‘Nobody won’. This is the common wisdom tossed out after the UN ceasefire has been set up between the sovereign state of Israel and the infernal puppets of Hezbollah. Others go so far as to claim that Hezbollah won. Both claims are wrong.
Hezbollah is not accustomed to telling the truth, but a week into the conflict the terrorist group admitted the Israeli response and resolve was much stronger than they had expected. Israel went for the throat early, destroying known command centers and Hezbollah leadership; the vicious ones who planned the worst I mean, not the political martinets. It may be that Israel had hoped to accomplish what they publicly claimed, to eliminate Hezbollah as a significant threat, but for that they would have needed a very unlikely set of circumstances, and much better friends than they had available in 2006. I suspect, however, that Israel always understood what they could accomplish, and what was beyond their grasp, and this conflict was a new type of fight, and much more a reconnaissance than an all-out war.
For all its bluster, it was never in Hezbollah’s power to eradicate Israel. They could not even reach Tel Aviv with their missiles imported from Iran and Syria. And to be blunt, Israel’s strategy as practiced would have been extremely unlikely to have removed Hezbollah from the theater; I would go so far as to suggest that Israel did not really want Hezbollah gone entirely, since they knew the hands which were really moving the pawn.
Iran was behind this war. In simple terms, this is because President Ahmadinejad is not only an insanely paranoid religious fanatic, but also a power-mad coward who greatly prefers duping people into fighting for him, rather than manning it up and taking his own risks for his own causes. It should be understood that Hezbollah was and is a creation of the Iranian Jihad a la Ayatollah Khomeini, and these guys would not even take a leak before first asking the nearest Iranian nutjob which way they should face while doing the deed. Hezbollah was paid by Iran, trained by Iran, supplied by Iran … you get the idea, or maybe you thought ball-bearing-filled missiles could be purchased hundreds at a time at a South Beirut Wal-Mart? Mad Mahmoud wanted to see how weak Israel might have become, or perhaps a bit slow to react. Now he knows better, but unfortunately he has gained the most from the events of the past month.
The United States, it should be remembered, once had a force in Lebanon, with an eye to keeping what peace was left to be had. But the Marine Barracks bombing in 1983 ended that, and we have not been back since. And the GOP Congress is far too timid to even consider meeting that challenge now, so Lebanon belongs to the terrorists, their puppet-masters, and those few Lebanese willing to risk their lives for a future Lebanon free from such monsters. Lebanon used to be the sort of country which Americans, Democrat and Republican alike, were willing to help rid of monsters, but not these days.
Israel may still come out ahead; it’s too early to know whether the cease-fire was accepting the inevitable, a surrender or principle to expediency, or a canny move to draw out the enemy.
Hezbollah lost. They will claim otherwise, of course, but they lost the most fighters, the most material, and while they have no intention of disarming, they are utter fools if they really think Israel will ignore them and not pick up the fight when it is necessary and unavoidable again. And in the end, Hezbollah has nothing to gain; for all their bluster, they do not represent Lebanon or its common welfare. They cannot accomplish their main goal of destroying Israel, and the moment they become inconvenient to Iran, their supplies and support will dry up. Hezbollah sold its soul to the Devil a long time ago, but as often happens in these Faustian dramas, they remain very much in denial, and will even as the demons drag them into the hellfire they deserve.