That the current Iranian regime poses a problem for the free world is a fact of life. It even poses a problem for Russia, its de facto ally in the Syrian conflict. But the Iranian dilemma comes into even sharper focus following US President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal, and the escalation of long-standing tensions between Iran and Israel into open military skirmishes.
Tag Archive: Hezbollah
Uniquely among the 50 Muslim-majority nations of the world, Lebanon has a Christian president. The inauguration of Michel Aoun on 1 November 2016 ended a 29-month power vacuum and a political stalemate that had frozen the country’s constitutional processes. “Not before time” would be a natural reaction, considering the length of the presidential inter-regnum. The truth, however, is that the absence of a largely figurehead president over that period, while politically inconvenient and somewhat of an embarrassment, made little difference to Lebanon as it ambled along under the guidance of prime minister Tammam Salam.
In about 1980 – the exact date is disputed – Hezbollah descended like an incubus on Lebanon’s body politic, fastening itself onto a sleeping victim. Subsequently, while it has been taking its pleasure from its unhappy prey, all attempts to shake it off have failed. Hezbollah is a creature of the 1979 Iranian Islamic revolution. It drew its inspiration from the extremist Shia-based philosophy expounded by Iran’s first Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khomenei. Its aims were to resist Western influences in general and Israel’s existence in particular. Responsible for a string of notorious terrorist actions, such as the suicide car bombing…
Quite why or how it happened has yet to be fully determined, but the early years of the 21st century have seen the Middle East morph into a gigantic battleground. Political and religious antagonisms, both ancient and newly conceived, have flared into armed conflict in a dozen places across the region. The ancient fault line within Islam, present from the earliest days of the faith but quiescent for long periods of time, has suddenly become one of the defining elements of the turmoil – the Sunni-Shia divide. Saudi Arabia, with Mecca and Medina within its borders, is the flag-bearer for…