Barry Rubin in the Jerusalem Post makes the important point that Syria and Iran have paid no price for their sponsorship of Hezbollah’s aggression against Israel. To the contrary, both regimes have gained significantly in the eyes of the Arab world (and their own citizens) by virtue of having supplied the weapons that killed Israelis and having backed a force that had some success in resisting Israel’s response.
Moreover, as Rubin notes, not only did Syria and Iran avoid any direct material damage to their countries, there was no serious international criticism or call for sanctions. As a result, one can expect Iran and Syria to arm Hamas on a large scale with rockets, advanced anti-tank weapons and high-quality explosives.
It seems to me that the Bush administration bears some of the responsibility for the triumph by Syria and Iran. Instead of working with the French to limit the damage that Israel could inflict on Hezbollah, perhaps the administration should have pushed for condemnation of, and sanctions against, the powers who supplied Hezbollah.