There is a lot of blabber by Nasrallah and his worshippers about a “victory”. Others have also joined this bandwagon, handing Hizbullah victory against Israel because the militia allegedly stood their ground and were not vanquished in 32 days. And now some of the political discourse in Lebanon and other countries is resting on this alleged victory.
What victory? And where is this victory set?
The way I see it, Hizbullah’s reign is over, whether they realize it or not, and whether those pundits claiming Hizbullah victory know it or not. This senseless war may not have finished them off militarily, but whatever Hizbullah has gained within its own community was lost with Sunnis, Christians and Druze, and I should add, sensible Shias. So they “stood up” to the Israeli army. Israel’s inability to crush them does not translate into a victory for Khomeini’s soldiers. The livelihood of hundreds of thousands of Lebanese was probably ruined, and Hizbullah cannot brush it aside as “victory”.
I am not of the opinion that Hizbullah has emerged victorious politically in Lebanon. Despite having warned about such a prospect, this argument is not sustainable by the amount of damage their unilateralism has brought. The death and destruction caused by their “defense strategy” speaks of uttermost failure to “defend”. People don’t eat rockets and not all are blessed with a secure path to heaven. Countries do not survive on the kind of hollow victory talk practiced by despots and delusional religious militants. Hizbullah may be able to bribe their own people with rent money, but the rest of the Lebanese population knows that the path of Hizbullah is a straight road to hell. I will say that the day of reckoning has come for Hizbullah. While, unfortunately, it won’t be at the hands of the Shia, at least not now, it will come from the rest of the Lebanese people who cannot afford to live under their obscurantist rhetoric.
Read Nasrallah’s speech in that context. The man says he won, when in fact he is losing his reign. When the state’s army is on the ground protecting the border, and when there are voices speaking against the prostitution of the country, a movement like Hizbullah will, sooner or later, find itself isolated. Nasrallah knows that his militia might become redundant, and unless he is planning a civil war, which I doubt, his days as supreme leader are numbered.
The dark lord of Damascus can bark all he wants. He too lost. UNSC resolution 1701 hit the Assad regime hard (as well as Iran), and so did the Arab League’s lobbying on behalf of Siniora’s government. Assad is more isolated than ever. No assassination or hypocritical attachment to a supposed victory will make him relevant. His path to relevancy is pathetic and will not fly.
Assad and Nasrallah must feel like Siniora used the war to come out on top. The Lebanese government and the military are being positioned to become the antidote to Hizbullah, as they should have always been but were prevented by the Assad regime.
Sending the Lebanese army on a mission to protect the people is greater than the ambiguity of not explicitly ordering the disarmament of Hizbullah. It lays the ground work. Hizbullah can no longer freely operate without a confrontation with the army. Today, part of the state has returned to the long forgotten south, pending the return of all of the state’s institutions—a follow up step that is essential.
Given that we’re talking about the state that never came through for the rest of Lebanese, and which has now been robbed by the unilateral actions of Hizbullah, the challenge ahead is great. But the effort must be undertaken. Hizbullah has already announced that it is rebuilding some 15,000 homes and offering people rent money up to a year. Some Hizbullah official even had the audacity to go on TV and bash the government for not doing enough. The state cannot outlaw this kind of aid, but it can position itself as a stronger equivalent. For that, it must recruit all the help in the world. Iran’s Shia farm must be shut down, and its residents set free.