19 January 2011
Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad – whose regime is the main backer of the radical Shiite paramilitary group Hezbollah – has called on Israel, the United States and European nations to stop what he called meddling in Lebanon. “I tell the Zionists and the US ... be ashamed of your interference in Lebanon and be sure that the Lebanese and other nations in the region will chop off your dirty hands,” Ahmadinejad said on a Lebanese television broadcast from the Iranian city of Yazd. Addressing the US and Israel, he declared said: “Foreign interference has always made things more complicated and the Lebanese nation can manage by itself and with the help of its friends.”
The hard-line Iranian president said Lebanese officials were wise enough to be able to overcome the current political turmoil and “make the enemies feel ashamed.” Last week, Lebanon's national unity government, which included Hezbollah, collapsed following Prime Minister Saad Hariri's refusal to denounce a special United Nations tribunal which is probing the assassination of his father, Rafiq Hariri, in February 2005. It is widely expected that senior Hezbollah figures will be indicted for their involvement in the murder. There is even speculation that the killing was ordered by Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Hezbollah’s leader, Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, has warned in the past that the movement would “cut off the hands” of whoever tries to accuse “a single member” of the group in the Hariri murder.
Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia announced that it had abandoned efforts to mediate in Lebanon's political crisis, removing a key US ally from talks to ease tensions there. In an interview with the Saudi-owned television station 'al-Arabiya', Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal said Saudi King Abdullah had decided he is "withdrawing his hand" from Lebanon. He said the decision to pull out was made after the Saudi-Syrian contacts had collapsed, but did not elaborate. The withdrawal by Riyadh from mediation efforts is seen as a worrisome sign that the crisis may have reached a point whereby a diplomatic settlement can no longer be attained. It also leaves more room for maneuvering by Hezbollah's backers, Syria and Iran.
We welcome any comments you may have on this article.
Comments are moderated and we reserve the right to edit or remove any which are derogatory or offensive.
The WJC is not responsible for the content of any comments.
Subscribe to our newsletter.