These are some excerpts from an op/ed piece at www.jpost.com
by Barry Rubin. Right to the point.
The Arab world professes to be amazed that Hizbullah soldiers did not drop their guns and run away but actually managed to kill some Israelis before suffering far more casualties and having their operational area overrun.
If this is defined as victory, obviously expectations are rather low. But to understand the bizarre mind-set in place, here's my favorite quote about the war:
"The Lebanese people may have lost a lot of economic and human resources... but [aside] from figures and calculations, they have achieved a lot of gains," wrote a Kuwaiti newspaper columnist. Lebanon's "heroic resistance fighters have proven to the world that Lebanese borders are not open to Israeli tanks without a price. Lebanon was victorious in the battle of dignity and honor."
In other words, what's $5 billion in damage and the loss of however many Lebanese were really killed if it makes you feel good? And, even then, he couldn't say that Lebanese borders are closed to Israeli tanks, it's just that they cannot enter at no cost whatsoever.
More than usual in the Middle East - and that's not easy - things are said which, on serious examination (unfortunately too rare), quickly collapse. For example, what's the actual material significance of all this talk of Hizbullah's victory?
Answer: near zero. What's going to change in the Middle East as a result? Is Iranian influence increasing in any meaningful way? The only places with significant Iranian influence are Iraq, where events in Lebanon are irrelevant, and Lebanon, where opposition to Iranian meddling has skyrocketed. Meanwhile, Arab regimes are mobilizing to oppose the Iranian threat.
The Sunni Islamist rank-and-file may sing Hizbullah's praises for a few weeks, but their leaders still hate Shi'ites.
OR TAKE another endlessly repeated line. Arabs say Hizbullah has restored their honor and showed Israel as vulnerable. Sound familiar? This was claimed in the late 1960s with the PLO; after the 1973 war; accompanying two Palestinian intifadas, and on other occasions. And, after all, if Arabs believe Hizbullah forced Israel out of south Lebanon and Hamas did so out of the Gaza Strip, how's this new?
And what of the eternal Arab inferiority complex? Nothing seems to heal it. Restored Arab pride wears out faster than un-refrigerated milk. ...