|First Published In|
Al Mayadeen English.
Talks are being conducted between Lebanon, Syria, Egypt, and Jordan to secure an energy supply line from Egypt and Jordan through Syria, onward to Lebanon, to help alleviate the chronic fuel shortages being experienced by this small country of seven million people on the coastline of the Mediterranean sea which has land borders with Israel and Syria.
Lebanon has suffered disproportionately for decades from the tensions, wars, and destabilization of the region since the creation of “Israel” in 1948.
The huge refugee crisis that engulfed Palestine with the expulsion, at the point of Israeli guns of 750,000 indigenous Palestinians led to refugee camps in Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and Egypt with a diaspora of nearly 8 million Palestinians scattered all over the globe.
The Palestine Liberation Organisation was forced out of Beirut in 1982 by an Israeli invasion of Lebanon.
The systematic massacres in the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps that followed left up to 3500 Palestinian / Lebanese civilians murdered by pro-Zionist Falange forces on September 16,1982. This is only one of many atrocities committed during the Lebanese civil war, a war that was encouraged by "Israel", the EU, and America in order to weaken Lebanon, a country that has not known peace or stability for generations.
Over the last several years, since Lebanon liberated itself from Israeli military occupation through the resistance of Hezbollah, Lebanon finally appeared to have weathered the storm through a national government of reconciliation.
This government included all sides involved in the civil war and with input from all sections of society. Finally, Lebanon appeared at peace with itself and was building a united prosperous future for all its citizens.
Lebanon has a pivotal role to play in the region.
Having defeated “Israel”, forcing its retreat in the dead of night from occupied Lebanese land, Hezbollah which is a Lebanese Resistance is perceived as a threat to "Israel" and to EU / American designs on the region.
Hezbollah plays an integral role in Lebanese society through its social welfare programs and in the government.
“Israel”, France, America, Britain, and many others strive night and day to rekindle the old animosities in Lebanon and to reignite the conditions for civil war, to separate Hezbollah from the government to which they have been democratically elected and from wider Lebanese society.
The desired outcome, for “Israel” and the West, is to condemn Lebanon to perpetual conflict with competing and opposite political ideologies tearing the fabric of society apart.
Some are looking again to the West and some looking to the East.
To this end, the government of Lebanon (and the economy) has been brought crashing down.
The catalyst may well have been the explosion at the Beirut docks which killed hundreds and destroyed thousands of homes and businesses.
The people demanded accountability and an end to the perceived corruption that lay at the heart of some government officials.
With the government in crisis, the economy in free fall, inflation, and profiteering rising, it was only a matter of time before the external protagonists, who may well have encouraged and engineered these crises, took full advantage of the situation.
They have demanded concessions from the elected government of Lebanon. They are trying to implement neo-liberal reforms as preconditions on loans from the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, and others.
What America and “Israel” cannot achieve through military occupation, they are trying to do through financial occupation. That is to control direct and influence sections and policies of the Lebanese government who are elected by, and acting on behalf of the Lebanese people, and not some external anti-Lebanese financial and military cabal.
While Lebanon suffers from chronic shortages of petroleum, gas, and electricity, the external actors are trying to force concessions from the government and the people before allowing order and supply to be reestablished.
The bakeries have been at times unable to produce bread.
These are the conditions that led to violent street disturbances.
When parents cannot feed their children, revolutions are born.
Hezbollah on behalf of those in need in Lebanon has sourced petroleum supplies from Iran that arrived by sea.
While some in Lebanon see Iran as a regional enemy, this strategic lifeline has been welcomed by many across the sectarian divide to include Christians and Muslims.
America, which most likely helped create the conditions that Lebanon now finds itself implicated, is concerned that the Lebanese are accepting help from Iran.
They have proposed a pipeline from Egypt and Jordan through Syria to Lebanon in order to supply electricity and gas.
This proposal is in direct response to the proffered Iranian aid.
It is not a humanitarian pipeline. It is a commercial enterprise with gas and electricity flowing in one direction and profits flowing in the other.
This proposed pipeline could make Lebanon vulnerable to the ebbs and flows of national regional and international political agendas.
Will Lebanon become Gaza mark two?
“Israel” decides how much fuel enters Gaza with Egyptian complicity.
They monitor the calorific food intake of Gazans in order to keep them permanently hungry.
They deny imports of medicine and building materials.
They deny exports of Gazan produce in order to impoverish the people.
The Lebanese people should be wary of any proposals that indebt Lebanon to neighboring unfriendly regimes who may simply be waiting to influence the Lebanese government on behalf of “Israel”, the EU, and America.
Lebanon and Syria should strive to build solar energy reserves so they are not held to ransom by external forces over oil gas or electricity needs.
Energy Resources of the Lebanese coast in Lebanese waters must be fully accessed and utilized.
When America proposes to help: be very, very wary.
These proposed pipelines can simply be turned off at the flick of a switch.
Lebanon could find itself with four hours of electricity a day, food shortages, and continued imposed American and EU sanctions.
What they give with the right hand they steal it with the left hand.
Iran, China, Russia, the Belt and Road Eurasian project is the lifeline Lebanon needs.
Everything else is simply shallow window-dressing: a continuation of the corruption so despised by the Lebanese people, false dawn strewn with traps to further destabilize Lebanese national unity.
𒍨The opinions mentioned in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of Al Mayadeen, but rather express the opinion of its writer exclusively.
|Fra Hughes is a columnist with Al Mayadeen.|