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The World Speaks in ‘Persian’! - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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In Lebanon’s bizarre political climate, surprises and wonders continue to reign. Here we see the Saudi ambassador to Lebanon [Abdulaziz Khoja] fleeing Lebanon following serious threats that endangered his life. He is known to be the most active figure amidst all the Lebanese parties.

Meanwhile, Lebanese TV presenter Sawsan Safa Darwish, infamously known for her slip of the tongue when she inadvertently said into an open mic that she wished Ahmed Fatfat (Lebanese anti-Syrian minister) would be assassinated next, is back in her job as though nothing had happened. Darwish resumed her job at the National Broadcasting Network (NBN), despite the fact that the channel is owned by the speaker of the Lebanese parliament [Nabih Berri].

And yet, there is a new morose addition to the sequence of Iranian intervention in Lebanon. The staggering funds flooding in from Iran to Hezbollah, designated for the purchase of land and property in unprecedented volumes, are no longer a secret. In fact, it has become the central subject of discussion between politicians and the parties concerned with real estate. However, the astounding fact is that the properties that have been purchased predominantly form a block that blatantly covers the south and the Bekaa Valley, enabling the party to own the largest portion of land in the area that lies adjacent to the Syrian border.

But this recent discovery is not the latest in a series of marvels; according to the news, the Lebanese government has detected an undeclared third mobile network that is fully owned by Hezbollah. The network operates separately from the state and the concerned ministry in question.

As for the calculated and strategic expansion in the land, it can be attributed to Iran’s desire to coordinate between the areas where it dominates in a manner that is geographically consistent. Iran seeks to become influential in southern Lebanon, the Bekaa Valley, Syria and southern Iraq so that these areas can almost become connected to Iran itself. This all conveys the practical implementation of the ‘unfertile crescent’ plan, which has been the center of its talks for quite some time.

Regarding the mobile network, it is a way of ensuring the endurance of the notion of a ‘state within the state’, which has been adopted by Hezbollah for a significant period of time. Needless to state the obvious, this act is aimed at weakening the central state and violating its laws.

The premise that upholds that Iran is the advocator and protector of the resistance has practically shifted into something else, whilst new boundaries are being marked on the ground. While Beirut had been divided during black times into an eastern and western side separated by the ‘green line’ [the verdant no mans land that divided both sides during the Civil War], the world is now witnessing new lines being marked on the ground to separate the south and Bekka region from the rest of the country.

Distracting people with the liberation of the Shebaa Farms while dramatic transformations are taking place in the south and the Bekka Valley area is both alarming and frightening to say the very least. The intense Iranian presence in the media and cultural arena is gaining power, along with the increased geographical and demographic changes taking place in Lebanon’s south.

What is yet to come will be significantly more bewildering – await successive events without a break!

Hussein Shobokshi

Hussein Shobokshi

Hussein Shobokshi is a businessman and prominent columnist. Mr. Shobokshi hosts the weekly current affairs program Al-Takreer on Al-Arabiya, and in 1995 he was chosen as one of the "Global Leaders for Tomorrow" by the World Economic Forum. He received his BA in Political Science and Management from the University of Tulsa.

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