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Liberating Palestine Through Drug-Filled Pomegranate

Liberating Palestine Through Drug-Filled Pomegranate

Monday, 3 May, 2021 - 08:45

A state of government void is a perfect excuse for those seeking to sow the seeds of chaos, conceal responsibilities, and cover up the identities of criminals and conspirators against the state. Here, I hasten to add that it makes a suitable ‘excuse’ for the ones who need excuses and want to avoid accusation or blame, but definitely not those who neither care nor worry about punishment.

Earlier this week, Iran’s embassy in Beirut celebrated the ‘Sa’di al-Shirazi’s Day’ in the presence of Abbas Murtada, the Lebanese Minister of Culture and Agriculture in the current caretaker government, among several speakers and guests. Of course, Sa’di, like Hafez, Omar al-Khayyam and other Iranian literary greats deserve honoring by every cultured individual; the irony, however, is that the minister who is in charge with two unrelated portfolios gave the luxury of culture a preference over the duty of protecting the population from famine, after two dangerous developments:

1- Reports of locust sightings in the Beqaa (in eastern Lebanon) where Mr. Murtada was born and brought up.

2- Saudi Arabia’s announcement of boycotting Lebanese agricultural produce, following the discovery of big quantities of drugs smuggled in shipments of pomegranate.

Thus, if the minister was perfectly entitled to attend the Iranian embassy’s cultural function, the responsibility for securing food and fighting famine is far more important.

As a reminder, Saudi Arabia tops the importers of Lebanese products, with % 13, followed by Kuwait, then Qatar. A 2017 report mentions that Saudi Arabia is Lebanon’s largest Middle East investment base as it sends the country no less than 2 billion US dollars through the remittances of Saudi-based Lebanese, numbering more than 200000 individuals; making this community among the largest Arab expatriate community there.

Furthermore, the report estimates the market value of Lebanese-owned companies and establishments – numbering more than 600 – to be around 125 billion US dollars. Lebanese remittances from Saudi Arabia alone makes up half of their GCC’s remittances total (4.4 billion US dollar); and while the Kingdom has aided Lebanon since 2005 by around 20 billion US dollar, the latter’s exports to the Saudi market for the year ending on November 30th, 2020 exceeded 82.5 million US dollars.

All the above point to a well-known fact; so well known that it has provoked a paper - widely regarded as a mouthpiece of Iran’s IRGC (the Iranian Revolutionary Guards) in Lebanon - to have as a headline: “The Kingdom of Economic Blockade”, under the kicker “Saudi Arabia bans the import of Lebanese agricultural products”.

This animosity is not something new. The Lebanese have been familiar with it on every occasion. It also comes within its own intellectual, interest-based, organizational, and strategic context. For those whose views are expressed by this ‘media’ mouthpiece, the definition of a ‘resistance country’ includes being: an Iranian-run militia training base, a depot for missiles targeting Arab cities and countryside, and a media hub for sectarian incitement and malignant propaganda broadcasts throughout the Middle East.

Those who claim to be working for “the liberation of Jerusalem” - after the destruction of Aleppo -, regard what they call the Saudi “economic blockade” as an aggressive move; not a natural reaction to smuggling millions of drugs pills (hidden in pomegranate) into Saudi Arabia from a Lebanon controlled by those ‘liberators’!

They use the word ‘blockade’ when a country defends its people, while being also targeted by missiles and drones launched from Yemen and elsewhere to attack Saudi territories - including the Holy Cities -, liberated Yemeni areas, and threaten other GCC states.

Yes, a ‘blockade’ when militia leaders, technicians, and ‘media’ people from the home of ‘drugs-filled pomegranate’ exporters carry out arming and training the Houthis.

A ‘blockade’ when an illegitimate ‘state’ takes over and tears to pieces the remnants of the real state, destroys its institutions, from banks, agricultural sector, services, tourism, education, and medical care… to national security, civil service, and the judiciary.

The same people who are accusing others of ‘blockading’ Lebanon and the Lebanese, never flinched when they paralyzed the government for months and years, in order to impose their will and appoint their men to its top posts. Moreover, they had no mercy on the free souls - from all sects and creeds - whom they virtually sentenced to death just because they dared to call for what now looks like a ‘prohibited’ state.

They have shown neither remorse nor shame when Arab and world leaders boycotted them, foreign ambassadors and emissaries admonished them after they discovered the symbiosis between a fascist militia and a corrupt mafia. Nothing has been worse and more revealing than the devastating Beirut port explosion of last August; a heinous crime still covered up by denial and collusion.

Those who allow themselves to use the word ‘blockade’ seem to overlook the main reason behind Lebanon’s chronic economic collapse, which has worsened since 2006.

Driven by their grudges and vengefulness, they seem to have forgotten how much Lebanon suffered during 15 years of a horrific ugly war that ruined it and crippled its economy, between 1975 and 1990. They seem to have forgotten how many billions of dollars were secured for its rebuilding and rehabilitation.

As important, they seem to have forgotten who was the dominant force in Syrian-controlled Lebanon between 1990 and 2005; and later, who took over as the dominant force since then.

The truth is that not a single Lebanese pound (lira) was mishandled during the first period without the knowledge, approval, or sharing of the de facto rulers (i.e., the Syrian security apparatus and its Lebanese cronies); and since 2005, not a single Lebanese pound was mishandled without the knowledge of the current de facto ruler – i.e. Hezbollah.

Rational Lebanese know that this is the truth; but unfortunately, they are in a much worse situation than a ‘blockade’. They are now virtual ‘hostages’ to a terrible regional conspiracy that is much bigger than Lebanon.

Frankly, I think that things may deteriorate further, and expect our region to go through a long dark tunnel unless this conspiracy is broken, beginning from the Vienna ongoing negotiations over the JCPOA with Iran.

Yes, we are entering a dark tunnel, unless the West broadens the scope of its "negotiations" with Iran’s militarists to include its regional expansionism; and thus, contain what may be uncontrollable chaos.

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