Remember that Lebanon was called the Mediterranean Switzerland not very long ago… Ahmadinejad’s Deadly Triumph in Lebanon | FrontPage Magazine
Efraim Inbar, director of the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies in Tel Aviv, summed up the significance of Ahmadinejad’s visit:
The important issue is that we see another step in the ‘Hezbollah-ization’ of Lebanon…Lebanon is further losing its independence and Hezbollah is taking over, with Ahmadinejad encouraging these forces and signaling to the whole Middle East that Lebanon is becoming an Iranian protectorate.
Buttressing the idea that Lebanon has become a virtual client state of Iran were remarks made by Ahmadinejad during the frenetic rally held in southern Lebanon in Bint Jbeil. Hezbollah has made that little town a “symbol of the resistance,” promoting the legend of Hezbollah’s victory during the 2006 war with Israel.
During his speech, Ahmadinejad jumped feet first into the crisis currently roiling politics in Lebanon; the so-called “false witnesses” issue relating to the UN’s Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL). In a nutshell, the UN has been investigating the assassination in 2005 of Rafiq Hariri, former prime minister and father of current PM Said Hariri. The first report on the investigation issued in 2005 by then-prosecutor Detlev Mehlis, implicated high-level Syrian officials in the murders, including President Assad’s brother in law.
But over the years, some witnesses have recanted (they were clearly intimidated), others murdered, and the UN walked back from its initial findings of Syrian involvement. Also, four prominent Lebanese generals who had been jailed until last year, were released because of questionable eyewitness testimony. It is impossible to say at this point how much pressure was placed on key witnesses to change their testimony and whether there really were “false witnesses” in the case.