Sunday, October 03, 2010

Ahmadinejad adds more sparks to Lebanon tinderbox

Things in Lebanon are heating up as the planned visit of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad approaches. Apparently, even Syria is nervous.

From Ya Libnan (h/t Samson):
Kuwaiti newspaper al-Anbaa quoted diplomatic sources as saying that Ahmadinejad’s scheduled visit to Lebanon around mid-October was brought up during the recent summit with Assad in Damascus.

The sources said Assad asked Ahmadinejad why he wanted to visit Lebanon .The Iranian President has reportedly told Assad that the visit was “significant due to the strategic importance of the southern Lebanon .”

Ahmadinejad has also reportedly told Assad, according to the sources, that he viewed the entire area of southern Lebanon as Iran’s border with Israel.

At this point, the sources said, Assad advised that Ahmadinejad’s visit should not take place at this time.

Assad, however, also hoped in the event Ahmadinejad went ahead of his visit to tone down his statements during during his visit since Lebanon’s security was very important to Syria’s security interests.

Al-Anbaa said that Ahmadinejad promised Assad at the end of their meeting to “seriously consider” the Syrian president’s recommendations.
I couldn't find the original article in al-Anbaa, but I did find that it reported that Iran's Revolutionary Guards were already in Lebanon, preparing to provide security for the visit.

If they are armed, and if they are working in southern Lebanon, it sounds like yet another violation of UN Security Council Resolution 1701 which calls for "disarmament of all armed groups in Lebanon, so that, pursuant to the Lebanese cabinet decision of July 27, 2006, there will be no weapons or authority in Lebanon other than that of the Lebanese state."

UNIFIL is reported to be ready to help with Ahmadinejad's security as well, if requested by the Lebanese army.

Some in Hezbollah are threatening to bring down the Lebanese government if the Special Tribunal for Lebanon issues indictments against Hezbollah members. Other scenarios are more frightening.

The common denominator is that Lebanon has lost the ability to govern itself, and the most likely outcome is that southern Lebanon will indeed become Iran's de facto border with Israel.