The Corner

the cleanup

The Islamic Republic News Agency is reporting that:

Since Israel waged all-out offensive against Lebanon, the Islamic Republic of Iran has donated 82 tons of humanitarian aid to the people of Lebanon, an Iranian official said. Speaking to IRNA on Thursday, Abdolraouf Adib-Zadeh, representative of Iran’s Red Crescent Society in Beirut, added that Iran’s humanitarian aid to Lebanon since the beginning of the Israeli war, is valued at 244 billion rials. “The aid consignments include 2,500 relief tents, 380 six-meter blankets, three 400-meter blankets, 1,750 sleeping bags and 160 other blankets,” he said. Adib-Zadeh elaborated that food products including rice, sugar, date, bread, tea, cheese, jam and milk powder as well as medicines were other donations extended to Lebanese people. He noted three ambulances were also given to the Lebanese Health Ministry.

This is either an exaggeration or a sign that Iranian aid gets through where the UN was afraid to tread. When I lived in Dushanbe toward the end of the civil war there, one of my jobs was to listen to what the Iranians claimed to be doing, and peddle around on my bike to see whether they actually did it or not. They tended to exaggerate by a factor of ten, but still won the public relations battle. In the Middle East, perception matters more than reality.

But a key issue in the next weeks. Who controls reconstruction? Are the UN and other NGOs going to partner with Hezbollah-run NGOs? Hezbollah “won” the UN resolution. Are we going to grant them the ability to win the reconstruction as well?

Michael Rubin is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, senior lecturer at the Naval Postgraduate School’s Center for Civil-Military Relations, and a senior editor of the Middle East Quarterly.

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