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Thousands of Americans Trapped in Lebanon; Interview With Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright

Aired July 17, 2006 - 22:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: And good evening to all our viewers watching around the world.
We are in Larnaca, Cyprus, the port city, where hundreds of evacuees from Beirut have already arrived. And, over the next several hours, we expect hundreds more still to come, the beginning waves of what may be thousands of foreigners trying to get out of Lebanon, in a war that only seems to be getting worse.


ANNOUNCER: Strike and counterstrike.

COOPER: Police are now saying there may be more rockets heading this way.

ANNOUNCER: No letup on either side, hospitals filling up -- hospitals and morgues.

Cowboy diplomacy rides again.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: See, the irony is that what they need to do is get Syria to get Hezbollah to stop doing this shit, and it's over.

ANNOUNCER: Tough talk, but new hints, too, of a negotiated way out.

And caught in the crossfire.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Half of my family is still there. And it's only getting worse day by day.

ANNOUNCER: Americans, British, French, and more -- a frightened wave of humanity with one destination tonight: anywhere but Lebanon.


ANNOUNCER: This is a special edition of ANDERSON COOPER 360, crisis in the Middle East, day six.

Reporting tonight from Larnaca, Cyprus, in the eastern Mediterranean, here's Anderson Cooper.

COOPER: Thanks for joining us. And, again, to our viewers from around the world, thanks for joining us. We began the day in Haifa, a city under attack, a city where we watched rockets fall throughout the day. We will bring you that story in a moment.

But we join you right now, this evening, from Larnaca, Cyprus. This is an island about 150 or so miles off the coast of Beirut, an island that has become ground zero in the evacuation of foreigners from Beirut. The U.S. government says there are about 25,000 Americans in Lebanon. There are also thousands of French and Italians.

Already, behind me here in the port, there's an Italian destroyer that has brought several hundred Italians here. There is a French ship which we anticipate arriving any moment now, over the next several hours, with at least 900 personnel, as many as 50 of them Americans, all of them fleeing from Beirut, a city which got pounded even more today.


COOPER (voice-over): Missiles tore through the morning sky. Israel struck hard, beginning a sixth day of fighting, pounding targets in and around Beirut.

Today's bombings followed Hezbollah's strikes yesterday, bombarding northern parts of Israel -- the deadliest attack at a train station in Haifa, where eight people were killed. Hezbollah struck again tonight.

But, on Arab television, it's the Israeli offensive that gets the most attention. Civilian bloodshed in Lebanon dominates their news coverage. Israel puts blame squarely on Hezbollah -- Prime Minister Ehud Olmert today saying his forces will not let up until Hezbollah and Hamas release the three Israeli soldiers they captured and stop firing rockets.

EHUD OLMERT, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER (through translator): We shall destroy all the infrastructure of terrorism. We shall do this until Hamas and Hezbollah do the basic and decent thing that they're asked to do.

COOPER: Israel's government also wants Hezbollah away from its border, demanding a buffer zone in southern Lebanon. The Lebanese government can't control Hezbollah in that part of the country, but says Israel's airstrikes won't make the region more stable.

NOUHAD MAHMOUD, LEBANESE SPECIAL ENVOY: I don't see how, by destroying the whole country, you can reign over -- over one -- one -- one part of it.

COOPER: As violence continues to escalate, so do peacemaking efforts.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Meetings have been useful.

COOPER: Today, encouraging words from a U.N. delegation in Beirut, saying it's made diplomatic strides, though it wants more action from the Lebanese government. The U.S. is also preparing to do more, as the State Department confirmed today that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will head to the region.

Meanwhile, the U.S. military is positioning its fleet in the Eastern Mediterranean, readying to evacuate the thousands of Americans now trapped in Lebanon.


COOPER: Thousands of Americans now trapped -- only about 70 or so Americans have actually been evacuated by the U.S. government from Beirut.

On Sunday, two Marine Chinook helicopters transshipped some several dozen Americans. Also, today, on Monday, there were more helicopter flights -- those Americans being brought right here to the island of Cyprus. Here in Larnaca, as I said, we're about 150 or so miles off the coast of Beirut.

And, as we speak, there's a -- a French government chartered ferry, which has at least 900 people, which is heading toward these waters. It is a long journey, about 12 hours, we are told -- and on board that, along with those 900 mostly French personnel, some 50 Americans -- that just the beginning of a wave of what we anticipate seeing here.

And if that ferry lands over the course of the next two hours, we, of course, are going to bring that to you live, bring you any interviews that we have with those people.

What they are fleeing, of course, is the violence in Lebanon, violence which this -- just this evening got even worse.

CNN's Nic Robertson is there live in Beirut.

Nic, what's going on?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, just within the last few hours, there have been several loud explosions in the southern side of Beirut. This is the Hezbollah heartland. It's been the area that's been targeted over the last few days. We were standing here. You could hear the blasts two or three miles away.

We don't know exactly what's been targeted. We do know, about an hour before those strikes that you're looking at right now, a Lebanese army barracks about 12 miles from the center of Beirut was targeted. The Lebanese army says there were casualties, won't say how many casualties.

But the bombing here began much earlier in the day.


ROBERTSON (voice-over): Just after dawn, the first airstrikes of the day, destroying two trucks, killing both drivers in Beirut's harbor area -- Israeli aircraft also blasted the port cities of Tyre and Sidon, hit the Bekaa Valley in the east, and targeted Hezbollah's heartland in the southern suburbs of Beirut.

They also fired just inside Lebanon's southern border, from where Hezbollah continues to launch attacks against Israel. Through the day, the death toll continued to rise, Lebanese security officials saying it topped 170.

With fear for their safety rising, barely a mile from the attack on the two trucks, the first French citizens trying to flee the violence began to board a ship sent by their government.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's very bad, very, very, very bad, very bad. I thank the -- France and the embassy and the -- and all them, Chirac, all of them.

ROBERTSON: Twelve hundred people managed to get aboard this vessel. Another 5,000 French are still waiting to leave. A few Americans were allowed to board, too, some angry the U.S. hasn't moved fast enough.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The American Embassy has not done anything. Americans can wait. I don't know how long we will be waiting. I would have waited. So, the French rescued me.

ROBERTSON (on camera): This evacuation is only the beginning. There are many more foreign nationals desperate to get out of Lebanon. The British have two ships on the way to get their countrymen out. And, right now, the Americans are planning to potentially evacuate 25,000 people.

(voice-over): Diplomatic efforts continued. U.N. envoys met with Lebanon's prime minister, later suggesting, talks about a cease- fire may be making a little headway.

VIJAY NAMBIAR, UNITED NATIONS ENVOY: I must stress that this -- or these are first steps, and much diplomatic work needs to be done before we arrive at any grounds for optimism.

ROBERTSON: French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin came to Beirut, adding his diplomatic weight to calls on Hezbollah to stop its attacks and hand back the two soldiers it kidnapped last week.

"It's difficult," he said. "There is no magical solution."

Experienced Lebanese politicians, like Druze leader Waleed Jumblat, say they see problems, too.

WALEED JUMBLAT, LEBANESE PROGRESSIVE SOCIALIST PARTY: I don't think there's going to be a cease-fire soon, because the -- the -- the way that Israel is reacting, is brutal, as usual, is destructive, as usual, and counterproductive.

ROBERTSON: For those leaving, the war is behind them. For the Lebanese they leave behind, that luxury remains a distant hope. (END VIDEOTAPE)

ROBERTSON: And, of course, for many people here, the real debate when they go home, when they're sitting in the bomb shelters, is, is the bombing going to continue? Will Hezbollah choose to negotiate, choose to hand over these -- these Israeli soldiers that they have captured? What exactly is going to happen? People have so many questions. Nobody here is really giving them any concrete answers -- Anderson.

COOPER: Nic, as we know, Lebanon, the Lebanese government, doesn't have control over Hezbollah, at least not full control. What do the Lebanese people who you are talking to think about Hezbollah? I know it's a complex question.

But the Israelis are trying to divide, basically, the Lebanese from -- from Hezbollah, pointing out that they are not good for you, they are not helping you, that they are, in fact, snakes.

Are the Lebanese people buying it?

ROBERTSON: You know, it is an amazingly complex question.

On "LARRY KING" just now, Larry talked to a lady here, an American lady waiting to be evacuated. And he said, who's to blame? And she wouldn't put her finger on it. She wouldn't blame the Israelis, and she wouldn't blame Hezbollah.

This is a lady living in the United States, an American. That's what I find when I talk to people here. They don't want to blame Hezbollah. They don't want to blame the government. They don't want to blame -- they don't want to sort of divide the country. That's the way the sort of politicians put it. So, it is a tough question to answer.

But yes, there are people here who dislike what Hezbollah is doing. They just find it very difficult to say it publicly, because of what Israel's doing to Lebanon -- Anderson.

COOPER: All right, Nic, we will check in with you throughout these -- these two hours, as developments move very quickly indeed.

As I said, we started off this day in Haifa, a city which has seen so many rocket attacks over the last several days, as have many towns across northern Israel. What we saw today, though, was sort of the -- the routine that has almost become, of -- of the sirens going off, and -- and then the waiting to find out where the rockets land.

We decided to roll for just a little bit on -- with our cameras through some of those sirens, through some of the rockets, to get -- give you a sense of what it's like on a daily basis in Haifa right now. Take a look.


COOPER (voice-over): In Haifa, chasing Hezbollah's rockets has become a daily routine.

(on camera): Most of us were just about to sit down to lunch as an explosion occurred. It's in the port area in downtown Haifa. You could see it from the hotel. We're now just racing there. We're not sure of the exact location. But we're just driving as fast as we can to get there to see what -- what impact it has. I can already see some soldiers running. We will see what happens.

COOPER (voice-over): After a rocket lands, reporters and police all converge on the scene. There are moments of chaos, but it is surprisingly controlled.

(on camera): The Israelis, obviously, have a lot of experience with these kinds of situations. They immediately cordon off the entire area. They push the press back. If there are not any casualties involved, they -- they really try to get it investigated and cleaned up as quickly as possible.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Please, please, the sidewalk, OK? Thank you.

COOPER (voice-over): This rocket attack struck the roof of a closed courthouse building. There's some shattered glass visible, but no casualties. There is relief, but, suddenly, the air raid sirens start sounding again.

(on camera): There's now another siren just gone off (INAUDIBLE) scrambling from the scene. So, we're going to try to figure out (INAUDIBLE) where we should go.

(voice-over): Everyone runs for cover against a nearby building, unsure when the next...


COOPER: We had some technical problems there, obviously, with the story. We will try to bring you the full package a little bit later on in -- in this hour.

CNN's Christiane Amanpour is in Haifa. She has been following those rockets as well, watching this now daily barrage.

Christiane, what impact do you think these rockets are -- in northern Israel are -- are having among the Israeli people?

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, physically, they are having the -- the impact of causing some casualties.

There were some later this evening -- or, rather, last evening now, Israel time, falling on towns near northern Israel. And there was five or six casualties near a hospital there.

Psychologically, they're causing, in this part of Israel, at least, in the northern part of Israel that is under most fire, Haifa and the -- the cities and towns near the border, there seems to be a -- a real resolve to continue the attacks. People, when asked, say they want the prime minister to continue, they want the military to continue, and they want to neutralize Hezbollah.

And just as we were waiting to come on air -- it's now about a quarter past 5:00 in the morning -- we heard several loud incoming thuds. So, we will wait to see whether there are any casualties from there -- but people here not calling for a cease-fire; rather, the opposite -- Anderson.

COOPER: Christiane, is it -- is it clear, the strength of these rockets? I mean, for -- for a while, early on, it -- it was said to be Katyusha rockets. Now the Israeli defense forces are saying some of the missiles, the projectiles, they're seeing are far more powerful. They say they come from -- from -- from Syria, from Iran.

AMANPOUR: Well, what we have seen so far here is, you know, these -- these rockets or whatever kind of projectile they are, come into Haifa. And one of them yesterday, as you know, killed eight people as it penetrated into a bus depot.

Today, some we saw fell as duds in the -- in the sea, harmless in the sea, some in the on-land area, and, this afternoon, one that took most of the facade off a building and injured several people there.

So, when they make a direct hit, they do have a big impact on the actual location that they hit, but it's not the kind of spread-out impact that a much heavier missile and a much heavier warhead would have.

COOPER: Christiane, we will check in with you throughout these two hours. Appreciate that report from Haifa.

Coming up after this break: the diplomatic dance that is going on. And a deadly dance, it is -- some candid moments caught between President Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair, when neither of the men realized their mikes were on.

We will be right back.


COOPER: Scenes of some damage in south Lebanon from the constant barrage of Israeli fire into south Lebanon, fire that has even reached the Syrian border farther north in Lebanon.

Of course, the -- the diplomatic dance has begun at the G8 Summit, world leaders meeting in Saint Petersburg -- and, today, a rare moment of candor, President Bush, not realizing his microphone was on, in a discussion with British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

CNN's Suzanne Malveaux was there.


SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It was a picture of unity, the leaders of the world's richest countries issuing a statement seemingly in lockstep on confronting the Middle East crisis. But a rare behind-the-scenes moment captures the frustration of raw diplomacy. During a luncheon photo-op, with microphones set on the tables, the candid conversations of the world's most powerful leaders were being transmitted, unbeknownst to them, most notably between President Bush and his closest ally, British Prim Minister Tony Blair.

Earlier in the day, Blair and U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan publicly rolled out a plan...

KOFI ANNAN, U.N. SECRETARY-GENERAL: Extremely concerned about the situation.

MALVEAUX: ... to send international forces to help end the cross- border attacks between Hezbollah and Israel. Privately, President Bush expresses frustration.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: What about Kofi? That seems odd. Well, I don't like the sequence of it. His attitude is basically, cease-fire and everything else happens. You know what I'm saying?

TONY BLAIR, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: I think the (INAUDIBLE) thing I think is really difficult is, you can't stop this unless you get the international presence agreed.

MALVEAUX: Publicly, President Bush has condemned Syria and Iran for supporting Hezbollah strikes against Israel. But, privately, he failed to convince the other G8 leaders to make the same judgment in their group statement. Mr. Bush urges the U.N. to do more, specifically calling for Annan to reach out to Syria's leader, Bashar al-Assad, in fairly explicit terms.

BUSH: See, the irony is what they need to do is get Syria to get Hezbollah to stop doing this shit, and it's over.

BLAIR: Because I think this is all part of the same thing. What does he think? He thinks, if Lebanon turns out fine, if you get a solution in Israel and Palestine, Iraq goes in the right way, he's done it. That's what this whole thing is about. It's the same thing with Iran.

BUSH: I felt like telling Kofi to call -- get on the phone with Mr. Assad and make something happen.

MALVEAUX: At this point, Blair realizes their conversation is being picked up and turns off the microphone, but Blair is asked about their candid talks, including Mr. Bush's cursing at a press conference, later on. Not missing a beat, Blair is back on message.

BLAIR: What the president was saying, what I'm saying is that everybody around the table should use his influence on Syria to try to get this to stop.

MALVEAUX (on camera): A White House spokesman says, while President Bush's private comments may be more blunt, that they are consistent with what he has said publicly in calling for peace in the Middle East.

Suzanne Malveaux, CNN, Saint Petersburg, Russia.


COOPER: Well, let's go -- let's check in with our own, CNN's John King, who's been talking and checking with his sources throughout Washington, to -- to find out what the U.S. government is thinking behind the scenes, as well as what they are saying publicly.

John, why -- what -- what is the benefit for the U.S. in not calling for a cease-fire by Israel?

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, U.S. officials won't quite put it so bluntly, but the benefit in not calling for a cease-fire immediately is that it gives them time. It gives Israel time -- and the U.S. supports this -- to do as much damage as possible to Hezbollah.

U.S. officials say that the simple reality on the ground right now is that a cease-fire would do no good, because Israel -- Israel would feel bound by it, if the international community demanded it. But who is to hold Hezbollah accountable? So, after a day, a week, or a month or more, they assume the attacks would continue.

So, while the U.S. says it is calling for restraint, my understanding, from talking to several sources, is, they have defined restraint to the Israeli government as: Try to limit civilian targets. Don't do anything that knocks out the Lebanese central government, but do all you can to hit Hezbollah, hit its headquarters, try to hit its leadership, and, most importantly, try to destroy -- try to destroy its very concentrated, very large stores of weapons, especially those rockets that are causing so much damage.

So, the White House privately is telling Israel, try to limit casualties, but go after Hezbollah as hard as you can.

COOPER: So, how much time does Israel have to do that? I mean, at a certain point, either the targets get so diminished, that they can't strike successfully, or international pressure builds. I mean, when is -- when is Condoleezza Rice supposed to come?

KING: It's a fascinating question. The White House is saying Secretary Rice will go to the region, but it won't say just when she will go.

The United Nations team that was there today for an assessment is due back to brief the Security Council on Thursday. So, most U.S. officials believe that this will go on at least for the rest of this week. And they -- again, they say that, while they are getting significant pressure to exert pressure on Israel, that they will again relay those messages to Israel.

But, at the same time -- and Secretary Rice has said this on the record -- why have a cease-fire if the -- quote -- "underlying causes" are not being dealt with? And she defines the underlying cause as the -- quote -- "extremist forces."

So, the White House fully understands there's a lot of blame being placed on Israel, a lot of pressure on Israel, but the White House position is, you have a terrorist group, Hezbollah. It has been largely ignored the -- the past several years, in part because Israel cut a deal when it withdrew from south Lebanon. There's essentially an unwritten truce that has been in place.

Well, that unwritten truce is now blown out. And the White House perspective is, do as much damage to Hezbollah as -- as possible.

And Secretary Rice will probably get to the region, Anderson, late this week, most likely into next week. By then, they hope to be able to calm everybody down. But, by then, they hope that significant pain and damage has been done to Hezbollah.

COOPER: We will be watching.

John King, thanks for that.

In a moment, we're going to talk to former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright for her perspective on all of this.

But, first, let's check in with John Roberts in Washington for the day's other top headlines -- John.


The Senate today began debating three bills involving stem cell research. The main one would overturn federal funding restrictions that were backed by President Bush. The measure would allow couples who have embryos frozen for fertility treatments to donate them to federally funded research, rather than have them destroyed. The House has already passed the bill. And the Senate is expected to as well. President Bush says he will veto it.

At least 86 people were killed on the Indonesian island of Java, after an under water earthquake triggered a tsunami. The island has no tsunami warning system, and scores of people are missing. Java was spared by the 2004 tsunami that claimed more than 200,000 lives.

In Southern California, heavy rain and lightning forced firefighters from the area, where they had been battling a cluster of wildfires. The blazes have burned more than 135 square miles so far and destroyed close to 60 homes. The hope is that the storms will help put out the flames, rather than produce more dry lightning, which sparked the fires in the first place.

But the rain brings with it a new threat, the possibility of flash floods in canyons, where fires have stripped away vegetation.

And, on this July 17, the dog days of summer are definitely here. Temperatures across much of the country climbed into the 90s and beyond. The sweltering heat is expected to continue all this week. And some cities are calling on residents to conserve electricity. Philadelphia sent outreach workers to help the homeless and the elderly today.

Health authorities in New York issued an air quality advisory for the entire state.

That's it for now from stateside -- back to Anderson in Cyprus.

COOPER: John, thanks very much.

Coming up, we will have a conversation with Secretary of State Madeleine Albright about her perspective, what needs to happen in these coming days and weeks.

Also, the -- the piece we tried to show you before, chasing rockets in Haifa, what it's like -- a moment-by-moment account, as we follow the bomb blasts.

We will be right back.


COOPER: Hezbollah rockets rain down in Haifa, and more shelling in Lebanon by Israeli forces. Is there a military option, or must diplomacy now be the only hope? We will talk to former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright next.



CAROLINE SHAMOUN, AMERICAN TRAPPED IN LEBANON: We are expecting any calls from the U.S. government. We start hearing the airplanes and -- and the -- and the bombing. And we see the light. And we just ran and hide in the shelter.

It was very scary, with the -- we -- we met with many other American people in the shelter, hiding. And the kids were very afraid and crying. And they start praying to get out of here as soon as possible.


COOPER: Wanting to get out of here as soon as possible, an American woman stuck with her two children in Lebanon, one of an estimated 25,000 Americans currently in Lebanon. It's not known how many of that number may actually want to get out.

We're in Larnaca, Cyprus, right now, which is where the Americans who have gotten out by chopper from the U.S. government have landed. Over the last two days or so, some 70 Americans have gotten out. But there are many more anticipated.

And I'm actually in the port. A bank of fog has kind of moved in. But you -- maybe you can see behind me this Italian destroyer. That's brought several hundred Italians and others here to Larnaca just yesterday -- yesterday morning. And we are anticipating, any moment now, a ferry chartered by the French government with about 900 passengers on board, said to be some 50 Americans who came out, many of them with medical needs.

If that ferry lands over the next two hours or so, we will bring you -- try to get interviews with those Americans as they get off this ship.

But militarily, just about all sides seem to agree that there is not a military solution to this current crisis. So that -- what is only left, then, is a diplomatic solution.

To talk about options. We're joined now by former secretary of state, Madeleine Albright. I appreciate you joining us, Secretary.

What does the U.S. need to do now? What can they do?

MADELEINE ALBRIGHT, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: Well, I'm very glad to hear that Secretary Rice is planning to go into the region. I do think that we continue to be the only country that can actually bring the parties together.

It's not easy because we have not been involved in a lot of the diplomacy recently. But I think it would be very important for the secretary to go to the region, and if it's too early to go into Beirut or Jerusalem, it is possible in fact to go throughout in Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt, and try to see what the mood of the region is and what can be done with those very important statements that the Saudis and Egyptians and Jordanians have made in terms of their criticism of the Hezbollah action.

COOPER: How surprised were you by those statements? I mean, I think a lot of people kind of anticipated, well, you know, a lot of Arab nations, Muslim countries would kind of fall in line supporting Hezbollah, because a lot of the people in those countries do. Were you surprised that Saudi Arabia came out saying essentially Hezbollah should, you know, ratchet it down?

ALBRIGHT: Well, very pleasantly surprised. And it really does show what the problems are in terms of the countries, Saudi Arabia specifically, being concerned about the increase of Shia power and the role of Hezbollah.

So I think it's very important that they said that and it shows the possibility of trying to come to some agreement. But you're absolutely right. It does put them into a rather peculiar position with their own street, which obviously may have a different approach to this.

COOPER: And why do you think it is that they have come forward and done this? I mean, is it -- is it fear of Iran, sort of the growing power of Iran and what that may mean for their governments, for this region?

ALBRIGHT: I think they're very concerned about that and also increased extremism. And then there is a real difference between those who are interested in kind of a pan-Arab approach. Those are the countries, the Sunni countries and the Arab League and Amar Musa who's the head of that, and the kind of pan-Islamic approach that the Iranians are trying to push.

And then as you know, Anderson, what's happened is some of the countries, especially Jordan and Egypt, have actually recognized the existence of Israel and are willing to deal with it. So there is quite a different view from those countries.

COOPER: It does seem that the U.S. has -- I don't want to say given tacit approval, but I mean they're not calling for an immediate cease-fire on the part of Israel, allowing Israel basically to play this out, to see what happens militarily, at least over the next several days. Do you think that's the right way to go about it?

ALBRIGHT: Well, I think the problem with a cease-fire is it kind of indicates moral equivalence between what the Hezbollah has been doing, which is really having started this with attacks into Israel with the Katyusha rockets, in addition to having, obviously, abducted the Israeli soldiers.

On the other hand, I think it's important to begin to move in some kind of a way to make sure that the resolutions that were passed after Israel withdrew from Lebanon, 1559, that would indicate that Lebanon, the Lebanese government is responsible for the territory and that the Hezbollah does not have a right to have a militia to destroy Israel.

So I do think that the time is coming for a cease -- an ending to the fighting and a move to diplomatic means and then to introduce this international force that Tony Blair and Kofi Annan have been talking about.

COOPER: How real is the danger to the current Lebanese government? A Lebanese government which was born out of the so-called Cedar Revolution in which Syria was basically pushed out. You saw a million people in the streets of Beirut about a year or so ago.

Is this Lebanese government really in danger of falling, and can they really do anything to stop Hezbollah?

COOPER: Well, that's really the catch 22. They have not been in charge of their own territory, and people celebrated the Cedar Revolution, and they celebrated the passing of this U.N. resolution, but I don't think enough was done to support the governmental structures of Lebanon. So they are in a weakened state, and obviously, the destruction of some of the infrastructure has not helped.

So I think what has to happen is more support for the Lebanese government and try to get them to be in a position where they can explain to their own people that it's the Hezbollah that started this and that a sovereign Lebanon is what's very important for the existence of Lebanese people within the region.

COOPER: It is certainly going to be tricky over these next several days.

Secretary Albright, we appreciate your perspective. Thank you very much for being with us.

ALBRIGHT: Take care of yourself, Anderson.

COOPER: Thank you.

Coming up next, how powerful are Hezbollah rockets? We've talked a lot about Katyusha rockets. Now the Israeli Defense Forces are saying they have rockets and missiles which are even more powerful, and those missiles and rockets, according to Israel, come from Iran and from Syria. We'll examine the weaponry that Hezbollah has in its arsenal, weaponry that we have seen up close and personal in Haifa just earlier this morning. Take a look.


COOPER: Police are saying there may be a gas leak here. The building that was hit right over there, there's still smoke. I see some stretchers, but there's no signs of people that have actually been killed or injured.


COOPER: See for yourself what it's like when the rockets start falling. Next on 360.


COOPER: We thought you'd be interested in this. This appeared on Hezbollah TV earlier today. It looks like a music video. It says -- the people are chanting, saying "a warning to the oppressors, a warning to the occupiers." That warning of course being heard loud and clear over the last several days.

We've heard statements from Hezbollah leadership saying if Israel wants a wide open war that is what they'll get. Also just yesterday Hezbollah's leader saying that they have many surprises still in store for Israel.

Israel no doubt will say that they have surprises of their own. The bombardment of Lebanon continues heavily in the south, as well as in Beirut, and we'll have live reports throughout the region over this next hour and a half or so.

We're coming to you from Larnaca, Cyprus, and that ship behind me, as this bank of fog slowly lifts, is an Italian destroyer. That brought several hundred evacuees from Beirut just yesterday morning. And as I've been saying in this last half hour, we are anticipating a ferry chartered by the French that has several hundred more evacuees, and we're told maybe as many as 50 Americans on board that, people with medical emergencies who desperately needed to get out.

State Department saying there may be as many as 25,000 Americans right now in Lebanon needing to get out, but the exact numbers clearly are not known at this point.

Some in the U.S. have been very critical of U.S. efforts to get those Americans out. We've seen several forays of U.S. Marine Chinook helicopters bringing several dozen Americans out on Sunday, also on Monday. But a lot more -- there are a lot more Americans still waiting to get out and a lot of people waiting to see what the U.S. -- what plan the U.S. comes up with.

They've sent some destroyer in the region. They're also said to be hiring, chartering a cruise ship to bring as many Americans off as needed. We're going to continue to follow that, though, over the course of the next several days from here in Cyprus and also from Beirut.

Tom Foreman now takes a look now at the power of Hezbollah, in particular the power of their arsenal. They're said to have as many as 10,000 rockets. And some in Israel have been surprised at the distance those rockets can land and can be fired from. Tom Foreman takes a look.


TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): From the moment this fighting began Hezbollah has provided surprises. The attack on an Israeli ship blockading Lebanon from the sea, for example, caught even Israeli military officials off guard, because Hezbollah apparently used a radar-guided explosive device for the hit.

BRIG. GEN. IDO NEHUSHTAN, ISRAELI AIR FORCE: I think that we didn't know this missile to be existing in Lebanon, in the hands of the Hezbollah. But this is a very advanced shore-to-sea missile which not many nations have.

FOREMAN: Military analysts believe over the past five years Hezbollah has been bringing in more powerful, longer-range rockets from Iran via Syria. For years the group has relied on a stockpile of thousands of portable Katyusha rockets, which are not very accurate and can often fire only five or 10 miles.

These new rockets must be launched from special equipment, normally mounted on a vehicle, which makes them more easily spotted and attacked by airplanes.

But look at the difference these rockets make. In this simulation a rocket is being fired from Lebanon south into Israel. By this point in its flight an old Katyusha would already be out of fuel and falling. Not these new rockets. Armed with warheads that can weigh several hundred pounds, military experts say they can be reasonably well targeted on cities about 20 miles away.

JOHN PIKE, GLOBALSECURITY.ORG: The nightmare scenario for the Israelis for several decades now has been that Hezbollah would basically wage a war of cities, firing hundreds if not thousands of these rockets across the border into northern Israel, making life extremely difficult for the Israeli population in that part of the country. FOREMAN: So far authorities believe a couple of dozen of these new rockets have slammed into the port city of Haifa.

(on camera) Israeli military officials say their warplanes destroyed at least one truck carrying some of these new rockets. But Hezbollah is believed to have hundreds more.

(voice-over) And Hezbollah leaders have dropped ominous hints that some of their rockets may be able to strike other Israeli cities much further away from the Lebanese border.

Tom Foreman, CNN, Washington.


COOPER: Right now in Israel people as far south as Tel Aviv have been warned that rockets may be able to land there. That is something we, of course, will be watching over the next several days.

When we come back, we'll have the latest on the attempts to evacuate civilians here to Larnaca, Cyprus. We'll also have a lot more on what is going on throughout the region when this special edition of 360 continues. We'll be right back.



COOPER: They're saying there are more rockets coming?


COOPER: So the police are now saying there may be more rockets heading this way. You can see the police sort of, when they get word that there's more incoming rockets, they try to get everyone off the street as much as possible and against buildings, the safest place you can be.


COOPER: But of course no place is really safe in Haifa these days. That video was taken earlier this morning when we were in Haifa, Israel. We're now in Cyprus awaiting the return of evacuees from Beirut. We'll bring that to you live, of course.

One of the things that makes this conflict different other than other conflicts that have occurred in the Middle East in the past years is the reaction among other Arab governments, most notably Saudi Arabia and Jordan and even Egypt, governments which might in the past have supported Hezbollah very vocally, are now being much more reticent and calling for restraint on the part of Hezbollah.

CNN's John Roberts takes another look at that angle of the story.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) JOHN ROBERTS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The Israel- Hezbollah conflict has turned the Arab world on its head. Instead of Arab countries uniting against Israel, the war has exposed a deep rift between some of the region's most powerful nations.

Saudi Arabia took the lead at this past weekend's emergency meeting of the Arab League, harshly criticizing Hezbollah's kidnapping of two Israeli soldiers as "unexpected, inappropriate, and irresponsible." With the backing of Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Iraq, the Palestinian Authority, the United Arab Emirates in Bahrain, Saudi's foreign minister declared, "These acts will pull the whole region back, and we cannot simply accept them."

So what's behind the unprecedented rebuke? Anger, says al- Arabiya commentator Hisham Melham. They want to send a strong message to Hezbollah, a militia that sidelined Lebanon's elected government to ignite a war.

HISHAM MELHAM, "AL-ARABIYA": You are dragging the Arab world into the abyss by making decisions of war and peace. We are not going to go with you.

ROBERTS: But there's a larger issue, too. Hezbollah's chief patron is Iran, a fundamentalist Shiite Muslim state. Moderate Sunni- dominated Arab nations like Saudi Arabia object to what they see as Iran flexing its muscle in their back yard.

ROBERT SATLOFF, WASHINGTON INSTITUTE FOR NEAR EAST POLICY: The moderate Sunni majority states are concerned first and foremost about Iran, the leading Shiite state, leading a rising tide of Shia ambition, and a claim to dominance over the Arab and Muslim worlds.

ROBERTS: The nightmare for moderate states is the possibility Tehran's hard-line leaders could establish a radical Shiite crescent in the Middle East, stretching from Iran through Iraq, Iran's ally Syria, and all the way to a Lebanon dominated by a newly invigorated Hezbollah.

MELHAM: There's a fear in the Arab world that Hezbollah today has become part and parcel of Iran's regional strategy.

ROBERTS: The importance of the split was demonstrated by Syria's sharp reaction. Defending Hezbollah's attacks on Israel as legitimate acts in line with international resolutions. Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah picked up the drum beat on Sunday, mocking his Arab critics as spineless.

HASSAN NASRALLAH, LEADER OF HEZBOLLAH (through translator): And it was clear that they were unable as leaders, as leadership, to do anything.

ROBERTS: But what the leaders were able to do is break with tradition. No more unflinching support for radical groups. A new sense of independence U.S. officials find encouraging.

SEAN MCCORMACK, STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESMAN: And I think what you're seeing right now is those states -- those states in the region mobilizing to say, "We don't want these few small group of people, this relatively small group of states, to disproportionately influence the direction of this region."


ROBERTS: For the moment that position seems to be at odds with greater sentiment in the Arab street, which by and large supports Hezbollah, but Arab commentators believe that when the guns eventually fall silent and the dust settles, people will start asking tough questions about why Hezbollah embarked on this adventure -- Anderson.

COOPER: John, thanks very much for that report.

When we come back, we are going to have a live report right here from Cyprus. We're starting to see a lot of increased activity here at the port. French government officials are arriving, anticipating that ferry will bring several hundred not only French citizens but also maybe some 50 Americans who are evacuating out of Beirut.

But there are so many more Americans still trapped. At least 25,000, according to the State Department. How many of those want to get out is not yet clear. But many of them certainly do. We'll talk to one young American who's trapped.

And as we look at some images as we go to break of some of the Americans who have already been evacuated, flown by Marine Corps helicopters, landing here on the island of Cyprus over the last two days. We'll be right back.


COOPER: Some video of Israeli tanks firing into Southern Lebanon. Of course, there are many Americans in Lebanon right now. The State Department estimates 25,000. One of them joins me now on the phone, Ben Ryan, who's a graduate student with Columbia University who is there interning for a Lebanese newspaper.

Ben, first of all, how are you and the other American students you're with? How are they doing?

BEN RYAN, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY STUDENT IN LEBANON: We're doing pretty well, Anderson. We're basically holed up at American University of Beirut awaiting word from the embassy, from the university officials and, you know, just kind of leaning on each other and trying to make the best of the time we have left here.

COOPER: You're interning at a newspaper. I know you've been keeping a blog about this. You shot some video as you were in a taxi ride sort of driving through downtown Beirut. Describe the change that has come over Beirut in the last several days. I mean, the city that you knew, I imagine, for the last several months is now a very different place.

RYAN: Well, actually only for the last several weeks. I got here in late June. But yes, the change has been pretty dramatic. Before, the streets were bustling all the time. There were people in bars and cafes. And Beirut has a famous social scene. It's a tourist destination because of that. And pretty much after the fighting started the place turned into a real ghost town. I mean...

COOPER: Have you -- have you heard directly from the U.S. embassy about evacuation plans?

RYAN: We have been getting e-mails not just from the embassy. Nothing definite now. I know they had a plan at least to evacuate us at the university before, but it became a little too widely known. And major media outlets were reporting on it and they had to scrap it, because they decided it was no longer safe to go with that plan.

So they're currently working on a different one, and they're being pretty closed-lipped about it. I think we're going to find out probably very late in the game as far as what's going on. So we're staying close to campus and keeping our eyes and ears open.

COOPER: That's certainly a wise thing to do. Stay close to campus and stay as close to each other as possible. Ben, I appreciate you joining us. Ben Ryan, we'll check in with you throughout these days.

As we said, we're anticipating the arrival of maybe at least 50 Americans here in Cyprus anytime now this morning.

First let's, though, check in with John Roberts, who has some of the day's other top headlines and the business stories -- John.

ROBERTS: Thanks, Anderson.

It was a mixed day on Wall Street. The Dow gained eight points to close at 10,747. The NASDAQ was up just a fraction. And the S&P lost nearly two points.

Flight attendants for Northwest Airlines have tentatively agreed to deep pay cuts and work rule changes, heading off a potentially crippling strike against the bankrupt carrier. No details yet, but Northwest says it got the $195 million in cost savings that it wanted. Union members must now vote on the deal.

And Mattel, the No. 1 U.S. toy maker, has posted higher than expected quarterly profits after losses just a year ago. Sales of toys linked to summer movies "Superman Returns" and "Cars" are up, even though worldwide sales of Barbie dolls and Hot Wheels, Mattel staples, core products for them, are down. And despite those Barbie blues, Mattel's stock finished today solidly in the green, up 11 percent. The type of gains you want when you're a company -- Anderson.

COOPER: John, thanks very much for that.

When we come back, the reality of life in Haifa, Israel, right now. Rockets raining from the sky. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) COOPER: Firefighters have arrived now on the scene. A small fire has broken out on the second floor of this building, residential building. They're trying to deal with the fire. They continue searching the complex to see if there are any more people trapped inside.


COOPER: More 360 in a moment. Stay with us.


COOPER: We are coming to you live from Larnaca, Cyprus, waiting to receive hundreds of evacuees fleeing from the ever-widening war in Beirut.


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