The Objectionable Discourse of Those Insisting on Sovereignty: ’Iranian Occupation’ & Overlooked Facts
By Ali Abadi
The topic of diesel fuel deliveries from Iran is still making the rounds among elements belonging to the American camp, which seems to have been caught off guard. Following unrealistic propositions, these circles launched intensive media campaigns to recapture the popular base that emerged from the claws of the propaganda directed against Hezbollah and Iran.
The diesel fuel has become a form of "Iranian occupation". That’s according to the point of view of those who got dizzy from their inability to keep up with this initiative. Not a day has gone by since the arrival of the Iranian diesel convoys without someone calling for neutrality, to liberate Lebanon from Iranian occupation, to join the wave of peace and normalization with "Israel", and to reject the helping hand extending to Lebanon from Iran, Russia, or China, unless this is accompanied by explicit American permission.
These people are trying to regroup and raise their voices, but their weak presence in the arenas is being exposed and reflects the fragility of their proposal and approach.
All the headlines that were used to reject the initiatives presented by friendly countries that are ready to support Lebanon in times of need do not support the principle of national sovereignty and going through the state. Let's take a closer look at the following headlines and facts:
1- Refusal to allow urgent relief aid to pass from Iran except through the state:
Those opposed to fuel coming from Iran claim that it passed through unofficial crossings. But is this the full story? In fact, they lobbied loudly not to receive oil derivatives from Iran through the official Lebanese crossings, sometimes under the pretext of international or US sanctions and other times claiming that Lebanon does not need them and can manage its affairs with the presence of import companies in conjunction with the imminent lifting of subsidies.
[Does this claim agree with the suffocation of markets and long queues for several months, in light of the collusion between local forces and external hegemonic forces?].
And when it became clear to them that the project to import fuel from Iran was very serious, and its effects began to appear in different areas, they changed their discourse tactically by showing a forced acceptance of the goods through official channels. But in reality, they placed one obstacle after another to prevent this from being achieved in order to preserve the interests of deep-rooted local capitalist forces and to sever the way for advanced economic relations that may link Lebanon and countries outside the system of American hegemony.
2- The organic organization of those opposing the American project:
While the logicof sovereignty and going through the state is used as a barrier to Iran and a red card in the face of Hezbollah, they accept the American statements that explicitly call for ignoring the existence of the Lebanese state and passing funds and aid to the so-called civil society associations under the pretext of corruption in the state apparatus. How is one right and not the other? Who guarantees that corruption will not occur in these associations as well, in light of reports of new “revolutionaries” enriching themselves while few benefits trickle down to society? Simply put, there is no comparison between Iranian fuel, which has tangibly reached all areas and sects, and the US aid, which is characterized by limitation and special teleology.
The US administration aims to support scattered cluster groups for an "eventual goal" which is the creation of “a more structured civil society organization that enjoyed strong relationships with the U.S., Europe, and international institutions and focused on creating economic opportunities, empowering new political voices and offering a meaningful alternative to Hezbollah for frustrated Lebanese Shias.” That’s according to an article published in the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, the voice of the Zionist lobby in the United States.
The institute adds that “donor nations, including the United States and international institutions like the World Bank and IMF, could work with the Lebanese business community to structure, develop, fund, and manage the organization. The critical thing is that this would take place outside Lebanon’s state institutions and political parties.”
How will this umbilical cord that was established between the American agencies and these societies that spawned in their hundreds help with the establishment of a healthy Lebanese state?!
3- Ignoring initiatives and official offers from Russian, Chinese, and Iranian companies in the energy field, at a time when electrical supply is the biggest problem for the Lebanese. Offers to establish railways to reduce the cost of transportation were also ignored.
These companies have presented attractive offers based on the BOT [build, operate, transfer] system, which does not cost the state a single penny. But there has been no answer! Who is restraining the will of the state and preventing it – with intimidation – from being open to various economic options that are in the interest of the Lebanese people? And another question: What has the United States provided, for example, over the past years to solve the electricity crisis in Lebanon, in light of its capabilities and huge energy companies?
The Lebanese must know the extent of the losses they incur as a result of the continuous rejection of the initiatives coming from Iran, Russia, China, and other countries offering deals related to electricity and various infrastructure projects. Such deals are only rejected by stubborn people or those who are ignorant about the interests of their country. On the other hand, we see nothing of the American, French, or Gulf support except for some crumbs here and there. Meanwhile, their companies are waiting for the privatization of key sectors, such as the port of Beirut, the airport, as well as communications and electricity, and the acquisition of oil and gas fields at sea.
For many years, the paralyzed interaction with the initiatives from abroad has produced a reality based on addiction to begging and waiting for aid and gifts from the Gulf and Western countries, as well as addiction to borrowing from governments and now from the International Monetary Fund.
A final note regarding the current controversy over Iranian aid and Hezbollah’s role at home: The approaching parliamentary elections are exacerbating the political campaigns around all the steps the party is taking. Washington has long invested in the siege and drying up the sources of the Lebanese local economy in order to strike the strength of the resistance and disperse the masses from around it. However, it was surprised by the bold steps taken by Hezbollah from outside the traditional economic equation, and now it fears that its plan may backfire.