Will the Iranian oil tanker lead to a military escalation between Lebanon and Israel?
By Faten Suliman – For months, Lebanon has been suffering a severe shortage of fuel used for generating energy from the government laboratories, and Lack in the fuel oil that is used for operating the private generators, also the gasoline that is used for running cars and machines. Moreover, the capacity of the Lebanese electricity organization has declined in providing a recharge, which has led to an increase in the number of hours of power outage for about 20h per day. In addition, the private generators are no longer able to provide oil fuel to compensate the power outage.
The negative reflections of the fuel crisis have escalated among various sectors; hence, the hospitals and the bakeries had to shut or reduce their services due to power outrage and the extreme scarcity in fuel.
And so yesterday, the Secretary-General of Hezbollah – Sayed Hassan Nasrallah – has declared in a televised speech in commemoration of Ashura about the departure of the Iranian fuel tanker in about few hours towards Lebanon.
He added, the tanker will provide fuel for the hospitals, both of drugs and nutrients factory, bakeries, and private generators. He also pointed that more oil tankers are following to manage the shortage in Lebanon.
Nasrallah also plagued Israel and the United States of America in shooting back in case the tanker is attacked, considering the tanker a Lebanese territory.
Meanwhile, the former Lebanese Prime Minister criticized Nasrallah for declaring the oil tanker as a Lebanese territory as he refuses to describe Lebanon as an Iranian province. He also stated that the country might suffer of severe sanctions as Venezuela.
Sending Iranian support vessels will carry extra risks and penalties for the Lebanese people, Hariri stated.
Moreover, the head of the Lebanese Forces party, Samir Geagea, blamed the President Michel Aoun for “holding the full responsibility about what might happen to the country due to not importing fuel and medicines at the time you leave Hezbollah to resort to internationally illegal twisted means that will be a real disaster for Lebanon.”
The deputy Fuad Makhzumi considers that the entering of the Iranian vessels to the Lebanese territory is a dangerous decision that will impose one of a kind of economic blockade on Lebanon. This economic blockade will restrict the bank movement of the country as the Bank of Lebanon works with the correspondent banking specifically in America.
It is indicated that although with all the existence of the financial and economic and fuel crises, the political forces weren’t able to form a new government since the resignation of Hassan Diab’s government due to Beirut explosion on August 2020. And after nine months of nominating him, the Prime-Minister designate, Saad Al Hariri, apologizes for not forming a new government due to the intense political differences two weeks ago.
As the Lebanese people are seeking for any savior whether by providing fuel for the electrical factories or oil fuel for the generators or gasoline for their cars or even any financial support for the Lebanese government from the Arabs or Allies, but do not find anyone except Iraq which will sell Lebanon an amount of fuel in an exchange of hospital and advisory services from Lebanon.
Regarding what Lebanon is suffering from American, Western, and Gulf blockade that prevent hard currency transfers or investing in it or even providing grants and assistance to Lebanon, the Lebanese people no longer care about the source of the support or help, whether it is an Arab or Western or Iranian or Chinese.
After hours of Nasrallah’s announcement about the departure of the oil tanker and heading towards Lebanon, the American ambassador of Lebanon hastened to inform the Lebanese President Michel Aoun about the approval of her country to supply Lebanon with electricity from Jordan through Syria and via the Egyptian gas. This raises a question: why did America wait for months to allow such a step? Did it fear that the Iranian oil tankers will affect it leverage in Lebanon?
With all the optimism within most of the Lebanese people for the Iranian oil tankers that will temporarily solve their crisis, yet, there’s a fear of an Israeli attack that will lead to a military escalation and engulf the region in a full-scale war.
Translated by Rayan Haidar