by Khaled Abu Toameh
Hizbullah and Iran now have a common interest in escalating tensions in the Middle East: Hizbullah, with the help of Iran, may be planning to stage a coup in Lebanon to cover up and divert attention from its role in the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.
Iranian dictator Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's plan to visit Lebanon in the coming weeks should be seen in the context of Hizbullah's plot to take over the country. Some Lebanese have gone as far as condemning the visit as a "provocation," noting that it would also raise tensions between Lebanon and Israel because of Ahmadinejad's plan to tour the border between the two countries.
The UN-backed Special Tribunal for Lebanon is about to publish the results of its investigation into the killing of the former prime minister. According to reliable sources, the report is expected to hold Hizbullah responsible for the assassination.
Now that its true face is about to be unmasked, Hizbullah is of course panicking and searching for ways to get out of the sinkhole.
Hizbullah's rhetoric and actions in recent weeks suggest that the Shiite organization is up to no good.
Statements issued by Hizbullah leaders in the past few days indicate that the organization has evil plans. Nawwaf al-Moussawi, a Hizbullah MP in the Lebanese parliament, warned that any Lebanese who accepts the international tribunal's indictment findings would be killed as a "collaborator" with Israel and the US.
According to reports from Lebanon, Hizbullah militiamen have been deployed in several "sensitive" locations throughout the country in preparation for overthrowing the government and taking over the entire country. Hizbullah's message to the world is: If you publish the truth - that we killed Hariri - we will seize control over Lebanon and turn it into another Iran."
A few weeks ago, Hizbullah militiamen stormed their way into Lebanon's international airport in Beirut to escort a former security official, Jamil al-Sayyed, from the plane to the VIP lounge.
Al-Sayyed has accused the international tribunal on Lebanon of being biased. He has also accused Harisi's [sic] son, Saad [the current prime minister] and other Lebanese security officials, of misleading the tribunal into concluding that Hizbullah was behind the assassination.
The incident at the airport shows once again that Hizbullah is in fact a state-within-a-state in Lebanon. The Shiite organization has its own security forces and intelligence services and communications system.
"Hizbullah does not acknowledge the Lebanese state as sovereign," said Michael Young, an opinion editor at Beirut's The Daily Star and author of "The Ghosts of Martryrs Square: An Eyewitness Account of Lebanon's Life Struggle."
Young pointed out that Hizbullah had already staged something similar to a coup two years ago. "The armed takeover of Beirut in May 2008 confirmed that Hizbullah would fire on its fellow citizens and regarded state authority and the rule of law as thin veneers to be swept away when necessary," he said.
Ahmadenijad would of course welcome the opportunity to export the "Islamic Revolution" to Lebanon. Instability in the region would divert attention from his nuclear ambitions and allow him to fulfill his dream of wiping Israel off the map.
A victory for Iran and Hizbullah in Lebanon would also be a victory for Hamas, Mulsim Brotherhood, Islamic Jihad -- and Al-Qaeda.
Khaled Abu Toameh
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