Sep 15, 2021
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Russia saved Syria, next in line – Lebanon?

Russia saved Syria, next in line - Lebanon?

Photo: AP / TASS

Russia is the only country whose companies have come up with serious initiatives to help Lebanon. This is the opinion of a local economist Hasan McLeda quoted by Al Mayadeen. Iran, which has influence in Lebanon, can also help. It seems that the Russian presence in Syria has clearly demonstrated Moscow’s new approaches to the Middle East.

This is primarily about the reorganization of the refinery in the port of Tripoli in northern Lebanon. For Russian investors, this will be the largest such plant abroad. The refinery can process Iraqi oil, the economist said. The plant’s capacity will be enough to meet the country’s own needs, as well as impressive exports for economic recovery.

The idea is clear: after the upcoming departure of the Americans from Iraq (or maybe regardless of this circumstance, because Rosneft already works in the former fiefdom) Saddam Hussein) oil can be almost freely supplied to Lebanon through the territory controlled by Russia in Syria, providing the Lebanese with hard currency.

Other projects include the construction of a grain elevator, the construction of two power plants with a capacity of 1 thousand megawatts, the restoration of the port in Beirut (after a powerful explosion in August 2020), and the creation of its own production base in the country. These projects are currently being evaluated in Moscow. Russian specialists will soon arrive in Lebanon with their best practices.

Economist McLed formulates his proposals as an alternative to IMF assistance, since it is always accompanied by a number of conditions that form the dependence of the recipient country. In addition, relations with the IMF need at least some kind of government, and until recently there was no government in Lebanon due to the political crisis aggravated by the financial collapse.

It seems that the West is fighting for influence over Lebanon with Russia and Iran. The very next day after the publication of MacLed’s proposals, the government was formed and it was promised to provide Lebanon with an IMF loan of $ 1.1 billion. The tranche will tie Beirut to the providers of financial aid and block interest in the development of Lebanon with the help of Russia.

It is possible that the scandalous speech of the ex-Lebanese minister was aimed at torpedoing the upcoming agreements with Moscow. Viam Wahhabwho publicly associated Russian women with prostitution. The response was immediate. The politician was banned from entering Russia, where he was going in the winter, and was obstructed by the forces of the Russian diaspora.

Attempted provocation happened against the background of the visit of the President of Syria Bashar al-Assad to Moscow. Vladimir Putin announced an increase in trade between Russia and Syria by 3.5 times, reminded the world that the troops loyal to Assad control 90% of the country’s territory, and also noted that the presence of foreign troops there is illegal. “Yankee Go Home” performed by the President of Russia?

According to orientalist Stanislav TarasovIslamism will be the main political factor in the Middle East:

– There are a lot of players on the Lebanese bridgehead: Iran, the West, Israel, Arab countries, the influence of Islamist groups is strong. Not so long ago, according to the geopolitical project of the Americans, Lebanon was doomed to be divided between its neighbors: Jordan, Israel, Palestine. Now there is a new government in Lebanon, but it is not a fact that it will be stable.

In the Middle East, there is a change of eras caused by the US withdrawal from Afghanistan. It’s not that it’s scary that they left in disgrace (according to the Doha agreement, they had no obligations towards the compradors), but that the very fact of the weakening of US influence in the region is becoming a reality. The Americans are no longer a reliable ally. But by the end of the year they will also leave Iraq.

Therefore, those countries that were not used to living independently, when their master, the United States, began to weaken, began to look for another patron. And now they are trying on Russian clothes. Because Russia, by supporting Assad in Syria, is showing itself as a reliable partner. There is a regrouping of forces. It will be a dramatic process. It covers the entire region including Turkey and Iran.

“SP”: – Again, to save Russia all. This time Lebanon …

– The future of Lebanon is associated with the growth of Islamism in the region, the popularization of the Caliphate. This idea is being transferred by Khorasan to the east, to the countries of Central Asia. And the Taliban * do not call their state an emirate for nothing – this is part of the caliphate. In Iran, the elections were also won by the right-wing forces, which will curtail relations with the West and strengthen the theocracy.

No one can predict the future with certainty. A monster is born with which to fight. No one can take responsibility. A meeting of the heads of the intelligence services of Russia, Iran and China has just been held in Pakistan. This means that Pakistan is ditching responsibility for the Taliban * and distributing it among the main stakeholders.

Military expert Boris Rozhin sees potential in Russia’s presence in Lebanon:

– Russia, in exchange for the supply of fuel or, say, medicines, may ask Lebanon for options related to the unhindered entry of warships into Lebanese ports or even the creation of a basing point for our Navy in the same port of Beirut. It is also possible to use Lebanese airfields, the airspace of this country.

Although we have military bases in neighboring Syria (and everything is nearby), additional opportunities will allow Russia to strengthen its control over the eastern Mediterranean. This can be done independently or together with Iran, which has a strong influence in Lebanon through Hezbollah. And it won’t cost Russia much. The naval base in Sudan requires much more funds.

But we must understand that because of the poor socio-economic situation, the Lebanese authorities can turn to everyone: to Iran, and to China, and to Europe, not only to Russia.

“SP”: – Is Hezbollah our assistant or adversary in this matter?

– This is essentially a part of the Lebanese state. She controls part of the state apparatus, carries out part of state functions: she deals with schools, hospitals, and the fight against coronavirus. Iran did its best to separate Hezbollah from the Lebanese state was impossible. Nothing will work out in Lebanon without agreements with this organization.

Macron after the explosion in the port of Beirut, he came to Lebanon and offered in exchange for economic assistance to form a technocratic inclusive government controlled by the West, for which it was necessary to move Hezbollah. But he failed. That is not why Iran has invested so much in its presence in Lebanon.

But since Russia somehow interacted with such forces within the framework of the Syrian war, everything is possible. Hezbollah is not recognized as a terrorist organization in Russia.

Orientalist, expert on Iran Igor Pankratenko believes that it will not be easy for Moscow to cooperate with Tehran in the Lebanese direction:

– It is wrong to regard Russia and Iran as allies. These countries have common goals in certain parts of the planet. Iran’s influence in Lebanon, through its creature Hezbollah, is incomparably greater than any Russian influence there. We can provide humanitarian aid to Lebanon, but it is difficult to seriously consolidate with Iran in the Lebanese direction.

Iran’s interest in Lebanon is the formation and maintenance of the so-called “Shiite arc” from Iran through Iraq (where 60 percent are Shiites), Syria to Lebanon. This expands the possibilities of Tehran’s influence in the Near and Middle East. And besides, it gives access to the Mediterranean Sea. And finally, it is the creation of an anti-Israel coalition. This is the most important task for Iran.

“SP”: – Could Russia enlist the support of Iran in Lebanon in exchange for any political “services”? For example, help in reaching a new agreement on the “nuclear deal”, withdraw Iran from sanctions …

– Iran would like to use Russia in its interests as much as possible. As it was in Syria. This means that a lot is possible with the coincidence of goals. The US and Europe would like to include in the new version of the “nuclear deal” the question of Iran’s behavior in the Middle East. Including with regard to Lebanon and Syria.

* The Taliban, the Taliban movement – the organization was recognized as terrorist by the decision of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation of February 14, 2003, its activities on the territory of Russia are prohibited.

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