IT IS important to note that the Syrians and Iranians were able to engage in one of the biggest terrorism-sponsorship events in history, at no cost whatsoever - a point that will surely not escape the attention of those countries' leaders. Not only did they avoid any direct material damage to their countries, there was no serious international criticism or call for sanctions.
Those with a macabre sense of humor might note that paragraph 15 of the UN cease-fire resolution calls on member countries - including Syria and Iran - to ensure that arms are not smuggled into Lebanon.
Does anybody believe anything will be done when Syria and Iran inevitably break that provision? Will such a violation even be reported, much less punished?
On the public relations front, Israel came in for far more condemnation than Teheran and Damascus. This in itself is a victory for the latter. Imagine being able to arm, train and incite a terrorist group to violate an international border and deliberately target another country's civilians, suffer no cost, and make your victim come out looking worse!
In the terrorism sponsorship business it doesn't get any better than that.
Olmert, however, is a loser.
After years of dismissing the UN as an ineffectual and anti-Israel organization, how can Israelis believe that of all the possibilities, it will be the one to make sure that Hizbullah never again threatens our northern towns and villages.
Despite all its failings, including the recent ones, there remains only one institution that Israelis firmly trust, and that is the IDF. Now Olmert will go down in history as the prime minister who didn't let the army finish the job.
It doesn't matter whether he was right or not to accept the UN resolution. It might well be the best deal Israel could have gotten in the circumstances, that is not how the public perceives it. And if anyone thought that the generals were going to be loyal to their political masters, all you have to do is read the headlines quoting anonymous senior officers telling the media that the government tied their hands. Everyone knows that the generals made a ton of mistakes themselves, without any help from the cabinet, but ultimately, in the popularity sweepstakes, the military beats the politicians hands down, every time.
NRO Symposium: Who wins?