Iran Wins in Lebanon

The warring parties in Lebanon agreed to a deal brokered by Arab diplomats, and incoming flights to Beirut's International airport have resumed ending a week of bloody, political crisis.

More than 60 people were killed since violence in Lebanon broke out on May 7, after the government discovered an electronic surveillance system used by Hezbollah to monitor Beirut's international airport and fired the head of security there. The government has also tried to declare illegal the group's private telephone network. But after a week of posturing, the US-backed government has caved in. The beleaguered government of Fouad Seniora rescinded its decisions against Hezbollah. The obvious winner is Hassan Nasrallah and his followers in Lebanon.

But there are other winners and losers in the aftermath of these latest Lebanese confrontations. Hours before this latest brokered deal, the Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal had accused Iran of supporting a "coup" in Lebanon.

"Iran is supporting the coup that happened in Lebanon, and this will affect Tehran's relations with Arab states, if not Muslim states as well,'' al- Faisal said in a televised news conference.

He also accused Hezbollah of planning the attack on Beirut and using political issues as an excuse to start the violence. "If this wasn't pre-planned, I don't know what is.''

When asked about al-Faisal's remarks, the Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said, "It is possible that these comments were made out of anger... I don't know how well coordinated his views are with those of Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah."

The fact of the matter is, nothing comes out from the mouths of Saudi officials or Saudi media without the full knowledge and approval of the king himself. Since it brokered a peace deal that ended Lebanon's 1975-1990 civil war, Saudi Arabia has invested billions of dollars in the country's reconstruction. This has been done by corporations set up by the late Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri, one of the reasons why the Kingdom criticized Hezbollah's Secretary General, Hassan Nasrallah during the Israeli war on Lebanon a couple of years ago. Saudi Arabia, which views itself as the leader of Sunni Islam, has been trying in vain for the past several years to counter Iran's influence in Lebanon. These recent events have highlighted its failure. Iran has won big in Lebanon and Saudi Arabia was outmaneuvered.

Meanwhile, Hezbollah's victory coincided with President Bush's outgoing "victory-lap"; a five-day tour of the Middle East, taking him to Israel, Saudi Arabia and Egypt. The U.S. president praised Israel, talked about peace and democracy, and as usual, Bush made a special mention of Iran and its alleged pursuit of nuclear weapons. He failed to mention that Iran is now stronger than it was when he took office.