Sunday, August 13, 2006
Who Won: Israel or Lebanon?
As the two nations are getting ready to rap up the fighting and the history is writting the final chapter of this war, each side is trying to declare victory. However, the question is who really benefited from this war and who actually won?
Simple answer is that NO ONE WON! PEOPLE JUST DIED! SIMPLE! Israel for fact did not come out as the winner of this battle.
Israel might have achieved some partial military goals; however she was not able to destroy Hezbollah as it had promised in the first days of the fighting. What did she achieve? She was able to slam Hezbollah infrastructure and kill more than 500 of them in the fighting. The cost for Israel was not cheap either. It cost her about 150 people (both civilians and soldiers), three helicopters, and about 10 Merkava tanks. Was it really worth all those trouble? Not really; Ehud Olmert did not come out of this war as a decisive leader. He is scared of fighting and the generals are very disappointed in him. Israel had to attack southern Lebanon in the first days of the fighting with full force. They kept worrying about humanitarian issues and kept distributing leaflets before they bomb. However, the positive side is that Hezbollah and Lebanon both know if they cross that border one more time, there will be severe consequences. At the same time, hopefully with this UN Ceasefire deal, the two soldiers should be returned to Israel. At the same time, there will be a buffer zone that will separate Hezbollah and Israel; this will also stop the sporadic attacks on both sides. Israel realized that from now on, they cannot ignore a threat that is developing. At the same time, Israel got an idea what it would be like if she attacks and destroys Iranian Nuclear Facility and what the response would be like form Hezbollah. The answer is that it is not as bad as they thought it would be. To some extend, Israel was testing Hezbollah capability.
Hezbollah on the other hand has rushed to declare victory. However, as we all know it they are not victorious; they were not able to destroy or stop Israel from advancing in their soil. They were able to inflict heavy damages and make it costly for Israel, but it still did not stop Israel from advancing in their soil. Hezbollah won a lot of popularity in the Arab world and especially among Sunnis who have ideological conflict with the Shiite group. A lot of wishful thinkers on the other sides are declaring an alliance between the two sides due to this increase in popularity, but these are all just slogans. Israel has always been the reason for weak and fake alliance between Sunnis and Shiites. Therefore, this time it won’t be any different. This popularity is not going to last long. After this war and when the dust settles, the Lebanon’s public is going to start asking questions about Hezbollah tactics and most likely it is going to result in disarming Hezbollah. The world also is going to pressure Lebanon to disarm Hezbollah. Therefore, this whole popularity gain is more like a mirage. The Sunnis and the Arab world will never trust the Shiite group that is the extended hand of Iran and pursues Iran’s best interests.
What would be the best case scenario in this situation? A peace agreement that will truly end hostility in both sides with secured and peaceful borders! This is a clear case of wishful thinking in my part. However, when you look into history, after Yum Kippur war of 1972 that Egypt and Arab nations were able to inflict heavy losses and damages to Israeli Army, Egypt came to the table and started negotiating that resulted in signing a peace treaty. The reason was because Egypt had got its respect back and proved that they are still powerful and that gave a voice to negotiate during the peace process. The same scenario could be possible in this situation because now Hezbollah and Lebanon could both come out to be powerful and it might assist them to start negotiating with Israel. However for that to happen, Hezbollah must be disarmed or at least force into government and cut the hands of Iran and Syria from Lebanon. Let’s hope that this is the last war between Lebanon and Israel and let’s hope for a long lasting peace for both sides!