The first two Iranian ships loaded with oil are expected to arrive in Lebanon this evening, Tuesday, at the Suez Canal, knowing that the import of Iranian fuel has sparked a fierce debate in Lebanon, which suffers from a huge shortage of fuel as a result of the financial crisis that has been under it for two years.
According to the Emirati newspaper, The National, Samir Madani, senior analyst at Tanker Trackers, confirmed that the site was able to identify two Iranian tankers loaded with fuel to Lebanon, the first loaded with fuel to generate electricity, and the second loaded with gasoline.
Madani continued, “It is expected that the first ship will arrive on Tuesday evening at the Suez Canal, and once it leaves the canal, it will need an additional 36 hours to reach the Baniyas port in Syria, if this is its destination.”
Madani revealed, “The ship’s automated tracking system, or AIS, is currently down on purpose, which is a common tactic adopted by ships transporting sanctioned goods. But through an analysis of satellite images, the website came to the conclusion that the first ship is in the Red Sea.”
Once the tanker enters the Suez Canal, the tanker will have to operate an automated tracking system and thus become available to the public to access its data. Tanker Trackers plans to transmit data as soon as it receives it, including the name of the tanker and the amount of fuel it is carrying.
Madani warned, “that transporting fuel by truck from Syria to Lebanon is a long and cumbersome process, saying:” Let’s assume that the tanker is loaded with half a million barrels, which means that 2,630 trucks will have to cross the border managed by the Lebanese security authorities, which will put Lebanon in a bad position in the Regarding US sanctions.
For his part, Bashar al-Halabi, a geopolitical analyst in the Middle East and North Africa at Clipper Data, said, “Both the Lebanese General Security and Customs will be subject to sanctions if these shipments pass through legal crossings under their administration.”
Al-Halabi continued, “Therefore, it is better for Hezbollah to use its illegal crossings to smuggle fuel, but this time from Syria to Lebanon.”
The United States responded to Hezbollah’s decision by facilitating the process of importing Egyptian gas from Jordan through Syria.
As a result of this initiative, last week Lebanon sent its first diplomatic delegation to Syria since the outbreak of the civil war 10 years ago. During the meeting, a Syrian official confirmed that Damascus is “ready to help” Lebanon to overcome the energy crisis.
“It appears that the United States is trying to limit its dealings with the Syrian government,” Muhannad Haj Ali, a researcher at the Carnegie Beirut Center, told Middle East Eye.
He added, “It is likely that the United States will issue a waivers of sanctions as it has done with some Iranian fuel shipments in the past. I don’t think it will work directly with Damascus.”
It seems that many of Washington’s allies in the Middle East are eager to seize the opportunity to return the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to the regional embrace.
Washington is negotiating with the World Bank to finance the cost of bringing in Egyptian gas, but there are many logistical challenges ahead, according to Reuters. For example, the pipeline and electrical network must be rehabilitated after years of neglect.
As for Iran, it saw in the American plan an opportunity and a challenge. After a decade of isolation, its ally has finally returned to the regional embrace, knowing that the plan will make it easier for Syria to secure a new source of revenue generation.