Back in the saddle after a prolonged bout with a very nasty bug. Here’s a piece posted today on FrontPage.com where I take a look at Iranian President Ahmadinejad’s triumphal visit to Lebanon and what it means for freedom and independence in that tiny country:
It would have been unthinkable just a couple of years ago: Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was welcomed in Lebanon on Wednesday for a visit that demonstrated just how far the Lebanese democracy has fallen and how fast the enemies of freedom have risen.
Ever since the Doha Agreement of 2008, in which Hezbollah achieved with guns what it couldn’t achieve with the ballot box, the arc of power and influence of the democratic “March 14th Alliance” has been waning. In Qatar, the Western-friendly coalition made up largely of Sunnis, Christians, and Druze reluctantly agreed to give the Hezbollah-led opposition enough cabinet ministers in government to give them veto power over the majority’s policies. In effect, the hard-won election of 2005 that had given the democrats nominal control was canceled, and the wolf was invited inside where he then proceeded to make himself at home.
Even the parliamentary elections last year that saw another victory by the March 14th coalition was eventually watered down as the “Spirit of Doha” and once again brought the Hezbollah opposition into a government partnership. The political motto of Lebanon — “No victors, no vanquished” — rings hollow today as Hezbollah has bullied and threatened its way to dominance.
There is no doubt that Hezbollah has reached the zenith of its power and influence in Lebanon. By demonstrating a willingness to press its advantages, as well as hold the specter of violence over the heads of the March 14th Alliance, the government now marches to the beat of Hezbollah’s drums. There is something pathetic in all of this if one considers the high hopes of the Lebanese people when the March 14th Alliance first took power in 2005. Since that time, compromise after compromise with the enemies of freedom have sapped the will to resist the constant pressure of Hezbollah and its Iranian masters. In the end, most of the leaders of the March 14th forces have either resigned to the inevitable or are maintaining a lower profile.
This is the backdrop of Ahmadinejad’s triumphal visit to Lebanon. With a newly confident and assertive Syria, and Lebanon’s Hezbollah in de facto control of the country, the minions of the Iranian president now present a united front against Israel and Western interests in the Levant.
I’ll probably have more on this over the weekend.