In recent months, Tehran’s forces and proxy armies in Syria have crossed the country’s eastern border to link up with their counterparts in Iraq. More recently, the former Iranian presidential candidate Ibrahim Raisi has been seen on the Lebanese border with Israel, accompanied by Iranian and Hizballah officers. Elliott Abrams comments:
Raisi . . . is a member of the Assembly of Experts that will choose a successor to the “supreme Leader” Ali Khamenei and is a candidate for that position himself. Visiting Beirut, he took time to talk with the head of Hizballah and to pay his respects at the home of the late terrorist mastermind Imad Mughniyeh. . . .
[This] visit delivers several messages. First, borders have no meaning for Iran; the Islamic Republic is determined to be the dominant player in Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon. Second, the governments of those countries have no control of their own borders and territory; Iranian military and terrorist leaders can come and go as they please. Third, whether Lebanon gets into a conflict with Israel will be determined by decisions made in Tehran, not in Beirut.
That is a sad development for most Lebanese, who are not fanatical Hizballah supporters. But it is one the United States should keep in mind as we assess our relations with Lebanon and our military aid to that country.