|The Boss is in town|
"All pretty tame you might think," says the editorial remarking on, "Ahmadinejad's speech delivered during a lunch at the Presidential Palace in Baabda on the day he arrived when he spoke of the, 'Deep-rooted historical and cultural relations between Iran and Lebanon.'
"But that was just a warm up for the main event, staged in Beirut’s southern suburb on Wednesday night, when Ahmedinajad addressed legions of adoring followers. It was clear from the crowd’s reaction that the Iranian president was more than just a visiting head of state and he knew it. Here was a man checking on his investment," or like a landlord checking on his domain as an Israeli spokesman said, "and his speech was nothing short of a rallying to arms for the decades-old struggle with Israel and an unashamed show of support for his allies in Hezbollah who may or may not be indicted by the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL), the court established to bring to justice the killers of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri and other victims of political terror."
He sidelined Hariri's pathetic son Saad, the current Prime Minister: "...the main event, which was hosted by Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah – a man who holds no public office – was nothing short of a snub to the Lebanese people and a clear indication from the Iranian leader as to whom he sees as the most influential man in Lebanon.""
From the NY Times we have a surprisingly ironic news story by Robert Worth. It seems no one can keep from satirizing this man, but he is a star with a gigantic following. The more idiotic he seems to us, to more beloved he is in the ME :
Quoting what Uzi Landau, the minister of national infrastructure, told Israel Radio, “The lesson we should learn from Ahmadinejad’s visit is that Iran is on the northern border of Israel," Worth comes full circle with the words of one of the crowd welcoming Ahmadinejad in Southern Lebanon, “It’s a historic day,” said Hussein Awada ... “We have Ahmadinejad on the border of Palestine. Yes, this is Palestine, not Israel, and God willing, Israel will soon vanish with the blessing of this man.”
Lebanon's Shiites are thrilled to have him, but what about everyone else? Is this visit going to reinforce Hezbollah's grip on Lebanon? Oh yeah. And how is Obama going to react to this? With a lecture, probably. I hope he doesn't take Flynt and Hillary Mann Levertt seriously in their belief that Ahmadinejad is deploying 'soft power' to win over Lebanon, when the threat, that Hezbollah would be ready to tear the country apart again, is his real 'selling' point.
*Postscript: As highlighted in Just Journalism today, my favorite Brit-gone-native-in-Lebanon reporter Robert Fisk of The Independent says this of the visit: "‘All in all, then, it’s a bit of propaganda, flagrant for the Israelis – who are waiting for next spring’s war with the Hezbollah – and a bit of propaganda for the Hizbollah, which is also waiting for next spring’s war with the Israelis.’"
I see: it's a flagrant bit of propaganda for Israel, but just a bit of propaganda for Hezbollah.