretary Rumsfeld.

Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton was, perhaps, the most direct and pointed at him in terms of his leadership when it comes to Iraq.

Let's listen.


SEN. HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D), NEW YORK: I think it's fair to say that that collective common sense overwhelmingly does not either understand or approve of the way you and the administration are handling Iraq and Afghanistan.

Under your leadership, there have been numerous errors in judgment that have led us to where we are in Iraq and Afghanistan.

DONALD RUMSFELD, SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: Are there setbacks? Yes. Are there things that people can't anticipate? Yes. Does the enemy have a brain and continue to make adjustments on the ground, requiring our forces to continue to make adjustments? You bet. Is that going to continue to be the case? I think so. Is this problem going to get solved in the near term, about this long struggle against violent extremism? No, I don't believe it is. I think it's going to take some time.


BASH: And, Kyra, the point that Secretary Rumsfeld made, both in his opening statement and throughout the hearing, is something that we've heard before and it is not so thinly veiled. It's directed at Democrats, I should say, and that is the fact that any talk, discussion, debate over troop withdrawal, whether or not U.S. troops should come home, perhaps, in his eyes, prematurely, just gives some fodder to the enemy. And that is not something he says is very constructive at this time -- Kyra.


Dana Bash on the Hill, thanks so much.

And Dana is talking exactly what Larry King is talking to Condoleezza Rice about, actually, right now. He's taping an interview with the secretary of state about the situation in the Middle East, probably also some questions about Iraq.

He is going to join us live in the 2:00 hour to tell us about that one-on-one with the secretary of state.

In addition, Senator John McCain, who was testifying on the Hill -- you just heard from Dana -- he'll be live on Larry's show tonight, as well.

Let's get straight to the newsroom.

Carol Lin has details on a developing story for us -- hey, Carol.

CAROL LIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Kyra, just a short time ago, we saw these pictures coming in of CBS correspondent Kimberly Dozier, who was critically injured in a car bomb blast in Iraq.

She has been released from the hospital. Good news, indeed. You might recall at the end of May, she was embedded with the 4th Infantry Division of the U.S. Army in Baghdad when a car bomb exploded, killing her crew.

She released a statement today what really gives us an idea of her mind set and what she has gone through. She says that just a few weeks later, "I'm up on crutches and can even manage with a cane. It's not pretty, but I'm walking on my own and that I also owe to some hard driving therapists at Kernan Hospital in Maryland, who kept saying, 'Now try this.'"

She is going to go into outpatient rehabilitation, but, Kyra, one of the most compelling parts of her statement, in addition to thanking her CBS friends and family and the 10,000 cards and letters that she got while she was in the hospital, she admits that she realizes only now how close she came to dying on the spot and how she will never forget her photograph, Paul Douglas, and sound man James Brolan, who were both killed in the blast.

And that she says she owes her life to the commander on the scene and the medic who responded. Apparently there was another car bomb that exploded close by to them, but this medic just kept calmly working on her legs, soothing her, treating her at the scene. And she really gives them so much credit from the fact that she may walk again one day fully without crutches and that she is alive -- Kyra. PHILLIPS: And there was talk about the beginning that she might have lost a leg, right? There was some confusion there. But that's not the case.

LIN: No. No. And you could see that she looks, you know, she looks remarkably great considering what she has been through...

PHILLIPS: Yes, she does.

LIN: ... in just the weeks that have passed. It is a miracle.

PHILLIPS: And you become really tight with your photographer in a situation like that.

LIN: Oh, yes.

PHILLIPS: That's going to be one of the toughest things for her to deal with is the loss.

LIN: They were the first to -- that she mentioned when she came out of her coma. And she asked about them and that's how she found out that they were killed. The crew is on the front lines. They're three steps ahead of you.


LIN: They're going to be the first to get the picture and apparently to get the blast -- Kyra.


LIN: Sure.

PHILLIPS: Hezbollah rockets crashed into the area near Haifa, Israel today, with -- well, it happened in Haifa, rather, and it had deadly consequences.

Our Paula Hancocks is in northern Israel.

She has an update on the latest attacks.

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's been a bloody day here in northern Israel. According to Israeli police, more than 160 rockets have landed across the area throughout the day.

Now, this is the scene of one of the deadliest rocket hits. Just in the late afternoon, the air raid siren sounded here and rockets started falling in the city, some just down this road. But after the siren had ended, some people came out into the streets to see what had happened and this is when one more rocket fell.

Now, four people who were standing nearby were killed in this particular attack.

Now, we understand, also, that three more people were killed in a town near Maalot, what is northeast of here. They were driving in that car when a siren sounded. They said that they were trying to get out of the car and find shelter, but they were in an open area.

Also, many injuries. According to Israeli police, 28 injured and 10 of those severely wounded here.

Kyra, at the same time that the Israeli politicians are saying that Hezbollah's capability to strike Israel has been dealt a heavy blow, we're seeing a second day of very heavy rocket attacks.

Paula Hancocks, CNN, Acre, Israel.

PHILLIPS: Southern Beirut -- it's back in the crosshairs. Israeli aircraft have renewed their attacks on suspected Hezbollah strongholds.

Brent -- our Beirut bureau chief, rather, Brent Sadler, is standing by now with more -- Brent.


Stepped up Israeli Air Force attacks not only against the southern suburbs of Beirut, four explosions heard overnight last night, but also other parts of Lebanon. Israeli jets attacking bridges and roads, and, again, an increasing loss of life on the Lebanese side.

The area that was attacked in Beirut is the southern suburbs of Beirut. This is the traditional stronghold of Hezbollah. Those jets going after targets they have hit before, trying to decapitate Hezbollah's leadership.

But we're hearing that Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, Hezbollah's chief, is expected to make a television statement soon. And Nasrallah, I'm told by political sources close to Hezbollah, still very much in control of what's happening in the South, still able to order his fighters to launch those Katyushas against Israel with greater accuracy, it seems, in terms of civilian loss on the Israeli side and in greater numbers over the past 48 hours.

Now, on the civilian social front here, Kyra, in Lebanon, a lot of concern as these weeks pass by that the life of the Lebanese is getting tougher each day. There has been a run-on petrol, rationing has come into play and two fuel ships offshore have not as yet been able to establish the kind of security guarantee that would enable those ships to dock and disperse fuel -- Kyra.

PHILLIPS: Brent, let me ask you, I'm going to be interviewing the Israeli ambassador to the U.N. coming up. And we're going to be talking about the civilian toll.

What do you think I should ask him? I'm going to ask -- I mean I have a lot of video images and a lot of questions about the numbers.

But you're there on the ground.

What's a question that I can tackle with him? SADLER: I think, really, the human cost of this war is so enormous. I mean even with television pictures we're showing and the words we're using, in the south of Lebanon -- and I've not seen anything like it. I've been reporting in this country for some 25 years. I haven't seen anything like this since I was in Grozny in the mid-1990s, when the Russians were pummeling that Chechen capital.

It really is an enormous level of destruction and mounting loss of life here in Lebanon. And Lebanese are wanting to know what they're going to get at the end of this in terms of a country that's rebuilt itself many times.

Do they have the stamina to do it again and will the world help them do this?

And there's a big new concern among Lebanese that where -- where they are going to go after this. If Hezbollah remains armed, if Hezbollah remains in a position where it can threaten Israel, how can an international force, Hezbollah -- that is important, Kyra -- that Hezbollah would identify as a possible pro-Israeli/U.S. force, how would that work?

And, more importantly, perhaps, a final thought -- if Israeli troops stay in Lebanon for any sort of time after the cessation of hostilities, Hezbollah would identify them as an occupation force, what would reignite the whole way Hezbollah's fought for the past 20 years, continued fighting against Israel through force of arms -- Kyra.

PHILLIPS: It's like going back in history once again.

I appreciate the insight.

I'll direct those questions to him, Brent.

Thanks so much.

It's the big question in Cuba and beyond -- how is Fidel Castro doing today?

Now we hear from his estranged sister.


ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And you see Fidel as two different people to you, right?

JUANITA CASTRO, FIDEL CASTRO'S SISTER: Yes, I do. Two different people, one as a Cuban dictator, and, on the other side, my brother, Fidel.


PHILLIPS: Ed Lavandera's conversation with Fidel Castro's sister. See it on CNN, the most trusted name in news.


PHILLIPS: Some new video for you and some developing news.

First, these pictures coming into us from Acre, Israel, the attacks that are continuing in the Middle East. At this time, crossing the wires right now, we've confirmed that the U.S. State Department has come out, its representatives, and said that it hopes for a U.N. resolution on ending the Middle East violence by Friday.

Our "LARRY KING LIVE" right now, this hour, probably in about 15 minutes, is going to start his interview with Condoleezza Rice. He's meeting with her one-on-one in about 15 minutes. He'll be asking her directly about this latest news to develop and what's going on with regard to a peace resolution and her trip in the Middle East.

He is going to join us in the 2:00 Eastern hour with parts of that interview. We'll have a discussion on how that went.

Meanwhile, fresh speculation -- OK.

I'm being told -- is it on LBC?

All right.

The Lebanese Broadcasting Corporation right now airing live remarks by Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Hezbollah.

Let's listen in.

HASSAN NASRALLAH, HEZBOLLAH LEADER (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): ... that cannot be ignored. Therefore, I will try, in this speech or this word, to concentrate on many sides on the -- of the (UNINTELLIGIBLE) because they're sensitive and critical in this battle raging today.

I speak to you while your brothers and your sons, the Mujahedeen and the resistance's, heroic confrontations on the front lines in South Lebanon, with -- in every village and town and hill and valley and position.

I begin from here and as far as the confrontations on the ground, facing several brigades, as the enemy has declared, this is (UNINTELLIGIBLE), many brigades of the Israeli Army, the elite brigades, commandos units and in the shadow of the extensive coverage from the Israeli Air Force.

I begin, at first, from the confrontations on the ground.

These confrontations on the ground happening now, what started from day one of this aggressive war, they were confrontations, yes, that happened now, that these confrontations have become more comprehensive, wider and more fierce. And everybody remembers that the confrontations that happened in Maroun Al-Ras, Itayun-(ph) and Aita al-Shaab in the beginning of this war and the heroic and historic confrontations that happened in the Triangle of Nalinus (ph) and Bint Jbeil and Itayun (ph). Today, in the past two or three days, yes, these confrontations has took a different shape and has many brigades has entered and tens of thousands of Israeli soldiers and hundreds of tanks and armored vehicles.

While, on the other side, the Mujahedeen are standing heroic with bravery and facing this advancing and (UNINTELLIGIBLE) the days we find the fighting is still on the front lines and at the front are villages and towns in the front. This confrontation, designers were surprised -- from the very beginning they were surprised. But now, now they are sure that their initial conclusions that the battle of Maroun Al-Ras or Maroun Al-Ras or Aita al-Shaab, Avintigvil (ph) and others, are now sure that because of what has happened in these days, the most key important things on the operational level in these confrontations is now one.

The first one, as far as the human factor, the Israelis thought that they would come to hold siege or to have back lines so the soldiers could go through. But throughout the confrontations that they went through so far, the fighters remained fighting until the last bullet, the last breath, despite all this -- the hard circumstances that they have faced.

Therefore, the confrontations today, the enemy was -- the Israelis were surprised by the human factor of the resistance and they experienced proof today and they it will prove in the future that they are fighting men who have a high level of faith and bravery and a steadfastness and willingness to sacrifice behind this, what I spoke about, that the feet planted on Earth, the Israelis now seeing this in every position and every confrontation.

PHILLIPS: You're listening to the leader of Hezbollah, Hassan Nasrallah, on LBC, Lebanese Broadcasting Corporation.

Our Arab senior affairs -- or Arab affairs senior editor, Octavia Nasr, is also listening to this.

She is going to bring us some perspective once his speech ends.

Also, you can go to if you want to continue watching this interview or this speech in its entirety.

Also, at the same time, we're getting word that the U.S. State Department is saying that it hopes a U.N. resolution on ending the violence in the Middle East should come forward by tomorrow, by Friday.

Our "LARRY KING LIVE" is interviewing Condoleezza Rice, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice right now, this hour.

He's going to join us in the 2:00 Eastern hour with that interview -- parts of that interview and what she had to say.

So we have a lot to talk about, not only Hassan Nasrallah's statement, but also what's coming out of the State Department, in addition to "LARRY KING LIVE" -- or Larry King's interview with Condoleezza Rice.

Also, when we come back, we'll have the latest from Cuba, what word is getting out of Cuba, that is, on the condition of Fidel Castro. And we're going to hear what his sister is saying about the ailing dictator.

That's coming up on LIVE FROM.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Tonight on "360," live from the war zone, the Middle East on fire.

Plus, exploding -- Iran and North Korea threatening to erupt.

What can the United States do against a firestorm of global challenges?

"360" from the war zone, tonight, 10:00 p.m. Eastern.


PHILLIPS: Right now, Hassan Nasrallah, the head of Hezbollah, speaking on every Arab network right now through the Lebanese Broadcasting Corporation.

If you want to tune in and listen to that speech, you can go to

We are monitoring it, as well. Octavia Nasr, our Arab affairs editor, is going to bring us some perspective on what he is saying. We've listened to a little bit of it, but we are following it closely.

Also, the U.S. State Department hoping, coming out today and saying that it's hoping for a U.N. resolution on ending the violence in the Mideast by tomorrow, by Friday.

And this hour -- it should start any minute, actually -- Larry King is taping an interview with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. He's going to join us after the 2:00 hour, Eastern time, on that interview, what she had to say about what's taking place overseas and if, indeed, she is going to be able to broker some type of peace deal.

But now we're getting out of the State Department that there is hope for a U.N. resolution on ending the violence overseas by tomorrow. So we'll get more from Larry in just a little bit.

Meanwhile, a flood of speculation but a bare trickle of information. Here's what we know right now on the condition of Fidel Castro. The ailing Cuban leader has not released a new statement on his condition and there's been no photos or video of him, as he reportedly remains hospitalized after intestinal surgery.

In Miami, Juanita Castro told reporters her estranged brother is "very sick," that she's been told he is no longer in intensive care and is expected to recover enough to resume control of Cuba. And for reasons that remain unclear, well, there has still been no public sign of Raoul Castro, who was named to take charge while his older brother recuperates.

Cuban exiles celebrate Fidel Castro's health crisis. But one woman in Miami isn't joining the party, Fidel Castro's sister.

She hasn't spoken to her brother in more than 40 years.

But she spoke with our Ed Lavandera.


ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Fidel Castro is the headline of every conversation around Miami. But inside this modest pharmacy, that conversation is personal. It's about family.

Juanita Castro has owned this business 34 years. She's Fidel Castro's estranged sister living in exile. She talks about her brother with me while customers shopped around us and the frenzy of speculation swirled outside.

(on camera): Is it difficult living here among so many people who are happy to see that's what happening to your brother?

JUANITA CASTRO, SISTER OF FIDEL CASTRO: First of all, we are blood. He's very strong, and he's my brother. I am his sister, and really I feel worried about the situation that he has now.

LAVANDERA (voice-over): Juanita Castro left Cuba for Mexico in 1964. A year later she moved to Miami. She says when she first arrived here some labelled her a communist who could not be trusted. Juanita says that's changed over the years. She says she left Cuba because she disagreed with her brother's politics, but to her, blood is thicker than ideology.

(on camera): You see Fidel as two different people to you, right.

CASTRO: Two different people, one as Cuban dictator and the other side, my brother Fidel and it's the same blood, it's very strong feelings. I can't...

LAVANDERA (voice-over): She can't deny it, she says. But to south Florida's Cuban exile community Fidel Castro is an evil thug, his failing health something to be celebrated.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The man who hurt my family is now getting what he deserves.

LAVANDERA: That is hard for Juanita Castro to hear. She says she understands how much Cuban exiles have suffered, but that it's still hard to watch people celebrate.

CASTRO: I am very upset about this, the show that they had the last night, two days ago, and I don't think it's necessary. He's not dead. He's very sick, but he's not dead.

LAVANDERA: Juanita Castro's family, like so many others, has been bitterly divided by the Cuban revolution. She's feeling the pain of realizing that her brother, who she hasn't spoken to since 1963, could die any time and she's wondering why it had to be this way.



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