A key to how the settlement of the Israel-Lebanon war will turn out is what happens to Hezbollah politically. Will the Israeli/U.S. hope that Hezbollah’s political standing is ultimately weakened be borne out, or will the opposite Stuttafordite scenario come to pass? In the early going, it seems the latter, which will mean that the campaign wasn’t “low cost” from Israel’s perspective as I said in my “I wonder…” post yesterday (I was thinking of casualties), but high cost (in terms of boosting Hezbollah’s standing). This will lead to the unraveling of the ceasefire deal sooner rather than later.
This Times article portrays Hezbollah as a competent, politically attuned version of FEMA. There is a striking formulation from one analyst that Hezbollah isn’t a state within a state, but a state within a non-state. And this passage, like other items already noted in The Corner this morning, suggests the deal might already be becoming a worthless piece of paper:
Defense Minister Elias Murr said Tuesday that the government would not seek to disarm Hezbollah.
“The army is not going to the south to strip the Hezbollah of its weapons and do the work that Israel did not,” he said, showing just how difficult reining in the militia will most likely be in the coming weeks and months. He added that “the resistance,” meaning Hezbollah, had been cooperating with the government and there was no need to confront it.