Al-Assad also said that Hizballah's success in its struggle with Israel spelled the collapse of the U.S. plan for a "new Middle East," which he described as an "illusion."
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said early on in the month-long war that any settlement should be durable and lead to a "new Middle East" in which extremists have no influence.
Al-Assad said the fighting in Lebanon had been planned by Israel for some time. He criticized the United States for its support of Israel and the United Nations for not acting sooner to call for a cease-fire.
(CNN, AP, Reuters)
Iranians demonstrating in support of Hizballah in Tehran on July 17 (epa)
'FOR THE SAKE OF LEBANON': The Islamic Republic of Iran has served as an ideological inspiration for Hizballah since the Lebanese militant group's creation in 1982, and Tehran acknowledges that it supports the organization morally and politically. "Yes, we are friends of Syria and Iran" Hizballah leader Hassan Nasrallah has said. "For 24 years we benefited from our friendship with Syria and Iran for the sake of Lebanon...." (more)