Imagine your father was murdered and five years later the man that sent his killers pays you a visit.
You let him in because you fear the consequences if you don’t. Additionally, you see tens of thousands of this man’s supporters lining the roads and cheering his arrival.
This was the tragic fate of Saad Hariri, Lebanon’s Prime Minister, last week when President Ahmadinejad visited Lebanon.
As one former Lebanese Sunni MP put it: “This wasn’t a visit to Lebanon but a visit to Hizbollah”.
While there Ahmadinejad called Lebanon a “university of jihad” and said that both Iran and Lebanon have much in common, primarily their war with Israel.
I am sure that Iran and Lebanon have far more to their national identity than enmity torwards Israel, not that Ahmadinejad makes it appear so when he speaks.
But there is no war between Lebanon and Israel. The problem is purely Iran.
The Times reported that before Ahmadinejad’s visit a group of 250 politicians, activists, journalists, doctors and teachers in an open letter called on Ahmadinejad to stop meddling in Lebanese affairs and end the financial and military support for Hezbollah:
“Your talk of ‘changing the face of the region starting with Lebanon’ and wiping Israel off the map through the force of the Islamic Resistance in Lebanon gives the impression that your visit is that of a high commander visiting his front line”.
It seems certain that the United Nations is about to hold Hizbollah and Syria responsible for the murder of Lebanon’s then Prime Minister Rafik Hariri in 2005 and issue indictments.
Both Hizbollah and Iran have previous including deadly bombings of the Israeli Embassy and a Jewish Community centre in Argentina in 1992 and 1994 respectively. Over 100 dead.
Then there were the 1983 deadly truck bombings that destroyed the American Embassy, the headquarters of the US marines and that of the french paratroopers all in Beirut. Nearly 400 dead.
It was Hizbollah that in 2006 that started the Second Lebanon war when it ambushed Israeli troops inside Israel killing seven and kidnapping two.
The remains of Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev, were later returned in exchange for the freedom of child-killer Samir Kuntar.
Even now Hizbollah still controls the whole of southern Lebanon and has 40,000 rockets at its disposal. It has relatively easy access to Israel’s northern border.
The UN troops are no match for Hizbollah and would never fire on them anyway.
Meanwhile, Ahmadinejad continues to pour millions of pounds of reconstruction aid into southern Lebanon after that war, money that could be spent on the suffering Iranian economy. Building a nuclear bomb drains the economy even more.
Not that Ahmadinejad cares much for his own people judging by his treatment of many of them.
And it is still a mystery why thousands of Lebanese people would want to line the streets to cheer a deadly and proven misogynist, homophobe and anti-Semite who has helped tear his own country apart.
Car bombs are already exploding in Lebanon on the eve of the UN’s report into the murder of Hariri as the scent of civil war is in the air yet again .
And Syria has issued arrest warrants against those it accuses of complying with the UN investigation.
However much Ahmadinejad paints a picture of harmony between Iran and Lebanon, there is none. Syria and Iran are resuming their old ways and cannot leave Lebanon alone.
Controlling Lebanon is the route to war with Israel and so to distract the Iranian people from their own troubles and the world from Iran’s progression towards the bomb.
King Hussein of Jordan once had a similar problem. The PLO was fighting to take over Jordan but in 1970 he crushed the Palestinian resistance and expelled the PLO to Lebanon.
This time, backed by Iran, Hizbollah is in Lebanon to stay.
Meanwhile, another war between Iran and Israel, via Hizbollah, looms but at least four years on the world knows the true nature of Hizbollah’s main backer.
(the Elder of Ziyon has a funny story about the gun in the above photo – thanks to Silke)