According to this week’s The Economist, Hezbollah and its leader, Hassan Nasrallah, won the war. Several reasons are given to explain this amazing opinion on the end of this month-lasting war. To begin with, Hezbollah was able to survive Israel attempt to destroy the armed militia. This being, as Ehud Olmert stated when the conflict began, Israel’s primary objective, the Jewish hawks have clearly failed to accomplish their objectives. Hence Hezbollah’s victory, which could be seen more as a moral victory than a war one. The demoralization of Israel’s belief on the power of its army should be another victory, not only for the Hezbollah but also for the Syrian and the Iranian. Last, but not least, the image of Israel as a colonial, imperialistic nation that went through the western media certainly hasn’t contributed to the supposed loss that was inflicted upon the Jewish state. On the other hand, we have Mr. Olmert stating that the war was a victory for Israel, as it managed to bring help from the West in the shape of a resolution that will deploy an army of about eighteen thousand peacekeepers on southern Lebanon.
But is this a logical argument? Let me start by saying, as impartially as possible, that no one is absolutely right and that while Hezbollah’s objectives are condemnable, the same happens with Israel’s disproportionate use of force to fight the Lebanese militia. From what I’ve been reading the whole week, I think we should have a broader vision of the conflict, thus including Iran and Syria. Both these countries aren’t, as it is common knowledge, Israel’s allies. Quite the contrary, actually. The fact is, these two countries have played significant roles on this war. Syria by flaming Lebanese emotions with its wiping out of its neighbors and Iran because of the likely involvement on the weapon selling to the Hezbollah. Weapon which were, though the Russians have already denied, previously bought to Russia. As it seems, both Syria and Iran have been using Hezbollah and Nasrallah to achieve its purposes. They could do it on their own, but the Syrians lack the means and the Iranians are still trying to develop their nuclear bomb. This way, both of them are able to damage Israel without being attacked in return. Lebanon, with it’s fragile, weak government serves as a test, to check how effective Israeli forces currently are, if, in any case, any of these countries plans on making any moves in the future.
On the actual conflict, I doubt it that any of them has won. Southern Lebanon was seriously hit and damaged by Israel an it’s government has lost credibility and strength (despite sayings that it will try to use UN 1701 resolution to disarm Hezbollah, which would be seen as a strong attempt to stabilize Lebanon); Israel, on the other hand, had several soldiers killed by some rockets and lost strength. If it tries to do things through force, once more, it can be defeated, especially by an army which has no home or territory.
In the end, as usual, they both loose. However, analyzing Iran and Syria’s roles on the conflict, it seems to me that Hezbollah was transformed on a lab rat, with severe consequences for the Lebanese people, above everyone else.