He wasn't the decisive factor by any means in the Lebanon election and is only peripheral in Iran's. But he is already capitalizing on the former, as Fred Kaplan notes:

Since Hezbollah's defeat in Lebanon, U.S. diplomats have been pouring into Syria. Middle East envoy George Mitchell, the officers of Central Command, a congressional delegationall are in, or on their way to, Damascus, not in a supine position (as might have been the case had Hezbollah won) but simply ready to commence businesslike relationsto do, in short, what many had urged Bush to do for years: lure Syria away from its ties with Iran, a step that could tilt the balance of power in the region.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.