Ahmadinejad visit proves Lebanon has joined axis of extreme nations
Israeli officials were trying to keep a low profile both in the media and in the field in order to prevent escalation of already high tensions along Israel's shared border with Lebanon, as thousands of Shiite supporters welcomed Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Beirut on Wednesday.
Israel's stance, which has been clearly expressed over recent days, is that Ahmadinejad's visit proves that Lebanon is becoming more extreme, on its way to becoming an Iranian outpost. "Lebanon has joined the axis of extreme nations which object to the peace process and support terror," said a senior Israeli official involved in preparations for the two-day visit
The official added that "Iran's president is visiting Lebanon like a commander coming to inspect his troops – Hezbollah terrorists – who serve as a wing of Iran's military in the region. Anyone who holds peace and freedom dear is watching this Iranian provocation with concern. Lebanon, which could have enjoyed peace and prosperity, has turned into the servant of the Iranian aggressor, led by Hezbollah."
Meanwhile, the U.S. also expressed concern over Ahmadinejad's two-day visit to Lebanon, saying support for Hezbollah militants undermines Lebanese sovereignty.
Ahmadinejad is continuing his "provocative ways," the White House said in a statement Wednesday.
While he was greeted with joy by many Shiites, Ahmadinejad's dramatic arrival only exacerbated fears among many Lebanese - particularly Sunnis and
Christians - that Iran and Hezbollah are seeking to impose their will on the country and possibly pull Lebanon into a conflict with Israel.
U.S.: We suspect Iran doesn't have Lebanon's interest at heart
The United States is committed to Lebanon's security and is closely monitoring Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's trip to that country, State Department spokesman Philip Crowley said on Wednesday.
Crowley said that Iran and Hezbollah are trying to undermine the sovereignty of the Lebanese government.
Crowley expressed concern about the prospect of Iran providing arms to Lebanon.
"A challenge for Lebanon is the fact that you have outside players who are providing military capabilities to sub-state groups such as Hezbollah," he said. "So we would naturally have concern that the provision of any arms into Lebanon would not be for the benefit of the national government, it would be to strengthen groups like Hezbollah, which both undermine the sovereignty of Lebanon itself but also pose a tremendous security risk to the region as a whole."
Iran 'took over' Lebanese security
It was Lebanese-based Iranian Revolutionary Guard units and the Hezbollah-militia that assumed security control for Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's visit yesterday to Lebanon, according to a senior Lebanese politician.
"The Lebanese Army was just the cover for Iranian Guards based in Lebanon and for Hezbollah, which both assumed full security control for Ahmadinejad," said the politician, speaking on condition of anonymity.
"This shows how Iran can take over Lebanon's security when needed," he said.
The purported security coordination may be the latest sign of widening Iranian and Syrian influence over Lebanon, whose pro-democracy leadership recently had hoped to orient the country toward the West.
Another sign is Ahmadinejad's visit itself, which was clearly aimed at consolidating Iranian control over Lebanon and proving U.S. influence in the region is on the decline.
Ahmadinejad: Lebanon a school of Jihad
Hezbollah holds mass rally in honor of visiting Iranian president. Ahmadinejad says Lebanon is ' example and school for unwavering resistance to the world's tyrants'; adds both nations oppose 'crimes of Zionist enemy'
The Iranian leader wasted no time in attacking Israel for violating the Palestinians' rights: "Do you see anything but crimes in the past actions of the Zionist regime? The massacre of innocent people, the use of weapons, razing homes, confiscating medicine, food and water, attacking civilians in international waters and threatening the world is an everyday occurrence for them."
The West, he added, considers Israel "means of dominating the world," and to that end it has given it nuclear weapons.
I always seek "the bottom line" in these situations, and here it is:
"There is negative talk in the Middle East about the Iranian plan, and they are planning to counter it, but I can testify – the Iranians want the same thing as the Palestinians," Nasrallah – speaking from his bunker – told the masses attending the rally.
"The Iranian and Palestinian plan is to see all the land, from river to sea, return to its owners. This was Khomeini's stand and Ahmadinejad said as much in his UN address – Israel is not a legitimate country. As for Lebanon, they want it to be a liberated, respectable country."
We support the Palestinian refugees return to their conquered land and the bitter fights against Zionist aggression."
Jerusalem also harshly criticized the visit, saying that Ahmadinejad's visit to Lebanon "illustrates how Lebanon has turned into a, Iranian satellite nation, thus joining the axis of radical countries which oppose the peace process and support terror."
That says it all, and basically summarizes Ahmadinejad's stance:
"The Iranian plan is to see all land, from river to sea, return to its owners."
"Israel is not a legitimate country."
"We support...the bitter fights against Zionist aggression."
There it is. The bottom line: Its all about the destruction of Israel and consolidating an anti-Israel coalition. Ahmadinejad is doing everything in his power to accomplish this - after all, he is awaiting the return of the Mahdi and only through massive violence in the Middle East can this occur - at least according to his view of Islamic prophecy.
The question now becomes - "What is his next move?"