Iran must help disarm Hezb
By Ahmed Al-Jarallah

Editor-in-Chief, the Arab Times
 Posted on 8/15/2006

WHEN people are wondering whether there is any real need for Hezbollah’s continued existence, especially as Israel has started withdrawing from Southern Lebanon, Syria has come to Hezbollah’s rescue by citing the story of Shebaa, which was occupied by Israel along with the Golan Heights in 1967. According to Syria, Hezbollah has the right to exist and resist Israel until Shebaa and the three Lebanese hostages captured by Israel are freed.

Syria and Hezbollah are acting as if there is no legitimate government in Lebanon. Hezbollah kidnapped two Israeli soldiers and forced Israel to occupy southern Lebanon to justify its existence and intensify Iran’s presence in the southern parts of Lebanon. Instead of serving the national interests of Lebanon, Hezbollah’s excuses are aimed at helping Iran to achieve its goals. The short-term goal of Hezbollah is to give Tehran an opportunity to escape the pressure of the international community, which has given Iran time until the end of August to end its uranium enrichment programme and comply with the regulations of International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

The Western world has understood how vicious Iran can be. Tehran won’t mind burning Syria and Lebanon to achieve its own goals without any thought for the innocent victims. This is why Western countries have decided against attacking Syria. Tehran’s intentions were clear to Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak when he received Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki to discuss the tragic events in Lebanon.

Mubarak made it clear to Mottaki that Arabs, who believe Hezbollah has launched a reckless stunt, won’t support Iran through its proxy Hezbollah. The Egyptian President also told Mottaki that attempts to play the sectarian game by pitting the Sunnis against Shiites in southern Lebanon won’t serve Iran’s interests. As a result the Iranian minister left Egypt with the impression that Egypt won’t coordinate with Tehran in its policies.

The truth of the matter is that Iran is refusing to reach an understanding with the international community. It refuses to disarm Hezbollah and support the stand of the legitimate government of Lebanon. Mubarak couldn’t resist asking Mottaki “who is the real decision-maker in Iran and who is Iran’s official spokesman?”

Lebanon is passing through a fragile truce, which may collapse any moment unless Iran whole-heartedly participates in disarming Hezbollah, which has become a burnt ace that cannot be used again. At this crucial juncture Tehran must establish its good intentions and understand that being the enemy of the whole world and flexing muscles against Israel won’t help it in strengthening its position or security in the region.

Iran must abandon the path of revolutionary theories and build a state with a recognized decision-maker. Iran can prove its good intentions by helping the Lebanese government to disarm and dismantle Hezbollah. This will help Tehran avoid a dreadful confrontation with the international community.