Who won?

A typically superb overnight analysis of the Israel-Hizbullah war by Ze’ev Schiff in Ha’aretz.

One clear victor in all of this is Hizbullah’s media strategist, with an assist from the Israeli leadership. HIzbullah managed to convince the world that it would win if it survived, a claim helped by early, reckless Israeli statements that it was attempting to destroy Hizbullah. You can’t destroy an organization that has the kind of popular backing based on ethnicity as does Nasrallah’s organization, especially as long as it receives such substantial aid from Iran.

Note that Schiff compares this result to the Yom Kippur War. I think that that is apt. In 1973, militarily, the IDF clearly triumphed; politically, Egypt came out the victor. Hizbullah mastered an expectations game that in my view would be more suitable for 1968 than 2006. Note that Schiff also compares this war to the first Lebanon war: it is not clear to me why there should have been such expectations of crushing Israeli victory now if the IDF couldn’t achieve it the last time.

Author: Jonathan Zasloff

Jonathan Zasloff teaches Torts, Land Use, Environmental Law, Comparative Urban Planning Law, Legal History, and Public Policy Clinic - Land Use, the Environment and Local Government. He grew up and still lives in the San Fernando Valley, about which he remains immensely proud (to the mystification of his friends and colleagues). After graduating from Yale Law School, and while clerking for a federal appeals court judge in Boston, he decided to return to Los Angeles shortly after the January 1994 Northridge earthquake, reasoning that he would gladly risk tremors in order to avoid the average New England wind chill temperature of negative 55 degrees. Professor Zasloff has a keen interest in world politics; he holds a PhD in the history of American foreign policy from Harvard and an M.Phil. in International Relations from Cambridge University. Much of his recent work concerns the influence of lawyers and legalism in US external relations, and has published articles on these subjects in the New York University Law Review and the Yale Law Journal. More generally, his recent interests focus on the response of public institutions to social problems, and the role of ideology in framing policy responses. Professor Zasloff has long been active in state and local politics and policy. He recently co-authored an article discussing the relationship of Proposition 13 (California's landmark tax limitation initiative) and school finance reform, and served for several years as a senior policy advisor to the Speaker of California Assembly. His practice background reflects these interests: for two years, he represented welfare recipients attempting to obtain child care benefits and microbusinesses in low income areas. He then practiced for two more years at one of Los Angeles' leading public interest environmental and land use firms, challenging poorly planned development and working to expand the network of the city's urban park system. He currently serves as a member of the boards of the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy (a state agency charged with purchasing and protecting open space), the Los Angeles Center for Law and Justice (the leading legal service firm for low-income clients in east Los Angeles), and Friends of Israel's Environment. Professor Zasloff's other major activity consists in explaining the Triangle Offense to his very patient wife, Kathy.

6 thoughts on “Who won?”

  1. Yossi Klein Halevi is peddling the same drivel over at the New Republic site ( http://www.tnr.com/doc.mhtml?i=w060814&s=halevi08… ): Israel would have won by completely and permanently "ending Hezbullah" if only the overly dovish Olmert government hadn't hesitated to do so; moderate Arabs turned against Israel only because it stupidly hesitated to immediately "defeat Hizbollah" (rather than because it was slaughtering civilians all over Lebanon during its attempts at such obliteration at 30 times the rate Israeli citizens were being killed), blah blah blah. The Israeli Right, in short, has not learned a damn thing from this experience, and in fact is now energetically peddling the same "stab in the back" theories that have done such wonders for international rationality in the past. (Martin Peretz, of course, hasn't learned anything either, which is why he's printing this tripe in TNR — but then, Peretz never learns anything.)

  2. Perhaps I can understand why the Bush-Cheney crowd would always make the Israeli position the default US policy in the region. However there are lots of friends of IL who knew better back in July. Level heads not only didn't prevail, they didn't appear.
    Is everyone so afraid of AIPAC? And when Bibi gets back in to power, are we supposed to instantly follow whatever lunatic direction he takes us?
    Remember friends don't let friends start wars while under the influennce.

  3. A typically superb overnight analysis of the Israel-Hizbullah war by Ze'ev Schiff in Ha'aretz.
    The best overall coverage has been at billmon.org.

  4. Hezbollah started the war, but Israel is the never ending warrior. Billmon, whose objectivity on Israel resembles Hitler's objectivity on the Jews, is balanced.
    Is this the funny farm reality based community?

Comments are closed.