All entries for Saturday 29 July 2006

July 29, 2006

Should've seen it coming?

"Iran is omnipresent in Lebanon, not only with Hezbollah," said Ridwan al–Sayyid, an adviser to the prime minister and a professor of Islamic studies at Lebanese University. "They are strong, not like Syria, but they shape their presence in different ways. They are helping many, many organizations — Sunnis, Shias and Christians. They are benevolent." (March 2006)

"If there is an Iranian–American clash, it will be played out here," Ahmed Fatfat, the acting Lebanese interior minister (March 2006)

“Tehran and Damascus have strong incentives to turn Lebanon into a battleground to deflect attention from their own problems.” (Washington Times, February 2006)

Or a bolt out of the blue?

"There is without any doubt a growing Iranian influence not only in Lebanon but in the whole region," said Nassib Lahoud, a Maronite Christian who is a former ambassador to the United States and a legislator. "We are trying to build normal relations with everyone, and we refuse to turn Lebanon into a battlefield for regional and international powers." (March 2006)

"In the power vacuum left by the sudden withdrawal of Israeli troops and the flight of many of their allies in the South Lebanon Army, Hezbollah has started to operate in the south much as it does in the rest of Lebanon, as a kind of parallel government offering social services, development loans and reconstruction aid. Although it is still considered by the United States and other nations to be a terrorist group that bombed embassies and kidnapped Westerners in the 1980's with the help of radical patrons in Iran and Syria, Hezbollah has developed a different image in Lebanon… Sheik Nasrallah, who does not hold a government or parliamentary post, has acted deferential toward the official government, saying his organization has no intention of setting up a parallel or competing structure in the south." (NY Times, May 2000)


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