The verdict was virtually unanimous – yesterday in Rome, Israel received a tacit green light to continue its attack against Hizbollah. The Europeans who had hoped to obtain a ceasefire left disappointed.
Middle East expert Robert Anciaux explains why: “The European countries didn’t have a single, united plan with which they could propose decisive action. Only the United States was able to suggest a solution to the problem and, as we have seen, they are not going to suggest a ceasefire, a calming of the conflict. They seem to be in agreement with Israel in permitting it to do the job of eradicating Hizbollah and Hamas.”
Both organisations have a political and an armed face. Hizbollah is sworn to Israel’s destruction, Hamas appeared to be softening its stance just days before the conflict in Gaza broke out. But how far does their alliance go?
Anciaux said: “I wouldn’t say that the two groups have a combined strategy exactly but they are fighting the same battle – against the Israeli occupation.”
On the question of Syrian and Iranian support for Hizbollah, Robert Anciaux said that it is not accurate to say that the militia is controlled by the two countries: “Hizbollah is completely intergrated within the social and political fabric of Lebanon. It has its own agenda in terms of internal and external politics.
“Even if it is unquestionable that it depends financially and logistically on Syria and Iran, I think that Hizbollah has a reached a stage where it allows itself to carry out an action without asking permission from its protectors before its partners.”
Hizbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah has won popular support in the Arab world for his ability to back up words with actions over the past 16 days.