Aug 15, 2006

So Who Won?

Steve CentanniLeft: Lebanese civilians returning home, photo courtesy of AP

With all sides declaring victory in the 34-day war between Israel and Hezbollah, the question on many minds is simple: who won, and who lost?

Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah declared an unequivocal victory for his movement.

"We are before a strategic and historic victory for all Lebanon," he said in an address broadcast over the group's Al-Manar television channel.

Syrian President Bashar Assad denounced US aims in the region while obliquely praising Hezbollah.

“The Middle East they [the American government] aspire to ... has become an illusion,” he said in Damascus. "We tell them [the Israelis] that after tasting humiliation in the latest battles, your weapons are not going to protect you — not your planes, or missiles, or even your nuclear bombs ... The future generations in the Arab world will find a way to defeat Israel."

US President George Bush commented that Hezbollah suffered defeat in its war against Israel, and argued that the war has given a significant boost to the "freedom agenda" he has tried to bring to the Middle East.

"Hezbollah attacked Israel, Hezbollah started the crisis, and Hezbollah suffered a defeat in this crisis," Bush said. "Hezbollah, of course, has got a fantastic propaganda machine and they're claiming victory, but how can you claim victory when at one time you were a state within a state, safe within southern Lebanon and now you're going to be replaced?"

Israel's Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was less ebullient than President Bush, noting certain "deficiencies" in Israel's prosecution of the war, but vowed to continue his nation's efforts to defeat Hezbollah.

"We will continue to pursue the leaders of Hezbollah everywhere and at all times," he said. "This is our moral duty to ourselves, and we have no intention of apologizing or asking anyone's permission."

Olmert initiated the war against Hezbollah with two goals - to eliminate the Islamic group's military capabilities and to free the two captured soldiers.

A month after fighting began, however, Israel has achieved neither goal, while Hezbollah remains armed, though reduced in strength. In the opinion of this pundit, it appears that Hezbollah has gained the upper hand in this round of hostilities.

Missed by many news outlets, however, was Hezbollah's declared intention to pay compensation to those Lebanese civilians harmed by the war. Nasrallah vowed to immediately begin paying money to families living in 15,000 homes completely destroyed in the Israeli bombing campaign.

"From tomorrow, we will pay compensation, a certain amount of money for every family to rent for one year, plus furniture for those whose houses were totally destroyed," he said.

This sort of social welfare is the type of activity that has helped Hezbollah ascend to become something much more than a mere "terrorist" group. This is also why a military campaign is useless against a foe that is well-entrenched in the streets and hearts of many civilians.


Anonymous said...

You are such a totally predictable liberal weenie. I hope your children don't have to pay because you liberals caved to terrorists. Thanks for the laugh though.

historymike said...

Nice - "liberal weenie."

Thanks for the enlightened contribution, though I disagree with your flippant, ill-informed assessment of my political outlook.

Hooda Thunkit said...


In my opinion, there are no winners or losers..., yet. This war is not over and this is only a brief pause.

It should have never been stopped, but finished, whatever the outcome.

It would be imprudent IMO, to assume otherwise.

What I can't figure out is why anyone would have agreed to a cease fire in the first place, unless they felt the need to let one side or the other start it up again, so that they would then be seen, in the world's eyes, as now being justified in finishing the war without further second-guessing.

Maggie Thurber said...

In negotiations they say that if everyone is equally unhappy, then it's probably a good agreement.

With both sides claiming they won....

Name withheld to protect the guilty said...

Lebanon might be the real winner here. Retaliatory attacks on this scale play right into Hezbollah's hands. Does anyone suppose the Northern Ireland cease-fire would be half as effective if the UK were constantly bombing Ireland? And whatever happened to the old-school Israelis, who would find one important leader and surgically take him out?

Name withheld to protect the guilty said...

Er, rather, Hezbollah might be the winner here. I think Lebanon lost either way.

McCaskey said...

Who won?
By technical knockout, clearly, Hezbollah (and by extension Iran), as this lead in the NY Times summarizes:-----

As stunned Lebanese returned Tuesday over broken roads to shattered apartments in the south, it increasingly seemed that the beneficiary of the destruction was most likely to be Hezbollah.

A major reason — in addition to its hard-won reputation as the only Arab force that fought Israel to a standstill — is that it is already dominating the efforts to rebuild with a torrent of money from oil-rich Iran.

Nehme Y. Tohme, a member of Parliament from the anti-Syrian reform bloc and the country’s minister for the displaced, said he had been told by Hezbollah officials that when the shooting stopped, Iran would provide Hezbollah with an “unlimited budget” for reconstruction.

In his victory speech on Monday night, Hezbollah’s leader, Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, offered money for “decent and suitable furniture” and a year’s rent on a house to any Lebanese who lost his home in the month-long war.

“Completing the victory,” he said, “can come with reconstruction.”

Berserker said...

It looks like we will need to find someplace else for Israelis to live.

The new Russian-made anti-tank weapons that destroyed a good number of Merkavas will be flowing into Lebanon to Hezbollah.

The nut-job in Iran will have a nuke in the hands of Hezbollah, soon. So, we will see a second holocaust, shortly.

After we save whatever survivors that we can and evacuate them back to the US, then the US will be under a nuclear threat from Iran and Hezbollah's backpack nukes.

This "peace" seems like Chamberlain's "Peace In Our Time" from the 1930's. Hitler used the time to finish his rearming. So, those of you who thought that fire bombing Dresden and Toyko was terrible and that nuking Hiroshima and Nagasaki was unforgiveable be impressed with what total war in the 21st Century entails.

Nasrallah is right. This is a turning point.

microdot said...

The "terrorists and insurgents" of today are the statesmen and heroes of tomorrow. The heroes of the Revolutionary War were viewed as traitors and terrorist rebels by the British. The founders of the modern Israeli State were by definition terrorists and guerilla warriors.
One reason that Nazrallah is so popular is that as head of Hezbollah, he has never backed down any thing he has said and as a canny media figure he has certainly made an impression on the world.
Today when reporters went into central Beirut to show the destruction wrought, there was a huge sign hanging from the buildings saying "MADE IN AMERICA".
Right now, thousands of Lebanese are streaming back into their towns and cities. If Israel chooses to resume the war for what ever reason the carnage will be unthinkable.
Hezbollah is more popular today than it ever was, Israel has committed the gravest tactical error in it's history with the assistance and urging on of America. The Olmert government is doomed because the backbiting and infighting has already started. The images of the war up to now have been controlled in Israel, but when more Israelis see what has been wrought in their names....
I live in Europe and I watch a lot of media news...
CNBC, BBC, SKY, CNN. The French Channels, The English language broadcasts of the Arab Networks including SAHAR2 from Iran....from what I could see of CNBC and CBS, you watched a totally different war than the rest of the world saw so if George Bush tells you that you won, you just might believe him, but again, something that seems so simple on the surface is just an illusion. The entire world is united in disaproval of the USA and Israel. more thing...of all the western media, I have to say that SKY NEWS was the best most unbiased, their reporters were on the ground in the midst of action showing us the reality. Those guys had guts!

Dariush said...

Israel had established several goals for itself in its campaign of destruction in Lebanon. How successful was it in achieving these goals?

Well, let's take a look at the scorecard:

------Israeli Objective---------------------Score (0-10)------

1) Kill Hasan Nasrallah ----------------------------------------------------0

2) Prevent Missile Firing On Israel, In Retaliation--------------------0

3) Occupy The Area South Of The Litani--------------------------------0

4) Push Hizbullah North Of The Litani----------------------------------0

5) Turn The Lebanese And The Arabs Against Hizbullah-------------0

6) Destroy The Military Capability Of Hizbullah-----------------------0

7) Disarm Hizbullah--------------------------------------0

8) Demonstrate The Decisive Military Capability Of Israel-----------0

9) Demonstrate To The Arabs That Resistance Is Futile---------------0

10) Strengthen The Puppet Regimes Of Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Others-----0

11) Increase Support For US Policies In Lebanon And The Rest Of The M.E.----------------0

12) Strengthen Usrael Vis-A-Vis Syria And Iran And Cow Both--------0

TOTAL SCORE--------------------------------------------------0

You be the judge, who won this war?


Links to more incisive analysis here.


Israel Shamir's analysis of this current conflict has just been spot on. Here are his latest essays, in chronological order (from earliest to latest):

Friends True and False

The Yoke of Zion (maybe the best single analysis I've come across)

Between Victory and Defeat

Anonymous said...

It looks like we will need to find someplace else for Israelis to live.

Hardly. As attested to in this article, Jews are going back to the Holy Land at an even greater rate.

Don't go getting a hardon yet, Moonbats. This "ceasefire" means bupkiss.

This isn't over yet.

Not by a longshot.

This is only the opening act.