Monday, August 21, 2006

The Road Ahead: Beyond the Israeli Defeat

A guerilla wins if he does not lose; a conventional army loses if it does not win.

Therefore, in political terms, Hezb won. Israel lost.

Hezb won thanks to organization, intelligence, training, and equipment. While it mazimized Iranian support, Israel did not know how to benefit from US support. Israel lost through a combination of misconceptions, hubris, arrogance, and hesitation. Technology has its limitations.

Still; Who cares?

Lebanon is all but destroyed, with more than US$ 10 Billion lost; the war wiped out in excess of 75% of GDP, and cost the environment dearly. Not only did the war forsake future economic growth, countless businesses failed, and more than 200,000 people permanently left the country. While some private fortunes are rebuilding part of the infrastructure, there are limits to what can be done without international help. Is Hezb going to compensate for all this? As they re-supply their arsenal, would those geniuses even have the means to do it?

What Now?

There is talk of bringing back Syria "into the fold"; and some of the idiots who messed up the region are acting on it. Those lightweight amateurs better stop while their ahead. They forget that the repressive Alawite regime has demonstrated no objective interest in peace. Nor is it pursuing war; it is only interested in returning to the status quo ante of its control over Lebanon.

The extent of its ambitions is therefore limited, and Syria remains in a bind; it can afford neither war nor peace. The country cannot afford war; its terrain is no Lebanon, and its army is no Hezb. The Alawite regime cannot afford peace; the necessary reforms would undermine it.

As a result, by being so focused on regime survival, Syria's politicies are inconsistent; no sooner did Bashar insults other Arab leaders, that his "Beni Oui-Oui" get busy on damage control.

Meanwhile...

To be sure, the world is moving on as the Middle Eat mess festers in the background. While we wait for the next war, the world is mastering new technologies and harnessing their power. It is discovering new worlds.

Your choice: the future or the past? Lebanon, or the “Cause du Jour”?

Before you choose, learn from others

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