Monday, August 28, 2006

Nasrallah's Mea Culpa

"Sorry guys, I screwed up."

As you have probably all heard by now, Nasrallah recently apologized for being an idiot and having his organization kidnap two IDF reservists in a cross-border raid. This is Nasrallah sounding contrite instead of smug and self-righteous:
I want to be clear in my response, and I hope that people are listening to me now. We did not think even one per cent that the capture of the two Israelis would lead to a war at this time and of this magnitude, and if someone asked me why we didn't consider this one per cent, I would say that since 1982 and our relationships with the Israelis and the experience of our resistance with Israel, the operation wouldn't lead to such a result (ABC).
Who knows what kind of game the Hizbullah head is playing here. It looks like he has realized that it is important to at least pay lip service to the idea that he has some kind of responsibility for all of Lebanon's citizens. Furthermore, he seems to be acknowledging some culpability in what transpired. Of course, he pleads ignorance, but like it or not, Nasrallah has admitted that if it hadn't been for Hizbullah's wonderful kidnapping mission, all those Lebanese houses would still be standing today.

Given this admission by Nasrallah, it seems that a "disproportionate" response really was needed to deter Hizbullah.


Angry Anarchist said...

Where did he apologize?

Rob said...

Interesting that at the beginning of the conflict, many leanese were blaming Hizbollah for provoking a war that nobody wanted. After a while, thanks in no small part to the international media's partisan coverage, opinion swung Hizbollah's way. Now, when the dust has settled and the dead are buried, opinion seems to be swinging back as the emotions begin to subside and reason reinstates itself. Maybe that's why Nasrallah apologised.

I don't buy his 'if we had only known' story, though. He had been watching what happened in Gaza, and knew that this time the IDF would not allow Olmert to hesitate as he had in that case. More likely he's just covering his back.

Halla said...

As far as I am concerned the "disportionate response" only made things worse for everyone. Israel did not gain anything from this war except innocent lives lost, injured people, traumatized families, loss of economy and yes lets not forget one more..... "enemies" of Lebanese who were moderates but unfortunately their lives have been ruined but they would blame Israel before they would blame Hizbulla.

Do not delude yourself that this action was needed to initiate any kind of future peace.

oh bytw, where are those soldiers that Israel originally went in for and destroyed a country for.

Ariel said...

Yossi Melman makes a lot out of this Nasrallah quote in today's English version of Haartez online, where he claims that it shows that even Hezbollah does not think that Israel unambiguously "lost" the war. He does a good job of summing up what were the real Israeli gains, most importantly the Lebanese government's accepting of its sovereign responsibility over all of Lebanon. He even suggests, as David Ignatius and others have, that the very inconclusiveness of this conflict might, as the Yom Kippur War did with Egypt, open up a new round of serious negotiations with Syria. This, I think, will be necessary if Israelis want to be rid of Hezbollah.

I think also, however, that Melman is deliberately misreading Nasrallah. The latter is obviously responding to internal Lebanese criticism that he alone made a decision that by right belonged to the Lebanese government. This is hardly the same as saying that he admitted defeat. Melman claims that, by admitting his miscalculation, Nasrallah has proved himself fallible. On the contrary, it seems to me that one might more readily conclude that, even though it was somewhat surprised by the strength of the IDF response, Hezbollah held strong, inflicting serious casualties on the enemy and thwarting its objectives.

To the real Israeli gains the Melman describes I'll add the changed international diplomatic climate, which, despite Israeli protestations to the contrary, is more sympathetic to Israel than it has been in years. The sad thing is that the Israeli objectives that were actually won could have been settled much earlier in the war, saving hundreds of Lebanese and Israeli citizens and much destruction. And, moreover, I wonder if the aerial bombings really had any strategic effect. They certainly didn't seem to weaken Hezbollah's capabilities either to launch rockets or ambush Israeli ground troops. The IDF should conduct a thorough and honest appraisal of the utility of air strikes, which more than anything seem to me to give Israel a black eye on the media front. I'm no military tactician, but I know that history has provided some examples of the ineffectiveness of air strikes against a determined foe, the US and Vietnam being the one that jumps to mind.

Nadia said...

Halla made a good point. But I challenge you to answer these simple questions: What should Israel have done? What? Wait? Pretend? Take 'limited' action (whatever 'limite' means)?

Keep in mind, in war, especially today, there are no winners. We all loose a lot and pay a costly price.

Nasrallah's words are carefully tailored, in my view, to not upset the international community. Smart move on his behalf, don't you all think?

What is "Occupation" said...

i think israel has won...

1. it did NOT launch a large ground invasion that hezbollah wanted, thus not having hugh losses

2. 1 million lebanese were displaced, 170k went to syria (big $ strain)

3. israel did bomb the crap out of hezbollah, killing 600 fighters

4. israel did do some amazing special forces things that the msm still is not talking about

5. israel reinvented deterrence.

6. by striking and withdrawl, israel (and the USA) did learn about the abilities of IRAN and hezbollah (like thier advance electronics eavesdropping and optical fiber networks) also the anti tank weapon systems

7. israel got an unprecedented win in the UN. 30 days of shooting on israel's side?

8. VERY IMPORTANT hezbollah shot its wad against israel with it's 4000 rockets and killed a total of 50 israelis... that was amazing in it's suckness...

IRAN lost it's wild card against israel

9. iran is BACK on the front burner..

10. Reuters & the NYtimes exposed as bullshit artists...

11.s lebanon will take decades to rebuild

12. hezbollah is weakened and lebanese troops are moving south for the 1st time in 30 yrs.

this was a parial list. but dont tell the arabs, cause hezbollah won..