Less than two years after it was fought, the Second Lebanon War is regarded by many Israelis as an embarrassment for a country that has long taken immense pride in its military prowess. Unlike Israel's resounding victories of previous eras, this war's outcome was more muddled: Israel was not defeated, but it did not win, either.
"A semi-military organization of a few thousand men resisted, for a few weeks, the strongest army in the Middle East, which enjoyed full air superiority and size and technological advantages," a government-appointed committee concluded this year.
The war cost Israel 119 soldiers and 45 civilians; more than 1,000 people died in Lebanon, the majority of them civilians.
Abu Muqawama is giving a talk on Hizbollah later this week, and this article about a new documentary on the 2006 war got him thinking about who, exactly, the winners and losers of that war were. Listed below -- and with little explanation for his choices because that would make this a very long post indeed -- they are...
Losers: Lebanon's infrastructure and economy, the Lebanese people (all of them), the Israeli people (except for the extreme right), Israel's deterrence capability, Ehud Olmert, Dan Halutz, Amir Peretz, RMA-inspired doctrine, Hassan Nasrallah (maybe 12 July wasn't such a hot idea?), al-Qaeda (thunder stolen by Shia group), Fouad Siniora and March 14th (discovered the limits of US support), the Bush Administration, the COIN community (if we're not careful this will get spun as our fault), any town in Israel in rocket range of Hamas/PIJ/Hizbollah, moderates and non-sectarians
Winners: Hizbollah (but with a few more "victories" like these...), Iran, Syria, Palestinian militants groups (Hamas, PIJ, etc.), UNIFIL (suddenly relevant again), the EU (flexed military and diplomatic muscle)