By Theodore Shoebat
Tens of thousands of Lebanese people have called for France to invade Lebanon, as we read in a recent report from Yahoo! News:
Anger abounds in Lebanon following Tuesday’s massive blast in Beirut’s port that killed 154 people and injured 5,000 as it’s become increasingly clear that the catastrophe stemmed from governmental neglect and mismanagement of 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate stored in a warehouse for years. The Lebanese people’s frustration with the country’s political class is not new, however. For months before the explosion, protesters took to the street to demonstrate against corruption in the government and a severe economic crisis in the country. Now, some are looking abroad for help.
One university student, Celine Dibo, told Reuters she wished “the United Nations would take over Lebanon,” while psychologist Maryse Hayek said “I hope another country would just take us over.” Indeed, more than 60,000 people have signed a petition asking France to restore the mandate it held between 1920 and 1946. But critics have pushed back against the idea.
If the explosion and the overall instability in Lebanon is partially due to outside influences and forces who wish to capitalize on the instability, there are several possible scenarios that I can think of:
- NATO is conspiring to destabilize Lebanon to capitalize on the chaos. NATO would likely allow Turkey — since it is a major regional power and the most militarily advanced Muslim country within the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (and in the world) — to control the country.
- Chaos is ensuing and will be capitalized upon by France.
- Iran and Russia are involved. Once a civil war erupts, Iran will back its proxy, Hezbollah, with the purpose of making Lebanon into an Iranian/Russian proxy.
- The French and Russians (being historically allies, especially in World War One), are collaborating to capitalize on the chaos and will both back Hezbollah.
- All of these players are involved and they will use proxies to vie for domination, with the French backing the Maronite faction, the Iranians/Russians backing Hezbollah, and Turkey supporting the Sunnis. It is also possible, that in such a situation, major players will support the same sides to further the strategy of divide and conquer. For example, the French could support both Hezbollah and the Maronite faction at the same time, manipulating both sides to exasperate the chaos, furthering divisions and thus making it easier to control the country.
The last part of point #5 is not far fetched. In 2018 there was a report about France deepening its ties with Hezbollah with the interests of offshore oil and gas for its major energy company, Total, and in fact supported the giving of certain government positions to Hezbollah. As we read in a report from MEMRI:
On October 26, 2018, a French parliamentary delegation representing the French National Assembly’s Foreign Affairs Committee and the French Senate’s Foreign Affairs, Defense, and Armed Forces Committee met in Beirut with members of Lebanon’s parliament, including MP from Hizbullah Nawaf Al-Moussawi. According to an announcement released later by Al-Moussawi’s office, during the meeting the sides discussed numerous political and security issues, including the issue of offshore oil and gas exploration in Lebanon’s territorial waters. Following the meeting, Al-Moussawi said that both houses of the French parliament “are interested in supporting the French government and the French [oil] company Total [which in February 2018 signed two Exploration and Production Agreements with the Lebanese government despite pressure [from Israel] to retract its commitment vis-à-vis Lebanon, or to postpone the time when they will conduct the oil and gas exploration.”
Three days after the meeting, on October 29, 2018, Mounir Al-Rabi’, criticized France in his column for the Lebanese Al-Modon daily, which is known for its opposition to Hizbullah. Under the title “France and Hizbullah, Romance Scented with Oil,” he argued that France is boosting its political and intelligence ties with Hizbullah for economic reasons, primarily because of Total’s interests in Lebanon. Al-Rabi’ asserted that this is what is motivating France to sponsor the informal arrangement in Lebanon under which Lebanese Prime Minister Sa’ad Al-Hariri is in charge of domestic affairs while Hizbullah is responsible for foreign policy and military activity in Syria and on the border with Israel. He also noted that France maintains intelligence and security cooperation with both Hizbullah and Iran, and even argued that France-Hizbullah are relations are now on the level of reciprocal “flirtation.” With regard to the situation in Syria, Al-Rabi’ wrote that the more matters in Syria favor Russia and Iran, the more important France’s role in the region will be; he added that France had in the past acted several times to protect the regime of Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad.
France’s backing of Hezbollah’s grip over the Lebanese government is also connected with the Iran Deal. The French have the hope that by deepening ties with Hezbollah they can somehow revive the Iran Deal and thus revive the old trade agreement with Iran. According to Lebanese journalist Mounir al-Rabi:
Today [history] is repeating itself. [Lebanese Prime Minister] Sa’d Al-Hariri has a direct arrangement with Hizbullah: He is in charge of domestic political affairs, the economy, and the treasury, together with President Aoun, and with the agreement of Parliamentary Speaker Nabih Berri, while Hizbullah is in charge of foreign policy and of commanding military campaigns, currently in Syria, while maintaining readiness and preparedness on the southern border [with Israel]. [This arrangement] has extensive international sponsorship, particularly from Russia and France, for reasons connected to [Lebanon’s] oil. France appears to be officially promoting all these understandings, both by giving economic aid through [holding] conferences, and with positive intervention by removing the obstacles to the establishment of a government and the like. This is along with [France’s] coordination with Hizbullah in order to maintain stability. It is also connected to the ‘dialogue’ that [France] is conducting with Iran to discuss ways of returning to negotiations with the U.S. on the nuclear issue and renewing the [JCPOA] nuclear agreement.
“The more matters in Syria go in Russia’s and Iran’s favor, the more important a role France will play in the region. Let us not forget that it was France that was involved in the past in many initiatives aimed at keeping the Syrian regime above water at times when it was ostracized and besieged, before it pulled out of Lebanon in April 2005 and afterwards. It was France that broke through the isolation of [Syrian President] Bashar Al-Assad [in 2008], when [French] president [Nicolas] Sarkozy invited him to visit France…
That France and Russia would back the same force (in this case, Hezbollah) is actually not too surprising, given the fact that both France and Russia are backing Khalifa Haftar in Libya, with the French angering the rest of the EU over this. As France is supporting Hezbollah for the energy interests of Total, France also wants to take natural gas in Libya for this same corporation. France has been in direct competition with Italy over Libya, which Italians at one point controlled. What we have actually been seeing in Libya is a competition between two European energy corporations, Total (France) and Eni (Italy).
Moreover, France taking advantage of instability in a region in order to take over that region is nothing new, as this is what France did in the early 20th century to take control of Morocco.
In March of 1911, an uprising sparked in Morocco, especially in the city of Fez. The Sultan of Morocco requested from France troops to bring stability and end the chaos. The Germans accused the French of starting the disorder in order to create a pretext for the French to invade Morocco. French troops occupied Fez on May 21, 1911. This was to the ire of the Germans who exhorted in favor for the rulership of the Sultan. Germany’s foreign Secretary, Alfred von Kiderlen-Wachter, went to Morocco to pressure the French to agree to give African territory to Germany. But this, too, was a failed plan. Britain sided with France and Germany backed down (see Fromkin, Europe’s Last Summer). The European desires to Africa exploded in violence in the Two World Wars in which Africa was a central point of conflict.
The territorial aspirations of European powers are still alive and can be seen going through a gradual manifestation in France’s and Italy’s vying over Libya. Whatever the details are of what will take place, the future has a dark happening for Europe, the Middle East and Africa. And all of the bloodshed will be done under the inebriation of human vanity and vainglory. The ones who will suffer the most are the civilians in the midst of this evil game of chess.