If you thought you were listening to ABC radio yesterday, specifically to the item Iranian president's Lebanon visit stirs unease on The World Today with Eleanor Hall, you were wrong. You were actually listening to Radio Israel (my comments in square brackets):
HALL: Iran's president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has long talked of wiping Israel off the map (1) - with or without nuclear weapons. And today in a highly provocative move (2) he's preparing to visit Hezbollah strongholds (3) in southern Lebanon. That will bring him barely two kilometres from the Israeli border. But even inside Lebanon the Iranian leader's visit is highly controversial (4) because many accuse Iran of interfering in Lebanese affairs. Middle East correspondent Anne Barker reports.
[(1) No anti-Iranian Zionist propaganda piece would be complete without this canard. (2) So? Even when he rolls over in his sleep it's a highly provocative move. (3) Arabs live in strongholds, Israelis in towns and cities. (4) So? Even when he farts it's highly controversial.]
BARKER: He's a man who inspires the extremes of devotion or hatred wherever he goes. [Whose hatred, Anne?] Mahmoud Ahmadinejad arrived in Beirut to huge crowds who welcomed his first official visit to Lebanon. Thousands of Shi'ite Muslims lined the airport road waving Iranian flags and throwing flowers at the presidential motorcade. But most were supporters of Hezbollah [and Amal?]- the Shi'ite militia which relies on Iran for both funding and weapons and which shares Iran's hatred of Israel. [Really? Just because Israel's always threatening to nuke it?] Although at a press conference in Beirut president Ahmadinejad appealed to all Lebanese to resist the Zionist enemy. 'Iran and Lebanon have common points of view', he said. 'Both countries are against the occupation, aggressions and crimes committed by the Zionists'. Nevertheless the Iranian president's visit has instilled fear among Lebanon's majority non-Shi'ite population. Many [How many, Anne?] Christians or Sunni Muslims or the minority Druze believe that Iran through Hezbollah wields far too much influence on Lebanon's internal politics and government. A group of about 250 [Oh, that many!] politicians, lawyers and activists have written an open letter criticising president Ahmadinejad's support of Hezbollah and voicing fears that Iran is trying to drag Lebanon into a new war against Israel. 'Your talk of changing the face of the region and wiping Israel off the map', it says, 'makes your visit seem like that of a commander to his front line', the letter reads. It's that front line that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad plans to visit today in a move that many in both Lebanon [250?] and Israel interpret as a deliberate provocation. The Iranian leader will visit Lebanon's south where Hezbollah militants wield control including villages along the border that were bombed by Israeli forces in the last war in 2006. There were reports president Ahmadinejad might even throw stones across the border in a symbolic show of Iran's defiance. Mark Regev is a spokesman for the Israeli prime minister.
REGEV: The Iranians are showing the whole world that they have succeeded to dominate Lebanese politics through their proxy Hezbollah. They are forcing their agenda on Lebanon and are creating a hub for terrorism and a threat to regional stability. [And who better than Mark Regev to tell us about... Lebanon!]
BARKER: Even members of Lebanon's own government have expressed alarm at Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's visit. [Members? Oh, you mean the Phalangist, Faris Said? Yes, I suppose that is more worthy of mention than reporting his meetings with both the Lebanese president and prime minister.] One politician has said the Iranian leader is seeking to transform Lebanon into an Iranian base on the Mediterranean. [Faris Said?] Others [No names, no pack-drill.] fear his visit will upset the fragile balance between competing religious and ethnic groups and set Lebanon on a new path to sectarian conflict. [Of course, Lebanon's fragile balance had nothing whatever to fear from Israel's 2006 attempt to "turn Lebanon's clock back 20 years" (Dan Halutz) or its current threat to "destroy Lebanon's army in 4 hours." ('IDF can destroy Lebanon army within 4 hours', ynetnews.com, 27/8/10)]