Syria and Israel are seemingly edging ever closer to all-out war. But the Western media isn’t really talking about it. ———————————————————— Detailed U.N. Report on Israeli Occupation of Golan Heights CONTACT@IFAMERICANSKNEW.ORG MARCH 22, 2019 Israeli tanks in the Golan Heights during Israel’s 1967 invasion of Syria. Occupied Syrian Golan Section V of the “UN Report of […]
Mossad (the Hebrew word for “institute”) is one of the world’s most effective and notorious intelligence services. Its policy of targeted assassination is unparalleled among the world’s intelligence agencies.
Under the leadership of Yossi Cohen, Mossad has taken a leading role in Israel’s campaign to normalize relations with the monarchies of the Persian Gulf and to combat the spread of coronavirus.
In 2017 the combined budget of Mossad and Shin Bet, Israel’s domestic security service, was $2.4 billion, according to the reliable Israeli daily, Ha’aretz. Cohen was appointed in 2016.
Uniquely among the world’s intelligence services, Mossad takes credit for assassinating its enemies.
Israeli officials have acknowledged organizing the assassination of five Iranian nuclear scientists, as part of an effort to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.
UAE authorities say a team of 26 Mossad agents was responsible for killing a senior Hamas military commander in a Dubai hotel room in 2010.
Mossad has diverse cyber capabilities. Israeli intelligence reportedly infiltrated the Stuxnet virus into the computers of Iranian nuclear facilities causing high-speed centrifuges to malfunction. The virus, discovered in 2010, was produced by a joint U.S.-Israeli team, according to the Washington Post.
In April 2018, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that Israeli operatives had broken into an archive on the Iranian nuclear program from 1993 to 2003. Israeli officials estimate that they obtained approximately twenty percent of the entire archive. The trove included some 55,000 pages of documents and a further 55,000 files on CDs—files that included photos and videos in addition to documents. Iran denied the claim.
The Israeli intelligence services are key to Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territories.
According to a 2018 Human Rights Watch report, Israeli authorities enforce “severe and discriminatory restrictions on Palestinians’ human rights” and “facilitate the unlawful transfer of Israeli citizens to settlements in the occupied West Bank.”
The ADL and other Jewish “advocacy” groups love to clutch their pearls over the so-called canard of Jewish influence on American politics. They decry “millennia-old stereotypes of Jews as disloyal, greedy abusers of power” but then with zero trace of irony take swift public action that totally confirms the anti-Semite’s initial premise. In propositional logic, this is known as a performative contradiction. You cannot claim that it’s an anti-Semitic “myth” to state Jews have outsized political power and then immediately summon powerful political connections to ostracize and/or silence anyone making the claim. Obviously you really do have disproportionate political influence otherwise you wouldn’t be able to leverage serious consequences on whoever dares to object to the length of your grasp.
For a real-time demonstration of the contradiction, let’s turn to a recent example:
On Wednesday, September 29th, 2021, Kamala Harris was visiting George Mason University when a student raised an entirely reasonable objection to the United States providing so much foreign aid to Israel given their mistreatment of Palestinians. Harris replied that “your truth cannot be suppressed” which to normal people sounds like an insincere reification of the right to free speech. Jews saw it a bit differently. That same day the Israeli press was apoplectic, showing a startling fixation on American politics for an ethnic group that claims allegations about their influence on other nations is just a conspiracy theory. Apparently Jews in both Israel and America constantly survey our elected leaders for any hint that they might waver even slightly in their support of the Jewish state. Like a flock of beady-eyed hawks, they are ever vigilant and always watching for the merest hint that an American with power might not acquiesce to their incessant demands.
By the very next day, Harris’s office was in frantic communication with Jewish groups and Jonathan Greenblatt was gloating that she had reaffirmed her loyalty to Israel. Of course the leader of the organization that claims Jews don’t have disproportionate power and influence was literally on the phone with the vice president of the United States seeking assurances that she in fact wasn’t seriously entertaining criticisms of the deplorable actions of the state of Israel. The conservative Renfields screeched their dismay that anyone would speak ill of their vampiric masters while the Democrats desperately tried to mend an unbroken fence.
Greenblatt of course didn’t hesitate to punch down on a college student or call her “hateful” for objecting to the war-crimes and human rights abuses Israel heaps upon Palestinians. Nor did he have any second thoughts about underlining the fact he has the ear of the American VP and that she’s desperate to prove her loyalty. This is a poor way to counter the “myth” of Jewish control, but apparently Greenblatt is so secure in his absolute dominion of America’s political establishment that he fears no consequences for such arrogant displays of power.
If anyone claims that Jews DON’T wield an absolutely staggering amount of American political influence, just show them this example.
An Israeli planning committee approved plans on 14 October to build thousands of homes in the illegal settlement of Givat Hamatos in occupied East Jerusalem.
If built, this would become the first Jewish settlement in 20 years to be built in occupied East Jerusalem, and the first ever beyond the 1967 armistice line.
The announcement came one day after Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid met with US Vice President Kamala Harris in Washington, DC.
The Biden administration has previously spoken out against the expansion of illegal Israeli settlements in occupied Palestine. However, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennet has said multiple times that his government has no plans to stop these expansions.
Experts believe that, once completed, the Givat Hamatos settlement will effectively split the West Bank in half, isolating Palestinians who live in occupied East Jerusalem and making a two-state solution virtually impossible.
EU officials condemned the Bennet administration’s plans for the construction of additional housing units in Givat Hamatos earlier this year, saying that the plan would “undermine the negotiations for a two-state solution.”
The Israeli settlement in Givat Hamatos is located beyond the 1967 Green Line, on lands which were seized from the Palestinian towns of Beit Safafa in the Jerusalem governorate, and Beit Jala in the Bethlehem governorate.
The construction plans approved on Wednesday would effectively cut off Beit Safafa from surrounding Palestinian villages and the rest of Jerusalem.
The last thing the complex, work-in-progress drive towards Eurasian integration needs at this stage is this messy affair between Iran and Azerbaijan in the South Caucasus.
Let’s start with the Conquerors of Khaybar – the largest Iranian military exercise in two decades held on its northwestern border with Azerbaijan.
Among the deployed Iranian military and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) units there are some serious players, such as the 21st Tabriz Infantry Division, the IRGC Ashura 31 battalion, the 65th Airborne Special Forces Brigade and an array of missile systems, including the Fateh-313 and Zulfiqar ballistic missiles with ranges of up to 700 kilometers.
The official explanation is that the drills are a warning to enemies plotting anything against the Islamic Republic.
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei pointedly tweeted that “those who are under the illusion of relying on others, think that they can provide their own security, should know that they will soon take a slap, they will regret this.”
The message was unmistakable: this was about Azerbaijan relying on Turkey and especially Israel for its security, and about Tel Aviv instrumentalizing Baku for an intel drive leading to interference in northern Iran.
Further elaboration by Iranian experts went as far as Israel eventually using military bases in Azerbaijan to strike at Iranian nuclear installations.
The reaction to the Iranian military exercise so far is a predictable Turkey–Azerbaijani response: they are conducting a joint drill in Nakhchivan throughout this week.
But were Iran’s concerns off the mark? A close security collaboration between Baku and Tel Aviv has been developing for years now. Azerbaijan today possesses Israeli drones and is cozy with both the CIA and the Turkish military. Throw in the recent trilateral military drills involving Azerbaijan, Turkey and Pakistan – these are developments bound to raise alarm bells in Tehran.
Baku, of course, spins it in a different manner: Our partnerships are not aimed at third countries.
So, essentially, while Tehran accuses Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev of making life easy for Takfiri terrorists and Zionists, Baku accuses Tehran of blindly supporting Armenia. Yes, the ghosts of the recent Karabakh war are all over the place.
As a matter of national security, Tehran simply cannot tolerate Israeli companies involved in the reconstruction of regions won in the war near the Iranian border: Fuzuli, Jabrayil, and Zangilan.
Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdullahian has tried to play it diplomatically: “Geopolitical issues around our borders are important for us. Azerbaijan is a dear neighbor to Iran and that’s why we don’t want it to be trapped between foreign terrorists who are turning their soil into a hotbed.”
As if this was not complicated enough, the heart of the matter – as with all things in Eurasia – actually revolves around economic connectivity.
An interconnected mess
Baku’s geoeconomic dreams are hefty: the capital city aims to position itself at the key crossroads of two of the most important Eurasian corridors: North-South and East-West.
And that’s where the Zangezur Corridor comes in – arguably essential for Baku to predominate over Iran’s East-West connectivity routes.
The corridor is intended to connect western Azerbaijan to the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic via Armenia, with roads and railways passing though the Zangezur region.
Zangezur is also essential for Iran to connect itself with Armenia, Russia, and further on down the road, to Europe.
China and India will also rely on Zangezur for trade, as the corridor provides a significant shortcut in distance. Considering large Asian cargo ships cannot sail the Caspian Sea, they usually waste precious weeks just to reach Russia.
An extra problem is that Baku has recently started harassing Iranian truckers in transit through these new annexed regions on their way to Armenia.
It didn’t have to be this way. This detailed essay shows how Azerbaijan and Iran are linked by “deep historical, cultural, religious, and ethno-linguistic ties,” and how the four northwestern Iranian provinces – Gilan, Ardabil, East Azerbaijan and West Azerbaijan – have “common geographical borders with both the main part of Azerbaijan and its exclave, the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic; they also have deep and close commonalities based on Islam and Shiism, as well as sharing the Azerbaijani culture and language. All this has provided the ground for closeness between the citizens of the regions on both sides of the border.”
During the Rouhani years, relations with Aliyev were actually quite good, including the Iran‑Azerbaijan‑Russia and Iran‑Azerbaijan‑Turkey trilateral cooperation.
A key connectivity at play ahead is the project of linking the Qazvin‑Rasht‑Astara railway in Iran to Azerbaijan: that’s part of the all-important International North‑South Transport Corridor (INSTC).
Geoeconomically, Azerbaijan is essential for the main railway that will eventually run from India to Russia. No only that; the Iran‑Azerbaijan‑Russia trilateral cooperation opens a direct road for Iran to fully connect with the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU).
In an optimal scenario, Baku can even help Iranian ports in the Persian Gulf and the Sea of Oman to connect to Georgian ports in the Black Sea.
The West is oblivious to the fact that virtually all sections of the INSTC are already working. Take, for instance, the exquisitely named Astara‑Astara railway connecting Iranian and Azerbaijani cities that share the same name. Or the Rasht‑Qazvin railway.
But then one important 130km stretch from Astara to Rasht, which is on the southern shore of the Caspian and is close to the Iranian–Azeri border, has not been built. The reason? Trump-era sanctions. That’s a graphic example of how much, in real-life practical terms, rides on a successful conclusion of the JCPOA talks in Vienna.
Who owns Zangezur?
Iran is positioned in a somewhat tricky patch along the southern periphery of the South Caucasus. The three major players in that hood are of course Iran, Russia, and Turkey. Iran borders the former Armenian – now Azeri – regions adjacent to Karabakh, including Zangilan, Jabrayil and Fuzuli.
It was clear that Iran’s flexibility on its northern border would be tied to the outcome of the Second Karabakh War. The northwestern border was a source of major concern, affecting the provinces of Ardabil and eastern Azerbaijan – which makes Tehran’s official position of supporting Azerbaijani over Armenian claims all the more confusing.
It is essential to remember that even in the Karabakh crisis in the early 1990s, Tehran recognized Nagorno‑Karabakh and the regions surrounding it as integral parts of Azerbaijan.
While both the CIA and Mossad appear oblivious to this recent regional history, it will never deter them from jumping into the fray to play Baku and Tehran against each other.
An extra complicating factor is that Zangezur is also mouth-watering from Ankara’s vantage point.
Arguably, Turkey’s neo-Ottoman President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who never shies away from an opportunity to expands his Turkic-Muslim strategic depth, is looking to use the Azeri connection in Zangezur to reach the Caspian, then Turkmenistan, all the way to Xinjiang, the Uyghur Muslim populated western territory of China. This, in theory, could become a sort of Turkish Silk Road bypassing Iran – with the ominous possibility of also being used as a rat line to export Takfiris from Idlib all the way to Afghanistan.
Tehran, meanwhile, is totally INSTC-driven, focusing on two railway lines to be rehabilitated and upgraded from the Soviet era. One is South-North, from Jolfa connecting to Nakhchivan and then onwards to Yerevan and Tblisi. The other is West-East, again from Jolfa to Nakhchivan, crossing southern Armenia, mainland Azerbaijan, all the way to Baku and then onward to Russia.
And there’s the rub. The Azeris interpret the tripartite document resolving the Karabakh war as giving them the right to establish the Zangezur corridor. The Armenians for their part dispute exactly which ‘corridor’ applies to each particular region. Before they clear up these ambiguities, all those elaborate Iranian and Tukish connectivity plans are effectively suspended.
The fact, though, remains that Azerbaijan is geoeconomically bound to become a key crossroads of trans-regional connectivity as soon as Armenia unblocks the construction of these transport corridors.
So which ‘win-win’ is it?
Will diplomacy win in the South Caucasus? It must. The problem is both Baku and Tehran frame it in terms of exercising their sovereignty – and don’t seem particularly predisposed to offer concessions.
Meanwhile, the usual suspects are having a ball exploiting those differences. War, though, is out of the question, either between Azerbaijan and Armenia or between Azerbaijan and Iran. Tehran is more than aware that in this case both Ankara and Tel Aviv would support Baku. It is easy to see who would profit from it.
As recently as April, in a conference in Baku, Aliyev stressed that “Azerbaijan, Turkey, Russia and Iran share the same approach to regional cooperation. The main area of concentration now is transportation, because it’s a situation which is called ‘win‑win.’ Everybody wins from that.”
And that brings us to the fact that if the current stalemate persists, the top victim will be the INSTC. In fact, everyone loses in terms of Eurasian integration, including India and Russia.
The Pakistan angle, floated by a few in hush-hush mode, is completely far-fetched. There’s no evidence Tehran would be supporting an anti-Taliban drive in Afghanistan just to undermine Pakistan’s ties with Azerbaijan and Turkey.
The Russia–China strategic partnership looks at the current South Caucasus juncture as unnecessary trouble, especially after the recent Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit. This badly hurts their complementary Eurasian integration strategies – the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and the Greater Eurasian Partnership.
INSTC could, of course, go the trans-Caspian way and cut off Azerbaijan altogether. This is not likely though. China’s reaction, once again, will be the deciding factor. There could be more emphasis on the Persian corridor – from Xinjiang, via Pakistan and Afghanistan, to Iran. Or Beijing could equally bet on both East-West corridors, that is, bet on both Azerbaijan and Iran.
The bottom line is that neither Moscow nor Beijing wants this to fester. There will be serious diplomatic moves ahead, as they both know the only ones to profit will be the usual NATO-centric suspects, and the losers will be all the players who are seriously invested in Eurasian integration.
Lebanon is under unprecedented economic and social pressure, paying the price for Hezbollah’s military capability that causes a threat to “Israel”. The options offered by those (US, EU and “Israel”) effectively participating in cornering Lebanon -notwithstanding decades of domestic corruption and mismanagement – are limited to two: either disarm Hezbollah or push Lebanon toward a failed state and civil war. However, the “Axis of the Resistance” has other options: Iran has responded to the request of Hezbollah Secretary-General Sayed Hassan Nasrallah by regularly sending to Lebanon food supplies and medicine. It is now sending oil tankers, which are expected to reach the country in the coming weeks via the Syrian port of Tartous. Iran is rushing to support one of its strongest allies in the “Axis of the Resistance”, Hezbollah, which is suffering severe domestic pressure, as are the entire Resistance Axis members in their respective countries. Hezbollah’s supporters of all persuasions are affected by the acute socio-economic crisis. But will Hezbollah succeed in overcoming the inevitable result of the current long-term crisis? How serious are the challenges?
In one of his private meetings, Sayed Nasrallah said: “Israel considered that Hezbollah’s military capability constituted a “vexing danger” at the first years of its existence. The level of danger moved up to “challenge” in 2000 when “Israel” withdrew from Lebanon, to the “serious menace” level after the 2006 war, and to “existential danger” after the wars in Syria and Iraq.”
In line with what the Secretary-General of Hezbollah believes, it is common knowledge that “Israel” possesses nuclear weapons. Therefore, no other power in the Middle East can be considered an “existential threat” to “Israel”. However, according to the Israeli military leadership, Hezbollah possesses accurate missiles carrying hundreds of kilograms of explosives each. Thus, Hezbollah needs only ten missiles – not hundreds – to hit 6 electric stations and 4 water desalination plants over the entire geography to render life impossible for a vast number of Israelis. The Israeli leadership stated that there is no need to count the precision missiles that could hit any oil platform, ship or harbour and destroy any airport control tower in any future war.
Consequently, there will be not many Israelis willing to stay, and it is conceivable to believe that a considerable number of Israelis would leave. This scenario constitutes an existential threat to “Israel”, indeed. In this case, as the military command says, “Israel” will never be able to coexist with such an existential threat looming over its head generated from the other side of the Lebanese border. Hezbollah possesses hundreds of precision missiles spread over a wide area in Lebanon, Syria, and mainly along the fortified eastern mountainside that offer ideal protection for these missiles. So what are “Israel’s” options?
Following the failure to subdue Hezbollah in 2006 in the 3rd war, the victory of the “Axis of Resistance” in the Syrian conflict, the prevention of the division of Iraq and the fall of Yemen under Saudi Arabia’s control, the area of influence of the Resistance Axis expanded, as well as its theatre of operations. Consequently, the danger to “Israel”, to the US’s goals and hegemony in West Asia, significantly increased.
The nuclear dossier is not that far away from the threat the “Axis of the Resistance” is confronted with. By increasing its nuclear capability, Iran forced President Joe Biden to put the nuclear negotiation at the top of its agenda during (former) President Hassan Rouhani’s mandate. Whatever has been said about the possibility of future progress in the nuclear talks in Vienna, lifting sanctions on Iran – while Iraq is labouring under heavy financial debt, Syria is subjected to a severe economic blockade, and Lebanon faces a becoming degraded state -seems unrealistic to the US.
To the west and “Israel”, releasing Iran’s frozen funds – which exceed $110 billion – at a time of maximum financial pressure and heavy sanctions, is not logical. Moreover, allowing Iran to sell and export its oil and lifting the maximum pressure means that all the previous US efforts to curb Iran’s will and progress are due to fail just when the results of these sanctions are turning in favour of the US in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon.
Consequently, maintaining economic pressure on the “Axis of Resistance” has become a US necessity and strategy. With this in mind, the US failed to comply with the nuclear agreement, to improve the leverage of the US negotiator and impose its conditions over Iran to include, above all, its relationship with its allies and the maintenance of hundreds of sanctions in place.
With the arrival of President Ibrahim Raisi to power and his plans to give little time for the nuclear negotiation, the US sees itself faced with two very bitter choices: either allowing Iran to become a nuclear power or removing all sanctions so as to persuade Iran to delay its entire nuclear capability. Both decisions are impossible choices and inconvenient for the US administration. Thus, the US needs to hit Iran’s allies without negotiating with Tehran, because it refuses to include it – as well as Iran’s missile program – in any nuclear talks.
Suppose the maximum pressure on Lebanon fails to weaken Hezbollah. In that case, Washington needs to evaluate future steps to choose between the nuclear threat or the “Axis of the Resistance” threat to “Israel”. And if the US opts for the 2015 nuclear agreement –which is unlikely – then “the Axis of Resistance” will experience a strong revival, recovering from the extreme US pressure. Whatever America’s choice is, it has become more than evident that Iran will eventually become a nuclear power and offer more than adequate support to its allies to keep them strong enough to face whatever challenges.
In Lebanon, Hezbollah cannot provide and has no intention of replacing the services provided by the state. Nevertheless, it is involved in the food supply through “al-Sajjad” cards delivered to families needing to buy food at a sharply reduced price, which raised the number from 150 000 to 200 000. It is supporting thousands of families who have reached the level of extreme poverty. Moreover, Hezbollah brought medication from Iran (more than 500 types) to cover some of the country’s needs when pharmacies are closing their doors and lacking essential medical supplies.
Furthermore, in the coming weeks, Iran, Syria, and Hezbollah have agreed on delivering Iranian oil to Lebanon. Hezbollah will receive the gasoline from the supply to its forces and for covering its daily movements. Hospitals are at the top of the list of those expected to receive the Iranian oil distributed by Hezbollah to prevent their shutting down. Many hospitals closed more than half of their departments. Other medical facilities transferred their patients to hospitals that still have fuel to generate electricity for the next few days. In various parts of Lebanon, hospitals are asking many patients to leave due to the lack of diesel fuel for electricity. The American University of Beirut Medical Centre stopped ventilators and other lifesaving medical devices for the lack of fuel oil.
Also, Hezbollah is expected to deliver Iranian oil to the owners of tens of thousands of private electric generators. The lack of electricity in the country boosted the presence of thousands of privately-owned generators who, for decades, offer their paid services to compensate for the lack of electricity. These are expected to benefit from the oil delivered by Hezbollah to secure electric power supply for people. The shortage of diesel fuel for the owners of generators reached a critical degree in the current hot summer, raising the level of discontent among the population.
Also, diesel fuel will be provided to some municipalities to secure waste removal from the streets for fear of the spread of disease. Al-Amanah Company is also expected to distribute the Iranian oil and diesel to dozens of stations approved by it and other local gasoline stations spread throughout the Lebanese territory.
But Hezbollah will not satisfy everyone in the country and is not able to prevent internal deterioration within the Shia society (-the majority of Shia stand with Hezbollah, but there are others in the Amal movement under the control of Speaker Nabih Berri and not Hezbollah) in the first place and among its allies in the second place. The social decline is at a peak, and Iran’s support is insufficient unless Iran fully achieves its own recovery – if sanctions are fully lifted – and its domestic economy recovers. As far as it concerns Iran, the consent to its allies is mandatory because the “Axis of the Resistance” is united and all share the same vocation.
However, it is not in Iran’s capability to take on the entire burden of Syria and Lebanon’s economy. Iran supported Syria financially throughout the decade of war but is in no position to finance all the needs of the state. Also, Hezbollah started as a popular resistance force against the Israeli occupation, intending to impose deterrence and protect the state from Israeli violations and ambitions. It has been heavily involved in social support to the deprived Shia sect and managed to cover many infrastructure and service holes left by the incapability of the state. But the challenge faced in the last couple of years is beyond Hezbollah’s competencies and probably beyond the means of the state itself.
It should be borne in mind, though, that the flow of the Iranian oil into Lebanon carries with it several potential risks:
First: The risk of an Israeli strike on the supply lines. This will require Hezbollah to strike back “Israel” to maintain the balance of terror and deterrence equation. The tension in the military situation between “Israel” and Hezbollah will reach its climax without going to an all-out war because “Israel” prefers “campaigns between wars” to control the damage that may result from the confrontation. However, if “Israel” strikes the Iranian oil tankers or other countries try to stop the oil from reaching Lebanon, Iran would reply and it is not expected to stop sending its tankers to Lebanon.
Second: The supply route passes through areas not controlled by Hezbollah. What will the other anti-Hezbollah groups do? Will Hezbollah find a solution to convince the (hostile) Druze, Sunni and Christians spread along its supply road to avoid intercepting its trucks, or would it be forced to face groups and be dragged into an internal battle? How will Hezbollah guarantee the cohesion of its areas from the Beqaa to the southern suburbs of Beirut and even to the South of Lebanon so that its environment would be safe from the sectarian incitement the US manipulates and drags the country toward it?
There is no doubt that Lebanon is heading toward the dissolution of the state in a fast-paced manner. This will lead to the security forces’ weakness in general and push each sect or party to provide the necessary support to the membership of its society. Lebanon is expected to live again in the 1980s era when social services were reduced, waste spread in the streets, health and education levels declined, security forces were inefficient and hopeless, and warlords were emerging out of it.
From a specific aspect, the US-Israeli blockade is relatively in the interests of Hezbollah because it receives its financial support in foreign currency. Hezbollah is a regular and coherent organisation, and it will increase its revenue from the sharp devaluation of the local currency, the selling of medicine, oil and food. Hezbollah is expected to sell gasoline and diesel at prices relatively lower than the market price. Furthermore, it is also expected to allow other areas in Lebanon to have access to all the reached products. That will permit Hezbollah to expose greedy Lebanese merchants who monopolise and stockpile medicines and gasoline to starve the market and increase prices. These Lebanese merchants will be forced to sell their goods if these are no longer a rarity in the market. The goods are currently sold on the black market at prices unaffordable to the majority of the inhabitants.
What Lebanon is suffering from is the result of decades of corruption conducted by the US friends who held the political power in the country. The downgrading of Lebanon is primarily due to the US and Israeli interventions and influence in this country: It has lost the name “Switzerland of the East” forever. The disadvantage for Hezbollah will be the security chaos, the fragmentation of the security forces and their inability to impose their authority, and the spread of poverty to hit all walks of life. It is also expected to see the country suffer different sabotage acts, bribes, further corruption- and to become a fertile platform for the Israeli intelligence to operate in. A possible and potential scenario will force Hezbollah to “clean up” the roads to ensure the continuity of its supplies, link all Shia areas together and impose “self-security” to reduce their vulnerability.
Time’s arrow cannot be reversed, and Lebanon will not return to what it was before, not for the next ten years at least. There is a possibility to create Lebanese cantons with different warlords without engaging in a civil war. Each Lebanese party would end up arming its group to support its people and area, not to engage in a battle with other parties, but to defend itself.
The collapse is the master of the situation. The US has prevented Lebanon from benefiting from Chinese and Russian offers to rebuild the country and stop it from deteriorating further. Moreover, the US forbad Europe and the oil-rich Middle Eastern countries from helping Lebanon in this crisis as they used to in the past. After all, Lebanon needs 3 to 4 billion dollars to stand on its feet and regain some of its strength after halting subsidies on various items that gobble up its cash resources.
But the challenge remains for the “Axis of Resistance” members, struggling to survive and resist the US hegemony and confront the US projects to dominate West Asia. Unless the “Axis of Resistance” members take the initiative and move from a defensive to an offensive position and impose new equations that prevent starvation of the population, this pressure will remain and even increase with time. However, supposing the US pressure is maintained, and the “Axis of the Resistance” adopts only survival mode: In that case, Lebanon’s people and the country’s stability will pay an increasingly heavy price, both now and in the years to come.