In a recent article titled "Victorious Lebanon and Defeated Israel," Shi'ite Lebanese journalist Nadim Koteich, a known Hizbullah opponent, mocks the narrative of "victory over Israel" that this organization has been marketing, especially since the Israeli withdrawal from South Lebanon in 2000. In the article – which was posted on the Asas Media website, owned by Lebanese former interior minister Nohad Al-Machnouk, of the March 14 Forces – Koteich wonders what has happened to this victory. How, he asks, did Lebanon and Hizbullah deteriorate from this pinnacle of triumph to the pits of the present economic crisis, whereas the Israel rose from this "defeat" and conquered pinnacles of success in the arenas of global technology, innovation and high-tech? He illustrates his point by describing the vast difference between Israel's attractive booth at the Expo 2020 in Dubai and Lebanon's poor one, which, Koteich says, reveal to the world that it is Lebanon that is defeated and still mired in the past, whereas Israel is victorious and future-oriented.
Nadim Koteich (Source: asasmedia.com)
The following are translated excerpts from his article:
"'Lebanon the victorious and Israel the defeated' – In order to reflect the issue accurately, there is no point in considering defeat and victory in any logical sense [of these terms], because the claim about Israel's defeat is Hizbullah's central claim, so much so that it has become [central to] its party and sectarian identity... Hizbullah does not let anyone question its 'victory,' and insists on it more than ever when it comes to Israel.
"So… let's not argue with Hizbullah about whether it defeated Israel or Israel defeated Hizbullah, along with [the rest of] us. [Instead,] let's ask it why it has slipped, along with us, from the pinnacle of victory into the pits of defeat, while Israel has climbed from the pits of defeat to the throne of many victories. How is it that, 15 years after [the 2006 war between Hizbullah and Israel], Israel has overcome its 'defeat' while we have squandered our 'victory'[?]
"In September , the World Health Organization assessed that Lebanon, once the hospital for the entire Middle East, has lost 40% of its doctors and 30% of its nurses since 2019. Most of them left [the country] this year, according to the Lebanese Order of Nurses. In addition, [it has been reported that] the American University in Beirut – which, along with the [Saint Joseph] Jesuit University, played an important part in the founding of Lebanon – intends to open a campus in the UAE. Naturally, it is not doing so as part of expanding or decentralizing its activity… This is simply a case of 'migration,' in the full sense of the term. The report about the 'migration' of the American University [from Beirut] is accompanied by shameful reports about three Lebanese universities that sold tens of thousands of academic diplomas in the Iraqi 'market'!! Similar or even more alarming data can be found regarding other [Lebanese] sectors, such as [our] industry…
"To become convinced of the bitter end that awaits him, the Lebanese citizen surely does not need [to hear] the statements made by Olivier De Schutter, the UN's Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, who told Reuters after a two-week investigation into Lebanon's poverty: 'I'm very struck by the fact that this is a state that, if it is not failed yet, is failing and that the needs of the population are still not addressed.' More importantly , the UN rapporteur described Lebanon's officials as living 'in a fantasy land.' I'm not sure if this fantasy land includes the glorious victories Hizbullah is always nattering about…
"All these things are among the signs of the 'victory' that has been lost and that nobody managed to exploit and to preserve…
"Conversely, it seems that Israel, which, according to Hizbullah's glorious narrative, suffered a bitter 'defeat' 15 years ago, managed to learn its lesson and carve out a Via Dolorosa leading from the pits of hell to the place where it is today. Today Israel controls 8% of the 'unicorns,' i.e., privately held startup companies valued at over $1 billion, while its citizens comprise [only] 0.1% of the world population. This means that its status in terms of innovation exceeds its demographic weight by a factor of almost 100.
"An examination of Israeli [financial] reports reveals that its technological industry accounted for over 50% of its exports in 2020. This helped it deal with the economic implications of the Covid pandemic, because the technological sector – unlike traditional economic sectors – experienced waves of success that strengthened the Israeli economy and all the economies involved in the fourth industrial revolution, and provided them with strategic economic solvency that allowed them to overcome the economic effects of the pandemic.
"Among these few examples – and we could have discovered hundreds of others in the fields of science, printing and publishing, philosophy, development, universities, medicine, etc. – [we can also mention] the  Expo in Dubai, which showed the entire world the difference between 'the victorious Lebanon' and 'the defeated Israel.' The Lebanese booth, whose erection was voluntarily funded by the Emirati hosts, presented a selection of cliches about Lebanese tourism that seem to be taken from the archives of Lebanese television, and some random examples of Lebanese products, which included apparel, hand-made crafts, a few wines, and a few scattered works of graphic art, which were an insult to the rich record of modern and contemporary Lebanese art and its considerable contribution to the regional and global plastic art scene.
"The Israeli booth, on the other hand, is a continuation of the Israeli narrative launched 20 years ago…. which markets Israel as a startup nation. It exhibits state-of-the-art inventions in the fields of irrigation, water [management], renewable energy, financial technology, pharmaceuticals, cyber security, artificial intelligence, tourism and sustainable social economy. Not to mention the accompanying conferences, debates and presentations hosted by the Israeli booth.
"These two examples suffice to define the victory and the defeat. The 'victorious' Lebanon, with nothing to show except its Roman past, and the 'defeated' Israel, which strengthens its pioneering role in shaping the future, not only of its own state but [of the world], since it is a global partner in the making of tomorrow."
 Asasmedia.com, November 15, 2021.
 In January 2021, Al-Arabiya reported that, due to financial hardships and political persecution, the American University in Beirut was considering relocating to Dubai (see English.alarabiya.net, January 21, 2021), but university officials later denied this (see The961.com, January 27, 2021; businessnews.com.lb, September 23, 2021). In September of the same year it was reported that the university plans to open branches in Dubai and in Cyprus, but that its main campus will remain in Lebanon (businessnews.com.lb, September 23, 2021).
 In late 2021 a scandal erupted after it was discovered that Lebanese universities had sold 27,000 fake master's and doctorate degrees to Iraqis, including officials in the Iraqi leadership. See e.g., Aljazeera.net, November 20, 2021.
 Reuters.com, November 12, 2021.