Report #: 1,031
18 October '10
Secretary of State Clinton spoke of Lebanon from Bosnia without apparent irony. "The United States supports the integrity and sovereignty of Lebanon. We reject any efforts to destabilize or inflame tensions within Lebanon," she said, according to the BBC. "We would hope that no visitor would do anything or say anything that would give cause to greater tension or instability in that country." "We" who supported the devolution of Yugoslavia into its ethnic parts and now support the independence of Kosovo on the grounds that it is (primarily) Muslim and therefore cannot be expected to be part of Serbia, which is (primarily) Orthodox Christian.
The Obama administration wants to restore $100 million in military aid to Lebanon's army that Congress suspended over concerns it could be used to target Israel. A senior U.S. official said a review concluded that resuming the aid was in the interest of U.S. security and Middle East stability. And Lebanese unity as well, we assume.
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad also wants a unified Lebanon and he appears close to having one on his terms. The most striking part of his visit there was not the usual, but nonetheless disconcerting, claim that, "Grounds are being prepared for the Zionist regime to go to hell" but that his war cry came:
After he shook hands with Lebanon's Sunni Prime Minister Saad Hariri, who is under enormous pressure to pull out of the UN tribunal investigating his father's murder, mainly because the tribunal is focused on Hezbollah and Syria.
After he stood with Lebanon's Christian President Michael Suleiman and said, "We seek a unified, modern Lebanon, and we stand by the Lebanese government and people."
After tens of thousands of Lebanese turned out to greet Ahmadinejad's motorcade, cheering enthusiastically about the billions of dollars Iran has spent in the south and calling him, "our president." Shades of Austria circa 1938.
(Read full report)
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