Thursday, October 14, 2010

Howls of a wounded beast

While visiting Washington yesterday, I  was surprised to read this in the Washington Post:

"Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad sought to pull Lebanon firmly into his country's fold Wednesday in a visit that underscored the growing power of Tehran and its Lebanese ally, Hezbollah ."


Iran is not a "growing power". It has an imploding economy.  Years of economic mismanagement mean that the economy cannot create enough jobs to stabilise the rapidly rising rate of unemployment.  International sanctions are also working wonders in compounding the economic decline. I recommend reading this recent Wall Street Journal article, which documents the collapse of the riyal in the black market. Iran's economy is not going to converge with Zimbabwe's any time soon, but Ahmadinejad has his hands full dealing with his own unpopularity back home.

I would not be too complacent and assume that Hizbollah will decline in perfect tandem with Iran.  Nasrallah runs an efficient operation that delivers the best bang for Ahmadinjad's increasingly precious buck. I doubt they will reduce funding to Hizbollah. Nonetheless, Hizbollah's main crutch is getting weaker, not stronger.  The cacophony of rhetoric out of Tehran and Dahiyeh is the howling of a wounded beast, not a threat that should make us tremble.

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