Friday, August 18, 2006

The Hezbollah/Iran funhouse mirror

Pretty much everyone (with the exception of President Bush) agrees that Israel didn't win this war. But by the same criteria of what is considered "victory," Hezbollah didn't win either.

Like Israel, Hezbollah also had stated objectives: to recover three Lebanese prisoners, and the capture the Shebaa Farms. Not only did they fail, but according to Libanoscope, their losses were much greater than originally thought, even by Israel: (translation by Daily Alert and FreeTranslation.com):
(DailyAlert)According to semi-official sources, Hizballah has undergone total destruction of its logistic and economic infrastructures, and suffered about 1,500 deaths of militiamen and leaders.

(FreeTranslation)Despite an attempt to do be quiet the local and Arabic media and to prevent them from unveil the true ones amount, it in springs and still according to unofficial sources, and often trying to keep the fear anonymity of reprisals, that the Hezbollah would have undergoes a total destruction of its logistical and economical infrastructures, and that the number of militiamen and frameworks on this part killed during this war itself Of 1 500 persons.

This announcement of the victory would resemble more to an attempt to return the defeat in victory, a clean effect to the culture of which is originating from the party of God.
Now, the perception of victory is probably more important in the Muslim world than actual victory, and Israel's strategy during the war was murky and half-hearted at best, but things are not quite as bad as some doomsayers opine.

Even a weak Lebanese Army in the south is a major step forward. Everyone, from the Arab world to the West, is emphasizing how important it is for Lebanon to be united and free. The fact that the Lebanese aren't fond of Israel doesn't mean they are any more fond of Hezbollah, and in the wake of the Cedar Revolution it seems that it would be difficult for Hezbollah to turn Lebanon itself into an Islamic state, as Iran wants. The Lebanese, for all their impotence, are generally tolerant of others and their national psyche is not going to be happy with the effective Iranian-backed coup that Hezbollah is attempting.

The many, many articles coming out of Iran and Syria declaring Hezbollah's victory also betray the truth - if the victory was so overpowering and obvious, why does it need to be mentioned so many times? It is more propaganda than reality.

For an extreme example of said propaganda, check out this article from the Iranian Fars News Agency:

TEHRAN (Fars News Agency)- According to the results of an opinion poll, Israelis feel more respect for Nasrallah and accept his words more that their own heads of state and their statements, said Hezbollah's representative in Tehran on Friday.

Speaking at a meeting with a group of editors and directors of Fars News Agency at the office of Hezbollah's movement in Tehran, Abdallah Safioddin described Lebanese victories over Zionists a fruit of the lessons they had learnt from Imam Khomeini and the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei.

He further stated that all the problems Iran has so far had to face during the past 27 years have all resulted from Iran's opposition to the Israeli regime, adding that after the Lebanese' victory against the Zionist regime, the United States will have to reduce its pressures on the Islamic countries.

I really would love to find this poll saying Israelis respect Nasrallah more than Olmert. The best I could find was this one:
The opinion polls reflect an ultra-hawkish mood among Israelis, with most believing that their forces should have inflicted more damage. Seventy per cent told the Yediot Ahronoth newspaper that Israel should have refused the terms of the ceasefire agreed earlier this week. A similar poll in Maariv said that 53 per cent opposed the terms of the ceasefire.

Just over two-thirds support assassinating Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Hezbollah, even if it means restarting the war, and 63 per cent want the Israeli Air Force to bomb Iran’s nuclear facilities, reflecting widespread acceptance of Mr Olmert’s campaign to portray Hezbollah as little more than a proxy of Tehran.

Maybe in Iran, the ultimate criterion for respect is wanting to kill someone.

In which case, they must really, really respect the Jews.