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Contrary to everything that is being said today about the Iranian president’s visit to Lebanon, I believe that this is an important visit that will contribute to raising awareness – which is absent – in Lebanon and the region to the reality of Hezbollah and its subservience to Tehran, and the danger of following Iranian slogans.

Hezbollah is today welcoming a man that is opposed by half the people of Iran, and criticized by the Iranian conservatives more than the reformists due to the deteriorating economic conditions in his country, and the clear collapse of Iranian diplomacy, whether this is regionally or at an international level. Nasrallah – a man who is trying with all of his strength to squash the investigation into Rafik Hariri’s death and who has excelled at corrupting the entire political process in Lebanon – is welcoming Ahmadinejad – a man who shares similar tendencies with him which is something that can be seen by looking at Palestine, Iraq, Lebanon, or even Iran – to Lebanon today. He is welcoming a guest that shares his hostility towards almost all Arab countries and the international community. Therefore, the best description that I have heard of this meeting between Nasrallah and Ahmadinejad is what a Lebanese figure told me, describing this meeting as being “the meeting of the men wanted for justice” and these two figures are indeed both wanted for justice; whether this is the justice of the international community, or internally, whether this is Iran or Lebanon.

It is true that some believe that Ahmadinejad’s visit will only serve to intensify the sectarian crisis in Lebanon and the region at large, however as “every cloud has a silver lining” this visit will also help to divide the lines, and show which side Hezbollah stands on, as well as where Iran and it’s Wilayat al-Faqih [Guardianship of the Jurists] stands. Many among us – in Lebanon, and the region at large – were deceived by Hezbollah and Iran, and this was due to false slogans utilized by a misleading propaganda machine, Arab states with narrow vision, and opportunistic – Islamist and non-Islamist – parties; therefore Ahmadinejad’s visit will help to distinguish positions clearly.

When we say that some of the people among us were deceived, this is true, and the proof of this can be seen in the shock that shook the Arab world, and particularly Lebanon, on the day that Hezbollah occupied some Sunni districts in Beirut, as well as the shock when Nasrallah came out to attack Egypt, or when he boasted that he was a follower of the “Wilayat al-Faqih party.” I remember that on that day, a former Iranian official who remains influential till this day was visiting my office, and pointing to the headline “Hassan Nasrallah: I am Proud to be a Member of the Party of Wilayat al-Faqih” in that day’s (23 May 2008) edition of Asharq Al-Awsat, he told me “you have lured him into a trap…this is a mistake of a lifetime for Nasrallah!”

Therefore, many in the region, both countries and individuals, occasionally need to be shocked in order to see what is being plotted against them, and Ahmadinejad’s visit is one such beneficial shock. For this will help the Lebanese and Arabs to clear their vision and see the danger that Hezbollah’s subservience to Iran represents to Lebanon; this visit will also help the Lebanese, and particularly the Shiite intellectuals, to begin debating the danger of Lebanon being abducted by Iran.

In summary, Ahmadinejad’s visit to Lebanon has resulted in everybody showing their cards, and this is good and beneficial!

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed is the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat. Mr. Alhomyed has been a guest analyst and commentator on numerous news and current affair programs, and during his distinguished career has held numerous positions at Asharq Al-Awsat, amongst other newspapers. Notably, he was the first journalist to interview Osama Bin Ladin's mother. Mr. Alhomayed holds a bachelor's degree in media studies from King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah. He is based in London.

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