Let's face it: from a realist point of view, Iran has power and is exercising it to the utmost.
Just when we thought the Italians pledged to head the UN military delegation into our southern borders, they rescinded that commitment today. If Iran was not powerful right now, would we all, including the Americans and Europeans, be waiting for that important date of August 31st, the day the UNSCR has scheduled a discussion on Iran's nuclear program? No.
Syrian President Assad can talk as much as he can, and Saudi and Egyptian press can retaliate for Assad's insults to their leadership as much as they can, the truth of the matter, none of these countries is a power to contend with.
I am sick of reading editorials instilling fear in us that the Syrian regime has a plan to re-occupy Lebanon. Again, let's face it: the Syrian regime is weak. For the past two years, the regime has been isolated from diplomatic relations, one of its major sources of income, namely its access to Lebanon, was closed, and many of those implicated in late Hariri's assassination had their accounts frozen. And if Syria really had power left to exercise, it would have intervened militarily during the one-month war on Lebanon.
Syria does not have power in its own right, it gets it from Iran. Long gone are the days when Syria during Hafez Assad's time was an Arab power, crucial in every way on the regional level. All what the Syrian regime has right now is a couple of crude speeches and relations with rogue fundamentalist groups (Al-Qaida) used as a threat against Lebanon and for destabilization purposes in Iraq.
The sad part is that Lebanon yet again has been chosen as the "convenient" place to pick the fights in. I read somewhere yesterday in a Lebanese newspaper someone asking why Israel hits a truck carrying arms to Hizbullah on Lebanese territories and not before it enters Lebanon. This is an important question.
It's as if there is an understanding amongst all powers that if Syria is hit, Iran will be pushed to respond. Remember a couple of months back Ahmadinejad's visit to Damascus? I believe this is when an Iranian-Syrian Entente was forged and a pledge was made by Iran to come to the rescue if Syria is hit or Hizbullah is threatened to disarm.
The fear to bring in Iran directly into the conflict shows that it's a power in its own right. Who wants a direct confrontation between Israel and Iran where a nuclear bomb becomes a solution Israel resorts to as a defensive mechanism? Arab countries would not like to intervene militarily in such a case, even when pushed to do so, and would consider it a failure that the Persians are directly fighting on their turf . The Americans would see their New Middle East Project crumbling even further with no chance of revival.
It just seems to me at times the whole situation in our part of the world is bleak. There is no true counterweight to Iran in the Arab world. Saudi Arabia has an arsenal of weapons and rockets that it never uses and when it wishes to, it usually relies on the Americans and British to fight their wars for them. Egypt and Jordan also have to contend with their internal threats, Islamic fundamentalism and what not. They have signed peace with Israel and perhaps do not have the capacity to face up to Iran.
So how more convenient could Lebanon be? Lebanon could keep Iran at bay; Iran can influence Hizbullah, fund Hamas, militarily back the Syrian regime, and intervene in the Iraqi war and peace equation: that's all better than inviting Iran inside the Arab House.
Our part of the world is a mess. I don't know where to start from. I guess it's this quality in us Arabs, where we like to eschew the difficult questions to a later time. It's time for the Arab leaders to look in the mirror and stop pretending that they are here to stay.
"Nobody knows how many rebellions, besides political rebellions, ferment in the masses of life which people earth."