Friday, July 28, 2006

Hezbollah’s “Resilience” Fuels Israeli Determination!

The tougher things get for the Israelis at this stage, the more determined they will be to destroy Hezbollah. This is indeed developing into an existential war for Israel.

After all, what is Hezbollah from an Israeli perspective? Well, it is clearly an Islamist organization that, by the very nature of its ideology, still refuses to acknowledge Israeli’s right to exist, and still subscribes to the most vile of anti-Semitic myths around, including the blood libel and the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. In fact, Manar TV aired a TV series it itself had produced dealing with these issues very (unfortunately most of the actors were Syrians).

Moreover, even after the Israeli withdrawal from South Lebanon, Hezbollah raised the issues of the Shebaa Farm, despite the fact that they are not covered by UN Resolutions dealing with Lebanon, and the fact that they actually represent a disputed territory between Syria and Lebanon. This gave an excuse for Hezbollah to keep its weapons and go on living up to its ideology by attacking Israel. The fact that Hezbollah’s leadership might have ulterior motivations in this regard, related to their desire to strengthen the organization’s position vis-à-vis other communities in Lebanon, by adding a military dimension to the existing demographic one, and the fact that by adhering to claims of Shebaa’s Lebanese character, Hezbollah is serving the interests of one of its chief supporters and arms suppliers in the region, Syria, make the situation even worse, as it brings in considerations not related to the Arab-Israeli conflict per se to weigh in heavily on Israel and its security. Factor in Hezbollah's link to Iran, its supreme backer and financier, and the current domestic and foreign entanglements of the Mullas regime, and the situation becomes even more urgent.

As such, it is not just Hezbollah’s ideological predilections that makes it dangerous from an Israeli perspective, its geopolitical alliances and its internal calculations and ambitions within the region and within Lebanon itself makes it a source of danger and concern as well.

And now it has shown that it has plenty of missiles, the know-how and the will to use them, and the ability to resist a ground attack like no other Arab army has done before. So, what could Hezbollah do, many Israeli strategists must be wondering by now, if it were given even more time to develop its potential? Can Israel really feel secure with such an organization along its borders?

Indeed, now that Hezbollah has amply demonstrated its strength, Israelis have more reasons to want to fight and destroy it now, before it is too late. Indeed, this was the goal from the very beginning, judging by the kind of rhetoric employed at the time by Israeli officials. Still, for some unfathomable reason, Israeli leaders seemed to have anticipated an easier time of it. Just as Hezbollah seems to have miscalculated the size and nature of Israeli reaction to its operation, so did Israeli military leaders misjudge the amount of initial and long-term investments they need to make to achieve their stated goals in Lebanon.

But the events of the last few days seem to have jolted many of these leaders and they now seem to be more aware of the complicated and arduous nature of the challenges ahead, and more determined.

No. This battle is not winding down. It is, in fact, just beginning, human costs for all sides notwithstanding. And should it drag out for long, its regionalization will become all but inevitable, the original intentions of the instigators notwithstanding as well.