Saturday, August 26, 2006

So now we're finally no longer the front page headlines , we can take a deep breath and reassess the results of this catastrophe.

The UNDP says we're back 15 yrs (how far down on their Index list does that put us I wonder?) . The money is pouring in, who knows if it going to be enough, the Saudis and Kuwaitis have donated huge amounts, the Iranians are financing Hizballah's building and rent support to the tune of an estimated 300,000-600,000 (ironically in dollars).Well lets hope all the money pouring in will end up where it should and not lining some politician's pocket.

What Hizballah gained and lost:

  • Politically (on the Lebanese front): no change. Those who supported them before, still support them, and even more so. Those who were against their policies still are (and even more so).
  • In terms of Popular International support: Hizballah have ascended to the role of Supreme Arab Hero. The only people who stood up to the Israelis . Support is across religious sunni/shiite divide which for once has united the usually fractious Muslim world.
  • Financially: major losses on the ground. While repeatedly reminding us about how poor and underdeveloped the South is compared to the rest of the country, the South has been more or less decimated. One wonders what hope at development it can now ever have. Money from Iran will help them repair and rebuild homes, but what about lost businesses incomes, and jobs? The poor are very likely now to get much much poorer. People thought twice about investing in the South before, now I doubt anybody will invest in anything there for years to come.
  • Militarily:losses. Even if they don't give up their weapons, they will not have any more freedom to move militarily as before. They will not be the ones monitoring the border any more . They will not be allowed to respond to Israeli infractions after the army/UN deploys and the Israelis withdraw. No more ability to skirmish at shebaa, no more soldier kidnapping opportunities without major repercussions from inside and out. Would they ever risk doing this again anyway? How many rebuildings can Iran finance on their behalf? All bravado rhetoric aside, how much destruction can their community of supporters withstand ?
  • Military gains wise, they have yet again stopped the Israelis in their tracks. They are absolutely no match technologically, but their fighters beat the soldiers in face to face combat , and won the land battles against the greatest of odds.
  • Achieving objectives: Kuntar still in jail . Promise unfulfilled. Israelis claim they have more Hizballah fighters . If it is true than the soldier exchange will occur with the hizballah fighters minus kuntar.

what the Israelis gained and lost:

  • Militarily: the Israelis showed that they are a disorganized shambles. Politicians fighting with military honchos, generals being fired from their jobs mid battle, sex scandals, money scandals. Get the soldiers in, no get them out , no put them in again. Civilian massacres , and indiscriminate destruction seen by the whole world. On the ground, soldiers couldn't take a village and keep it. Technological superiority didn't translate to superiority in battle. They have shown themselves to have a (very) soft underbelly in their foot soldiers. It doesn't help when the other side is willing to die for its cause and you're not.
  • Politically: Olmert should lose his job over this very soon.
  • Financially: The poor old American Taxpayer will pay for everything so no worries there.
  • Achieving Objectives: no wiping out hizballah, no moving them north of the Litani river, but they did get the army/UN down into the South as a force with a major say (though no NATO as they originally wanted).
  • In terms of popular international support: their only major support now are the Americans. Everybody else is fed up of their behavior. Worst of all for the Israelis, this has brought the question of the Palestinian Statehood right back to the front of everybody's agenda.