Tariq Al-Homayed
Saudi journalist and writer, and former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper

Hezbollah Will Withdraw

As Israeli officials increasingly speak of a war in Lebanon, Hezbollah is retreating behind propaganda campaigns. Its leaders have released no statements about the attacks on its officials, who have been continuously targeted over the nine months since Israel’s war in Gaza began.

Those who want to preoccupy themselves with the "clamor of propaganda" are free to do so, but the facts on the ground are clear, and they are flagrant- politically and militarily, from Iran to the United States, from Lebanon and Israel, and in Gaza.

Since the presidential debate between President Biden and former President Trump, in which Biden failed miserably, the Democratic Party has been gripped by a major conundrum. Some in our region are cautiously following the developments there.

Among those keeping a close eye on the developments in the US are Iran and Israel. For its part, Iran is watching Israel’s aggressive escalation with fear, as Tehran does not want a war right now. It cannot afford it in any case, as reflected by the statements of the IRGC about having their "hands tied."

Meanwhile, Netanyahu believes that the debate's outcome, as well as the Supreme Court's decision to grant Trump immunity as a former president, means that he could potentially eventually have a partner in the White House. At least temporarily, this prospect relieves the pressure that the Biden administration has been applying.

The US administration, like Iran, does not want a war in Lebanon now. Although the administration has repeatedly shown its support for Israel in various ways, including through the deployment of American warships to the Mediterranean, the Biden administration does not want to see a new campaign like the one that followed its decision to suspend the delivery of some arms to Israel.

Accordingly, as all of this is taking place, Hezbollah has resorted to tricks and propaganda. Meanwhile, Israel wants Hezbollah to pull its forces behind the Litani River and ensure that its citizens (about 60,000) can return to their homes before the fall, when schools reopen.

For Netanyahu, it is not a question of citizens or humanitarian concerns but about restoring deterrence after October 7th and prolonging the war so that he can prolong his life in politics. Even Biden understands this, as he made clear in a "Time" magazine interview before retracting his remarks. Netanyahu also wants to solidify his leadership domestically. He is waiting for Trump's return to the White House, as in Trump, he will find a partner who will support him both politically and militarily, as well as help him contort the threat posed by Iran’s nuclear project. This is the picture before us, and it is now clearer.

The question is: does Hezbollah want to achieve "media victories," or does it want to face the facts and contend with the ramifications of a potential Israeli war on Lebanon? If it were to break out, this war would, of course, be disastrous. What has happened and is happening in Gaza is enough.

The truth is that Hezbollah will withdraw from the border. The extent of the withdrawal does not matter now. It will concede, either through negotiations or by force. Any claims to the contrary are little more than just worthless propaganda. It is true that no one wants war, be it in Washington or Tehran. However, the fact remains that no one is willing to concede to Hezbollah.

What matters, from the Arab perspective, is that no party works to help the party save face, as it has shown no concern for the Lebanese state. One example of this is the misleading statements about the nature of Hezbollah, which we all know is a terrorist organization, no matter how "some" try to obscure this fact.

The ball is now in Hezbollah's court. It will concede, either through negotiation or by force. Claims to the contrary are mere propaganda intended to ensure a media victory like those of "divine victory," "clean money," and the party’s other mendacious slogans.