Welcome to the Middle East Today

The Middle East has traditionally been important for the world economy. The Middle East situation today has an impact on all aspects of life in America and much of the world.

Only by understanding the motivations of the various factions in the Middle East can we hope to understand how to promote peace and national security for Middle Eastern nations, Europe, and the United States.

Oct 21, 2010

The Iranian President’s Visit to Lebanon

The recent visit of Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to Lebanon has created tensions among some Arab states and created an ill feeling in the White House and the state of Israel.

First of all, Ahmadinejad was invited by the Lebanese head of state Mr. M. Suliman, and he received an impressive welcome by the majority of the Lebanese people. The Iranian president visited southern Lebanon, where Israeli bombardment caused extensive physical and human damages. Iran helped Lebanon financially to repair the damage caused during the Israeli invasion in 2006. At the time, President Bush was the power behind the Israeli attack of Lebanon. The irony is the fact that many American politicians have failed to learn a lesson from their previous mistakes. As a result of that, the image of the U.S. in the Middle East in general and the Arab world in particular has dropped to the lowest level since World War II.

Second, some of the Arab states, in particular, Egypt and Saudi Arabia, were not happy about the visit of the Iranian president to Lebanon. The leadership of both states are puppets for the U.S. government, which is under Israel’s thumb. Regardless, the U.S. government policy in the Arab world is usually implemented by the political leaderships that have failed to learn from previous experiences. American foreign policy in the Arab world has been nothing but a disaster since the end of World War II. Furthermore, American foreign policy in the Middle East is shaped and influenced by the Israeli government. The U.S. and Israel’s governments have launched a campaign against Iran to prevent it from achieving its nuclear development program. Second, the Iranian, as well as the Turkish government has taken a stand in support of the Palestinians, unlike the majority of the Arab states. Such a policy did not sit well with the U.S. government, which is under the illusion that Western colonialism is their best approach to dominate the region.

The Iranian president’s visit to Lebanon threatens and weakens American influence in Lebanon. Also, it boosts the power and influence of Hezbollah, who is enemy number one to Israel. The Israeli Haaretz newspaper reported that, “Israel had asked the United States, France and the United Nations to pass on the message that it viewed Mr. Ahmadinejad’s planned visit to southern Lebanon as a provocation” (New York Times, 10/14/2010). Since the Iranian president was officially invited by the Lebanese president, Israel’s objections to that visit reflect its military arrogance. Furthermore, Hezbollah’s hostility against Israel is attributed to Israeli occupation of part of southern Lebanon. Hezbollah has stated publicly that they will continue to resist Israeli occupation until Israel leaves Lebanon.

The Western powers have, for hundreds of years, been applying the concept of “divide and conquer”. As an example, the Sunni vs. Shi’a conflict has been cultivated and encouraged by Western powers and their puppet regimes in the Middle East. When Iran extended its help to Lebanon or to the Palestinians, it is referred to as an Iranian extension of Shi’a religious influences on the Arab world. This was well played, especially in Lebanon, whose political structure is based on sectarianism. The Lebanese Shi’a are the largest group in the country, but they don’t have equal representation in terms of their population size.

Another factor that also enhanced Iran’s influence in some Arab states, in particular, Lebanon and Iraq, is the absence of Arab political leadership in the region. Since President Saddat signed a peace treaty with Israel (1970s), Egypt’s influential role in the region began to shrink, especially in the Arab world. Saddat was under the illusion of President Jimmy Carter’s promises to help Egypt build its economy. Such promises never materialized. Another factor that also contributed to the political vacuum in the Arab world is the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in the 1990s. This led to the U.S. Gulf invasion in 1991. That invasion also received the support of Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Syria. Furthermore, the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003 dealt a blow to the Arab world. That invasion took place under an American policy of deception, which left Iraq in ruin. The American invasion put Iraq on a silver platter that was handed to Iran. President Bush should be prosecuted for this mistake. Another winner in the invasion of Iraq is Israel. Bush publicly stated that the invasion made Israel safer.

One disaster after another in the Arab world illuminated its political influence at both the regional and global levels.

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