Hopes and fantasies

The U.S., Israel and the war in Lebanon
It’s possible that the terrorist group Hezbollah was deliberately inviting a sharp Israeli response when it decided in mid-July to cross from Lebanon into Israel, ambush an Israeli patrol and kidnap two Israeli soldiers. In any case, the Israelis’ decision to launch land and air strikes on Hezbollah strongholds and on Lebanon’s infrastructure has served to burnish Hezbollah’s credentials.

Far from turning the Lebanese against the “Party of God”—which operates like a mini-state within Lebanon—Israel’s military response, which has caused hundreds of civilian deaths, has served to bolster Hezbollah’s self-appointed role as defender of the nation. In fact, it has made Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah a hero throughout the Arab and Muslim worlds and shaken the leaders of moderate Arab states.

 

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