Hezbollah is set to violate US sanctions: a challenge to American deterrence or the result of an undisclosed US-Iran agreement?
The leader of the Shiite “Party of God”, the Lebanese Hezbollah, Hassan Nasrallah, gave a speech on the occasion of the Shiite holiday of Ashura; during the speech he announced that a “Hezbollah-owned” oil tanker is on its way from Iran to Lebanon, carrying a large amount of fuel. The news is of the utmost importance as Iranian crude oil is subject to an embargo imposed by the United States, and the (sic) Lebanon’s government has repeatedly declared that it respects these sanctions in exchange for economic and military aid.
Today the balance is broken and Hezbollah acts as an actual autonomous state, ordering fuel and taking charge of the oil tanker, calling it “Lebanese territory”. This stance is particularly relevant since, by the same word of the Hezbollah leader, any kind of threat or attack against the oil tanker in question will be deemed an attack on Lebanese territory, which is in Hezbollah’s hands , and the Party of God would then carry out ” the rules of engagement against Israel defined in the event of an attack on southern Lebanon ”. These rules of engagement, known to the parties of the conflict, provide that an attack on the Lebanese territory that doesn’t constitute a response to the launch of rockets (even sporadic by Palestinian groups, Salafists, etc.) would provoke a retaliation, even not proportional, through the launch of rockets by regular Hezbollah militias against Israeli military and / or industrial targets and, in the event of an Israeli response, the launch of Hezbollah rockets against Israeli housing settlements.
Please do understand, dear friends and readers, what the implications of such statements and acts are. Hezbollah makes clear to the whole world the potential disappearance of American deterrence, and that American sanctions are, from the point of view of the possible military response, a dead letter. At the same time, Hezbollah would be able to accredit itself as the de facto government of the whole of Lebanon and be able to decide the fate of the entire country.
There is a second possibility, and that would be that the United States and Iran have reached an agreement during the nuclear talks and that this agreement allows the export of Iranian fuel to Lebanon. After the disaster in Kabul, unfortunately, every hypothesis must be considered, even this one that we have just exposed. It cannot be ruled out either that the Americans have no approved nor pending plan to prevent this act of force by Hezbollah, a Monroe doctrine amplified to the nth degree by reducing to the North American continent and the Pacific the area the US would be willing to actively use the military tool in, and that it would leave the field open to all America’s adversaries, leaving all US allies alone in managing the military, diplomatic and political threats that are looming on the horizon.
The “Hezbollah” tanker will cross the Arabian Sea, the Bab El Mandeb Strait, the Red Sea, the Suez Canal, and will finally arrive in the Mediterranean Sea within about four days since its departure from Bandr Abbas. We will follow its journey and keep you posted, in this new phase of the Tanker War.