Sayyid Hassan Nasrallah, Secretary-General of Hezbollah, addressed the ongoing discussions across Lebanon on the post-war situation.
Although it remains difficult to predict when the conflict will end, whether in the coming days or months, it is important to think about the future. How will Hezbollah deal with other Lebanese groups and its former partners in the national dialogue?
Nasrallah was right to comment on the discussions and respond to them realistically. If victory is achieved, he said, no one should fear Hezbollah. However, in case of a defeat, problems will arise.
Fortunately, the term victory is relative and symbolic. Hezbollah can proudly claim is has resisted more than any other Arab army, even as it lacked aerial cover, a regular army and direct support from any other country, including Syria and Iran. It can also claim that, for the first time, it made Israel feel vulnerable and changed the rules of the game. Accordingly, Hezbollah will feel that it has achieved its goals and everyone should reconsider their calculations on any decision on the political and security situation.
I don’t think that, after hostilities cease, Hezbollah would seek to exploit its success and fight other Lebanese groups, as this will deprive it of all its gains. It knows too well that the taste of victory will soon disappear at the first sight of a domestic dispute. If Hezbollah is defeated and loses its basic demands, such as the exchange of prisoners, or if it fails to harm the Israeli military and the war drags, it will be readying itself for a confrontation. The group’s followers and supporters will feel they have failed and will look to blame the government, the army and rival political parties.
This is why Narallah was correct when he put forward two theories about how the war would end and the relationship between Lebanese groups would evolve. Throughout the conflict, no one can doubt that Nasrallah, more than any other leader, has avoided getting stuck in side battles. He has averted an internal conflict in Lebanon and assured those disagreed with him that they are not his enemies.