Ahmadinejad Pledges to Protect Lebanon

On Wednesday, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad addressed large and adoring crowds in the southern Shiite suburbs of Beirut, which had been intensively bombed by Israeli fighter jets in summer 2006, and then subsequently rebuilt, in part with Iranian aid. Ahmadinejad pledged that Iran will support Lebanon in any future case of aggression against the small Levantine state of 4 million persons.

Americans who are surprised at Lebanese appreciation of Iran should remember that when the Israel-Hizbullah war broke out in summer 2006, the Bush administration initially actively opposed a ceasefire that could have saved hundreds of Lebanese civilian lives and could have spared billions of dollars in infrastructure. When someone is being intensively bombarded from the air and you attempt to put off a ceasefire, you are not a friend of the country being bombed.

Reuters has video on Ahmadinejad in Beirut:

Member of the Israeli parliament or Knesset, Aryeh Eldad, called Wednesday for Ahmadinejad to be assassinated, likening such an act to killing Hitler in 1928.

Eldad said, “If the Iranian President were in the Israeli army’s line of fire the day he chooses to throw rocks against Israel then he should not be allowed to return home alive.”

Israel’s vice premier, Silvan Shalom, distanced himself from Eldad’s remarks, saying that Israel does not kill heads of state.

The USG Open Source Center translates or transcribes other reactions from Israel:

Israeli Sources Comment on Lebanon Visit; MK: IDF Should Kill Ahmadinezhad
Israel — OSC Summary
Wednesday, October 13, 2010 …

PM Bureau Source: Ahmadinezhad Visit Completes Lebanon’s Transformation Into Iran Protectorate. Nir Yahav reports in Tel Aviv Walla! in Hebrew, website of leading news service, at 1515 GMT: “‘Ahmadinezhad’s visit to Lebanon completes the process of Lebanon’s transformation into an Iranian protectorate,’ a senior prime minister’s bureau source said today in reaction to the Iranian president’s visit to Lebanon. The source added that ‘Lebanon has thereby joined the axis of radical states that oppose the peace process and support terrorism. The Iranian president is there in the capacity of a supreme commander reviewing his troops, the Hizballah terrorists, who are Iran’s military arm in the region.

“Netanyahu’s bureau sources further said that ‘anyone concerned about peace and freedom should be worried about Iran’s brazen display of power. Lebanon, which has the right to peace and prosperity, has become the Iranian aggressor’s lackey.’” …

Deputy Minister, Mayors Fly Balloons on Border, Protest Ahmadinezhad’s ‘Warmongering’ the Jerusalem Channel 1 Television Online in English reports at 1126 GMT: “Several dozen people demonstrated near the northern border in Metula to protest Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s visit in Lebanon. Ynet reports that Knesset member Ayoub Kara (Likud) was among the demonstrators. He called on the Lebanese people to prevent an Iranian takeover of their country.”

Walla! further reports at 1138 GMT: “In anticipation of the Iranian president’s arrival in Lebanon, Israeli mayors came to the Fatma Gate (near the Lebanese border) to fly blue and white balloons in the air. Deputy Minister Ayyub Qara, who participated in the event, said: ‘The world should remember that the state was established following 2,000 years the Jews spent in the diasporah.’

10 Responses

  1. Americans who are surprised at Lebanese appreciation of Iran should remember that when the Israel-Hizbullah war broke out in summer 2006, the Bush administration initially actively opposed a ceasefire that could have saved hundreds of Lebanese civilian lives and could have spared billions of dollars in infrastructure. When someone is being intensively bombarded from the air and you attempt to put off a ceasefire, you are not a friend of the country being bombed.

    How about selling the bombs and the aircraft to Israel in the first place? Or how about rushing more bombs to the Israelis so that they don’t run out and can keep on bombing everything in sight and can keep on killing civilians. Then there’s that little comment about how all those dead Lebanese were part of the “birth pangs of the new Middle East”

    Do those count as being even more unfriendly than America’s efforts to put off the ceasefire?

  2. Slightly off tangent. LONG LIVE THE INTERNET

    Yesterday Sky News, BBC (all channels) and CNN subjected us non-stop to the Chilean Miners extractions. Don’t get me wrong I did follow this story and I wanted to know its outcome, but non stop – come on !!! especially when it eclipsed completely the visit and speech of Ahmadinejad.

    Thanks Prof. for your work.

  3. Has anyone translated the full text of Ahmadinejad’s Lebanon speeches? For example the Open Source Group?

    If the text is available anywhere I’d very much appreciate it being made accessible or a link to it if it is already accessible.

  4. That’s all well and good but I’m deeply bothered by this very public display of Iranian support for Lebanon. Under the radar support is bad enough as it is. I’m a christian Lebanese which is why I’m so conflicted about this whole business of Iranian support to Hezbollah who are wreaking havoc in local politics. The Lebanese State, if ever there was one, has become hostage to Hezbollah’s power and is unable to govern or even run the country’s daily affairs. Hezbollah is a state within a state, with it’s own military, telecommunications, media, and all the trappings of power. Hezbollah has indeed fought to protect Lebanon’s integrity against Israel’s onslaught and I will not take this away from them, but enough is enough already.

  5. Just thought id share what Debka file wrote.. sickening comparison.

    The Netanyahu government chose silence in the face of the imperialist Shiite energy Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad exuded in his all-conquering visit to Lebanon. On his first day in Beirut he showed the world that Tehran calls the shots in Beirut – and that would be just for starters. debkafile’s sources find in Israel’s inaction today a regrettable analogy with the British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain’s handover of Czechoslovak Sudetenland to Germany in 1938 so ushering in World War II.

  6. Prof. Cole,

    Any comment on Ahmadinejad’s explicit call for the destruction of Israel? In the past you’ve suggested he doesn’t really say such things; this time it seems a bit hard to deny, don’t you think?

    • Hi, Yaacov. What I said was that Ahmadinejad hasn’t threatened to kill any Israelis, roll tanks against Israel, etc., which the invented mistranslation ‘wipe Israel off the map’ implies. He does want a collapse of what he calls the Zionist regime, on the analogy (for him) of the collapse of the Soviet Union, and some odd form of the one-state solution. But he also says that if the Palestinians accept a two-state solution, he will too.

      Ahmadinejad is a quirky character and doesn’t make military policy. I wouldn’t pay too much attention to what he says. But if the Israelis would like to have Iran stop intervening in Levantine affairs, it could best accomplish that goal by moving quickly to a two-state solution and relinquishing its illegally occupied territories from 1967.

  7. Sensa, as a Christian Lebanese, do you think Iranian support for Hezbollah’s protecting Lebanon from Israel is likely ever to be so atrocious in its manifestations as Israel’s support of Lebanese Christian onslaught against Palestinian refugees in Lebanon? Cf. link to en.wikipedia.org

    • Frank LeFever, No, never. But Lebanon urgently needs to move on if it ever hopes to keep its 10,000 sq Kms on the map. The Christian militias stood down and disarmed after the Taef accords. Many of their members joined the army. Hezbollah needs to do the same and let the Lebanese army handle Israel. Iran should be supporting the latter, not the former against the latter.

  8. “Ahmadinejad is a quirky character and doesn’t make military policy. I wouldn’t pay too much attention to what he says”

    I don’t understand why he shouldn’t be paid any attention. cause he’s quirky?

    Why was he put in power by force, during the election?
    why is he sent to the UN to speak?
    why is he permitted to go to and speak in Lebanon, and other countries?

    Iran is not a democracy. He is the public spokesperson around the world for whoever it is that rules. They must in general, approve of what he says.

    I do not understand why you say we shouldn’t pay attention to him.

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