|From Now Lebanon blog|
All black humor aside, Lebanon is experiencing a terrible fuel crisis:
Lebanon Daily Star: “Rony Rizk pulls up at an empty gas station Thursday and begs station workers to give him just LL5,000 of gasoline. His gas tank was nearly empty when he learned that fuel importers had decided to stop supplying gas stations earlier in the day. The gas station attendant ruefully shakes his head. The station had run out of gasoline at 6 p.m., after cars lined up along much of the length of the Charles Helou highway in order to reach the station. A heated dispute between caretaker Finance Minister Rayya Hassan and caretaker Energy and Water Minister Jibran Bassil triggered the severe fuel shortages Wednesday. Fuel importers have said Bassil’s failure to update gas prices has cost them over $50,000 a day, and they have subsequently decided to halt supplies as a way of pressuring Bassil to release new prices. But some of the disgruntled drivers who lined up at gas stations Wednesday say they have no idea why the country is suddenly out of gas. “I don’t know what’s happened to cause this. All I know is that we’re running out of fuel, and that’s why I’m here,” says Tony Matar, an assistant manager at Hawa Chicken, who had been waiting in a queue at the Medco gas station near Gemmayzeh for nearly half an hour.”
Compounding the problem, “Jordan cuts off electricity supply to Lebanon“: “Jordanian authorities have suspended power supply to Lebanon due to the disruption of regional gas pipelines, according to a statement issued Tuesday by Lebanon’s state-run power company, Electricity du Liban.”
Remember, Lebanon’s government fell in January, caused by Hezbollah cabinet ministers resigning en masse. Their action started the spate of unrest spreading throughout the region. Ever since the Lebanese cabinet fell, the Prime Minister-designate Najib Mikati has been working to knit together another coalition government. Political maneuvering is in high gear, as one of the most powerful blocs, the March 14 bloc, is rumored to imminently announce its decision not to participate in a Mikati cabinet. This paves the way for a one-sided, Hizbollah-dominated cabinet.
As the world eyes Libya, Egypt, and Israel remember to keep one eye on Lebanon. The kind of Cabinet they produce may be the last straw for Israel…and the region.