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Unresolved: disarming Hizbullah

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Other returnees, clearly shaken by the damage, and unconvinced, refused to give their names, and sometimes even to speak. Some just wept.

Nasrallah has promised to abide by the UN deal and cooperate with a Lebanese Army deployment to the south. The UN Security Council resolution passed Friday does not demand that Hizbullah disarm, though past resolutions require all militias to give up their weapons. Friday's resolution does forbid Hizbullah from bearing arms south of the Litani River.

Until this conflict, debate in Lebanon swirled around the issue, often along sectarian lines among Lebanon's Shiites, Sunnis, and Christians. Earlier this year, the Lebanese government designated Hizbullah a "resistance" group, to skirt the requirement to disarm "militias."

Speaking last year, in the context of a national dialogue that raised the question of political parties with arms, Nasrallah warned that "any thought of disarming the resistance is pure madness," adding that "any such step is an Israeli act, and any hand reaching for the resistance's weapons is an Israeli hand and we will chop it off."

That quote reverberated across Lebanon, where some used it as a ring tone on their cellphones.

"It is one of the more medieval references that Nasrallah usually doesn't employ, which means 'We're [very] serious about this,' " says Nicholas Noe, a Hizbullah scholar and editor of Mideastwire.com in Beirut. "It's going to be immensely difficult, and Hizbullah won't [disarm], unless you remove the reasons for Hizbullah having arms."

The UN began to marshal a 15,000-strong peacekeeping force to bolster 15,000 Lebanese Army troops due to take control of south Lebanon. As UN, Lebanese, and Israeli commanders met Monday to work out details, divisions emerged in the Lebanese government.

Some believe that Hizbullah accepted disarmament when it agreed to cede complete control of the south to the Lebanese Army. Others – including the two Hizbullah ministers in the government – refute that, and say that pulling back is enough.

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