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Who’s Winning?

We’ve returned several times to the vital question of how the fighting in Lebanon is going. It’s frustratingly hard to get a good fix on the military situation, but, for what it’s worth, Ze’ev Schiff, writing in Haaretz, doesn’t think it’s gone especially well:

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is the figure leading the strategy of changing the situation in Lebanon, not Prime Minister Ehud Olmert or Defense Minister Amir Peretz. She has so far managed to withstand international pressure in favor of a cease-fire, even though this will allow Hezbollah to retain its status as a militia armed by Iran and Syria.

As such, she needs military cards, and unfortunately Israel has not succeeded to date in providing her with any. Besides bringing Hezbollah and Lebanon under fire, all of Israel’s military cards at this stage are in the form of two Lebanese villages near the border that have been captured by the IDF.

If the military cards Israel is holding do not improve with the continuation of the fighting, it will result in a diplomatic solution that will leave the Hezbollah rocket arsenal in southern Lebanon in its place. The diplomatic solution will necessarily be a reflection of the military realities on the ground.

We’ve tried to present both sides of this question, but, for what it’s worth–not much–my sense is that the IDF hasn’t made as much headway against Hezbollah as we would have wished, perhaps because the Israeli government has not allowed the IDF to expand the ground war.

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