Decision to control crossings “disappointing”

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Policy

Al Ain newsletter – Ahmad Fathi
Lebanese political forces called on the government to decisively shut down the illegal smuggling crossings, between Lebanon and Syria, while criticizing the decisions of the “Supreme Defense Council” to curb smuggling operations, describing them as “disappointing.”

Lebanese politicians accused the Hezbollah militia of using most of the crossings for smuggling; In order to achieve security and financial interests. ”

During the session held on Wednesday, chaired by President Michel Aoun, the Supreme Council for Defense in Lebanon decided to intensify monitoring of the country’s border areas, to control goods smuggling operations, and direct the closure of all illegal border crossings, along with a comprehensive plan to establish military, security and customs monitoring centers on the borders .

Aoun called for not tolerating this issue, and the necessity of taking the maximum measures against violators, and determining the quantities of consumed materials at the local level as a necessary means to control the smuggling of materials and goods.

The issue of illegal crossings in Lebanon returned to the forefront of the scene after Hezbollah’s militia expanded its activities to include smuggling “diesel and flour” to Syria, despite the country’s severe economic situation.

According to a previous report by the Lebanese Supreme Council of Defense, there are 136 illegal crossings along the country’s borders; Opposition parties accuse the Hezbollah militia of controlling smuggling.

The Lebanese economy incurs huge losses due to smuggling of goods that are carried out through illegal land border crossings with Syria, where the smuggling of large quantities of fuel has recently been detected; Especially diesel and wheat from Lebanon to Syria.

Illegal weapon protecting crossings

Representative Muhammad Al-Hajjar, a prominent leader in the Future Movement, criticized the decisions of the Supreme Council of Defense in Lebanon, regarding fighting smuggling, saying: “The decisions do not meet the required purpose, and they will not stop smuggling.”
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Al-Najjar explained in an interview with “Al-Ain News” that “the Council did not issue practical decisions that directly deal with the thorny smuggling problem, and what happened is only a review of the reality of the crisis, which is known to all.”

He emphasized that “smuggling wastes billions of dollars on the treasury of the Lebanese state, through the smuggling of goods and food, as well as thousands of tons of flour subsidized on crossings protected from an illegal weapon,” noting that “the volume of fuel smuggling from fuel and gasoline subsidized alone is estimated at about 4 billion dollars annually “.

The leader of the Future Movement considered that “the speech of the Secretary-General of Hezbollah, Hassan Nasrallah, before the Supreme Council of Defense meeting, obstructed the decisions of the Council that were supposed to be taken, through Nasrallah’s declaration that there is no solution to the problem of smuggling except by reference to the Syrian regime.”

“Al-Hajjar” accused Hezbollah of “seeking to prevent reaching effective treatment to curb smuggling, and its continued protection for these crossings, which means the continuation of the problem and the loss of billions of dollars in waste on the state and the bill paid by the Lebanese, while Hezbollah talks about corruption files.”

Very disappointing

In turn, Samir Geagea, the head of the Lebanese Forces Party, said that what came out of the Supreme Defense Council meeting was “very disappointing”, adding: “This is something we have heard over and over in the past and has not led to any practical result on the ground.”

Geagea said in a series of consecutive tweets through his official account on “Twitter”: “What resulted from the meeting of the Supreme Council of Defense means no decision, and more procrastination, which in practice also means continuing to lose hundreds of millions of dollars annually due to the ongoing smuggling operations, while we beg for help.” From the outside there are a few dollars.

The Chairman of the Forces Party called for “a clear and decisive political decision in the government of the Lebanese army, internal security forces, and all security forces concerned with closing illegal, illegal crossings between Lebanon and Syria.”

For his part, the former minister representing the Forces Party, Richard Qiomjian, said that “Hezbollah has security and financial interests on known crossings.”

Qiyumjian pointed out that the file of smuggling and unlawful crossings, as well as the file of the displaced Syrians, is used to blackmail the Lebanese according to the well-known formula: either to give in and complete normalization with the Syrian regime or the situation remains the same.


The message has arrived .. no crossings have been set

The Democratic Gathering (Parliamentary Bloc of the Progressive Socialist Party) entered the line of criticizing the decisions issued by the Supreme Council of Defense in Lebanon to control smuggling operations.

Member of the Democratic Gathering, MP Bilal Abdullah, said: “The message arrived, no control of the illegal and volatile crossings, which deplete our economy, our currency, and our industrial and agricultural production, without normalization with the regime in Syria.”

He added sarcastically: “The ball is in the court of the majority government, as it prepares to negotiate with the International Monetary Fund, armed with geniuses of economic affairs, with a suspicious left-right mixture.”

The deputies of the Progressive Socialist Party had called for the pursuit of smugglers and officials who provide cover for those in charge of these crossings.

Lebanon suffers from an unprecedented financial and economic deterioration in the country’s history, as well as a severe shortage of US dollar reserves, which have become limited by the Central Bank of Lebanon to import fuel, wheat and medicines only, as strategic goods that are essential.





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