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Middle East Power Struggle - Iran vs US

May 12, 2008  
Memri Dispatch No 1924

Iranian Papers on the Events in Lebanon: 'In the Power Struggle in the Middle East, There Are Only Two Sides – Iran and the U.S.'; As a Result Of Hizbullah's Victory, 'The U.S.'s Influence in the [Middle East] Region Will Stop, and the Regimes Identified With It Will Be Replaced'

Iran's government newspapers have expressed absolute backing for Hizbullah in the current events in Lebanon, standing behind the organization's demand that Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Al-Siniora rescind his decision to dismantle Hizbullah's communications network and fire the security chief at Beirut's international airport. Calling Hizbullah "one of the regional arms of Iran [in the Middle East]," the newspapers claimed that a Hizbullah victory in Lebanon will be an Iranian victory over the U.S. in the Middle East power struggle, and will directly impact Iraq and Afghanistan, ending in the expulsion of the U.S. and its allies from the Middle East.

The papers also warned against interference by foreign states in the region, which they said would lead to a regional, or even global, conflagration. Furthermore, the Javan daily, which is identified with Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), stated that what Hizbullah had done was to take a preventive action against a possible coup by the March 14 Forces.

The following are excerpts from articles in the Iranian government press. For MEMRI's previous report on the events in Lebanon, see MEMRI Inquiry & Analysis No. 436, "A Clean Sweep: Amal, Hizbullah Take Much of Beirut in Redux of Hamas' Gaza Takeover," May 9, 2008, http://www.memri.org/bin/latestnews.cgi?ID=IA43608.

Kayhan: Iran Will Be the Victor in the Power Struggle with the U.S. in the Middle East

In its May 11, 2008 editorial, the Iranian daily Kayhan, which is close to Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, stated that in the power struggle between Iran and the U.S. in the Middle East, Iran had the upper hand. It added that the U.S.'s efforts to "amputate [Iran's] regional arms" in the Middle East had failed. Following are the main points of the editorial: [1]

"In the power struggle in the Middle East, there are only two sides: Iran and the U.S. Throughout the past year or two, efforts have been evident, particularly on the part of the U.S., to involve other [players] in this game, and to turn regional issues into multi-side issues - that is, to shift the balance of power against Iran and in favor of the U.S. by using the Arab card and the Sunni card..."

The paper called the U.S. operations against Iran in the region "an effort to amputate the regional arms of Iran by means of direct intervention." It continued, "The developments in the region in the past month in Iraq, Lebanon, Afghanistan, and even Syria must be understood as such...

"The Americans had promised their allies in the region that before Bush leaves office, and before the U.S. is forced to leave the region, Iran would be significantly weakened... [But] now Hizbullah... whose links with Iran are [those of] strategic convergence, and political and spiritual connections, has completely disrupted the game [being played by] the U.S. and Israel."

Jomhouri-e Eslami: A Hizbullah Victory in Lebanon Will Stop U.S. Influence in the Region and Lead to Replacement of the Regimes Identified With It

In a May 10, 2008 editorial titled "Fateful Days in Lebanon," the Iranian daily Jomhouri-e Eslami wrote that the expected Hizbullah victory in the events currently taking place in Lebanon would start a process of change in the balance of power in the Middle East - that is, it would stop the influence of the U.S. in the Middle East and bring about the fall of the regimes identified with it: [2]

"[Hizbullah leader] Hassan Nasrallah's courageous and wise decision-making ability undoubtedly closes the path of the great scheme being woven against Lebanon's independence, and he will be the final victor... Now, the U.S. and Israel are in the worst possible situation, and everything is ready for another defeat for them, which will be fateful for the [Middle East] region...

"Following this defeat, the Zionist regime will begin its slide down the slope. The U.S.'s influence in the [Middle East] region will stop, and the regimes identified with it will be replaced. The fate of Iraq and Afghanistan will pass into the hands of their peoples, and the political balances in the region will change... These are fateful days in Lebanon."

Tehran Times: Al-Siniora's Demands are Likely to Lead to Regional or Even International Conflagration

In an editorial in the Iranian Foreign Ministry organ Tehran Times, editorial writer Hassan Hanizadeh warned that if Al-Siniora did not back down from his demands, "a new crisis, which will eventually drag regional and extra-regional powers into Lebanon's conflict." Following are the main points of the article: [3]

"…Prime Minister Siniora's order to shut down Hizbullah's telecoms network shows that the United States and some other extra-regional powers have formulated a new plot to start an internecine conflict in Lebanon.

"Siniora made the decision in order to make it easier for Mossad and CIA operatives to enter Lebanon in order to assassinate figures allied with the Lebanese resistance movement...

"The Lebanese people view Hizbullah's telecoms network as one of the main factors which contributed to the movement's victory in the 33-day war, since it was used as a tool to neutralize the Zionist military's electronic warfare activities during the conflict…

"If the clashes in Beirut are not ended immediately, and [if] the Siniora government doesn't rescind its order to shut down Hizbullah's telecoms network, the situation will degenerate into a new crisis, which will eventually drag regional and extra-regional powers into Lebanon's conflict." [4]

Javan: Hizbullah Took Preventive Action

The Iranian daily Javan, which is identified with Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), backed up Hizbullah's launch of an armed political struggle in Lebanon, saying, "The measure taken by Hizbullah is a kind of preventive action against a possible coup by the March 14 Forces."

[1] Kayhan (Iran), May 11, 2008.

[2] Jomhouri-e Eslami (Iran), May 10, 2008.

[3] Tehran Times (Iran), May 11, 2008.

[4] Javan (Iran), May 11, 2008.
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SOURCE:MEMRI

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