by: Ilse Strauss
Friday, 17 September 2021 | Israel’s arch foe Hezbollah is attempting to step into a new role: the hero of the Lebanese people. The Lebanese terror group perched on Israel’s northern border yesterday funneled more than a million gallons of illegal Iranian diesel into the country crippled by dire fuel shortages, highlighting the Lebanese government’s failure to provide for the basic needs of its people—and Hezbollah’s ability to step into the gap as national savior.
Lebanon is currently in the grip of one of the worst economic meltdowns in modern history. The Lebanese pound has plummeted to desperate lows, 75% of the population lives in poverty and electricity is restricted to a few hours per day. Petrol and diesel are unheard-of luxuries, which means that generators are simply not an option and desperate motorists spend hours or even days in queues for a rationed amount of precious fuel. Government efforts to alleviate the crisis, switch on the lights and get the fuel flowing again have proven futile. Enter Hezbollah.
Hassan Nasrallah, head of the Iranian terror proxy, promised in August to provide Lebanon with the diesel to help alleviate the fuel drought—and then looked to his terror puppet masters in Tehran to make good on that promise. Iran did not disappoint.
Earlier this week, an Iranian fuel tanker—reportedly the first of four—docked at Syria’s Baniyas port. Days later, two convoys of 80 trucks allegedly carrying four million liters (more than one million gallons) of fuel rolled into Lebanon from Syria via an illegal crossing, according to Hezbollah’s Al Manar television. The Iranian fuel will reportedly restock a distribution company owned by Hezbollah that has been sanctioned by the US since February.
Cheering Hezbollah supporters came out to line the streets as the convoy rolled past, hoisting the yellow flag of the terror group high, bobbing to stirring anthems, distributing sweets and happily firing guns and rocket-propelled grenades into the air.
The Iranian fuel provides but a trickle of what fuel-parched Lebanon needs, but in a country crippled by needs that the government seem unable to meet, Hezbollah is making a stellar effort to worm its way into the affections of the Lebanese population.
Israel will undoubtedly keep a close eye on the situation. The Lebanese terror group currently takes one of the top spots on the list of Jerusalem’s most imminent threats—and for good reason. Hezbollah openly hails Israel’s annihilation as its chief aim, possesses an impressive arsenal of sophisticated weapons to achieve the objective and is perched within easy striking distance on the Jewish state’s northern border.
Israel has suffered nearly four decades of Hezbollah terror. The Jewish state and the terror group also faced each other on the battlefield once, and experts agree that a second round is a matter of when, not if. But this time, they say, Israel will face a foe that is more determined, more devious, battle-hardened and armed to the teeth. This round, they warn, will be bloodier, more violent and costlier than anything Israel has experienced in nearly half a century.
Hezbollah functions as a terror army, rather than a terror group. Its fighting force numbers some 45,000, many of whom have gained valuable battlefield experience fighting alongside Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad in the Syrian Civil War. Tehran also used war-torn Syria as a supply route to smuggle game-changing weapons to Hezbollah, and the group now boasts an arsenal of 150,000–300,000 precision long- and medium-range rockets, larger than that of all Europe’s armies combined.
Now, the Lebanese government failing to do what it was elected to do may provide Hezbollah with an opportunity to strengthen its hold on Lebanon and take it from terror group to a beloved household name. Whether the Iranian terror proxy will be able to buy the Lebanese population’s loyalty with precious fuel remains to be seen.
Posted on September 17, 2021
Source: (Bridges for Peace, September 17, 2021)
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