Friday, August 25, 2006

Hezbollah's victory

In the aftermath of the war in Lebanon it seemed that all points of view were agreed that Hezbollah had achieved a great victory. Left, right, Arab, Israeli news sources seemed pretty much in agreement. I guess I went along with that, although the thought crossed my mind that surely Hezbollah couldn't afford too many victories like that.

Today, however, I see that Amir Taheri claims that Hezbollah didn't win.
The leaders of the March 14 movement, which has a majority in the Lebanese Parliament and government, have demanded an investigation into the circumstances that led to the war, a roundabout way of accusing Hezbollah of having provoked the tragedy. Prime Minister Fuad Siniora has made it clear that he would not allow Hezbollah to continue as a state within the state. Even Michel Aoun, a maverick Christian leader and tactical ally of Hezbollah, has called for the Shiite militia to disband.
Taheri's optimism can wear me down, but it's nice to read something different for a change.

And, then there's this in the Lebanese Daily Star where Michael Young points out that Hezbollah's leader Hassan Nasrallah has a real dilemma now.
So now Nasrallah has a mounting debt owed the Iranians and little room to tell them that he cannot implement a request to heat Israel's northern border if the nuclear issue demands it. Worse, the Hizbullah leader knows that even a devotee like President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will have to explain to his own poor electors why billions of dollars are being spent on building Shiite homes in Lebanon, while Iranians continue to face grinding poverty - poverty that might get worse if the UN Security Council manages to impose sanctions. How much can the Iranian regime bear financially when it comes to buoying up Nasrallah's base? Even Shiite businessmen, whether in the Gulf or Lebanon, may hesitate to offer substantial funding if they sense a new war is looming.
Maybe all that post-war gloom was a little premature.