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Crisis in the Middle East: A Fragile Truce; Bitter Homecoming; Hearts and Minds; Did Hezbollah Win?; Cease-Fire Holding; Who Won? U.K. Terror Probe; Muslim Anger; Praising Hezbollah; Shoe Scans Fail?; Roots of Terror

Aired August 15, 2006 - 23:00   ET


WOLF BLITZER, CNN CO-ANCHOR: A U.N. contingent being assembled right now. Lebanese people going home at the same time.
With more on what they're finding, here's CNN's Brent Sadler.


BRENT SADLER, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): The Litani River, south Lebanon, a strategic boundary for Israel during the fighting. This stretch has turned into a chokepoint for stranded trucks and cars. Their desperation to reach home turns into determination to defeat the river.

Even if my farm is damaged, he says, I just want to see it.

The river is narrow and shallow here. So one by one they attempt to cross. Some vehicles splutter to a halt. But no one's giving up. As men join hands to muscle a truck laden with family belongings to safety.

The roads leading to south Lebanon are jammed with vehicles. They are packed with people who have chosen to make a frustrating and perilous journey, forced to take uncertain detours around vital bridges that Israel destroyed to cut Hezbollah's supply lines.

And they risk death from unexploded bombs. Despite the setbacks and possibility they will find their homes destroyed at the end of this journey, they speak with one voice.

God strengthen the resistance, he says. The resistance of Hezbollah whose Katyusha rockets, like these scaled-down models, were damaged, but not destroyed.

For the first time since major battles stopped, it's been possible for Lebanese Red Cross teams to reach a line of bomb blasted villages that face Israel along what seems to be a lifeless border. They are looking for more of Lebanon's dead.

This is where Israel pulverized Hezbollah strongholds, reducing one village after another to rubble. It still feels a dangerous place to be.

(On camera): This whole area has been heavily destroyed. This really is one of Hezbollah's front lines. They're now taking us to see what they say are civilian casualties as a result of the Israeli strikes.

(Voice-over): They make a grim discovery. Four decomposing bodies lie in the scorching heat. Two men, two women killed, they say, when Israeli troops and armor punched through the village facing a deadly storm of Hezbollah fire.

(On camera): The bombardments were so intense in this area that civil defense workers and the Red Cross simply couldn't make it here. This really was a killing zone. And with each body they bring out of these destroyed villages, the death toll in Lebanon rises one by one.

Brent Sadler CNN, Tibae (ph), south Lebanon.


BLITZER: It will take hundreds of millions, perhaps even billions to make southern Lebanon whole again. A report in the Israeli newspaper, Haara (ph), it quotes a senior Israeli commander who says, Israel should be pushing for a modern day marshal plan for the region. The aim, he says, would be to keep it from falling into the hands of Hezbollah and Iran, like a piece of ripe fruit.

But as CNN's Jim Clancy reports, it may be happening already. Hezbollah is making big promises to rebuild the south, and people are buying it.


JIM CLANCY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In the southern suburbs the pro-Hezbollah chants infuse the Nasrallah rebuilding campaign with religious and political fervor.

On the streets, volunteers assess damage and match their maps to the destruction Hezbollah Leader Hassan Nasrallah has pledged to repair and rebuild. The promises are many.

A religious figure from Hezbollah declares the work will extend all across Lebanon. Doctors, engineers and experts will be at the service of the people. And Hassan Nasrallah won't just replace their destroyed homes, he'll build them better ones.

We believe in everything Hassan Nasrallah tells us, says this young shop owner.

A day after the war is over, Hassan's words are turning into actions.

Some argue Hezbollah's aggressive rebuilding campaign smacks of his continued strategy to be a government within a government. He didn't consult Lebanon's elected leadership before carrying out the kidnapping of two Israeli soldiers and he's dictating who does what in the disaster's aftermath.

Tuesday, the government dispatched army engineers to create bypass roads around broken bridges. Heavy equipment was seen making emergency repairs to the runway at Beirut International Airport. Their job is bigger, more expensive and more difficult than Nasrallah's own, but it won't be seen that way among Lebanon Shia Muslims.

While the government may have to take out loans or appeal for international aid, Nasrallah is able to make his promises, estimated to cost a billion dollars. If Iran is the one really paying, no one is willing to say.


CLANCY (on camera): If you want to really understand the movement of Hassan Nasrallah, you can't just read newspapers or read articles about him. What you have to do is watch how he is trying to parlay right now some of the worst cards that have ever been dealt a politician in this region into a winning hand. That's what he's seeking to do right now -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Does he seem to have a lot of charisma right now in Lebanon, going beyond the Shia community into the Sunnis as well as the Christian community?

CLANCY: During the war itself, when Lebanon was taking a pounding, the many Lebanese felt was really unjustified. They felt that it went way too far, considering there was the capture, kidnap of its two soldiers. Then there was more support for him because he was hitting Israel back.

But now, when people look around at the ruins, they blame him for getting this country into a situation that has cost it so dearly. It's going to cost it dearly for years to come -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Jim Clancy in Beirut.

Thank you, Jim.

Let's get some more analysis now from Professor Fawaz Gerges. He teaches Middle Eastern studies at Sarah Lawrence University. And who, along with his family, was visiting Lebanon when the fighting broke out. It seems like a long, long time ago, 30 what, 4, 35, 36 days ago.

Professor, how's the Arab world interpreting this war?

FAWAZ GERGES, PROFESSOR, SARAH LAWRENCE COLLEGE: Well, Wolf, in the eyes of millions of Arabs and Muslims, Hezbollah is the undisputed winner. I think the dominant narrative in the Arab world is that Hezbollah not only resisted the Israeli military onslaught, but also survived an inflicted measure heavy blows on Israeli forces.

And I think, Wolf, it's on the psychological and symbolic level that Hezbollah's success must be seen because it is seen as a symbol of defiance of resistance to one of the mightiest military apparatus in the world, that is the Israeli army.

BLITZER: So how much influence does Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Hezbollah, seem to have right now? GERGES: Well, Wolf, I don't need to tell you that Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Hezbollah, has emerged as an iconic leader in the Arab world, not just among Shiite Arabs, but even among Sunni Arabs.

As you know, there's a split in Islam between the dominant Sunni community and the Shiite community. I think what Hassan Nasrallah has done is to bridge this particular gap between the Sunnis and the Shiites as a result of the sectarian strive that's taken place in Iraq.

But let's remember, Wolf, this is in the short term. There are some major gathering storms, or clouds in the Lebanese political landscape regarding Hezbollah's arsenal. And I think we are seeing the beginning of a dispute in Lebanon over the question, what to do with Hezbollah's arsenal? And I think in the next few days and next few weeks, we're going to see this particular issue, Hezbollah's arsenal becoming a more contentious issue among Lebanese politicians.

BLITZER: I think what you're suggesting is that it's not going to be simple, if possible at all, for the Lebanese army, even an expanded 15,000 troops that go down to southern Lebanon, backed up by 15,000 U.N. peacekeepers to actually disarm this militia if Hezbollah doesn't want to be disarmed.

GERGES: Wolf, make no doubt about it, the Lebanese government does not have the capacity or the will to disarm Hezbollah. In fact, just yesterday, Nasrallah, the leader of Hezbollah, he basically vehemently criticized some Lebanese politicians who put the question of Hezbollah's arsenal on the able. And he said, listen, it's immoral. This is unbecoming of you to even discuss the question of Hezbollah's arsenal. And guess what? The next day, the Lebanese defense minister said on Lebanese television, the Lebanese army will not use force to disarm Hezbollah.

And I doubt it very much if the Lebanese government or even the international community will be able to disarm Hezbollah. Hezbollah is unwilling to be disarmed. Hezbollah will not be disarmed in the short term.

BLITZER: You know Lebanon well, Professor.

A lot of Israelis here, a lot of Americans think eventually there will be a Lebanese backlash against Hezbollah. Do you see that?

GERGES: Well, Wolf, in the short term, Hezbollah has emerged as in fact a hero for millions of Arabs, including Lebanese. But I would suggest that the question of Hezbollah, the future of Hezbollah lies in the kind of decisions that Nasrallah makes in the next few days and next few weeks. I think the status quo in the eyes of many Lebanese is no longer viable. That is, I mean, I think the Lebanese people, many Lebanese -- in fact many Shiites would like to basically talk about the question of Hezbollah's arms, to expand the Lebanese government's sovereignty over the entire country to make sure that the Lebanese state is the only agency that has a monopoly on the use of force. And if Nasrallah insists on maintaining his arsenal in the next few weeks and next few months and in fact the next year, I think you might see a major shift in Lebanese public opinion from supporting Hezbollah into basically becoming very critical of Hezbollah and Nasrallah himself.

So, in the short term, Hezbollah has emerged more powerful, more emboldened, more empowered. But it remains to be seen if Hezbollah can maintain this popularity because it depends on the decision that Nasrallah will make in the next few weeks and next few months, in particular with regard to the Lebanese government and its willingness to expand its authority over the entire country.

BLITZER: Fawaz Gerges, Professor, thanks very much for joining us. Always good to get your insight.

And for civilians on both sides, the cease-fire ends weeks of living away from home. In Israel the war displaced an estimated one million people. Fear of Katyusha rockets drove them to shelters or away from the border.

In Lebanon, more than 900,000 Lebanese became refugees; 700,000 of them stayed within the country. The rest -- at least most of them, fled to Syria.

Still to come, in Britain, another terror suspect is now in custody as police search for clues to the airline plot they say they foiled last week. Details coming up.

And does x-raying shoes at the airport really make us safer? A report from the Department of Homeland Security might surprise you.

All that coming up when 360 continues.


BLITZER: Pictures of destruction in Beirut, United Nations aiming to put up to 15,000 peacekeeping troops in southern Lebanon to monitor the new cease-fire. First couple of hundred of those peacekeepers should be there by early next week. But it could be November before all of them are in place. Meanwhile, some of those displaced by the 34-day conflict are starting to return home.

CNN's Chris Lawrence reports.


CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Israeli families are returning home for the first time since mass evacuations more than a month ago. The troops are packing up and pulling back. But the clock is ticking to get peacekeepers in place before a fragile truce is broken.

Israeli officials told us mortars landed near their troops in southern Lebanon Tuesday morning. I asked Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni what this meant to the prospect of peace. (On camera): As Israeli troops were retreating from southern Lebanon, mortar shells were fired in their direction. Does this violate the spirit of a cease-fire?

TZIPI LIVNI, ISRAEL FOREIGN MINISTER: It is full violation. It is in violation of the security council resolution. It's not only the spirit, it's the wording of the resolution.

Livni demanded there be no more attacks.

LIVNI: Not only on the Israel, but also on Israel soldiers.

LAWRENCE: Israel says it has the right to fire on Hezbollah during the cease-fire if Hezbollah poses a threat to its troops in Lebanon.

On Tuesday, Israeli soldiers shot five more Hezbollah fighters, killing at least three of them.

SGT. ALON BEJA, ISRAELI DEFENSE FORCES: Yesterday fought against someone and he tried to hunt you and you tried to hunt him. Now we see the same guys 50 meters from you. So better that they will be away from us and we will be away from them.

LAWRENCE: A separation of sorts that Israel is already putting into motion.

(On camera): Israeli Defense Forces plan to withdraw to a line about five to seven kilometers from the border. The plan is to stay at that line until the U.N. peacekeepers arrive in southern Lebanon.

(Voice-over): Prime Minister Ehud Olmert publicly admitted that Israel made mistakes in its military campaign. Still, Olmert claimed victory for Israel. But it's one many citizens refuse to celebrate.

ABRAHAM GOLDBERG, RABBI: We are very disappointed with the outcome of the present war.

LAWRENCE: Rabbi Abraham Goldberg (ph) says many of his fellow Israelis feel the country is no better off than before the war.

GOLDBERG: The Hezbollah is still in the area. There's nobody that can dare and will dare to disarm them. The two soldiers still in their hands.


LAWRENCE (on camera): He's obviously referring to the two Israeli soldiers who were kidnapped by Hezbollah just before this conflict started. And his skepticism about the capabilities of the Lebanese army echoes a lot of what the professor was just telling you, Wolf, just a few minutes ago.

BLITZER: Chris Lawrence in northern Israel, thank you very much.

Earlier in an exclusive interview, I spoke with the Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni.


BLITZER: Who won this war?

LIVNI: Time will tell. If we see a process that 1701 Resolution is the beginning of this process and at the end of the process Hezbollah will leave south of Lebanon and we will not see the armament of Hezbollah and we can see the dismantling of Hezbollah at the end of the process.

So Israel won -- I think the good guys won. It's not only Israel. It's also those Lebanese who don't want to live in this kind of -- or to be affected by Hezbollah and the Iranian ideology.

BLITZER: As you know, even here in Israel, there's a sense that Israel may have made a mistake in the tactics, in the strategy. We looked at some recent polls, the Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on July 12, his approval rating was at 75 percent. It went down to 48 percent.

The Defense Minister Amir Peretz, his approval rating on July 12, when those two Israeli soldiers were kidnapped, was at 65 percent. It's gone down to 37 percent. There's a lot of concern here in Israel that these 34 days of this war were not handled as well as you could have handled them.

LIVNI: Well, firstly, I believe that this part of democracy is that every government can be criticized. And I have to live and to go to sleep every night with decisions that I made and I will make as a covenant minister. And it's not easy, especially not in Israel when it comes to human lives and to the lives of soldiers and civilians.

BLITZER: Are you comfortable with the decisions that you personally made?

LIVNI: Yes. But I want to add something. That at the end of the day, as I said before, time will tell. And only a month ago, nobody could have believed that the Lebanese army will be deployed to the south. Nobody could have believed that Hezbollah will agree to this kind of understanding of deployment of the Lebanese army, plus international forces. Nobody, I think, could have believed that there's going to be an (UNINTELLIGIBLE) on the borders. So something is changing. It's not enough. It's only the beginning of the process. Let's meet again in a few months from now.

BLITZER: Tzipi Livni, Israel's foreign minister speaking with me earlier today in Tel Aviv.

In Britain, meanwhile, authorities have made their first arrest since last Thursday in the wake of the terror plot to blow up planes over the Atlantic. We'll have the latest on the terror investigation when 360 continues.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Check my passport. Check my hunter pass, check what you want. Don't associate me to terrorism later on because I don't welcome you to do that. You can't go around knocking on other people's houses, smashes their doors down, you know, causing friction, upsetting people's families.


CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CO-ANCHOR: A Muslim man here in London reacting to the stepped-up security effort, and more on the Muslim outrage coming up.

But first, after several days of near silence, British authorities have announced their first arrest since they detained suspects last Thursday for allegedly plotting to blow up U.S.-bound flights over the Atlantic.

CNN's Dan Rivers has more now on the ongoing terror investigation here in the U.K.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Move away please. Walk away.

DAN RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A terror alert in the heart of London, right in front of police headquarters, Scotland Yard.

A suspect package found and several roads currently sealed off. It turned out to be a false alarm. But the incident highlights ongoing jitters in the British capital.

The false alarm came as police in High Wickham (ph), were arresting another suspect in the alleged airline plot.

Although a British government source told CNN investigators do not view this latest arrest as a major person in the plot.

And a shop owner gave news organizations this security video of one of the suspects, Tiev Raouf (ph), just hours before his arrest last Thursday. Friends of the Raof (ph) family say the video shows Raof's (ph) demeanor was normal as he sold products for his father's confectionary business.

ABID HUSSEIN, FAMILY FRIEND: Well, it shows Raof (ph) coming in at nighttime doing his normal business day in and day out. And as you might have seen, it's on the camera. So he's a very down to earth person. Very nice. He's not the sort of person that's going to go and blow himself up, you know, at 2:00 in the morning (UNINTELLIGIBLE) collecting cash.

RIVERS: Police are continuing their searches at several locations in east London, seizing guns, computer hard drives and household chemicals.

(On camera): A British government source with a detailed knowledge of this investigation says the government is confident of a successful prosecution. He says while investigators haven't found any bombs, per se, they have found plenty of evidence to present to court, including unusual quantities of household chemicals and conversations recorded on audio and video.

(Voice-over): And British authorities say they are anxious to talk to suspect Rasheed Raof (ph), a man British security sources described as first among equals. He's currently detained in Pakistan. And the British government wants him extradited. Pakistan says it's waiting for a formal request.

TASNIM ASLAM, PAKISTAN FOREIGN MINISTRY SPOKESWOMAN: Rasheed Raof (ph) is a British national. We do not have any extradition treaty at the moment. But, yes, because he is a British national, the possibility of his extradition -- we have not received any request for extradition. So it would be hypothetical at this stage.

RIVERS: Insiders say this is the biggest operation the security service, MI5, has ever undertaken with officers still engaged in watching dozens of other suspected terror cells across Britain. The message? It's not over yet.

AMANPOUR: And Dan joins me now. In the U.S., we've been reporting this terror has been politicized.

Has it here yet?

RIVERS: Absolutely, today. The main opposition party, the Conservative's Leader David Cameron has come out and said he doesn't think enough is being done by the government to tackle Islamic extremism. That has been met with a fierce response by the Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott, who described his comments as almost beyond belief.

And people I've talked to in the home office today are incandescent with anger at the conservatives. There is a long-running rule really, that there is unity between all the political parties on the terrorism issue and today that unity is broken down.

AMANPOUR: For the first time.


AMANPOUR: Dan, thank you very much.

And as Britain reels from the fallout of the alleged terror plot, some British leaders are at odds over how to combat extremism in Muslim circles. As Dan has just said, and CNN's Jason Carroll has more on that.


JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): To get to the source of the anger in London's young Muslim community, we asked an expert who was active in the community. Ashgar Bukhari says you need to look outside mainstream mosques to the streets. There, he says, you often hear talk of what he believes is the number one cause fueling extremism among young Muslims here. What the U.S. and Britain are doing in the Middle East. Many Muslims believe it is anti-Islam.

ASHGAR BUKHARI, MUSLIM PUBLIC AFFAIRS COMMITTEE: That foreign policy made our young children, our sons, our daughters radicals. That wasn't our foreign policy. We didn't have any say in that.

CARROLL: Bukhari supports nonviolent change. But not far from where we were talking, a small group gathered.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm quite sick of it basically, the media and --

CARROLL: What are you sick of?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well blaming the Muslims for everything that happens in the world.

CARROLL: The most outspoken in the group identified himself only as Abu Jihad, translated it means father of the Muslim holy war. It was clear he took the name seriously.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What did you expect us to do? Be quiet and be calm? And turn the other cheek? We're not Christians. We're Muslims.

CARROLL (on camera): I thought that Islam teaches peace.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Peace. It does. It does.

CARROLL: So help me understand as to why you would support violence.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Islam is peace, but once someone lays their hands on you, it tells you to send them to a cemetery.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are defending ourselves, as simple as that. We are not being violent.

CARROLL (voice-over): Most of the people who surrounded Abu Jihad (ph) were young Muslim men. Bukhari watched and listened and then he gave us his assessment.

BUKHARI: Really, what you got was anger. Well, that's the tactic. If they had been taught how to channel their anger, that guy (UNINTELLIGIBLE) couldn't teach them anything unto war or violent.

CARROLL: And Bukhari says that points directly to another major problem, a lack of leadership in the community.

BUKHARI: Well, that's our failure. Our leaders not at all taking these young kids in and saying, OK, you're angry. Come on, let's sit down. I'm angry too. Let's talk about how we can solve this peacefully.

CARROLL: Bukhari says too many mosque leaders are too old, too conservative and can't reach the younger generations. And he says that unless there are drastic changes in the way the world's major powers deal with Islam and in the way Muslims deal with each other, it's not likely the anger will disappear any time soon.


CARROLL (on camera): And in talking to young Muslims, whether it be in east London or Birmingham, we really heard the same angry sentiment. What was tougher to find were answers in terms of how to alleviate that anger -- Christiane.

AMANPOUR: And it's going to be tough to find those answers.

Jason, thank you very much.

And as the tense cease-fire in the Middle East seems to be holding, words of praise for Hezbollah from Iran and Syria. We examine what it all means for Israel and its western allies.

Plus it's been standard operating procedure at the airport ever since the shoe bomber was caught five years ago. But just how effective is the shoe scan, when 360 continues.


BLITZER: Across the Middle East, support for Hezbollah appears to be growing tonight. But it is in Iran and Syria where the rallying cry may be the most troubling, especially for the White House.

Today the leaders of both countries lashed out at Israel and the U.S., even mocking President Bush while he'd been praised on Hezbollah.

CNN's Aneesh Raman is the only American network correspondent in Tehran.

ANEESH RAMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): If the victors of this war, the ones who proclaim it the loudest, then there's no doubt here Hezbollah as won -- an equal certainty Israel was not alone in defeat.

Impassioned cheers of, death to America, death to Britain, echoed in the first speech by the Iranian president since the cease-fire took hold.

America and England and the Zionist regime, he says, with all the equipment, all the army they had, they faced a group of decent devout young people and those young people stood against them.

Hezbollah supporters celebrated throughout Lebanon this day. It was a costly fight for them. But for Hezbollah backers, a chance to stand firm against the United States.

Just hours before his Iranian counterpart, the Syrian president delivered his own remarks, his own message to President Bush.

BASHAR AL-ASSAD, SYRIAN PRESIDENT: This administration adopted the preemptive war. It contradicts the principal of peace and six years after this administration, there's no peace, we are not expecting any peace.

RAMAN: Syria and Iran have grown closer by the day during the war. Now their leaders clearly think they Are growing stronger as well.

In response to talk from U.S. officials of a new Middle East, Ahmadinejad declared his own view, saying Middle East nations are wide awake and they also envision a new Middle East, but one that is free of United States and British domination.

(On camera): From the Iranian and Syrian presidents, no sign that the battle had come to an end. Instead that Hezbollah and the broader resistance would go on. And that peace in the region now more than ever, seems out of reach.

Aneesh Raman, CNN, Tehran.


BLITZER: Despite that triumphal rhetoric from Iran and Syria, President Bush is convinced Hezbollah did not win the war. Here's what the president had to say.


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: First Hezbollah attacked Israel without any knowledge of the Sinora government. You can't run a government. You can't have a democracy. If you've got a armed faction within your country, Hezbollah attacked Israel. Hezbollah started the crisis. And Hezbollah suffered a defeat in this crisis.


BLITZER: The president insists Hezbollah was defeated. But is that really the case?

Robin Wright is with "The Washington Post." she joined me earlier.


BLITZER: Robin Wright, thanks very much for joining us.

The Hezbollah Leader Hassan Nasrallah says, this has been a strategic and historic victory for Hezbollah. Do you think it has been a big win for Hezbollah?

ROBIN WRIGHT, "THE WASHINGTON POST": Well, Hezbollah, as a political organization, as a military organization, and the Shiites of Lebanon, its followers, have probably taken the biggest hit during this conflict, both in terms of civilian life and in material terms.

And, yet, ironically, Hezbollah may come out the strongest of all the parties that engaged in this conflict. It is clearly now much more popular throughout the Arab world among Shiites and Sunnis. And its standing in Lebanon has increased, because it is seen as having been the resistance movement that, in the end, is forcing Israel to eventually retreat.

BLITZER: But aren't a lot of Lebanese and other Arabs, especially Sunni Arabs, and certainly a lot of Christians in Lebanon going to say, why did Hezbollah start this latest conflict on July 12, by killing and kidnapping those soldiers?

Look at the destruction it's resulted in, in Lebanon.

WRIGHT: Absolutely. And I think there will be a reckoning, politically, throughout Lebanon.

I think that there is probably going to be more of a toll or a payment to be made inside Lebanon than anyplace else. Hezbollah clearly miscalculated grossly in abducting two Israeli soldiers on July 12. It thought it was going to engage in a prisoner swap, as it did in 2004.

And senior officials have admitted that they did not anticipate this kind of response from Israel. So, in that sense, it did make an enormous mistake. And, yet, after 34 days of a conflict, it is seen as having endured, and its leadership is still there.

Israel has not achieved its strategic goals of either eliminating the leadership or weakening the movement.

BLITZER: Well, what about the general performance of the Israel -- the military, the political leadership? How did they do?

WRIGHT: Well, I think there's going to be a reckoning inside Israel, as well.

This is a different kind of war, one Israel has never fought before. This is a new kind of enemy, and it's a new kind of weaponry.

One of the reasons Israel is facing such a challenge right now is that, even if Hezbollah is pushed behind the Litani, even if there are 30,000 Lebanese and Israeli troops deployed in a very small area along that volatile border, Israel still faces the challenge of missiles inside Lebanon that could, if it came to another conflict, reach inside Israel.

BLITZER: President Bush says this has been a win for democracy in the Middle East. Has it been a win for democracy and for the policies of the Bush administration?

WRIGHT: I think the Bush administration is one of those that has not come out ahead.

The U.S. image throughout the region has been badly battered, because it has been seen as a conflict on which Israel -- the United States took sides with Israel, and supplied Israel with weaponry.

This is going to make democracy and the U.S. goals throughout the region ever more difficult to achieve. The United States is not seen at the moment as an honest broker, even if, originally, when the Bush administration launched its democracy program, it was welcomed in the region. But events since then, be it in Iraq, and the way the war there has not gone well, the Bush administration's effort to bring an Arab-Israeli peace with the Palestinians has also faltered.

And Afghanistan, on the periphery, is also a problem, and now Lebanon. And, so, the Bush administration, I think, faces a -- a really tough time in trying to convince those in the region, but, also, I think some of our allies in Europe and elsewhere, that its goals are achievable, and that it is sincere about them.

BLITZER: Robin Wright, thanks very much for joining us.

WRIGHT: Thank you.


BLITZER: And taking off your shoes at the airport so they can be x-rayed has become a regular part of flying. But does it actually make air travel any safer? Some answers. That's coming up next.

And in love with those who are in love with death. We talked to an al Qaeda widow who's proud of her loss when 360 continues.


AMANPOUR: We're back in London near the Tower Bridge. And by now, we all know the routine. We can call it the airport shuffle. Take off our shoes, put them on the belt. It's supposed to stop terrorists like Richard Reed, the shoe bomber. But how well do scanners actually do at sorting the shoes from the shoe bombs?

Here's CNN's Brian Todd, "Keeping them Honest."

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Long waits in airport security lines have become part of our national routine. Laptops out, pockets empty, shoes off. But does it make us any safer?

A report from the Department of Homeland Security, first reported by the Associated Press, says x-ray machines at U.S. airports cannot detect explosives in shoes. The report has the government agency responsible for security in airports playing defense.

KIP HAWLEY, TSA ADMINISTRATOR: Screening shoes by x-ray is an effective method of identifying any type of anomaly, including explosives.

TODD: TSA Administrator Kip Hawley shows x-ray photos of a pair of shoes, one with explosives in it on the right, one without on the left.

TSA officials and outside experts say the x-ray machines are not meant to detect explosives outright.

EARL MORRIS, TSA FIELD OPERATIONS MANAGER: What we're looking for in these shoes is anomalies initially. So, initially, you're going to pick up something strange or odd or different from the thousands of shoes that we see every day. And then we get a closer look.

TODD: After an anomaly is found, shoes can be swabbed for traces of explosives. We tested our shoes on an x-ray machine at CNN, made by the same company that makes some of the x-rays at airports, although smaller.

Expert Steve Lancaster, who hopes to sell screening software to the government, observed. We put wires around the inside heels of each of my shoes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:: And it looks like a piece of wire in each shoes.

TODD: Those came up on the monitor. We put a simulated explosive under the insoles of another shoe. That showed up.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There in fact is some metal-based object.

TODD: But Lancaster also used a technique he expects terrorists would use. Cutting a thin sheet, with the same texture as a sheet explosive, to fit exactly into the insoles of another pair of shoes. Enough, he says, to damage an airliner.

LANCASTER: The challenge is for analyzing an x-ray image because there is no anomaly -- at least to my eye. I see an anomaly in those shoes, do you?

TODD (on camera): I don't see it. But you've got the similant of a sheet explosive underneath those soles.

LANCASTER: As a matter of fact there is.

TODD: We called the TSA for reaction to our test. Officials said they could not comment on any test or any x-ray machine that they didn't see. They say they're confident that their x-ray machines and their scanners can pick up any anomalies. And they said the x-ray machines are just one part of a multilayered system for explosive detection.

Brian Todd, CNN, at Reagan National Airport.

AMANPOUR: And now Tom Foreman with a "360 Business Bulletin" -- Tom.


Stocks soared today, thanks to a report from the Federal Reserve that showed lower inflation rates. The Dow climbed more than 132 points to finish at 11230. The NASDAQ composite jumped to almost 46 points and the S&P gained 17. Dell's laptop battery recall stems from a production flaw. Dell says that shards of metal left in the batteries at the Sony factory in Japan are to blame for overheating that can lead to flames. The computer giant decided to recall 4.1 million batteries after images of barbecued machines began to circulate on the Internet.

And the housing boom may be starting to bust or break. Thanks, Mr. Castleton. Forty-eight states and the District of Columbia have now reported housing sale declines this past spring.

Arizona, Florida and California experienced the biggest declines. But if you want the best deal, you may want to move to Danville, Illinois, where home prices fell by more than 11 percent and where Mr. Castleton taught me English. Back to you, Christiane.

AMANPOUR: Thanks, Tom.

And the people al Qaeda suicide bombers leave behind. Do the families of the dead really believe it was worth it? 360 next.


AMANPOUR: Osama bin Laden, the fugitive leader of al Qaeda, is by most accounts, a charismatic man. And his message of jihad is so popular, that his followers willingly trade this life for what they see as glory. Even some family members of the suicide bombers think the sacrifice is worth it.

AMANPOUR (voice-over): Malica Ehlarud (ph), a devout Muslim who had emigrated from Morocco as a child, was living in Belgium when she first saw Osama bin Laden on television.

His image mesmerized her and her husband, Abdusata Dahman (ph).

MALICA EHLARUD (ph), WIDOW OF THE WAR ON TERROR (through translator): He was watching. There was a fascination, a love. It was very clear, and I felt the same. Osama had beauty in his face. It is a stunning face.

OSAMA BIN LADEN: May God give victory to the young men who perform jihad to win his approval. May God give us patience.

EHLARUD (ph): When you hear his voice, it makes you want to stand up right away and leave and join him.

AMANPOUR: And that's what her husband did when he traveled to Afghanistan in 2000. Malica Ehlarud (ph) followed the next year. Life with bin Laden meant living without.

EHLARUD (ph) (through translator): There were windows without glass, just a big hole in the wall. And it was the middle of winter. There was no bathroom, no kitchen. We really thought we had gone back to the middle ages.

AMANPOUR: Her husband, who had spent six months in al Qaeda training camps, was given a secret, deadly assignment, one that would move bin Laden closer to his ultimate goal.

EHLARUD (ph) (through translator): He told me he'd be home in 15 days.

AMANPOUR: That would be the last time she would ever see him.

Then, the assassination of Ahmed Shah Massoud, a friend of the U.S. and legendary leader of the northern alliance, a formidable Afghan militia.

Two men claiming to be television reporters arranged an interview with Massoud. They were suicide bombers, armed with explosives. One had them strapped to his body. The other, hidden in the camera.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's no doubt that bin Laden ordered the assassination of Massoud. He knew that the 9/11 attacks would likely provoke some kind of American reaction and he needed the Taliban to protect him. So, what he gave them was the one thing they desired most, which was Massoud's head on a plate.

AMANPOUR: The explosion killed Massoud. It also killed one of the two attackers, the cameraman. The other assassin was executed by Massoud's men. He was Abda Sata Dehman (ph), Malica Ehlarud's (ph) husband. This had been his secret mission and she was very proud.


BLITZER: Christiane, it's been almost five years since 9/11. It's hard to believe that he's been on the loose, he's been running around for five years, Osama bin Laden. In all your reporting, your research, did you get a sense of the loyalty he instills among his followers that has certainly helped him escape the U.S. and others?

AMANPOUR (on camera): You definitely got a sense of that. Obviously, you couldn't get straight to those flowers because they're hiding him and they're as hidden as he is. But, from talking to the people who knew him, you did get a sense that he did inspire loyalty.

BLITZER: And what else did you learn about his personality, the charisma, if you will, that Osama bin Laden has?

AMANPOUR: Well, that all these people in history who have gone on to create atrocities, whether it be Hitler, Stalin or Osama bin Laden, everybody who knew them said they have this charisma.

But in this case, many people said that he was not a born leader. That he was a very shy and unassuming retiring kind of boy. That he was not a great commander in the mujahadin fight against the soviets in Afghanistan.

So some of the legend and the myth about him, we found was actually not quite as people had said.

BLITZER: Christiane, thank you

And Christiane's report is part of a CNN special, in the footsteps of bin Laden. CNN traveled to four continents, 10 countries to hear from those who know the most wanted terrorist in the world. The two-hour special airs August 23rd, 9 p.m., Eastern, right here on CNN.

More of 360 in a moment. Stay with us.



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