Thursday, August 19, 2021

  • Thursday, August 19, 2021
  • Elder of Ziyon
Iran and Hezbollah are trying to take advantage of Lebanon's economic crisis by sending an Iranian ship - supposedly with much needed fuel- to Lebanon, in violation of US sanctions.

Reuters reports:
 A shipment of Iranian fuel oil for Lebanon will set sail on Thursday organised by the Lebanese Shi'ite group Hezbollah, the group said, warning its U.S. and Israeli adversaries the ship would be considered Lebanese territory as soon as it sailed.

Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said further ships would follow to help the people of Lebanon, who are enduring crippling fuel shortages as a result of the country's two-year-long financial meltdown.

"We don't want to get into a challenge with anyone, we don't want to get into a problem with anyone. We want to help our people," Nasrallah said. "I say to the Americans and the Israelis that the boat that will sail within hours from Iran is Lebanese territory."
Obviously, a ship doesn't become the territory of its destination. Iran and Hezbollah are trying to challenge the US and Israel to make them appear to be the aggressor for enforcing the blockade of Iranian arms and oil exports.

Nasrallah is also openly challenging the government of Lebanon. 

In June, when he first announced his plan to import Iranian oil, he said, “Shipments of fuel will arrive at Beirut’s port, and let the state prevent their access to Lebanon.”

The Lebanese themselves recognize that this is a way for Hezbollah to strengthen his separate government, bypassing the Lebanese government for important decisions that affect the entire country. 

“Nasrallah used a high tone when he talked about bringing fuel from Iran,” MP Bilal Abdallah told Arab News. “The Lebanese are suffering from shortages in drugs, food and fuel. Their suffering should not be used to establish stronger bridges with Iran.”

Abdallah added: “People’s suffering cannot be used for political purposes that affect Lebanon’s relations with its neighbors and the international community.”

Elias Hankhash, a politician who along with his Kataeb Party colleagues resigned from the parliament after the Beirut explosion last year in protest against government negligence, said that “Hezbollah controls all the state’s assets, including the illegal border crossings and the legal facilities and is a cover for the corrupt mafia.”

He blamed Hezbollah “for the bankruptcy, hunger and the international isolation the Lebanese are facing” and said that “buying fuel from Iran exposes Lebanon to sanctions and more isolation.”

In June 2020, Lebanon refused to allow Iranian ships to dock because of the fear that the US would extend sanctions to Lebanon if it accepted the shipments. 

Israel also has interest in stopping these Iranian exports. Reports say that Israel has struck oil and arms shipments from Iran to Syria.

Nasrallah is trying to position himself and Iran as Lebanon's savior, and to get Lebanese citizens to support him. Hezbollah's popularity has plummeted in the wake of the Beirut explosion and current crisis. 

During his speech, Nasrallah even said, "Iran has never interfered in Lebanon's internal affairs and we are not tools in the hands of this dear state." Instead, he accused the American embassy in Lebanon of inciting the Lebanese against each other.

"The U.S. embassy present in Awkar is not a diplomatic representation mission, it is an embassy for conspiring against Lebanon's people," he said.

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