Less than a month after the Secretary-General of the Lebanese Hezbollah, Hassan Nasrallah, announced the launch of the first Iranian ship loaded with oil derivatives, Lebanon entered the stage of anticipating the political and regional consequences, with dozens of Iranian fuel tanks crossing, today, Thursday, the land borders from Syria towards Lebanon.
The first cargo arrived after unloading at the Syrian port of Banias, in order to avoid embarrassing the Lebanese state, Nasrallah said.
In the wake of limited popular celebrations, the tankers entered the Bekaa Governorate, amid official silence, and other ships will arrive later, and the “Amanah” company for fuel will undertake the tasks of reception, unloading, storage and distribution.
In 2019, Washington put the "Amanah" company on the list of terrorism and imposed sanctions on it, and its general manager, Osama Aleik, tells Al Jazeera Net, that the company has mobilized logistically to achieve "the goals of a larger operation that will relieve the Lebanese from the scarcity of fuel."
Over the course of a month and a half, the company will provide diesel fuel to the wishing target groups as donations, to government hospitals, nursing homes, orphans, and others, and it will be sold in pounds at prices lower than the officially approved prices, for other groups.
Olaik said that the incoming ships are huge, each carrying more than 40 million liters, and will be emptied by about 10 warehouses. The company also has about 32 fuel stations, and it will ensure equitable distribution between regions and sects.
The operation coincided with the arrival of Iraqi fuel, and before that the signing of an agreement to transfer Egyptian gas and Jordanian electricity through Syria to Lebanon with an American green light.
However, the Iranian fuel has political implications of vast dimensions, according to many, amid the confusion of political forces between regional axes that sometimes struggle and maneuver at other times.
Iranian fuel messages?
Chronologically, Lebanese sources close to Hezbollah mention that it fought a border confrontation with Israel before announcing the sailing of the ship, so he established new rules of engagement, and then carried out his calls to break the siege on Lebanon by heading east towards Iran.
The sources indicate to Al-Jazeera Net that Hezbollah deals with Iranian fuel as a mixture between the rules of engagement and the need to move, "because it is unable to leave its environment, suffering from a shortage of fuel."
Here, Husam Matar, an academic and researcher in international relations, considers that Hezbollah is exploring a new type of work by engaging in economic affairs outside the state's path, and it may open up a horizon in other fields.
Matar finds, in an interview with Al-Jazeera Net, that Hezbollah translated the operation's success on several levels:
confirmed his strategic approach by merging with the Arab environment, specifically through Syria, and the need to open up to Iran to search for solutions, instead of linking Lebanon exclusively to the West, America and the Gulf.
, Hezbollah treats its move as an economic necessity, and as an offensive step from a defensive position that responds to American pressure.
Hezbollah is seeking to develop its step with a strategic path between Lebanon and Iran, according to Matar. They linked two things: the extent of the success of the Iranian fuel import process, and monitoring the American behavior towards development.
Many wonder about the impact of Iranian fuel on the new government, and its relations with the Gulf states and the international community, and observers go to consider it as part of a major settlement that released the formation of the government after about 13 months.
The writer and political analyst Khaldoun Al-Sharif points out that the decision to import Iranian fuel was taken before the formation of the Mikati government, which makes it an influencing factor at present.
And it may become effective if it continues for a long time, according to Al-Sharif, because creating a purchase and distribution mechanism outside the frameworks of the state and government is completely unhealthy.
Al-Sharif points out to Al-Jazeera Net that the issue of Iranian fuel is of central importance to Hezbollah, through which it wants to strengthen its Lebanese presence in its provinces, and to devote acceptance of Iran's role in exchange for a clear absence of other political and sectarian forces.
He said that the party is the first beneficiary with its allies, because it fills the vacuum of the state and the forces opposing it, surprising the absence of the Ministry of Energy from the scene of importing Iranian fuel, while people seek to secure basic life matters regardless of their source.
For his part, academic and political researcher Fadi al-Ahmar considers that importing Iranian fuel will not affect the government, after indirect US approval, just because tankers pass through the Suez Canal without blocking their way.
He said that America's acceptance of the formation of a government with the participation of Hezbollah, preceded by a presidential contact between Iran and France, means acceptance of the conduct of Hezbollah's interests and goals.
As for Hussam Matar, he believes that the fuel shipment will reflect positively on the Mikati government, because it translated a shift in the American approach, "after Hezbollah entered a strong competitor to fill the state's vacuum and its inability to provide fuel."
In Matar's opinion, Hezbollah moved to the position of the solution maker, "after Washington's attempt to portray it as the root of the problem of the Lebanese collapse."
Accordingly, America’s interest in letting Lebanon collapse as a means of putting pressure on Hezbollah has declined, which will reflect satisfaction on the government’s work, according to Matar, adding that the government will benefit from the relief of the fuel market in time with the lifting of subsidies on it, and thus monopoly operations and local consumption will decline.
Hezbollah fills the state's vacuum by entering the first Iranian fuel shipment to Lebanon via Syria (Al-Jazeera)
Balance of strength and weakness
Academic Hussam Matar believes that Hezbollah has weakened US pressure on Syria, which has opened new horizons for it, by breaching the wall of isolation and sanctions, and has proven that the US blockade is a major cause of Lebanon's collapse.
Matar expects Syria and its allies to intensify pressure in other areas to engage with the outside world and consolidate its internal gains through understanding with Russia and Iran.
In parallel, Fadi al-Ahmar mentions that America devoted its condoning of two main files in negotiating with Iran;
They are the ballistic missile program and Iran's influence in the region, in exchange for focusing on the nuclear file.
He says that America is playing with its opponents' power cards, which enhances the gains of Iran and Hezbollah, and "may work to expand the fan of strategic import."
He considers that Lebanon's attachment to the Iranian axis is a natural result of the Arab withdrawal from Lebanon.
Khaldoun Al-Sharif explains that the official relations between Lebanon and Iran were not bad, but the latter seeks to fill the Arab vacuum left by Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states, after it became clear that the upper hand in Lebanon is with Hezbollah and Iran, while Saudi Arabia's priority lies in stopping military attacks on the Kingdom by allies. Iran from the Houthis.
Al-Sharif suggested that Iranian fuel would be a temporary treatment with sedatives, and puts it in the category “showing force, importing, donating and distributing it, to maximize the role of Hezbollah and the role of Iran in Lebanon.”
He says, "It is a matter of buying time and stability that serves the interests of the Lebanese on the one hand, and serves the party's agenda, which seeks internal stability, in exchange for devoting itself to managing its many battles on broad fronts."Keywords: