Sunday, August 27, 2006

A Looming Question?

Hezbollah chief Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah said today he would not have ordered the capture of two Israeli soldiers if he had known it would lead to such a war. According to an interview on Lebanese TV and reported by the BBC, Nasrallah said, "Had we known that the kidnapping of the soldiers would have led to this, we would definitely not have done it.”

With more than 1,000 Lebanese dead in the 34-day conflict and much of southern Lebanon in ruins the looming question is how will the Lebanese people respond? The destruction of their country at the hands of Israel was prompted by the actions of a group (Hezbollah) that was supposed to protect and defend them. Such an omission on national television by Nasrallah sends a signal that some public backlash has already occurred and such an appearance was made in the hope to forestall potentially more extensive anti-Hezbollah sentiment to grow.

A recent international magazine cover had Nasrallah with the title of victor in the most recent conflict (battle) against Israel. The bigger question is who has won the larger war in public opinion. True, much of the Arab world publicly sided with Lebanon, including tacit (Jordan) to blatant (Iran) support of Hezbollah and against Israel, ergo the United States but what of the Lebanese themselves? This the world will have to wait and see.

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