A year has passed since the outbreak of the Second Lebanon War,
yet it appears that nothing has changed in south Lebanon.
The entire region still belongs to Hizbullah.
Nothing happens there without the organization's approval.
Even weddings are coordinated with Hizbullah activists so that everything is orderly and no "undesirable songs" are played, heaven forbid, that praise another leader except for Nasrallah – I was told of this by a Lebanese friend who resides in the south of the country. He says that members of the organization take care of everything. The money available to close associates there is doing its job, and the southern villages show absolute loyalty to Hizbullah and to Nasrallah.
Hizbullah members transferred huge sums to the south and earmarked funds to rebuilding homes destroyed by the IDF during the war. In some cases the organization even earmarks funds for people who lost their jobs.
Hizbullah's control in the south is absolute not only in civilian matters, but also when it comes to military affairs. Recently, many Hizbullah flags were hung on 10-meter high (roughly 30 feet) flagpoles under the open eyes of UNIFIL and Lebanese troops, and while the IDF observed this from border outposts. The flags were placed there with no resistance or even protest on the part of Israel,
and it appears we are back to the situation that prevailed here following the withdrawal from Lebanon in 2000.
We will likely see the flags followed by activists, outposts, arms, and also missiles. And again we will reach the nightmare scenario with farmers and soldiers moving around under the shadow of abduction threats, and this time under the supervision of UN observers and the Lebanese army and with silence on the part of Israel, who would not be quick to provoke.
The situation in Lebanon is volatile. Hizbullah is planning a revolution and a takeover of the Lebanese government, and aims to establish an alternative government with its new partner, Michel Aoun, who up until recently was considered an Israeli spy. This coup will immediately by recognized by Syria and Iran, and the whole of Lebanon will go up in flames. Under such circumstances, it would be natural for the fire to be directed at Israel again.
This is the scenario discussed in Lebanon lately, and Lebanese of all factions I spoke to claim that Israel's failure in its war against Hizbullah brought the organization to a position of power it never enjoyed before. Its military power, which was able to withstand the most powerful and sophisticated army in the region, deters all rivals and the government, which does not even dare openly discuss the notion of disarming the organization.
Meanwhile, Hizbullah continues to bring in huge quantities of sophisticated weapons and various types of missiles into Lebanon and smuggles them to the south. There is no doubt, Hizbullah is preparing for another war against Israel, this time with direct Syrian and Iranian military backing.
Many Lebanese viewed Israel as the key to resolving their problems, yet following the failure in the last war they see a grim future that would lead to cruel Syrian and Iranian control over them. Hizbullah defeated Israel, according to what many in Lebanon say, and they wait for Israel to restore its former glory.
Yet meanwhile, even though Olmert boasts of "expelling" Hizbullah from south Lebanon, Nasrallah's organization is still in full control. It will pull out its weapons when needed and launch the daily missile barrage, similarly to what happened here in the Second Lebanon War.
All the talk about Security Council Resolution 1701 and its implementation on the ground is futile, or as they say in Lebanon: Empty words.