While Israel is portrayed as the loser and Iran and Syria celebrate, its worth remembering that it is poor old Lebanon that provided the battle ground for the latest war and must pay the highest price. 1,100 have died (a third children), it will cost at least $2.5bn to rebuild the country, but at least refugees are returning home.
Israel made some terrible mistakes over the last few weeks. A UN observer post was bombed, so was a clearly marked Red Cross ambulance and there was the massacre at Qana. All dismiss the myth that war can be fought surgically from the air.
Yet in apparent defeat, Israel emerges in pole position for the next diplomatic battle. Defeat justifies the incursion by proving Hezbollah is a well armed, well trained proxy force for Syria and Iran. Lebanon may have to wait a year for the UN to provide the muscle it needs to take control of its southern territories and says it won’t disarm Hezbollah. But after this conflict, it has little choice but to drive them north and do it all it can to block the Iranian and Syrian aid upon which they depend.