What defeat means to the Lebanese Army
In this case, why was the role of the hero not left to Hezbollah, as it usually is? Because the agreement is a defeat and a scandal, under the pretext of the army’s legitimacy. It does not make sense to allow a large number of Daesh fighters to leave safely in exchange for corpses. Families of the deceased Lebanese soldiers consider this a betrayal.
The blatant truth is that despite Hezbollah’s claims, it was not able to control the area that the Daesh fighters left. Hezbollah justifies the agreement by saying it is not a strategic region, but this is not true. The area, just a few kilometers from Syria, was a Daesh safe haven from which it could threaten all of northeast Lebanon.
If Daesh succeeded in saving its besieged fighters, this means that contrary to what we hear, the group is still strong. It also means that any deal between Russia and Iran that is imposed on Syrian forces will only be an illusion of peace.
Terrorist groups’ losses have mainly been due to US-led coalition airstrikes, while the Russia-Iran alliance targets Syrian organizations fighting the Assad regime. The difference between the defeat of armed Syrian groups and terrorist ones such as Daesh and Al-Nusra Front is that the latter can operate underground after their defeat and exist in secret.
The blatant truth is that despite Hezbollah’s claims, it was not able to control the area that the Daesh fighters left. Hezbollah justifies the agreement by saying it is not a strategic region, but this is not true.
Hezbollah, which typically likes to tag its name to victories, did not do so this time so the overpowered Lebanese Army would be left to face people’s anger and resentment.
• Abdulrahman Al-Rashed is a veteran columnist. He is the former general manager of Al Arabiya news channel, and former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat, where this article was originally published. Twitter: @aalrashed
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