The surprise was not that Hezbollah runs a communications network, it was that the Lebanese cabinet would openly confront Hezbollah over the network. An official Lebanese report says that Iran helped set up the telecommunications network and says it's capable of intercepting all telephone conversations in the country. There have also been charges that Hezbollah has been secretly taping at Beirut's airport to monitor the movement of anti-Syrian politicians and dignitaries. This analyst says Lebanon's government is taking a chance here and is confronting Hezbollah just as a labor-backed union is calling for a strike. Hezbollah itself suggests the government is throwing down the gauntlet with this action. Hezbollah maintains that its arms would be used only to defend against an Israeli attack and wouldn't start an attack itself. Many fear Hezbollah is trying to build a state within a state, and this action is meant to send the message that the Lebanese government won't allow that to happen.
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