Saturday, May 10, 2008

Beirut as Seen from Tehran

On Saturday, hours before the Hezbollah agreed to withdraw its gunmen from the streets of Beirut, Keyhan’s headline read, “Beirut in Control of Lebanon’s Sons.” Keyhan is Tehran’s influential conservative daily.

Hezbollah’s seizure of Beirut received prominent coverage in Iranian media. Hassan Nasrallah's news conference was broadcast live on all major TV stations.

The press was highly critical of Prime Minister Siniora and his government. Druze leader Walid Jumblatt, a staunch Siniora ally, was seen as the man who actually pulls the strings, the man who pushed through the government’s recent anti-Hezbollah decrees that led to the uprising.

The US was seen as the architect of the government’s decrees, wanting the resumption of the civil war in the country, presumably to pave the way for an Israeli attack on Lebanon.

The Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Mohammad Ali Hosseini blamed US and Israeli “adventurism” for the chaos, “US and Israeli irresponsible interferences in Lebanon's internal affairs is the root cause for the ongoing political crisis and chaotic conditions there.”

And there are many government officials who can not hide their pleasure of seeing Hezbollah’s de facto takeover of the country. Added to the situation in Basra and Gaza, Iran’s influence in the Arab World has never been seen to be as high.

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