Sun, Jan 23, 2011 | The Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center
Iran’s Conservative Press Blames West for Political Crisis in Lebanon
Iran’s conservative press blamed Western countries for the political crisis in Lebanon, saying they derailed the Syrian-Saudi initiative which attempted to find a solution to the issue of the publication of the international tribunal report on the assassination of Rafik Hariri.
A Keyhan editorial published early this week said that after the establishment of the Lebanese government with Hezbollah, the Americans believed that the developments in Lebanon served the interests of the resistance front: Iran, Syria, and Hezbollah. Following the establishment of the government, the U.S. lost its status in Lebanon and saw in the ruling of the international tribunal on the issue of Hariri’s assassination an opportunity to influence the internal situation in Lebanon. It was the Americans’ assessment that following the ruling, Hezbollah would have to give up its arms, at the very least. However, the organization was not willing to play by the rules set by the U.S. and Israel and pulled the rug from under the Americans by disbanding the Lebanese government.
The daily claimed that Hariri could not have acted on his own and was pressured by the Americans, who made the decisions for him. The daily assessed that the establishment of a new government would take a long time and that the March 14 faction would eventually have to agree to concessions in exchange for the establishment of a new government. The first concession would likely be the nomination of a candidate other than Saad Hariri for prime minister. According to Keyhan, now that the government has been dismissed, the issue of establishing a new government has knocked off the issue of the international tribunal from the top of the Lebanese agenda. This development tilts the situation in favor of the “resistance”, and the March 14 faction will have to fight for something it had up to several days ago. This proves the stupidity of the path followed by the U.S., Israel, and their allies (Keyhan, January 15).
The conservative daily Iran also blamed the West, led by the U.S. and France, for the crisis in Lebanon and accused them of derailing the efforts to find a peaceful solution to the latest crisis. It was the intervention of the West and the pressure exerted by the U.S. and France on Saad Hariri to accept the decision of the international tribunal that led to the fall of his government and thwarted the understandings achieved between Lebanon, Syria, and Saudi Arabia. The West is concerned about the possibility of Lebanon’s balance of power tilting in favor of the resistance faction, and is unwilling to face the reality that emerged following Israel’s defeat in the second Lebanon war or acknowledge the weakening of its allies in Lebanon. Western countries are trying to create a new reality in Lebanon, which the U.S. and Britain would then be able to use in order to hit the “resistance” and Iran (Iran, January 15).
Tehran Emrouz, a daily affiliated with Tehran’s Mayor Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf, also laid the blame for the current crisis in Lebanon on Western governments. The political regime in Lebanon, the daily claimed, was based on the will of the people, not on the will of the rulers. Israel with its regional and international allies sought to use the international tribunal to implicate Hezbollah in Hariri’s murder and thus alienate the Lebanese people from Hezbollah and hit that organization. The daily accused the West of allegedly supporting democracy in Middle Eastern Arab countries whose regimes serve Western interests while challenging the people’s choice where Western interests contradict democratic elections. Western governments are interested in creating in Lebanon a political structure similar to that which exists in most Arab countries, whose rulers pay no heed to the people’s wishes and allow Western hegemony to continue.
The secession of Hezbollah and its allies from the government reflects the Lebanese people’s wishes, says a Tehran Emrouz commentary article, and the international community cannot preserve Israel’s interests using the same methods it employs in most Arab countries in the region. Considering the political conditions in Lebanon, ignoring Hezbollah’s prominent sociopolitical role in Lebanon’s balance of power would be a strategic mistake that would result in a new crisis in the Middle East (Tehran Emrouz, January 15).