Thursday, August 17, 2006

Mideast moves

The Lebanese Army began deploying into south Lebanon today.

In Marjayoun, a key town near the Israeli border that was briefly occupied by Israeli forces during their incursion into Lebanon, flatbed trucks carrying 20 Lebanese tanks arrived early Thursday along with a dozen trucks loaded with troops and hoisting Lebanese flags.

Residents welcomed the troops in Marjayoun and nearby villages, a largely Christian area where Hezbollah's Shiite Muslim militants have little support.

"I feel safer now," said Shadi Shammas, a 30-year-old Marjayoun native. "The army before was not like now. Now, if Hezbollah has guns, the army can take them and that wasn't the case before."

Lebanese troops are in Marjayoun for the first time in 40 years.

The deployment has been accompanied by some fiery anti-Israeli rhetoric, but at the moment actions are the important thing.

Separately, Palestinian President Mahmous Abbas said he struck a deal with Gaza militants to stop firing rockets into Israel.

And he said more:

In his speech, Abbas said the Palestinians were putting together a plan to be presented to the United Nations to try to revive the stalled peace process. He gave no details about the plan but said he was working on it with Arab states.

Sounds like the talk-violence cycle in the Mideast is coming around to a talk phase.

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