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Israel Planning All-Out Invasion of Lebanon?; Another 5,000 Americans Escape Beirut; Hospitals Under Fire

Aired July 21, 2006 - 22:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, everyone.
Israeli troops massing along the Lebanese border for a possible ground invasion of Lebanon.


ANNOUNCER: Tanks gathering, troops mobilizing, Lebanese civilians being told to get out -- is an all-out invasion of Lebanon only days or hours away?

America's top diplomat packs her bags. We will tell you what is in her briefcase for ending the war, but, also, what isn't.

And, sure, it's bad, but World War III bad?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have an ideological war, which is Western Judeo-Christian democracy, as opposed to radical Islam.

ANNOUNCER: Making the case that, from Bombay, to Baghdad, to Beirut, the sky really is falling.


ANNOUNCER: This is a special edition of ANDERSON COOPER 360: "Crisis in the Middle East, Day Ten."

Reporting tonight from Beirut, here's Anderson Cooper.

COOPER: And good evening. Thanks for joining us, live from Beirut.

We are, of course, in Beirut, the capital of Lebanon, a city very much on edge tonight. A small explosion, we heard about an hour or so ago, but, all in all, it has been a calm night.

But the focus right now is along the south, along the southern border with Israel. That is where Israeli troops are massing for what is said to be a possible -- and we say possible -- ground invasion of southern Lebanon.


COOPER (voice-over): Pressure building at the border, the Israeli military poised for a possible invasion of Lebanon -- Israeli army radio reporting that as many as 6,000 troops got the call-up, and Israeli tanks have rolled to the edge, just waiting for the order to go in.

BRIGADIER GENERAL IDO NEHUSHTAN, ISRAELI DEFENSE FORCES GENERAL COMMAND: We are aiming to cripple Hezbollah, in order to enable the Lebanese government to take charge, and fulfill its responsibilities, deploy its forces alongside the border line, bring back our soldiers, and, eventually, cause the dismantling of Hezbollah.

COOPER: Israel wants the Lebanese military to help it fight Hezbollah, but the Lebanese president tells CNN, that won't happen.

EMILE LAHOUD, PRESIDENT OF LEBANON: Of course they will fight the invading force of Israel, if it tries to come inside.

COOPER: About 1,000 Israeli ground forces have already entered southern Lebanon, but, for smaller operations, not a full-scale invasion.

Today, the fighting continued on the ground and in the air -- one Israeli airstrike blasting a Lebanese highway to Syria, partially collapsing the country's longest suspension bridge.

Hezbollah bombarded northern Israel again today, launching more than a dozen rockets into Haifa and four other towns. Hospitals on both sides are filling up with the wounded, but the casualty count remains unclear, especially in Lebanon -- Israeli forces today saying they have killed nearly 100 Hezbollah fighters -- Lebanese officials disputing that, saying the number is closer to six.

On the diplomatic front, the U.S. is moving in -- Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice saying today that she will be leaving Sunday for the Middle East. She says she will push for stability, not for a cease-fire.

CONDOLEEZZA RICE, SECRETARY OF STATE: A cease-fire would be a false promise, if it simply returns us to the status quo, allowing terrorists to launch attacks at the time and terms of their choosing.

COOPER: The U.N. still believes that a cease-fire is best, but the U.S. and the U.N. do have a common goal, a long-term solution that can help bring lasting peace to a region almost always at war.


COOPER: Of course, right now, at this hour, words like peace, terms like cease-fire seem very far away, with Israeli troops massing along the southern border with Lebanon, what may be a possible ground invasion of at least south Lebanon. We have heard from Israeli forces, them telling people in that area to move further north, to just keep moving further north, maybe come even as far up as here in Beirut.

There are already large numbers of internally displaced Lebanese sleeping in parks, sleeping in schools here in Beirut. Right now, the action is focusing on that southern border.

That's where we find CNN's Christiane -- chief international correspondent Christiane Amanpour, who is in Metulla, in northern Israel.


CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): (AUDIO GAP) warplanes are dropping bombs and messages. The latest flurry of leaflets tells residents of southern Lebanon to move back, about 25 miles back, from the border with Israel.

The Israeli generals want the battlefield -- quote -- "free of civilian restrictions."

After days of artillery fire, war from the air, and a limited number of troops on the ground, Israel is preparing now for a possible large-scale ground invasion, mobilizing all its forces, even reserves.

GENERAL SHUKI SHACHAR, ISRAELI DEFENSE FORCES NORTHERN COMMAND: Some of the forces are active forces coming from different sectors of the country, reinforcing the active forces in Lebanon. The reserve units, some of them are going to the northern border with Lebanon. All the reinforcements are going to the direction of Lebanon.

AMANPOUR: A senior military source says Israel already has several battalions on the ground in southern Lebanon. That's more than 1,000 troops. But General Shuki Shachar would only confirm, he does have forces there.

SHACHAR: We entered with armor forces and engineer forces, and we started, systemically, to destroy the Hezbollah positions along the border.

AMANPOUR: Israeli infantry, he says, have crossed anywhere between a mile and a few miles into Lebanon, and some special forces are even deeper in, because they can't get some of the targets from the air.

SHACHAR: We identified bunkers in the open area that, without entering to the place itself, and looking on the ground for these camouflaged bunkers, we would have never found them.

AMANPOUR: General Shachar won't say whether these tanks and troops moving towards the border means that a ground invasion has been authorized, just that the army is ready and evaluating the need minute by minute.

(on camera): With troops and armor being redeployed from all over the country to the northern battlefront, Israelis are watching to see what happens next with concern. As one former tank commander told me, Israel going back into Lebanon is like the United States going back into Vietnam.

(voice-over): For now, though, the Israeli people overwhelmingly back the strong military response, according to the first poll taken since the war began 10 days ago.

Will that change if Hezbollah guerrillas mount stiff resistance? At a ground battle still going near Avivim, at the border, Hezbollah has already killed several Israeli soldiers, injured others, and taken out a tank, and promises more.


COOPER: Christiane Amanpour joins us now.

Christiane, you heard in our last hour, on "Larry King," Secretary-General of the United Nations Kofi Annan saying that this would be a major escalation of the conflict if Israeli ground forces, in larger numbers, invaded in southern Lebanon. He said, also, that people there in southern Lebanon would ultimately see that as an occupation.

Is there any sense of -- of when and/or if this is actually going to happen?

AMANPOUR: Not really a sense of when, although the signals show that they're ready whenever they get the order to do so. How large? They say a limited occupa -- a limited operation -- I'm sorry -- that was a Freudian slip, because, in fact, they say they don't want to do any kind of occupation operation in there.

In fact, the chief of staff of the Israeli forces tonight had a press conference in Tel Aviv, in which he again insisted that any ground incursion would be limited in scope -- Anderson.

COOPER: Christiane, we will continue to check in with you throughout these next two hours, as we monitor the situation very carefully, minute by minute. It is changing very quickly here on the ground in Lebanon and also in northern Israel.

CNN's Nic Robertson has been taking the temperature of -- of things here in Beirut today, a city very changed, even in the last 24 hours, a city where tension is growing, Americans fleeing in greeter numbers -- some 5,000 left today -- and words of defiance from -- from Lebanese president today, talking exclusively to Nic Robertson.



NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): From the gardens of his palace, Lebanon's president is watching Beirut burn.

LAHOUD: This is the area there they have been shelling all the time.

ROBERTSON (on camera): And the planes are still flying. I can hear them.

LAHOUD: Yes, they are here. You can hear them. They're all the time.

ROBERTSON (voice-over): Even as Israeli jets fly overhead, he insists that his country, which, barely a decade ago, ended a brutal civil war, is now united, in the face of an Israeli attack. LAHOUD: The Lebanese will stay united, all together. And all this will not affect them. Of course, we are being hurt a -- a lot, but, at the end, I am sure that right will prevail.

ROBERTSON: In an exclusive interview with CNN, President Lahoud, a close ally of Syria, repeated Lebanon's unity many times, and went further. As commander in chief of Lebanon's armed forces, he says, he wants the country's army to back up Hezbollah, if Israel invades.

LAHOUD: Of course they will fight the invading force of Israel, if it tries to come inside.

ROBERTSON: Lebanese troops are not now part of the fighting with Israel, and Lebanon's tiny 60,000 under-equipped force would be no match for Israel's on an open battlefield. But, Lahoud says, the Lebanese army knows the land, implying it can fight a guerrilla war, Hezbollah-style.

Whether Lahoud is posturing to keep an Israeli invasion at bay is impossible to say. But, as of today, he sees no diplomacy that would stop an escalation.

LAHOUD: We have had a lot of visitors coming from abroad. But, unfortunately, they are talking, going and coming and talking all the time, but with no result.

ROBERTSON: Across town, Hezbollah's parliamentary ally, head of the Amal Party and parliamentary speaker, Nabih Berri, believes Israel rejected peace initiatives that Lebanon offered to U.N. mediators.

NABIH BERRI, LEBANESE PARLIAMENTARY SPEAKER (through translator): I later heard a confirmed report that the negotiations with the Israelis were nonexistent and hopeless.

ROBERTSON: His interpretation may not be the whole picture. But it is shaping thinking here. Berri, too, says his old civil war militia, the Amal, will join Hezbollah if Israel invades.

BERRI (through translator): It would not be just the Lebanese army, but all the Lebanese people, not Hezbollah alone, nor the Amal movement alone, not the army. Any attempt at a ground invasion, all of Lebanon will stand together as one front.

ROBERTSON: Again, posturing or promise? Impossible to say, as Israel builds forces on the border.


COOPER: Nic, does it seem like the Lebanese officials you talked to have just given up any hope of there being a cease-fire any time soon?

ROBERTSON: You know, they're still making this calculation as possible.

They both say that they're optimists. And they both think that -- that the United States is essentially stalling in -- in getting any negotiations or any talks going, because it wants to give Israel a chance to neutralize Hezbollah.

Neither of them think that's going to work. But what they do think is that, in a week to 10 days, Israel will be pushed into the negotiating table, will have to talk peace. Of

course, they say, if that ground invasion does -- does happen, all bets are off. But they haven't entirely given up hope -- Anderson.

COOPER: Interesting. Fascinating.

Nic Robertson, appreciate that report today.

If Lebanon does side with Hezbollah, if there is a ground invasion, we want to take a look at the number of forces that might be arrayed on -- on both sides. Here is the "Raw Data."

The Lebanese military has 61,000 troops in the Lebanese army. Israel's military is three times larger, 186,000 troops. Lebanon has 280 tanks and 14 helicopters, Israel, 12 times as many. Israel has 58 ships, Lebanon, 20. And, while the Israeli military has 470 combat planes, Lebanon's army has none.

We're joined now by retired Brigadier General James "Spider" Marks.

General Marks, do you think a ground invasion is -- is likely?


If Israel is going to achieve its objectives, it's essential. And when I looked at the graphic that you just put -- put up, Anderson, that gives the comparison of the relative strengths, it really doesn't demonstrate the type of fight that's going to take place on the ground, right there south of the Litani River.

It -- it won't matter how many tanks there are, and it really won't matter how many aircraft are involved. It's intimacy of the terrain. It's infantry dismounts. It will, in fact, be up-armored tanks, as well as armored personnel carriers from the IDF that come across. That certainly will give them an advantage.

But, in order to achieve the results that they want, those infantrymen are going to have to get out of those vehicles, and get -- get nose-down and butt-up, as they say, and get busy against the Hezbollah, that has been dug in for 25 years.

BLITZER: It -- it sounds like what the Marines faced in Fallujah in Iraq last year. I mean, it sounds street by street, face by face, close enough to -- to kill a person while looking at them.

MARKS: Very much so. You know, Anderson, you would prefer to engage your enemy at distance answer. And that's why you start with artillery and airpower. But, in order to achieve their objective here, there is going to be some very tight, intimate fights going on. And -- and it's very, very rough on both sides.

There will be increased casualties, as you can well imagine. It's a very tough decision. But if Israel is going to achieve these goals, that's what they have to do. They can't have it both ways.

COOPER: The -- or the president of Lebanon saying that the Lebanese army would go -- would side with Hezbollah. That may be bluster. We simply don't know.

What we do know is that Israel would be facing Hezbollah fighters. What kind of military power does Hezbollah have? How -- how autonomous are they? How tough are they?

MARKS: Very tough, very ruthless, no moral floor -- they will -- they will go to any means to be successful.

But the key thing is, is, they have been in this part of Lebanon for close to 25 years. They know the terrain so very well. They have improved their positions. They can scoot from position to position. They can achieve that type of an advantage.

But, also, bear in mind that the Israelis departed from Lebanon six years ago. So, they are very familiar with this terrain. However, in the intervening six years, you can be assured that there has been preparation for this type of fight and its eventuality, and Hezbollah has put in ambushes, a lot of land mines. And you can imagine the type of fight that will follow.

COOPER: Any -- any sense of -- of a timetable? I mean, how -- how long could something like this go on for? Obviously, Israel very sensitive in not wanting this to become an -- an occupation of southern Lebanon, given their past experience with that.

MARKS: Anderson, the -- the key thing is, is, if the IDF has an armored force that is postured and prepared to go across the line of departure into Lebanon, they can't hold that position for too long.

If you lean too far forward for too long, your nose is going to hit the ground. So, they either go in a very short time frame, or they ratchet this thing back a little bit. Once they're across, they would get to the Litani River as quickly as they could, bypassing Hezbollah strong points. Then, they would turn around and try to reduce the resistance within that buffer zone.

Ideally, Israeli would -- Israel would want to get out of that buffer zone and turn that over to somebody else. And that's the sticky point.

COOPER: General Marks, appreciate your expertise. We will continue to check in with you over these next hours and days, no doubt, as we watch developments on the border happening, really, minute by minute over the next several hours.

When we come back, we take you inside Hezbollah territory here in Beirut. We drove through the neighborhoods later -- earlier today, a fascinating look at a very different side of Beirut than what we normally see, ground zero of where Israel is attacking.

We will be right back.


COOPER: Dramatic pictures, demonstrations against Israel in Syria, Egypt, Iran, and Pakistan, also against the United States. There in Pakistan, you see them burning the American flag -- in Iran, burning the Israeli flag, all across the world, reaction of different sorts.

We are live coming to you now from Beirut, a very different city, in a way, than it was just 24 hours ago, a city waiting for something to happen. The -- the number of explosions we have heard today has been -- has been reduced, though we have heard Israeli drones circling overhead throughout the day.

It -- it is a city where tension is high, and some 5,000 Americans were evacuated today. That brings up to the total number of Americans who have gotten out to about 8,000. It is a -- somewhat of an emptier city now.

It is in the -- the south of Beirut, though, where most of the damage has been done, in the Shia neighborhoods, controlled literally by Hezbollah. And, even though they have pounded now for more than 10 days, Hezbollah is still very firmly in control of those neighborhoods. To even enter, you have to have their permission, as we found out today.


COOPER: It's not a good idea to venture into the southern suburbs of Beirut, the area known as Dahiya, without an escort. Hezbollah controls this territory.

And that's why Israel has been focusing their -- their attacks on this -- on this neighborhood. So, we're now pulled over to the side of the road, and we're waiting for someone to come pick us up.

The Hezbollah representative is now here. We have been told to just follow whatever orders they ask us to do. They will probably search us, perhaps even take a photograph. It's said that they're building a database of all the -- the reporters who are here. So, we are just going to have to kind of play it by ear.

It's strange, being in this Hezbollah neighborhood, because you can drive around, and it doesn't seem like there's anyone around. And, all of a sudden, your eyes -- it's almost like adjusting to -- to the darkness. Suddenly, you realize there are people who are watching you, and guys on motorcycles talking on cell phones who pass you by, watching very closely what you're doing. Then, when we pulled over, two guys from Hezbollah came over, told us it was too dangerous for us -- for them to take us around right now. They said there's an Israeli drone circling around. So, they told us to get out and maybe come back another time.


COOPER: And we plan to go back to the Hezbollah territory in several hours. And we will bring you that report tomorrow on 360.

Let's check in with Randi Kaye for the day's other top stories -- Randi.


The death toll continues to rise in Iraq. In the last few days, more than 250 people have reportedly been killed across the country. Today alone, a bombing in Baghdad and gunfire south of the capital left at least 27 Iraqis dead.

Also today, the Pentagon said a U.S. Marine was killed in Anbar Province.

The Saint Louis, Missouri, region has been declared a disaster area, after storms left half-a-million people without power. The National Guard has been called in to help with evacuations.

And, in New York, a five-day-old power outage continues to leave as many as 100,000 residents in the dark.

Meantime, in New England, Tropical Storm Beryl made landfall this morning. The center of the storm hit Nantucket, delivering heavy rains and high winds to the island. One resident said it was like a big old nor'easter.

And, when you're Tiger Woods, things on the golf course have a way of falling into place. Check out the shot on the par-four 14th hole at the British Open, more than 200 yards, onto the green, a few bounces. And there you go, right in the hole. The eagle helped Tiger to top the leaderboard, as the defending champion heads into round three.

And, Anderson, I can't say I'm surprised.



Randi, thanks very much for that.

When we come back: More than 5,000 Americans got out of Beirut today, we will show you their journey home.

And Dr. Sanjay Gupta is here in Beirut with us, touring hospitals, looking at the humanitarian crisis that is growing here in Lebanon. We will be right back, live from Beirut, in a moment.


COOPER: Live from Beirut.

- Americans desperate to get out, Lebanese desperate for medical attention -- next on 360.


COOPER: A reunion in Baltimore -- Americans returning home from the war zone. Some 5,000 got out today. More than 8,000 Americans have so far been evacuated, according to the U.S. ambassador who I spoke with. And we will have some of that interview a little bit later on tonight on 360.

We have been looking at this story from as many different angles as possible.

360 M.D. Dr. Sanjay Gupta has flown over here to Beirut to look at what may be a growing humanitarian crisis here, people needing desperate medical attention in Lebanon.

Sanjay visited the -- Mount Lebanon Hospital to find out what kind of care Lebanese are getting.


DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: We are hearing stories, I mean, dramatic ones, of doctors being unable to practice medicine in the hospital itself, actually having to go underground, being unable to do the operations they normally perform, again only being able to do small operations, underground.

(voice-over): We arrived at Mount Lebanon Hospital in an area close to heavy Israeli airstrikes. And that's where I met 36-year-old Zagot Melam (ph). He had been taking an early-morning walk south of Beirut.

In a flash, he became another victim of an Israeli bombing, thrown 30 feet through the air, with shrapnel piercing his feet, hands, and his intestines. He will live.

Things look more grim for 27-year-old Lebanese soldier Lahud Lahud (ph), also the victim of an airstrike. He lost his right leg. He may lose the left one as well, a mangled face concealed behind tight bandages.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A very deep wound here.

GUPTA: If he does survive, Lahud (ph), like many others here, have Dr. Nazi Garios (ph) to thank. He is the leader of Mount Lebanon Hospital.

(on camera): I mean, you have had explosions all around this hospital.


GUPTA: You have a bridge over there which is a target. You have had actual explosions over there. We are two kilometers from Hezbollah.


GUPTA: We're a target here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, of course. We are a target. And we are very afraid. It is like Russian roulette. You -- you don't know if you will arrive safe at the hospital, or you will have some -- some airstrike or, I don't know.

GUPTA (voice-over): Just standing on that roof made me nervous, but Dr. Garios (ph) made sure his hospital stayed open when every other business around had been shut down.

(on camera): Why do it?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think -- I am a doctor. I have a responsibility. I run this hospital. And I -- I think people need me. Patients need me.

GUPTA: Let me give you a sense of how a hospital works during a war.

First of all, we have come two levels below the ground. That's where all the patients need to be. And everything changes once you get down here. First of all, that is the radiology waiting area. Now it is a maternity ward. You have pregnant women can actually deliver their babies. The babies are here as well.

(voice-over): Babies arriving in a troubled homeland.

(on camera): So, I guess this really makes it hit home. You see a baby. She was actually born June 8. She weighed less than a pound. And, in the middle of her already very short life, she had to be transported in the middle of a bomb raid to the basement, to the cath lab, which is now her new home.

(voice-over): Both staff and patients feel safer in this improvised subterranean ward, away from the all-too-familiar whine of sirens and the thuds of missiles.

Doctor Garios (ph) said that his hospital can cope for a few weeks, at most. Supplies are running short. Some of his staff are starting to leave, concerned for their own families.


COOPER: You know, what so many of us don't consider, in a case like this, is, it's not just people injured from shrapnel. It's -- it's -- regular medical emergencies that -- that happen become all -- all the more difficult to deal with.

GUPTA: Yes. And it's really remarkable.

You think about people who just have chronic disease living around Beirut. The -- the doctor was telling us that, if you're, for example, a dialysis patient, you typically get dialysis three times a week. Right now they can only do it once a week, for example, which is almost like not doing it at all.

So you have people with preventable diseases who could end up suffering, maybe even dying as a situation like this, sort of the -- sort of the consequences of this.

COOPER: Even just getting medicine. Pharmacies are closed down. Businesses are closed down. No one's working; no one's earning any money. And that's going to get worse and worse. Doctors are actually leaving now, aren't they?

GUPTA: I mean, they're scared for their own security, I guess, like anything else. The thing that was most striking to Dr. Garia (ph), he told me was that, you know, the rules have changed. You know, before if you had a red cross on your truck, for example, or you were a hospital, that was considered off limits, but now, you know, he was frightened as he was standing on top of that roof.

You have another hospital ten kilometers away that's getting pummeled right now, a hospital with sick people in it. I mean, it was just remarkable to me to hear this. And this was happening and that's why the doctors and nurses are leaving there, as well.

COOPER: Dr. Sanjay Gupta, appreciate that report.

Sanjay is going to continue to stay in the war zone, continuing to cover the medical aspects of this -- this growing drama, this growing crisis, Israeli troops now massed on the -- their northern border, the southern border of Lebanon, a possible large-scale ground invasion of Southern Lebanon.

We're tracking that story minute by minute. We'll bring that to you, any developments, over the next hour or so.

We're also now looking at the medical price being paid on the Israeli side in Northern Israel, those being wounded by rockets falling from the sky.

CNN's Paula Hancocks has that story.


PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A rocket attack literally tore this woman apart. She lost part of a leg. The ambulance behind is bringing it.

Doctors move the beds outside to be ready for the next wave of casualties. They're close behind.

Some are in shock. Others clearly closer to the impact.

This is a bloody routine doctors at Haifa's biggest hospital know well, but even here, patients are not out of danger. The hospital is close to the sea front and just a couple of hundred yards from where rockets have hit before.

RAFAEL BEYAR, HOSPITAL DIRECTOR: The first time ever in the history of this hospital that it has been under real attack, not far away from this place (ph) itself.

HANCOCKS: The air raid siren is barely audible in the children's leukemia ward. A loud speaker tells patients and staff to go into the safety room.

There's no bomb shelter in this hospital, just ordinary rooms away from windows. Just minutes after the rockets hit, workers once again rush in to cover windows facing Lebanon to prevent them from shattering.

(on camera) This used to be the maternity ward but it faces north, which means it faces Lebanon. Now, since rockets have been falling regularly on Haifa, that department has been moved further into the hospital. And doctors tell me that is the plan to try and leave as few patients as possible on this side of the building.

(voice-over) This patient was in critical condition when he arrived at the beginning of the week. Shrapnel from a Katyusha lodged in the wall of his heart. He tells me he's scared every time he hears the siren. He's scared the next rocket will hit him.

As for the doctors, they say they have no time for fear.

DR. ALON BEN NON, HAIFA SURGEON: When you treat a patient, this patient becomes the center of your world. You don't do. You don't think about anything else. It doesn't matter if you were bombed or there is a siren. There is the patient, the team, and that's it.

HANCOCKS: It's a history of violence they know too well. As they work feverishly to treat the wounded, anguished relatives wait outside. Everyone inside and out in the line of fire.

Paula Hancocks, CNN, Haifa, Israel.


COOPER: And no doubt as the fighting continues and escalates as it seems it may over the next several days, the medical aspect of this story is only going to increase. We'll continue to cover that on both sides of the border as well.

When we come back my exclusive interview with the American ambassador here in Beirut, talking about the possibility of a ground war. And the latest on the evacuation, some 5,000 Americans getting out today.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) COOPER: And welcome back to our live coverage from Beirut this morning, the beginning of day 11 of this conflict. Let's get you up- to-date on the latest developments in our war bulletin.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says a cease-fire, a quick cease-fire would be a false promise if it returns the region to the status quo. Rice is traveling to the Middle East next week, says Hezbollah is the problem in Lebanon and must be disarmed.

Israeli troops and tanks are massing along the Lebanese border. A full scale invasion could be in the cards. If that happens, the Lebanese army says they could be drawn into the conflict on the side of Hezbollah. Lebanon says its army is ready to defend the country.

And Israel says it has killed nearly 100 Hezbollah fighters in the past ten days. Lebanese authorities, however, say the number is closer to just five or six.

Earlier I spoke with the U.S. ambassador to Lebanon. We spoke on the grounds of the U.S. embassy here, Ambassador Jeffrey Feldman.


COOPER: How are the evacuations going?

JEFFREY FELDMAN, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO LEBANON: I think they're going really well. Today we're going to have over 4,000 people. All together by the end of today, we're going to have well over 8,000 people that we've moved to safety.

COOPER: That's -- I mean, some of the early estimates were of 8,000 -- 8,000 to 10,000. It sounds like this could be sort of wrapped up quickly.

FELDMAN: Yes, we don't know really what the demand is. We're still getting people requesting our assistance in leaving. So we're going to keep this facilitation of travel going. We'll keep it going until we have all the big numbers out, all of the people asking to go out. But every day the numbers change.

COOPER: There was criticism early on about the pace of the effort. People said, you know, European governments were getting their people out faster. Do you think that was fair?

FELDMAN: I don't think it was fair, and I think the numbers speak for themselves. Like I say, we have more than 8,000 people out today. The main concern we had was safety. It's no good to provide -- provide travel if we can't provide travel safely.

COOPER: The president of Lebanon today said something echoing the defense minister I believe said yesterday, which was that if a ground war grows, if Israel enters into a ground war in Lebanon, that the Lebanese government would side with Hezbollah in fighting Israel. Did that surprise you? What do you think of the statement?

FELDMAN: I think you know that we don't have much contact with the president of Lebanon right now. We -- we see the extension of his mandate as basically being something that the Syrians forced the Lebanese parliament to do. And very little he says is surprising.

COOPER: Finally, standing in front of this memorial, I mean, you must pass this every day.


COOPER: What do you think when you do?

FELDMAN: This is a sad reminder of a chapter in U.S.-Lebanese history. Almost all of these names that are on here are victims are the early days of Hezbollah and the sorts of actions they took.

You know, 241 Marines and other people killed in 1983, two embassies blown up. I don't know if you saw the ruins of the embassy behind us, of the second embassy that was blown up, ambassadors killed. It's -- it's a tragic history and it's related, in a way, to the problem that Lebanon is facing today.


COOPER: Well, when we come back we'll have the latest on the troops massing on the border.

And also the larger question: is what's happening here a border dispute, a regional dispute or is it actually the beginning of World War III? And could the U.S. get involved in a much bigger way in the weeks and months ahead? That idea next on 360.



KOFI ANNAN, U.N. SECRETARY-GENERAL: Are they going to root at Hezbollah and withdraw if they stay and intend to establish what they have called in the past a security zone or security cordon? It will be security zone for them, but for the others it would be occupation. And that will intensify the resistance.


COOPER: Secretary-general of the United Nations, Kofi Annan, earlier talking about the possibility of a large-scale Israeli ground invasion of Southern Lebanon. Israeli troops massing on the border. Reserves have been called up. We're watching the situation very, very closely indeed.

A lot of people are looking at what is happening here right now and see it not just as a border dispute, not just as a conflict between Israel and Hezbollah, but as part of a much larger world war, a war that they say is already going on World War III, already begun.

CNN's Candy Crowley takes a look.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) CANDY CROWLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Hamas, Hezbollah, Israel, Lebanon, familiar places, familiar players, two familiar hostilities, or maybe something new. Newt Gingrich kicked off the possibility on NBC's "Meet the Press."

NEWT GINGRICH, FORMER SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: We're in the early stages of what I would describe as the third world war.

CROWLEY: Fire is his second language, but Gingrich has company in principle, if not precise rhetoric. Author Jed Babbin.

JED BABBIN, AUTHOR, "SHOWDOWN": We have two things going on here. We have an ideological war, which is western Judeo-Christian democracy as opposed to radical Islam. We're fighting the terrorist regimes around the world, without which they are -- global terrorism would not really be able to affect us significantly.

CROWLEY: The U.S. at war is also a consistent part of the administration's foreign policy talk.

DICK CHENEY, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The war on terror is a battle for the future of civilization.

CROWLEY: That much of the renewed talk comes from conservatives makes liberals suspicious.

KATRINA VANDEN HEUVEL, EDITOR, "THE NATION": Bang the drums of war so we can deflect attention from a war we failed in.

CROWLEY: It includes Iraq and Afghanistan, but the war Gingrich sees unfolds largely in violent episodes across the world: Morocco, Riyadh, London, Madrid and Jakarta, Amman and Sharm el-Sheikh, a war being fought by separatists and paramilitary insurgencies from Somalia to the Philippines, by organizations like al Qaeda, Hamas and Hezbollah, supported by states like Iran, and Syria.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: For them to recognize that we have terrorist organizations which -- who are dangerous by themselves, are now being supported by radical Islamic governments, i.e., the Iranians.

CROWLEY: Still, what some say is a world war, others say are separate incidents, linked by a new mind-set.

PETER SINGER, BROOKINGS INSTITUTION: A bombing in Riyadh, what's going on in Iraq, the Taliban in Afghanistan, what's happening in Somalia right now and also why the U.S. Is so interested in what's going on in Lebanon.

The thread that links all of those together is the fact that we're in a post-9/11 world, and it's the lens through which America now looks at the world.

CROWLEY: He thinks 50 to 100 years from now, history will record this period as something akin to the Cold War, the 9/11 War.

Candy Crowley, CNN, Washington.


COOPER: Well, if one does believe that this is already a World War III, already begun, how does that change the way one sees what's happening now on the ground? We'll talk about that with former CIA officer Bob Baer next on 360.


Technology stocks dragged down the markets today, ending the week on a sour note. A spate of negative news including a profit warning from Dell Computer brought the tech-heavy NASDAQ down 19 points. The Dow followed suit, falling nearly 60 points. The S&P lost almost nine.

Microsoft was not part of the tech slide. Its stock closed up. And today it announced a major project on the horizon. Microsoft is going after Apple's iPod. After weeks of rumors, the company announced today it will release a new music and entertainment player called Zoon later this year. The device reportedly will be simple, just like the popular iPod, and it may be able to download videos and music wirelessly.

Gas prices could go up again, as the cost of crude oil rose above $74 a barrel again today. The crises in the Middle East is contributing to the price hike. Meanwhile, the average price for a gallon of regular gas a penny shy of $3 -- Anderson.

COOPER: Randi, thanks very much for that.

When we come back, bloggers covering this war from not only the United States but also from right here in Lebanon and in Israel. Their story and how they see the war next on 360.


COOPER: Looking at a video taken on a cell phone of a bomb hitting a bridge, leading from Lebanon to Damascus in Syria. This war is being captured in whole new ways on video phones and on blogs. Technology is changing the way the war is seen around the world.

CNN's Randi Kaye takes a look.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These mother (expletive deleted) are killing everybody here.

KAYE (voice-over): It's the war in Lebanon unfiltered.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Holy (expletive deleted)! Holy (expletive deleted), man!

KAYE: Video posted online by bloggers, residents and stranded tourists, raw and very direct. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Holy (expletive deleted)!

KAYE: This video, apparently of Israeli air strikes, was shot by 24-year-old Basa Maslem (ph) from his home in the Bekaa Valley, 40 minutes from Beirut.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The uncensored version of my video with me swearing pretty much tells you how scared I was when they, you know -- when they started hitting close to home and you can't even hear them. Basically, by the time you hear it, you know, it's either too late. Or it's just gone. I mean, if you hear it, you know you're alive, basically.

KAYE: We talked to Maslem (ph) via web cam from New York. The jerky image, proof of the fragile communications these days from Lebanon.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They are pretty much launched from the -- from the jets, and I've seen my fair and heard my fair share of explosions. The aftershocks are very intense and so it makes you think, I mean, what if it does hit you? I mean what's it going to do to you?

KAYE: If anyone in Lebanon might be sympathetic to Israel, Maslem (ph) seems to fit the profile. He was born in Lebanon but raised in Canada and America. He counts Israelis among his friends in the United States and says he firmly believes Hezbollah should be disarmed.

But missiles blowing up in the next neighborhood have a way of hardening your views, and his blog, like most originating from Lebanon these days, is consumed by civilian suffering, and why the U.S. is not pressuring Israel to stop.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The lack of effort to stop this basically what I could call a massacre is intense. It gets to you slowly. It just starts eating at you and takes something away from you. I'm scared about my relatives here. I'm scared about all the friends that I've made here.

KAYE: Opinion, information, raw footage, passion and fear. It's all there, for anyone, with an Internet hookup.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's going to be a rough night here today.


COOPER: So Randi, who does he blame for what's going on? And does he plan to get out of Lebanon?

KAYE: Well, Anderson, Maslem (ph) blames the United States. He says the U.S. is looking for another war on terror, another Iraq, he says.

He's also very angry at Hezbollah. And he says he doesn't see its members dying, just Lebanese civilians. And if you look at his web site, he has some really graphic postings of civilian carnage. You saw some of them in that piece. Pictures he says are from the aftermath of the attacks in Lebanon.

I did ask him why he decided to stay there. He says he's -- he's not going to leave, because he doesn't want to leave his family and friends who will have to stay there if he goes. He also said that he'd worry too much about their safety, Anderson, so he is willing to sacrifice his own.

COOPER: The war being covered in lots of new ways. Randi, appreciate that report.

When we come back, we'll take a look at what is happening right now on the Israel-Lebanese border. Israeli troops massing, what may be a possible larger ground invasion of Southern Lebanon. We'll look at that.

Also we'll take you deep inside Hezbollah territory right here in Beirut, a quick journey by car through some very damaged neighborhoods.


COOPER: What is Hezbollah? Who are they, and what do they want? Coming up next, we'll take you inside Hezbollah, their tactics, their leaders, their impact on the U.S., Israel and the Middle East. Next on 360.


COOPER: Americans leaving Beirut in greater numbers. Secretary Rice says she will come here next week.

And Israeli troops massing on the border. They've called up the reserves. Is a major escalation about to occur? Next on 360.


ANNOUNCER: Israeli troops amass on the border, preparing for what could be a major invasion to Lebanon.

The secretary of state heading to the Mideast.

RICE: We all want a cessation of violence.

ANNOUNCER: Inside Hezbollah. Before it began raining rockets on Israel, Hezbollah carried out an attack that left 241 U.S. servicemen dead. Tonight, the evolution of the terror group.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Terrorist activity, mainly Hezbollah, encouraged by Syria.

ANNOUNCER: The White House says Syria and Iran support Hezbollah, but that the party of God is getting help from across the world, including right here in America. This is a special edition of ANDERSON COOPER 360: "Crisis in the Middle East, Day 10". Reporting tonight from Beirut in the Eastern Mediterranean, here is Anderson Cooper.

COOPER: And thanks very much for joining us. In a little bit, we're going to take you very deep inside Hezbollah, a very in-depth look at the organization, what is known about it, its ties to terror, its social causes, its military network throughout this region. An in-depth look, tonight on 360.

But first, the latest developments, what is happening now. Beirut, we are coming to you live from Beirut, a city on edge this hour, waiting for the other shoe to fall, watching as thousands of Israeli troops mass along Lebanon's southern border.

And that is where we find Christiane Amanpour.

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, all, for the last 24 hours or so, people have been talking about is a potential, big, large scale ground force going into Lebanon.


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