Shatz in LRB: Ahmadinejad’s Lebanon Trip “Passed Without Incident”

We’ve been writing a lot here about the hyperventilation of hawks about Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s trip to Lebanon. Even the U.S. government got in on the action, asking Lebanon to not host the visiting Iranian dignitary.

For a more level-headed perspective of the trip, check out Adam Shatz’s post at the blog of the London Review of Books. Read the whole thing, but here’s his section on the dire predictions and maneuvers to keep Ahmadinejad out of Iran (a sort of multi-lateral Domino Theory for our times):

The prospect of a love-in between Ahmadinejad and tens of thousands of Hizbullah supporters on Israel’s border was not a welcome one in Western capitals. With its usual respect for Lebanese sovereignty, the US urged the Lebanese government to deny him entry, hinting that it might be forced to cut aid to the Lebanese army. Israel wasn’t pleased, either, though some right-wing Israeli politicians noted that the Iranian president would be an easy hit for the IDF in southern Lebanon. ‘To assassinate Ahmadinejad today is like assassinating Hitler in 1939,’ said Aryeh Eldad, a MP in the National Union party. ‘He must not return home alive.’

Iran’s extremist Sunni opponents in al-Qaida made similar threats, promising that Lebanon would ‘tremble’ if Ahmadinejad set foot there. False alarms, as it turned out: the visit passed without incident. Ahmadinejad didn’t even throw a stone at Israel from the border, confining himself to his typical slogans about the imminent disappearance of the Zionist enemy. He doesn’t seem to have faced any tough questions about the state of Iranian politics, either, partly thanks to the Lebanese government, which successfully pressed the organisers of the Beirut International Film Festival to cancel a planned screening of Green Days, a documentary about protest and repression during the 2009 electoral crisis.

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Ali Gharib

Ali Gharib is a New York-based journalist on U.S. foreign policy with a focus on the Middle East and Central Asia. His work has appeared at Inter Press Service, where he was the Deputy Washington Bureau Chief; the Buffalo Beast; Huffington Post; Mondoweiss; Right Web; and Alternet. He holds a Master's degree in Philosophy and Public Policy from the London School of Economics and Political Science. A proud Iranian-American and fluent Farsi speaker, Ali was born in California and raised in D.C.