As Lebanon suffers a myriad of crises, including a gasoline crisis that is forcing people to wait in long queues to fuel their cars, Hezbollah emerged to offer fuel supplies from Iran.
In a televised speech on Tuesday, Hezbollah‘s Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah announced that he was prepared to ship fuel from Iran right to the Beirut Port and dared the Lebanese government to stop him.
“We will not accept that the humiliation continues,” he said, before stating that his party would negotiate with Iran to bring gasoline to the port of Beirut. “And let the Lebanese state prevent its entry to the Lebanese people,” he challenged.
This rejection of “humiliation” comes now despite the fact that Hezbollah has long benefitted from smuggling fuel and other goods to Syria. A cleric close to Hezbollah even had even acknowledged in an interview with France 24 in April that smuggling was an “integral part” for them.
Earlier this year, Lebanon’s caretaker Energy Minister Raymond Ghajar did blame smuggling for the country’s gasoline crisis.
Furthermore, in the aftermath of the monstrous Beirut Blast in which nearly 3,000 tonnes of explosive-grade ammonium nitrate detonated at the Beirut Port, Nasrallah categorically denied having any authority or control over the port.
The fact that Nasrallah can now openly dare the Lebanese government to stop his militia from shipping sanctioned fuel from Iran to Lebanon not only constitutes a threat for Lebanese relations with the world powers but also displays Hezbollah‘s evident power over the country’s ports and borders.