Saturday, December 03, 2005

Khatami in Lebanon - what is he doing there???

As if things were not already complicated, Khatami has decided to drop by Beirut for a visit!!! The added complication in this case does not emerge from the fact that a former Iranian president is visiting Lebanon (for we are all aware of the fact that Iran plays a significant role in Lebanese political affairs). Rather, the complication emerges from Iranian politics itself!


In what capacity is Khatami visiting Lebanon?


He's definitely not a representative of Ahmadenijad the Terrible! I'm sure that if Khatami had his way, he'd throw that maniac into a jail cell that's no bigger than a functional toilet.


Could it be that Khatami is actually representing the United Nations?


The Lebanese press does not appear to mention that possibility, but a couple of days ago Khatami visited Spain as a commissioned member of the UN's "alliance of civilization" group. (One side note is that I find Khatami's role in the UN to be sweet irony, especially considering the rhetoric of Iran's current president and Hizballah, which mocks that body as nothing more than an appendage of The Big Satan).


Does his visit signal Hizballah's involvement in domestic Iranian politics?


Khatami did visit Fadlallah as well as Nasrallah. Fadlallah, as far as I am aware of, is known to have come out against Khomeini's philosophy of Willayat al Faqeeh (and consequently against the whole notion of the "Islamic Republic").

Moreover, a very interesting comment Khatami made during his visit was that we should not be surprised if we caught the Iranian and American governments talking about resolving certain crucial issues.

I'm not too sure how difficult it was for Hizballah's leadership to swallow that little slip of the tongue (if indeed, that is what it was).

And finally, what can we conclude from this visit?

Nothing! That is why my ostensibly ridiculous proposition that Khatami just wanted to drop by for a visit, may indeed be the most plausible one. Of course, I may be a little thick, or out of the loop. So, if anyone has any ideas, please throw them at us!

Update: According to Future TV, the Iranian Foreign Ministry (which was just purged by Ahmadenijad the Terrible) has declared unequivocally that there are no negotiations or discussions taking place between the Iranian and American governments. The statement also declared that Iraq's security is an internal Iraqi affair, not an Iranian or an American affair.

The Iranian clerical establishment, in my humble opinion, is suffering from an extreme bout of schizophrenia!

12 comments:

JoseyWales said...

TOTALLY UNRELATED:

Raja and Doha, any way or chance you could have your posts/blog relinked on OPEN LEBANON?

Would be nice.

Abu Kais said...

you have to e-mail them, I think. That's what I did when I started my blog.

Vox Populi - Agent Provocateur said...

I may be naive, but it's possible that's he's there to spread a message of tolerance.

Or am I being too innocent?

Vox Populi - Agent Provocateur said...

"Fadlallah, as far as I am aware of, is known to have come out against Khomeini's philosophy of Willayat al Faqeeh (and consequently against the whole notion of the "Islamic Republic")."

Fadlallah yes, but Nasrallah recognize the Vilayat el Faqeh. It is ironic that Hezbollah speaks about a first column when they formally recognize the authority of the Iranian guide.

Note that there is no consensus on this 'innovation' in Iran. The Najaf school is rather hostile to it. Many observers have predicited that sooner or later, a clash between Najaf and Qom is going to occur on this issue.

Vilayat el Faqeh is the basis of Khamenei's legitimacy. If it's going to be contested by Iraqi ayatollahs, the whole Iranian system could crumble.

Hassan said...

Raja,
Khatami is here to take part in a conference by the Musa Sadr center. It's in the Daily Star article you linked to.

Doha said...

joseywales, kais,

after our original blog's web address was taken by someone else and changed ours to lebanesebloggerS.blogspot.com, the person who runs OpenLebanon did not manage to adjust our link on the website. he just did today.

Abu Kais said...

Doha,

Welcome back to open lebanon. My blog, however, got taken out today. Not sure what happened but I sent the open lebanon person an e-mail.

Raja said...

Alas, 'tis a willing blindness that aflicted me Hassan, not merely a dull mind. The question of why Khatami rather than another prominent individual still stands though.

Raja said...

kais,

send me an e-mail (use address available in my profile)

Unfrozen Caveman Linguist said...

You might be interested to know that Stratfor has a similar read on the situation, but based on actual government-to-government relations (and not even this Khalilzad horseplay, although that is a recent manifestation). Their bottom line is that Iran is in Iraq for good, and there is nothing that the U.S. or anyone else can do about it. Hence, the U.S. is trying to find a context in which they can make the best of the situation - Iranian backdoor assistance on the insurgency in return for lenience on the nuclear issues. Apparently the Russians are deeply involved. Of course, Stratfor has been wrong before; they do seem to have excellent Russian sources, though, and if this came from them, then it might be credible.

programmer craig said...

I presume it's OK for an American to comment on issues that involve America?

Good.

It's not schizophrenia. It's a stall tactic, and a way to persuade their pro-American population that they (the regime) are interested in peace. That's all it's ever been. It's obvious, and it's been obvious since the talks first began. The Europeans only go along with it, because they are happy to give Iran wiggle room. The Europeans are not on America's side, in case you haven't noticed!? It's in their (Europe's) commercial interests to continue doing business with Iran, whether they build nukes or not. If China and Russia switched sides on the Iran issue (no chance in hell of that, but if they did) rest assured Germany and France would ALSO switch their positions, to continue to block any sort of *real* action. Does somebody really have to be American to see this obvious truth? I've been pointing out the nature of this silly game (on blogs) for over a year.

OK, so we have one last chance to change the Iranians minds. Fine. Another last chance. Or else, what? What will they do if we don't change their minds? Continue doing what they've never stopped doing? It's silliness. I'm glad the US is not participating in this farce.

unfrozen caveman said: "Their bottom line is that Iran is in Iraq for good, and there is nothing that the U.S. or anyone else can do about it."

There are always options. Iran is not immune to being destabilised. That's the normal response to situations like this.

"Hence, the U.S. is trying to find a context in which they can make the best of the situation - Iranian backdoor assistance on the insurgency in return for lenience on the nuclear issues."

That's not going to happen. That may be what the RUSSIANS are trying to negotiate, but it's an impossibilty. Have you forgotten that Russia and China are (commercial) allies of Iran? Why are you using Russian sources? The Russians are the ones who helped them START the nuclear program that's now under discussion!

"Apparently the Russians are deeply involved."

The Russians have been "deeply involved" in Iran since WW II. Iran was a heartbeat away from being on the other side of Iron Curtain during the early days of the Cold War.

"Of course, Stratfor has been wrong before; they do seem to have excellent Russian sources, though, and if this came from them, then it might be credible."

Russian sources are probably the least trustworthy, on this issue. They have a dog in the fight, and they are in direct opposition to the US on this issue. They are promoting what they want, not what they believe to be true.

I think this game is going to come to an end, one way or the other, by the middle of next year. The US in the process of dis-entangling itself from Iraq and should have more options by then. Anybody want to take the bet?

programmer craig said...

BTW, Raja:

"Khatami made during his visit was that we should not be surprised if we caught the Iranian and American governments talking about resolving certain crucial issues."

"I'm not too sure how difficult it was for Hizballah's leadership to swallow that little slip of the tongue (if indeed, that is what it was)."

That wasn't a slip of the tongue. That was Khatami telling his friends and allies that they shouldn't be alarmed by the appearance of Iran negotiating with the US, because the "talks" are meaningless. People talk out of both sides of their mouths in Lebanon too, don't they?