Arab Assessments of the War in Lebanon

[MEMRI] The Arab media published differing assessments regarding the outcome of the war. Many writers declared that Hizballah had won, and that its resistance is a source of pride for the Arab and Muslim nations. Others stated that both Hizballah and Lebanon had received a crushing blow in this war, which had been conducted indirectly by Syria and Iran, and denounced the lack of self-criticism in the Arab world. Zaghlul al-Najjar wrote in the Egyptian government daily Al-Ahram on Aug. 14: "Imagine what would [happen to Israel] if all the Arab countries around it fired rockets on it simultaneously and decided to put an end to its crimes and its filth. [If this happens], this criminal entity which threatens the entire region with mass destruction will not continue to exist on its stolen land even one more day." Dr. Shamlan Yusuf al-'Isa wrote in the Kuwaiti daily Al-Siyassa on Aug. 14: "We must recognize that we are backward people in third-world countries, and that Israel can only be defeated through science and knowledge." Muhammad al-Seif wrote in the Saudi daily Al-Iqtisadiyya on Aug. 14: "The war currently being waged in Lebanon has shown that many of our Arab intellectuals have a serious problem [in defining] the criteria for victory and defeat. Some of them are still convinced that Hizballah, despite its losses, has brought a humiliating defeat upon Israel and has shattered the myth of Israel as an invincible state. The problem repeats itself, in the exact same form, in every war fought by the Arabs. The criterion for victory is: As long as the emblem, or the heroic commander, still lives, [the outcome is pronounced to be] a victory - regardless of the consequences of the war for the peoples' property and loss of lives and capabilities." Abd al-Mun'im Sa'id, director of the Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Research, wrote in the Egyptian government daily Al-Ahram on Aug. 21: "[We too] must form an Arab investigation committee, official or unofficial, that will investigate the crisis and the war, as Israel is doing....Nasrallah said at the beginning of the war that his party will be the spearhead of the Arab and Muslim nation in liberating Palestine. Who appointed him to this role?" "Many questions arise as to [Hizballah's] military performance, such as why it did not fire its Zilzal, Fajr-3 and Fajr-5 missiles, which it [promised] to fire in retaliation if Beirut was attacked....The most important question of all is why the rockets used by Hizballah were of such limited effectiveness that some 30 rockets had to be fired for every Israeli victim (some being Arabs). This ratio makes the war very expensive, and [we] should consider equipping the rockets with a mechanism to improve their accuracy."

2006-09-01 01:00:00

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