# Lebanon
Middle East News
Lebanon's financial meltdown

Lebanon is grappling with a deep economic crisis after successive governments piled up debt following the 1975-1990 civil war with little to show for their spending binge.

Banks, central to the service-oriented economy, are paralyzed. Savers have been locked out of dollar accounts or told funds they can access are worth less. The currency has crashed, driving a swathe of the population into poverty.

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# Lebanon
Middle East News
Nasrallah: We Will Import Fuel from Iran if the Government Doesn't

Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah, in his speech on June 9 on the internal issue in Lebanon, addressed the issue of elections and the economic situation.

Nasrallah said he opposed the interim Prime Minister's intention to postpone the country's elections and that, despite the circumstances, they should be held on time. He also called on the political parties to address the socio-economic crisis.

He added that Hezbollah is still making every possible effort to form a new government that can deal with the shortage of labor, energy sources, and food products.

Nasrallah made clear his worldview regarding the current crisis and claims that it has been affecting the Lebanese economy for 40 years: "The government must deal with the current situation by fighting against monopolies and stopping those monopolies."

He noted that the fuel crisis that requires hundreds of cars to go to the gas stations is humiliating, adding that the government can address this crisis by one brave decision - importing fuel from Iran.

In this context, he added that the Iranian offer to sell fuel in Lebanon in Lebanese pounds is still valid, and warned against succumbing to American pressures aimed at preventing Lebanon from carrying out this deal.

He also flatly rejected reports of government subsidies as set by the IMF.

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# Lebanon # Hezbollah
War on Terror
New Iranian militias in Iraq have been trained by Hezbollah in Lebanon

Since the disappearance of former Quds Force commander Qassem Suleimani from the Iranian arena in early January 2020, factions loyal to Tehran have entered a new phase.

The man, known as the "Architect" of Iranian expansion in the region, directly led the loyalist militias to his country in the Middle East, namely factions from Al-Khashd and others in Iraq, Hezbollah in Lebanon, Hamas and Islamic Jihad in the Palestinian territories, the Houthis in Yemen and the Zinbion brigade in Syria.

Pure Greed 

From this it can be understood that Iran seeks to rearrange its militia cards in Iraq by electing hundreds of "reliable" fighters, and establishing smaller factions that are very loyal to it, according to a previous Reuters report last month.

In this context, Harit Hassan, a Middle East researcher in the Middle East Malcolm Carrie-Carnegi Center, who specializes in Iraqi affairs, confirmed to al-Arabiya.net that after the killing of Suleimani and Abu Mahdi al-Mohandis, about fifty Iraqi factions became less disciplined and competition between them and the militia command. "Al-Hashad al-Shaabi is more concerned with pursuing the financial benefits of the Iraqi state and not implementing the agenda of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards."

Training in Lebanon

In addition, he explained, "The training of these groups took place in Lebanon by Hezbollah military instructors for several reasons. Firstly to ensure their loyalty and obedience to Hezbollah, unlike the Iraqi factions, where competition between them is fierce, and secondly because Hezbollah has independent political and geographical space. Once in Lebanon they are safe, in contrast to the situation in Iraq, where the Americans almost control the air, making it difficult to train and fly drones.

What facilitated Hezbollah's Iraqi training mission was the freedom to enter Lebanon without a visa, which was pointed out by a researcher specializing in Iraq.

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# Lebanon # Hezbollah
The Iranian Threat
Hizbullah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah:

Hizbullah can resolve the fuel shortage in Lebanon by negotiating the import of gasoline and diesel from Iran

Source: Al-Manar TV (Lebanon)

Hizbullah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah said that the long lines at Lebanese gas stations are "humiliating" and that Hizbullah can resolve this humiliation by making the "brave decision" to import fuel from Iran. He made these remarks in a public address that aired on Al-Manar TV (Hizbullah-Lebanon) on June 8, 2021. 

Nasrallah said that Lebanon should stop fearing and surrendering to the Americans. He added that Hizbullah could bring in gasoline and diesel tankers from Iran, purchased with local currency.

Hassan Nasrallah: "The sights we have seen in the past few days and weeks on the TV stations... We have seen on TV long queues at the gas stations. This is humiliating. All those who waited in these lines must have felt degraded. Can't we fix it? We can. Why not? We can fix it today, but it requires making a brave political decision. We should stop being afraid of the Americans and stop taking them into consideration.

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# Iran # Lebanon # Hezbollah
Security
Hezbollah May Be Using Infiltrations from Israel's North for Future War

The encroachment from Lebanon into Israel this week showed a glimpse of Israel’s next confrontation with Hezbollah.

In 2020, there were ten attempts to infiltrate the Jewish state from Lebanon, in which 21 people were arrested.

Other than one rare shooting incident, all cases were of migrant workers.

With Lebanon’s catastrophic economic situation, the number of infiltrations may even increase.

However, Israel Defense Forces (IDF) estimate fear that Hezbollah is using these migrant workers to learn where are the “weak links” in Israel’s security barrier, to carry out successful terror attacks in the future.

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# Lebanon # Hezbollah
Middle East analysis
Lebanon without medicine due to Hezbollah

The deterioration in Lebanon continues on a daily basis, and the country's pharmacies are closed today in protest of the severe shortage of medicines resulting from the current economic crisis.

Lebanon imports about 80% of its pharmaceuticals, most of which are sold at a subsidized price, but due to the lack of finances, this has stopped almost completely. According to Lebanon’s central bank, during the first five months of the year, it paid $ 485 million to pharmaceutical importers in the country.

In Lebanon, this activity has been blamed on Hezbollah who is allegedly involved in smuggling pharmaceuticals from Lebanon to Syria and Iran.

 

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# Lebanon # Hezbollah
Security
Israeli Security Strengthening Near the Border

The IDF is equipping Civilian-Military Security Coordinators of Israeli communities near the Lebanese border with advanced means of observation, in case of a security incident at the border.

๐Ÿ“ธ IDF Spokesperson

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# Lebanon # Israel Defense Forces # Security
IDF
Battle Decorations Awarded For Activities in the South Lebanon Security Belt

The IDF spokesman said that this morning the decoration for the operation in the South Lebanon Security Belt was awarded to members of the General Staff Forum who served in various positions in the battle, between September 30, 1982, and May 24, 2000. The decoration was given to the commanders by Chief of General Staff, Major General Aviv Kochavi.

During the meeting, members of the General Staff Forum shared personal memories of their service in the Security Belt and experiences that shaped them as IDF commanders. The forum members described the IDF's time in the security strip as a significant period that left a great mark on them as commanders and as soldiers.

The giving of the decoration opened with a ceremony held on Monday this week in which the award was presented to the Chief of Staff and representatives of the bereaved families, a representative of the IDF disabled, and a representative of the combatants of the Southern Lebanon Army.

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# Lebanon # Israel Defense Forces
Middle East analysis
Powerplays In The Rubble: What Next for Lebanon?

- According to the World Bank, Lebanon is seeing an economic and financial disaster of historic proportions rarely seen since the mid-19th century.
- Most Lebanese today are newly poor, money is worthless and electricity, food, medicine, and water are all scarce commodities. 
- Lebanon still has no real government as rival corrupt politicians struggle for position, divvying up the crumbs of power, while the ultimate arbiter and hegemon, the terrorist group Hizbullah, looks on.

The best-case scenario seems to be that a coalition government will be formed soon, likely with former prime minister Saad Hariri, that will be able to turn the spigots of foreign aid back on. A few billion in hard currency from the West and some Arab states would then supposedly stabilize Lebanon – prop up the currency, promote good governance, and implement some reforms – and at least prevent it from collapsing further. Elections would then be held in 2022. That seems to be the theory. And this rosy scenario is supposed to unfurl while Hizbullah still remains in ultimate control and the same politicians that oversaw the Lebanese debacle in the first place remain on top.

A more likely worst-case scenario would be continued economic collapse, further delaying government formation intended to delay May 2022 parliamentary elections so that the same crowd can stay in power even longer. A collapse that leads to the implosion of remaining institutions and low-grade gang warfare. While someone like the despised presidential son-in-law Gibran Bassil, a key Hizbullah ally, maneuvers in the rubble to gain the presidency in October 2022. With maybe another Hizbullah war against Israel thrown in, following the conclusion of a new American-Iranian nuclear deal.

It does look like Lebanon will need a miracle to survive so it is then quite timely that Pope Francis will be meeting with Lebanese Christian religious leaders at the Vatican on July 1. 

This is a message of support to Lebanon and particularly to the Lebanese Maronite Catholic Patriarch Bechara Butros Al-Rahi who has chided politicians for failing to form a government, openly criticized Hizbullah, and urged that Lebanon pursue a policy of active neutrality, distancing itself from regional conflicts.

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# Middle East # Lebanon
Middle East News
Syrian Al-Qusayr After 8 Years: Hezbollah Rules and Residents Have Been Displaced

Eight years have passed since the forces of Assad and Lebanese Hezbollah seized control of the Syrian city of al-Qusayr, turning it into a ghost town. Its original residents are currently located in the areas between Idlib and the Aleppo countryside.

Al-Qusayr is one of the largest cities in Homs province, with over 80 villages and towns affiliated with it.

In June 2013, Assad's forces took it over with the direct support of the Lebanese Hezbollah. It was the first region to witness external intervention by foreign forces.

Since the Syrian army took control of the town, it has disappeared from the news headlines.

Currently, between 2,000 and 5,000 people live in the city of al-Qusayr, out of a population of 60,000 in the past, according to an official census issued by the Assad regime in 2011.

According to informed sources, the rate of destruction in homes and essential facilities is 85 percent, noting that the Assad government "has so far not moved a single stone, despite its repeated statements on the subject."

Al-Qusayr has a strategic location that has made it a central point in recent years for smuggling from Lebanon to Syria and vice versa, which Lebanese officials recently confirmed.

In addition, there has been much talk in recent years that Hezbollah officials have used hundreds of dunams of land in the Alcosire area for cannabis cultivation and set up mini-factories to produce captagon bullets.

Although there are no comments about the above from Hezbollah or the Assad regime, the residents of the city have confirmed this information, saying that there is an upward trend in the size of the areas where cannabis has been planted.

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# Middle East # Syria # Lebanon # Hezbollah
Israel's North & South
Gantz: IDF Showed Only Fraction of Capabilities in Gaza Operation

Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz sent a warning to Lebanon on Monday, saying that “what Gaza experienced several weeks ago is only a fraction” of what the Israeli military can do.

“Israel will always be prepared to fight to protect its citizens, and will always operate with all means necessary to retrieve her sons home -- in Lebanon, in Gaza and everywhere,” Gantz said in an award ceremony of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) for fighters in Operation Guardian of the Walls.

“The war the God forbid will erupt in Lebanon will be mainly conducted in the enemy’s territory, and its damage will be immense, painful and sweeping,” the former military chief warned.

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# Lebanon # Israel Defense Forces # Benny Gantz
IDF
IDF Apprehends Infiltrator from Lebanon

IDF forces arrested Monday one of the suspects who infiltrated into Israel from across the Lebanese border last night.

The man was apprehended near Shlomi, a town adjacent to the border.

In all likelihood, the suspect is an illegal migrant worker. Shortly afterwards, the second suspect was located and arrested as well.

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# Lebanon # Israel Defense Forces
On This Day in History
39 Years to the 1st Lebanon War

On June 6, 1982, the First Lebanon War broke out.

Known as "Operation Peace for Galilee," it was launched by Israel against Palestinian terrorists based in southern Lebanon following numerous cross-border terrorist attacks on innocent Israelis and the attempted assassination of the Israeli Ambassador to the UK by a terrorist cell.

Some 1,216 IDF soldiers were killed between the start of the war in 1982 and 1985.

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# Israeli Wars # Lebanon # Israel Defense Forces # On This Day # Israeli History
Breaking news
Security Drama up North

The Israe-Lebanon Border: The IDF has fired lighting bombs into the sky over the Lebnese border, in search of potential terrorists who may have crossed it into Israel.

# Lebanon # Israel Defense Forces # Security
Arab Support for Israel
Lebanese Camille Dory Chamoun: "The Israelis do not want war.

Lebanese Camille Dory Chamoun: "The Israelis do not want war. If you do not attack them, they will not attack you. But when you allow acts of aggression against Israel to be launched from your land, you will surely encounter a painful strike in return."

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# Terrorism # Lebanon # Israel
Middle East News
Nasrallah's heir

Secretary of Hizbollah spread rumors about his health after his "coughing speech", did not bother to find an official replacement, but it is estimated that the man to replace him is his cousin, Hashim Safi Al Din, who is reported to have close ties with Iran.

Rumors and reports spread social media between Monday and Tuesday caused an early celebration in Israel. In a country that has not had major victories against enemies like Hamas and Hizbollah, that even half a rumor about Nasrallah's health cause a mini-drama. Many Israelis wish Nasrallah to pass away after seeing his current health condition. 

In contrast to his signs of declined, pro-Hizbollah media reported that Nasrallah is active and functional. 

Last Wednesday afternoon, Nasrallah's condition was hard to determine. The accomplished terrorist leader is hated by Shia's and Christians in Lebanon, and has not made an official announcement about his replacement, but it's almost certain that his heir is his cousin, Hashim Safi Al Din.

 

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# Lebanon # Hezbollah
War on Terror
Report: After Treatment in Iran, Nasrallah's Health Deteriorates Again

Secretary-General of Hezbollah Hassan Nasrallah suffers from bronchitis, which has recently deteriorated, reports coming out of Beirut indicated Friday.

Kuwaiti daily newspaper Al-Jarida reported that a director of Khatam-al-Anbya hospital in Tehran, which is affiliated to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and treats top regime officials, said that Nasrallah was admitted to this hospital some 45 days ago to receive treatment for a chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and returned to Beirut at the end of May.

This source revealed that physicians recommended Nasrallah to remain in Iran under their supervision for his recuperation but he insisted to return to Lebanon to the Beqaa Valley region.

After his return, due to another deterioration of his health, the Iranian medical team traveled to Lebanon to aid in further treatments.

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# Iran # Lebanon # Hezbollah
War on Terror
The Favored Heir of Hassan Nasrallah

While rumors about Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah’s death may have been premature, the question of the terrorist leader’s successor remains relevant.

Lebanese media reported earlier this week that the condition of Nasrallah has deteriorated and that he was hospitalized. Pro-Hezbollah media, however, reported that he is functioning and meeting with his men.

And even though he has not named himself a successor, it is most likely that the man to replace him is no other than his cousin, Hashim Safi Al-Din.

In 2008, the first reports emerged that Al-Din, a pious Shiite and senior Hezbollah figure, received the blessing of the Iranians as the designated heir.

He is only four years younger than Nasrallah, having been born in 1964 in the village of Deir Qanoun En Nahr in south Lebanon.

Like his cousin, he received his religious education in the famous Shiite colleges in Najaf, Iraq and Qom, Iran.

Al-Din is a member of the Shura Council, which is the most prominent body within Hezbollah and also determines the identity of the organization’s leader.

But perhaps his most significant card is the marriage of his son, Sayyed Reza, to Zeinab Soleimani, daughter of former Quds Force Commander Qassem Soleimani, who was slain by the U.S. military under the leadership of former U.S. President Donald Trump.

In any case, Hezbollah will remain a bitter enemy of the Jewish state, even after Nasrallah’s reign of terror.

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# Iran # Lebanon # Hezbollah
Middle East News
Why the Lebanese Took to the Streets

Protesters in Beirut and other cities in Lebanon took to the streets yesterday, blocking main roads, amid a decision not to allow them to withdraw cash from their dollar accounts at a rate of 3,900 Liras to $ 1. Following the demonstrations, the central bank sought to reconsider its decision.

As has been known for over a year, the banks have not allowed Lebanese to access their dollar accounts and only allow the withdrawal of Lebanese Liras at only a third of the rate of that on the black market (over 10,000 liras per dollar). 

The Lebanese are also angry about blocking access to their money but have somehow come to terms with the low rate offered to them. It is now unclear what they intend to do in Lebanon, and whether the Lebanese's access to their accounts will be permanently stopped. If that happens then there is no doubt that the chaos in the streets will increase.

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# Middle East # Lebanon # Economy
Crime
IDF and Israeli Police Thwarted Smuggling Attempt

IDF surveillance yesterday identified suspects transferring cases from Lebanon to Israeli territory. Both IDF and police forces monitored the suspects throughout the incident, and have arrested the Israeli suspects.

During the arrest, 15 pistols, 36 kg of cannabis, and dozens of ammunition cartridges with an estimated total value of approximately NIS 2,000,000 were seized. The suspects and the findings were transferred to security forces for the investigation.

The IDF is examining, among other things, whether the smuggling attempt was carried out with the help of the Hezbollah terrorist organization.

IDF forces and the Israeli police are investigating those behind the smuggling of weapons, and are leading an extensive effort against the phenomenon of drug and weapons smuggling from the Lebanese border.

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# Crime # Israeli Police # Lebanon # Israel Defense Forces # Hezbollah