PART 3: The political war
"Mubarak and the two Abdullahs are not the only ones scrambling for the exits - the United States' foreign policy in the region, even in light of its increasingly dire deployment in Iraq, is in a shambles.
A talisman of this collapse can be seen in the itinerary of US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, whose inability to persuade President George W Bush to halt the fighting and her remark about the conflict as marking "the birth pangs" of a new Middle East in effect destroyed her credibility.
The US has made it clear that it will attempt to retrieve its position by backing a yet-to-be-announced Israeli-Palestinian peace plan, but America's continued strangulation of the democratically constituted government of the Palestinian Authority has transformed that pledge into a stillborn political program.
First, the Hezbollah victory has shown that Israel - and any modern and technologically sophisticated Western military force - can be defeated in open battle, if the proper military tactics are employed and if they are sustained over a prolonged period.
Second, the Hezbollah victory has shown the people of the Muslim world that the strategy employed by Western-allied Arab and Muslim governments - a policy of appeasing US interests in the hopes of gaining substantive political rewards cannot and will not work.
Third, the Hezbollah victory has had a shattering impact on America's allies in the region.
A future war - perhaps a US military campaign against Iran's nuclear sites - might not unseat the government in Tehran, but it could well unseat the governments of Egypt, Jordan and perhaps Saudi Arabia.
Fourth, the Hezbollah victory has dangerously weakened the Israeli government.
Fifth, the Hezbollah victory spells the end of any hope of a resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, at least in the short and medium terms. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas castigated those who cheered on Hezbollah's victory, calling them "Hamas supporters" and "enemies of Israel". Abbas is in a far more tenuous position than Mubarak or the two Abdullahs - his people's support for Hamas continues, as does his slavish agreement with George W Bush, who told him on the sidelines of the United Nations Security Council meeting that he was to end all attempts to form a unity government with his fellow citizens.
Sixth, the Hezbollah victory has had the very unfortunate consequence of blinding Israel's political leadership to the realities of their geostrategic position.
Seventh, Hezbollah's position in Lebanon has been immeasurably strengthened, as has the position of its most important ally.
Eighth, Iran's position in Iraq has been significantly enhanced.
Ninth, Syria's position has been strengthened and the US-French program for Lebanon has failed.
Tenth, and perhaps most important, it now is clear that a US attack on Iranian nuclear installations would be met with little support in the Muslim world. It would also be met by a military response that would collapse the last vestiges of America's political power in the region. We would now dare say the obvious - if and when such an attack comes, the United States will be defeated.
The victory of Hezbollah in its recent conflict with Israel is far more significant than many analysts in the United States and Europe realize. The Hezbollah victory reverses the tide of 1967 - a shattering defeat of Egypt, Syria and Jordan that shifted the region's political plates, putting in place regimes that were bent on recasting their own foreign policy to reflect Israeli and US power. That power now has been sullied and reversed, and a new leadership is emerging in the region."