How does Hizbullah define victory?
A sobering op-ed by Bernard Heykal:
Judging from Sayyid Nasrallah’s speeches it is clear that Hezbollah is not fighting Israel as much as the generalized Arab and Muslim feeling of defeat, humiliation and genuine incompetence. Pay attention, for example, to the way in which Sayyid Nasrallah has defined victory in his typically low-key style, which contrasts sharply with the old-style and bombastic claims of Arab leaders such as Jamal Abdul-Nasser and Saddam Hussein. Sayyid Nasrallah is very clear and precise that Israel cannot be defeated militarily. Hezbollah, he says, “cannot shoot down Israel’s F-16 fighter jets,” but what it can do is bleed Israel’s military forces, harm its economy and extract political concessions, any of which constitutes a victory. Victory, in other words, is a new psychological state for Arabs and Muslims, as well as for the “defeated” Israelis, and bears no relationship to the actual physical or material costs of war. This victory cannot be quantified or calculated and no amount of destruction and killing in Lebanon, or elsewhere in the Middle East, can outweigh its positive value and outcome. It is this psychological aspect to the present war that has so many Arabs and Muslims rallying to Hezbollah's side—they finally see Arabs who are putting up a real fight against a formidable adversary who had acquired supernatural power in their collective imagination. But does Hezbollah's resistance really count as a victory or is it merely illusory especially in the long term? Does it constitute anything more than al-Qaeda’s “victory” on 11 September 2001? How will the political map of the Middle East change if Hezbollah is seen to have won this round with Israel? And finally which forces in the United States are benefiting most from this engagement?I see it a little differently -- the Arab support for Hizbullah is not only about the psychological need for a hero, but also related to anger at the Arab regimes' impotence or collaboration with US-Israeli policy in the region. But the op-ed raises some important questions and is worth reading.