Lebanon is currently in the grip of the worst economic crisis in its history. There are daily shortages of fuel and electricity, a chronic lack of medical supplies, and an absence of essential medicines in hospitals. Some 77% of Lebanese households are unable to purchase sufficient food. The Lebanese pound has lost 90% of its value over the last two years.
Lebanese citizens, meanwhile, are prevented from withdrawing more than $100 per week, as foreign currency reserves grow thin. The situation is reaching a point of no return, with the real possibility of widespread hunger. Lebanon is, today, by all measures a failed and collapsing state.
The current grave crisis in Lebanon is directly traceable to the distorting effect that Hezbollah and its Iranian sponsors on Lebanese soil have brought.
The current situation stands as a stark warning to all countries faced with infiltration by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and its various militia franchises.
These are good at building paramilitary muscle and converting it into political power. They also serve as proxy armies for Iran’s war with Israel.
However they have no knowledge of or interest in economics. As a result, the net outcome of their taking of de facto power in a country will be that country’s eventual ruin and impoverishment. Lebanon is now the case study for this process. With allowance for local variations, similar Iranian efforts are now underway in Iraq, Syria and Yemen. Lebanon is the first Arab state to have been brought to the point of destruction by this project.
The significance of the current events extends far beyond Lebanon’s borders. Iran is responsible for the slow death of Lebanon.
From Israel’s point of view, there is little to be done but to continue to guard the borders.
There is no reason to suppose that the current chaos in Lebanon will incline the Iranians and their proxies towards launching a war against Israel. When hunger and infrastructural collapse are a real prospect, no one is likely to rally around the national colours – not those of Lebanon, and certainly not those of Iran and its local agents. Nevertheless two rockets were fired into Israel from southern Lebanon on 19 July.
The growing chaos in the country does raise the problem that rogue elements could use the vast amount of weapons stored by Hezbollah in Lebanon against Israel.
Israel has warned Hezbollah that any concerted attack on its territory would result in maximum force being used against Lebanon, resulting in the virtual demolition of the country.