People Want Bread Before Gas
A man walks out of a bakery clutching a bag of subsidised flatbread, as others continue to wait in a queue, in the Lebanese capital Beirut on July 29, 2022, amid a shortage of wheat supplies. (Joseph Eid/AFP via Getty Images)

People Want Bread Before Gas

Al-Rai, Kuwait, August 10

The threats recently voiced by Hizbullah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah are nothing but empty words. They’ll achieve nothing. Before Nasrallah threatens Israel, and promotes himself as the defender of Lebanon and its natural resources, can he ask himself why his party – which is nothing more than a local branch of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps – do everything in its power to turn Lebanon into a poor and failed state, where people are begging for a loaf of bread? The average Lebanese citizen wants a loaf of bread before he wants his government to extract gas from the ocean. Moreover, the ordinary Lebanese citizen understands that the Lebanese government needs many years to actually start extracting gas and benefiting from it. Perhaps what the ordinary Lebanese citizen knows the most is that, in a matter of just a few weeks, Israel will start extracting gas from the Karish field and export it to Europe. This will happen with the full support and blessing of other countries in the region, including Egypt, and under the auspices of European and American heads of state, who are craving to import Israeli gas in light of the crisis with Russia. For quite some time now, Israel has been extracting gas from other fields located far away from Lebanese waters, in light of the increasing global need for energy and European insistence on gradually eliminating their dependence on Russian gas. Indeed, Israeli gas has become part of Europe’s security doctrine. Israel will export more gas to Europe once the Karish field is ready to be used. On the other hand, Lebanon will stand idly by and observe these events unfold. The Lebanese government will continue to dig its head in the sand and talk about things like “pride” and “dignity” and the importance of the “resistance,” but will do nothing for the betterment of its citizens. Hassan Nasrallah will continue to make empty threats by chanting slogans aimed at Israel. But the reality is that the Lebanese people will continue to be impoverished and stripped of their dignity. Many of them will not be able to afford bread or electricity. Their country’s education and health care system will continue to falter and fail. Nasrallah’s threats do nothing but weaken the Lebanese people even further. Lebanon will remain unable to take any step aimed at benefiting from its wealth at sea. Lebanon is collapsing more and more daily. The country is destroying itself, and no one can prevent it from doing so. The world tried to help Lebanon, but to no avail. At a time when Israel, supported by the international community, seems determined to exploit gas in Karish, Lebanon seems determined to continue to follow the logic of irrationality by warmly embracing Iran. There is no force, at least in the foreseeable future, that can take Beirut out of this situation, which means a death sentence to the Lebanese state. The threats issued by Hizbullah are of no use except for the fact that they shed light on the ignorance that exists in our region of the world. –Kheir Allah Kheir Allah (translated by Asaf Zilberfarb)

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