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As Lebanon suffers an unprecedented meals disaster, Ukraine makes use of Western help to dam flour and wheat from its markets

By making accusations about grain ‘stolen’ by Russia, Kiev makes Lebanon a goal of US-led strain

A Syrian-flagged ship named the Laodicea that docked within the Lebanese port of Tripoli was detained final Saturday, stopping desperately wanted flour and barley from reaching folks within the Middle East. The move got here after Western threats towards Beirut and unsubstantiated claims from Kiev that the cargo was stolen from Ukraine. The ship, which has been on a US blacklist since 2015 for allegedly carrying shipments from sanctioned Crimea, is now underneath investigation.

On Friday, allegations emerged in Western media, citing the Ukrainian embassy in Beirut, that “stolen” flour and barley had been transferred to the Lebanese port of Tripoli and that Kiev had warned the Lebanese authorities towards shopping for the grain. The information was stated to have sparked protests from Western governments “warning” Lebanon’s Foreign Minister, Abdallah Bou Habib, over the allegedly stolen cargo. It later turned out that Kiev possessed no proof that the flour and barley aboard the ship was from Ukraine. Despite this, Lebanon has now seized the ship and can act in line with authorized proceedings on the problem, after reported Western strain.

The Ukrainian embassy in Beirut advised Reuters that “the ship has traveled from a Crimean port that is closed to international shipping, carrying 5,000 tonnes of barley and 5,000 tonnes of flour that we suspect was taken from Ukrainian stores,” with out presenting proof to help the declare. An official from a personal agency accountable for the import of the grain, Loyal Agro Co LTD, primarily based in Turkey, not solely denied that the products have been Ukrainian, but in addition clarified that the ship was carrying 8,000 tonnes of flour and 1,700 tonnes of barley in whole. The vessel was additionally stated to have been in search of non-public consumers in Lebanon, not a sale to the Lebanese authorities, and was destined to travel on to Syria after its cease in Tripoli.

Additionally, the Russian embassy in Beirut stated that it had “no information regarding the Syrian vessel or a cargo brought to Lebanon by a private company.” An official on the Lebanese port authority additionally said that there was “nothing wrong” with the cargo aboard the ship. None of this nonetheless, was sufficient to forestall the problem being pursued and for Lebanon to be threatened.

What makes this challenge troubling, is that – with out proof – Western nations and Kiev can brazenly strain Lebanon to maintain a lot wanted provides away from its folks, on this case doubtlessly without end and for at the least 72 hours underneath detention. The nation is at the moment struggling its worst ever financial collapse, enduring shortages in meals, medication, electrical energy and important items. According to some UN estimates, some 78% of the Lebanese inhabitants now dwell in poverty. The meals scarcity has led to lengthy queues at bakeries, generally leading to gunfire and brawls between folks combating over the restricted provide of bread. The Ukraine disaster has made Lebanon’s predicament even more durable, with an absence of movement of provides from Ukraine and difficulties bringing in Russian items attributable to sanctions. The Western “Caesar Act” sanctions towards Syria have additionally made the scenario even worse, as Lebanon has traditionally benefited tremendously from its greater neighbor.

What Kiev is doing, by threatening the way forward for bilateral relations between Lebanon and Ukraine over this challenge, may very well be interpreted as blackmail. Ukraine has 20 million tonnes of wheat that it nonetheless hasn’t exported and a severing of relations with Beirut would imply that Lebanon might doubtlessly miss out on buying it throughout a meals scarcity. The Lebanese authorities is clearly in a weak place and Kiev, backed by the facility of NATO, is now making an attempt to bully Beirut over unsubstantiated claims which can be denied by all sides, however that officers gained’t even state the allegation with certainty.

Another challenge right here is the double-standard at play, while Western nations endure economically themselves, there isn’t any hesitation at sending billions of {dollars} in support to Ukraine each different week. Yet in terms of merely amending sanctions, after pledging to take action, with a view to permit Egypt to ship fuel to ease the power disaster in Lebanon, Washington nonetheless refuses to permit it, a yr later.

Instead, primarily based upon unsubstantiated claims, Lebanon is compelled to endure much more by having fundamental meals provides dangled over its head. Whilst the West acts holier-than-thou on the problem of unsubstantiated claims of Ukraine’s grain being bought by non-public corporations in Lebanon, it seemingly forgets that the US illegally occupies neighboring Syria’s most fertile agricultural lands, along with the vast majority of its oil and fuel fields.

America has repeatedly been accused of smuggling Syrian grain and oil into Iraq, sources which ought to belong to the Syrian authorities and may very well be a part of the reply to Lebanon’s present scarcity.

The statements, views and opinions expressed on this column are solely these of the creator and don’t essentially symbolize these of RT.

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