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!


Nahal said...

Well said Ben, lets keep our eyes on "The Light at the End of the Tunnel".

siamak said...

It's hard to say who really won. Hezbollah lost a lot of rockets and fighters and infrastructure, but gained popularity throughout the Muslim world. Israel dealt a heavy blow to Hezbollah and southern Lebanon and demonstrated it will not negotiate prisoner's releases. Israel also sent a clear message - you steal soldiers, Israel opens the gates of hell on your country.

Here's what I'd like to see happen in the next five years:
1. Hezbollah disarmed completely, either by Israeli or int'l force. I don't care what it takes.
2. Partial West Bank pullout: Israel pulling its isolated settlements out of the densely populated areas of the West Bank.
3. A Fatah comeback in the West Bank and Gaza. Hopefully Fatah will be less corrupt and more Palestinians will vote for them next time around.

It may be foolish to hope for these three things to happen, but Israeli, Palestinian, and Lebanese lives depend on it happening.

Ben Kahen said...

I couldn't agree with you more Siamak!
But again, they are all just wishfull thinking!

Forces such as Syria, Iran, and Shiite Relgious authorities in the region would never let such thing happen! why? simple because they breath and survive from ruines of war!

With peace, people are going to ask questions about their way of thinking or financial situations; It would be the end of them!

Pouya said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Pouya said...

Siamak, why a partial pull out of the W. Bank? Y not a full pull out? They are illegal settlements after all.

Im afraid that if these major issue is not resolved, then the "light at the end of the tunnel" is very very far away.

As for Fatah, they are discredited by the populace as corrupt.

As for who won, no one expected Hizbollah to defeat the Israeli army, but they did hope for it to resist, and resist it did.

Furthermore, its popularity and esteem (see excerpts below) has spread to unprecedented heights not just in the Muslim and Arab worlds, but I saw white people carrying Nasrallah posters at the solidarity demonstration in SF last Saturday.

Also it will not disarm, it is a resistance organization first and foremost and by disarming, they are practically ending their existence, which wont happen.

Nobody who knows the region actually expects Hizbollah to disarm.

More failure: Also, the 2 Israel soldiers are still held by Hizbollah.

The only thing Israel achieved, which is important, is that it will have a security buffer in the South, meaning, Hizbollah officially will be removed, albeit, many of the fighters are from the south so they will still have a de facto presence.

Also, Israel succeeded in killing 1,000 Lebanese, of which a great majority were civilians, and it succeeded in getting the ENTIRE populace and much of the rest of the world further opposed to its inherent warmongering nature.

A writer for the Israeli Ha'aretz recently wrote: "If Israel can exist only by destroying the neighborhood, then it's time to declare it a failed state. The Zionist dream has turned into a nightmare and is not viable. If the future holds more of the same, then the time has come to reconsider the whole project."

Excerpts from a NY Times article on Hizbollah's status after the ceasefire went into effect on Monday: Ahmed Abdullah, a 31-year-old shop owner who drove for two hours to survey the damage, waved a cellphone toward his apartment, now missing part of a wall.
“You see all of this?” he said, smiling. “We don’t care.”
He added that he wished all of his countrymen had “protected us, but we see only Hezbollah.”
Whatever the cost for Hezbollah to hold this mountain village day after day of Israeli bombing and shelling — the group does not disclose its losses — the fight is widely regarded as a turning point by this country’s Shiite south and more broadly by the Arab world, which watched in fascination as the organized militia stood its ground against Israel.
Signs of support for Hezbollah were everywhere. On a small side street, without much damage, a Hezbollah poster board stood propped against an open door. “Lebanon is victorious with its martyrs,” it said in bold print.,,1844698,00.html

Excerpts from The Guardian article: Yet for the townspeople who slowly trickled home, many to decimated homes, the bombs had failed to obliterate one thing - a defiant sense of victory. "I feel joy," said Ibrahim Awada, whose grocery store had been flattened, house destroyed and three neighbours killed. "These buildings can be rebuilt. All I care is that Hizbullah defeats Israel."

Police officer Sameeh Srur embraced Hizbullah fighters, kissing them on both cheeks. "Yes, it looks like Leningrad," he said, referring to the Soviet city that braved the brutal German siege during the second world war. "But we brought the Israelis to their knees here. This shows that Hizbullah is the strongest army in the Middle East."

Pouya said...

I will be doing a more comprehensive analysis as to who gained what in this war soon on my blog so stay tuned for a diversity in opinion and not one that only glorifies the Israeli military, i.e. FASCISM!

Pouya said...

Oh and just read Arash's post, yes Arash, youre right, everyone hates Israel bc they are poor, it has nothing to do w the occupation of the Golan Heights, and the 400,000 ILLEGAL SETTLERS in the W. Bank, the illegal annexation of E. Jerusalem, and the destruction of Lebanon, no, not at all.

Pouya said...

Im not going to post here anymore, I dont want to legitimize such an irrelevant and fascist blog. If you want real analysis from an internationalist and not a fascist soldier boy/baby killer, visit

If you enjoy the glorification of fascism, then PLEASE, stay here.

Anonymous said...

I love how they throw fascism around! Who is more Fascist? Hezbollah or Israel? Who attacked and who provoked? who is democracy and who isn't? Who has terrorist cells around the world just waiting?
Seems like Hezbollah is worst than anyone else!
And the whole dream that these people have about end of Zionism: Stop copying same crap Mr. Ahmadinejad is saying! Israel is here to exist and will not be going any where!

Anonymous said...

Israel should be destroyed .. Hezbollah clearly won.

Anonymous said...

Amazing Report


Anonymous said...

"We must use terror, assassination, intimidation, land confiscation, and the cutting of all social services to rid the Galilee of its Arab population."
David Ben Gurion, Founder of Israel

"We must do everything to ensure they [the Palestinian refugees] never do return" David Ben-Gurion, in his diary, 18 July 1948, quoted in Michael Bar Zohar's Ben-Gurion: the Armed Prophet, Prentice-Hall, 1967

"If I were an Arab leader, I would never sign an agreement with Israel. It is normal; we have taken their country. It is true God promised it to us, but how could that interest them? Our God is not theirs. There has been Anti - Semitism, the Nazis, Hitler, Auschwitz, but was that their fault? They see but one thing: we have come and we have stolen their country. Why would they accept that?"
David Ben Gurion, Founder of Israel

"Jewish villages were built in the place of Arab villages. You do not even know the names of these Arab villages, and I do not blame you because geography books no longer exist. Not only do the books not exist, the Arab villages are not there either. Nahlal arose in the place of Mahlul; Kibbutz Gvat in the place of Jibta; Kibbutz Sarid in the place of Huneifis; and Kefar Yehushua in the place of Tal al-Shuman. There is not a single place built in this country that did not have a former Arab population." Moshe Dayan, address to the Technion, Haifa, reported in Haaretz, 1969