History's End

History will end only when Man does

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  • Tuesday, August 15, 2006

    Round One is Over... When Does Round Two Begin?

    Right now the blogosphere is debating whether or not Hizb'allah or Israel won the recent fight between them. This is the wrong debate to be having at this time. Victory has been achieved by neither side, because this fight is not over. What we are witnessing is a boxing match between Israel and Hizb'allah. Round One is now over. The cease-fire is simply the bell announcing a short break. Both are retiring to their respective corners. Any notion that the region is now at peace is simply naive. We are merely witnessing a pause between the fighting, a pause that I would wager both sides support... for the time being.

    At this moment I am sure that the leaders of Hizb'allah and Israel, along with their coaches (Syria and Iran for Hizb'allah, the United States for Israel), are examining the first round to see what they did right, what they did wrong, and who came out ahead. There is no clear cut victory here, despite what some may say. Rather, both parties must compare any gains they may have made to the losses they received, and try and judge whether or not it was worth it. Remember, that this judgement is all about perception. It is entirely possible that both may come to the conclusion that they "won" this exchange, or both could think that they have lost.

    How do they judge their status, and who came out ahead? Well, there are really three major areas touched by this conflict: military, economic and political. I will address the military aspect to a small degree.

    Militarily, it is tough to say that Israel lost. It suffered relatively light losses among its soldiers, around a hundred or so. Hizb'allah's losses are probably at least five times that amount, if not more. Israel's military is not sufficiently degraded from the fighting, its losses, compared to the strength with which it entered the fight, are negligible. What about Hizb'allah though? A loss of five hundred or so fighters hurts that organization more than it hurts Israel. Its strength varies, from a few thousand fighters to perhaps ten thousand. There is also the loss of hardware, especially rockets and their launchers.

    As for who was ahead in economic and political strength, I will resolve that later as I get the time.

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