Monday, April 19, 2021

  • Monday, April 19, 2021
  • Elder of Ziyon

From Naharnet:

Hizbullah party is reportedly making preparations in anticipation of the “complete collapse” of Lebanon’s faltering economy, media reports said on Saturday.

The party is reportedly issuing food ration cards, importing medicines and equipping tanks to store fuel from Iran.

The move is a response to a serious economic crisis in Lebanon, which will represent an expansion of the services provided by the group to its Shiite base, with a network that includes charities, a construction company, and a compensation system, said reports.

It sheds light on the growing fear of the collapse of the Lebanese state, a situation in which the authorities become unable to import food or fuel.

Hizbullah sources said on condition of anonymity that the plan prepares for the worst-possible scenario, that accelerated with the state approaching a halt on subsidies on basic goods like wheat, fuel and medicine, raising concerns of unrest and hunger.

The growing role of Hizbullah in dealing with the crisis is highlighted by the services it provides that are usually the government's prerogatives.

The plan also reflects concerns in Lebanon that the collapse will lead people to depend on political parties for food and security, as was the case with militias during the Lebanese civil war between 1975 and 1990.

The sources added that "Hizbullah’s" ration card actually helps hundreds of people to buy basic Iranian, Syrian and Lebanese commodities in Lebanese pounds, at a much cheaper price and with a discount of up to 40% with the party's support.

The card, bearing the name of a Shiite imam, could be used in cooperatives, some of which are new in the southern suburbs of Beirut and parts of southern Lebanon where Hizbullah has influence.

The Lebanese currency has lost more than 85 percent of its value on the informal market since 2019, as the country runs out of dollars. Food prices rose by 400 percent with no government plan in sight to salvage the country.

It sounds like Hezbollah would benefit from  an economic collapse, relatively speaking. Since it has built its own state within a state, with its own imports and its own aid from Iran, it would emerge the as the best organized group  - and if it is the only place to get food in Lebanon, then it can impose its will on the entire country. 

The Jerusalem Post notes that food is only the latest way Hezbollah is build a parallel state that would be all that's left:

Hezbollah has created parallel construction and development entities such Jihad Al-Binaa and the Waad project, its own communications network, TV stations and radio communications networks. It has taken over healthcare, education, welfare and finance in parts of the country. ...

Hezbollah even undertook projects like providing drinking water for parts of Lebanon, claiming this was part of its “resistance” against Israel. In short it got the government to outsource part of government responsibilities to Hezbollah and then it had an iron grip on the country. It even put its own fiber optic communications network to use to bypass the government. Any attempt to stop the takeover is met with Hezbollah violence. 

This does not look good for Lebanon at all. 

If Lebanon would throw a Hail Mary and make peace with Israel, it could leverage that into turning the entire country around. Not only Israel but the Gulf states would be happy to work to bring Lebanon into the orbit of the Abraham Accords and inject billions into its economy, as well as guide it towards a functioning market system. (France would probably have to play a large role.)

Lebanon is so dysfunctional, the idea that it would save itself by doing something that would benefit the entire Middle East and resurrect Lebanon itself is more a joke than a possibility. 

Yet Lebanon does have a choice: fall apart and let Hezbollah run the country, or join with the more liberal states in the Middle East and plan a real future. 


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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

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