This is a setting that is out in the open. What happens when politicians lie? When does a lie become a lie? That is the question I was pondering on when the BBC gave us ‘Saudi Arabia expels Lebanon ambassador amid Yemen row’ (at https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-59096578). Here we are given “Mr Kordahi, who was speaking in August before he became a minister, called the conflict “futile” and said the Houthis were acting in “self-defence”” Is it a lie? Does a terrorist organisation have the right to rely on ‘self-defence’? For those who had forgotten the origins of the disagreement, let’s go back to September 2014 when Houthi forces took over the capital city Sanaa, which was followed by a rapid Houthi takeover of the government, a legitimate government no less. Houthi forces started a more and more brutal offensive against all they saw as enemies and did not stop there, they led drone attacks on civil Saudi targets, an act that was only possible through direct funding and equipment from Iran. I reckon that this is the price of Iranian fuel for Lebanon.
Then we get to “The Lebanese government said Mr Kordahi’s remarks did not reflect its position – but relations between the two countries have worsened in recent years. The Iran-backed militant group Hezbollah, which also backs the Houthi rebels in Yemen, has grown in strength in Lebanon”, yet in all this, we need to look at the larger picture. In Al-Arabiya we see “Lebanon’s Information Minister George Kordahi said on Wednesday his country “cannot remain subject to blackmail” in response to calls for his resignation after his statements about Saudi Arabia and the UAE’s involvement in the Yemen war.” So blackmail from who? It seems that there was a price for all that Iranian oil. There have been claims in the past from different parties that Hezbollah had been active in Yemen (no clear evidence was seen by me), and in this stage his claim to ‘self-defence’ is as empty as a peace offering from Hezbollah towards Israel.
And as we get exposed to ““I am now part of an integrate government, and I cannot take a decision alone, it must be the government’s [decision] as a whole… I place the interests of Lebanon above all interests. And we cannot be in Lebanon exposed to blackmail by anyone, not by countries, or ambassadors or individuals,” Kordahi said in a press conference.” So when we put ‘The Lebanese government said Mr Kordahi’s remarks did not reflect its position’ next to ‘I am now part of an integrate government’ it seems that someone here is not being truthful, so is it the Lebanese government, or is it Mr Kordahi. The fact that He was appointed on September 10th 2021, as the Lebanon’s Minister of Information. Is a larger problem. To me it implies that the Lebanese government has taken the Iranian route and when that implodes (as any agreement with Iran tends to do), the Lebanese people have nowhere to turn to and nowhere to run to.
So now that Al Jazeera gives us ‘Lebanese president says he wants ‘best relations’ with Saudis’ (at https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/10/30/lebanese-president-says-he-wants-best-relations-with-saudis) and (optionally) hides behind “Lebanese politicians are scrambling to resolve a diplomatic spat with Saudi Arabia and other Gulf nations, after the United Arab Emirates (UAE) followed Riyadh with measures against Beirut to protest against comments by a cabinet minister about the war in Yemen” and whilst we see mentions of “maintain good communication”, I reckon that President Michel Aoun seemingly learns the cost of catering to Iranian needs and ignoring real facts. On the other hand they have a harbour full of evidence of what happens when Hezbollah calls the shots. And the setting Al Jazeera gave us three weeks ago “Hossein Amir-Abdollahian says Tehran willing to rebuild Beirut port and construct two power plants in Lebanon” seem to set the larger confines of the Lebanese problem and in all this Hezbollah remains part of the problem, not the solution. The problem is that a lot more people know this. They all hide behind the simple part of “The explosion resulted from the detonation of tonnes of ammonium nitrate, a combustible chemical compound commonly used in agriculture as a high nitrate fertilizer, but which can also be used to manufacture explosives. The cargo of ammonium nitrate had entered Beirut’s port on a Moldovan-flagged ship, the Rhosus, in November 2013, and had been offloaded into hangar 12 in Beirut’s port on October 23 and 24, 2014” You see, clear scientific evidence gives us “Compared to most combustible materials, ammonium nitrate itself is not exceptionally explosive. But the compound can contribute to explosions because it belongs to a chemical class known as oxidisers” It needed something more and that is the part that Hezbollah fears. When the people learn of Hezbollah stupidity too many people there will demand larger changes, that is what Hezbollah fears and for now they are willing to dance to Iranian music and there is where we see George Kordahi, no longer presenting who wants to be a millionaire, he is now catering to the millionaires Lebanon needs and we get it. But with Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, UAE and Bahrain severing ties, Lebanon is now left to the mercy and resources of Iran and when that runs out (or gets weird delays) the setting changes even more.
So, How wrong am I?
Consider the facts, consider what happens from September 2014 onwards, it clearly shows Houthi forces as a terrorist antagonist, we see conflicting information from Lebanese spokespeople and there is the larger stage where FOUR nations have cut ties with Lebanon. In a stage where Lebanon needs all the friends they could find. A stage of segregation and separation, the first two stages or eliminating any source.
Yet in all this, There is a clear lack of critical analyses on the acts by George Kordahi, which in light of the Iranian settings is weird. Wouldn’t it be the first that the US would do and the first thing that (overly quick) gets leaked to the NY Times or the Washington Post?
OK, that previous point is somewhere between assumption and presumption, but the setting in light of all we have seen so far makes sense.
In all, I get the stance of Saudi Arabia here, I get the stance of the other Arabian nations here, yet in all this the acts of George Kordahi and President Michel Aoun are seemingly weird. In a stage where Lebanon desperately needs Saudi Arabia, the setting of a flaccid response towards the actions of George Kordahi are off, especially as three other nations took sides with Saudi Arabia. One might think that Lebanon has no idea how to deal with the requests by Iran and that too matters. If communication lines there are presently so convoluted, Lebanon faces a lot more hardships soon enough and they are only weeks away from the December cold. December to March gives them 11 to 13 degrees on average. November and April are not far off from that and with the winter stage and without power, or 1-2 hours a day at best Lebanon is looking to one of its worst winters in decades. In all this the promised Iranian power centres sound nice, but they will not get there before late autumn 2022, so it will be a hard time for the 7 million Lebanese, that much seems a given at present.
Were the politicians involved lying? That remains the part that is unclear, no matter how they slice it, they were stretching facts and truths far beyond points of breaking (which does not make it a lie), but it sets the premise that catering to the wrong people now comes at a price that Lebanon never considered having to pay ever before and that too matters, because that stage could determine the degrees of freedom that Iran will have in Lebanon, optionally as part of Hezbollah.