Love-hate triangle: Syria, Iran, & Lebanon

Is Lebanon about ready to collapse? Awaiting the outcome of the tribunal examining the 2005 assassination of then Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq al-Hariri, some observers see a potential conflagration in that country if Hezbollah feels they’ve been put on the spot by being held responsible for the murder. Will Hezbollah use the occasion to assert complete control of the state? Will Syria take occasion to reassert the control it had largely relinquished the year of the assassination? Syrian dictator Bashar Assad is reported to have recently made aggressive statements to that effect. And what about Iran?

In case no one has noticed, I have used this blog more as a soap box than a platform for in-depth analysis, but sometimes that’s just not enough. I thank blogger IsraeliGirl for publishing an interview a couple of weeks ago with Lebanon expert Dr. Omri Nir of Tel Aviv University, Hebrew University and Ben Gurion University. As you might surmise, the interview covers the landscape in considerably greater detail than I am able to here. If I would dare begin to summarize Dr. Nir, I might say something about Iran having created Hezbollah nearly thirty years ago to serve a relatively straightforward purpose (to export the Islamic revolution to Lebanon), but that since that time Hezbollah has morphed into a hybrid creature, partly its own, partly Iran’s, partly Lebanon’s and maybe partly Syria’s, but not really anybody’s. Armed and aimless, and all the more dangerous. And unpredictable.

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While we’re discussing Iran, we have to wonder how it can think it has the energy to run matters in Lebanon or anywhere else when it is having to batten down the hatches at home. The West is well aware of the pressures from within forced by the street revolts following the 2009 elections; we might not be so well acquainted with the troubles Iran faces from internal jihad. (Yes, Virginia, there are Islamists who do not feel that the Islamic Republic is Islamist enough. It’s never enough for these folks. There were also published reports recently of a “terrorist attack” at an important Iranian missle base. Evidence suggests that it was not a terrorist attack at all—that Iran’s claim is merely an attempt to deflect attention from what may be the real cause of the blasts, like, say, maybe an Israeli sabotage hit. We won’t go there.)

But it’s apparently worse than that. The latest reports indicate that Iran feels it necessary to take aggressive action against the threats posed by such horrible things as the university-level study of law, management and human rights, not to mention the arts, cinema, music and books. It’s that bad. Read the details in IsraeliGirl’s report on the subject. “If a regime change will happen in Iran it will come from within,” she says. Or, if I may say, by books not bombs. If Stuxnet doesn’t do it, maybe social studies will.

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Bushher_gets_loaded_maybe_RS All right, since I brought up Stuxnet – a report two days ago indicated Iran’s scientists have fixed the problem and have begun loading the Bushehr reactor. I’m still not so sure. I mean, if it really was Israeli cyber sabotage, I suspect it won’t be that easy to stop them. Then again, while all fingers were pointing at Israel, Israel was saying, “Who, me?” As I keep saying, we’ll see.

See you around,

lineman

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