The World as Lebanon
"During last night an operation took place in the heart of Lebanon. We struck over ten Hizbullah members and took five hostage. The purpose of the operation was to make clear that we can operate in the depth of Lebanon," Halutz told journalists. Halutz addressed the military achievements of the operation and reported that "Hizbullah sustained hundreds of dead terrorists, more than a hundred, two hundred, and three hundred. In addition, we struck their medium and long-range rocket system."
Political analysis is provided by From Beirut to the Beltway who argues that no matter how successful Israeli military actions may be, there is no way that other Lebanese parties can be turned against Hezbollah. The core of his argument is that the Israeli attack has weakened all the parties, not just Hezbollah and it will remain relatively stronger than the rest.
One of the disturbing aspects of this war is the belief that it can turn Lebanese people against Hizbullah and weaken its political grip over the country. ...The above line of thought is delusional at best. Israel has never been a successful agent of change in Lebanon (not that it should be). Their involvement has always led to catastrophic results, and deepened the fissures in Lebanese society. ... The scale of destruction may have painted them in a bad light in the early stages of this war, but three weeks later, they have emerged as the only organized and efficient entity in Lebanon. There are no political parties with a heavier weight and comparable popular base in the country. Aoun’s FPM may come close, but their supporters stand to dwindle after this, leaving the FPM a weaker party, and one that cannot stand up to Hizbullah anyway. Hariri’s future movement is in disarray, and Saad has not been able to fill his father’s shoes, or amass much popularity. Such was the extent of damage inflicted on Lebanon since the Hariri assassination. If there were elections in Lebanon tomorrow, the current majority will probably lose, and the Assad puppets will return. Walid Jumblatt may appeal to some of us, but the man is holed up in his mountain recluse, and I doubt these events will make him a less likely target for an assassination.
He quotes Jumblatt as saying: “We will be just a weak state next to a very strong militia. Our government will be like the government of Abu Mazen (Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas) next to Hamas or maybe worse like the government of [Nouri al] Maliki in Iraq.”
On a more planetary scale, James Fallows has an article in the Atlantic which argues that the US has already won over al-Qaeda, in the sense of creating a response system and political climate that makes it impossible for the AQ to achieve decisive success. But that bad news is that the same developments have made it impossible to achieve decisive victory. Victory has turned al-Qaeda into a kind of meme shop, a "consolation prize" for Osama to be sure.