“Our first ship has completed all arrangements and will sail within hours from Iran to Lebanon with the blessing of Imam Hussein (peace be upon him)”
Lebanese leader Syed Hasan Nasrallah, on the Ashura Day, to people commemorating the martyrdom of Imam Hussein, the grandson of Prophet of Islam. He warned the U.S and Israel against any sabotage.
Was the above statement a political or religious onegiven that the Lebanese culture accommodates political and religious diversity?
Since 2019 the excessive consumption of diesel due to production of alternative electricity using private generators to counter power shortages led the current scarcity in gas and petrol. Gas stations were unable to meet public demand creating chaos in daily lives of citizens across the country. Moreover, the devaluation of Lebanese pound against US dollar has only benefited the black marketers and fueled public anger against the caretaker government of Hassan Diab.
The government–owned state electricity could only provide four hours of power per day, and this enabled private generator operators to be alternative providers. Power ration has been imposed on hospitals shutting off air conditioners, bakeries and food industries stopped using their ovens leading to food shortage. Prices for essential commodities rocketed endangeringthe health of the population.
Lebanon had been hardly coping with the Covid pandemic like many other nations and the Beirut port blast created further challenges both economically and politically. Corruption and fuel shortage which worsened the economic crisis led to political uncertainty in Lebanon.
On August 11, US–backed governor of Lebanese Central Bank stopped the fuel subsidies. This further pushed poverty levels serving only to increase public anger. Some of the reasons for the slowing down of Lebanese economy are decreased exports, the burden of millions of incoming refugees escaping the Syrian conflict, slowing down of foreign remittances, and ceasing of funding from Gulf countries. US sanctionedLebanon and its prominent leaders across the political spectrum to curtail the influence of Hezbollah and Iran, and this further crippled the economy.
As the situation continued to deteriorate, the pressure on Hezbollah increased. Hezbollah, a socio-political organization ingrained with the Lebanese society which must tried hard to be inclusive and to stay above religious differentiation in a religiously divided nation. Syed Hasan Nasrullah, the chief of Hezbollah stepped in to help the people of Lebanon by asking for aid fromIran. Over the past decades, Iran has helped Lebanon in its needy times.
Although US senators warned against Iranian fuel shipment but as promised by the Hezbollah chief, the Iranian fuel is planned to arrive before ‘Arbaeen’. As the Lebanese researcher noted that Iranian fuel reaching Lebanon is a slap on Washington’s face, exposing American bullying tactics, its inability to prevent the fuel shipment, and the diminishing of its arrogant supremacy in the region’s geo-politics.
Many analysts observed Iranian capability in sending fuel tankers to Lebanon despite American blockade and Israel’s threat, is a political victory over America’s sanctions rule. The sailing of Iranian fuel tankersthrough troubled political waters and safely reaching their destination is a clear region-political message that the ‘Axis of Resistance’ is stronger than ever.
The Iranian fuel shipment is a game-changer that has superseded American efforts to stop Iran’s support forLebanon and this will serve to concrete Iran-Lebanon relationship further.