It is clear to me from following the Arab and Western media that Hezbollah's actions have infused a sense of intense pride amongst people throughout the Arab world.
Sure, a few have been skeptical about Hezbollah's cross-border raid that triggered the present conflict. But most are unreservedly supportive. Many, simply ecstatic.
Self-esteem is the thing that seems to have returned to the “Arab street” as a result of Hezbollah's actions. In [Nasrallah], the cleric who heads Hezbollah, Arabs have seem to found an iconic hero who, they insist, has restored their self-worth, even their honor.
Arab honor restored by a terrorist organization, one whose strings are pulled by Tehran, a Persian state? Hmm. Something seems a little off here. It's something that Dawisha has also noticed.
You know what I find odd about all this? It is the sheer meagerness of Hezbollah's achievements so far. I could well understand the sentiment if the Arab street was rejoicing in a famous victory by Hezbollah over Israel. But all it takes is for the military organization to simply engage the Israelis in some military action and the people take to the street feeling abundant pride, fortified by skyrocketing morale.
Surely, this says something about the contemporary Arab condition.
Simply put, it is a region that suffers from a perceptible achievement deficit. A region mired by authoritarian rule so suffocating of the creative spirit that it leaves people desperately clutching at the slightest bit of accomplishment that comes their way. Throw them a few bread crumbs and these are devoured as if they were haute cuisine.
A confident people, on the other hand, would have gone slow on the adulation and asked a few pointed questions of Hassan Nasrallah. Was the leader of Hezbollah oblivious to Israel's security doctrine which, by the way, has been in place for more than three decades? The Israelis euphemistically call it the doctrine of massive retaliation. In practice it means the indiscriminate demolition of large chunks of inhabited lands.
Was the cross-border raid worth the risk? The risk of an Israeli response that would wreak havoc and destruction on Lebanon? Equally egregious is Hezbollah's matter-of-fact admission that it had spent months planning its raid.
Really? And during those long months did the thought ever cross Nasrallah's mind that he should consult with the hapless prime minister of Lebanon, who happens to be one of the very few Arab leaders who came to his position through the democratic process?
And now, does Nasrallah have a Plan B as he sits and watches the country descend to the verge of ruin?
It was reported some time earlier that Hezbollah was surprised by Israel's response to the kidnapping of their soldiers after the cross-border raid. After witnessing how the Israeli's responded to the same action committed by Hamas, did Hezbollah really expect a different one when they did the same thing? It's obvious that they did. Or they ignored it and did it anyway. And now that Israel has responded with fury and thunder does Hezbollah pause to see what they wrought? No. Instead Nasrallah eggs them on, promising ever greater attacks. Does he care if innocent Lebanese civilians are killed in the fighting? No. In fact he's counting on it. Hezbollah knew exactly what it was doing when it sited its operations, bases, and weapons caches in heavily populated areas – maximizing civilian casualties for PR purposes should hostilities start.
You know what is so sad about the present conflict? It is that innocent Lebanese are being sacrificed at the altar of Hezbollah's callous adventurism, Israel's unbridled militarism, and, yes of course, Arab pride and self-esteem.
It shows you how caring Hezbollah really is, which is not much. It is the same with their Iranian masters, too. The more innocents that die, the more they like it. And while I agree that Israel is militaristic, it is something that has allowed them to survive an almost constant state of war since 1948. Without it they would have been wiped from the face of the Earth a long time ago by intransigent enemies who do not follow the conventional 'rules of war'.