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      Nasrallah Prefers Olmert Remain Prime Minister

      Hizbullah Chief Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah says he hopes Prime Minister Ehud Olmert will remain in office.
      By Ezra HaLevi
      First Publish: 9/7/2006, 4:24 PM / Last Update: 9/7/2006, 4:06 PM


      "If we have to choose between a foolish prime minister and another who is strong and capable, we prefer that the fool remain,” he told Lebanese Al-Safir newspaper Tuesday. Nasrallah made the comments when asked about the prime minister’s recent claims - themselves based on Nasrallah’s statements - that Israel had won the war.

      "I don't mind that Olmert is benefiting from [my statements that we did not expect Israel’s response],” Nasrallah said. “Olmert says he achieved something because he put me in a bunker. All his objectives in the war amounted only to my being in a bunker.”

      Nasrallah said that Hizbullah will remain fully armed, retaining its thousands of missiles for use against Israel in the future. "They will be used only when there is a wide-scale military assault on Lebanon," he said. Nasrallah added, though, that the group may attack Israeli positions in the Har Dov (Shaba Farms) region at any time. "We are coming out of a war now and are not in a hurry to carry out operations at the [Shaba] Farms, but this is our right and nobody can give the Israelis any security guarantees," Nasrallah said.

      Both the United Nations troops and Lebanese army have made it clear that they will not disarm Hizbullah. It remains to be seen whether international troops will act to prevent the transport of weapons and supplies to the group by sea and air once Israel’s blockade is lifted Thursday afternoon.

      UN Chief Kofi Annan says that the UNIFIL peacekeeping force should number at least 5,000 troops within a week, in order to enable Israel's withdrawal from southern Lebanon.