The crisis has provided Iran and its henchman in Lebanon, the militant group Hezbollah, with the opportunity to portray themselves as invading where other forces have failed.
In recent weeks, Iran has sent fuel by tanker to Syria, where Hezbollah has organized caravans to transport it to Lebanon. The entire operation contradicts US sanctions on the purchase of Iranian oil and was carried out entirely outside the Lebanese state.
During a visit to Lebanon last week, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian said Iran is ready to build two new power plants in Beirut and southern Lebanon, capable of meeting a third of the country’s electricity needs.
Critics say Iran and its allies are more interested in media gimmicks than real help, that the fuel sent to them is low compared to Lebanon’s needs, and that the proposed Iranian power plants are unlikely to ever be built.
The United States supported plans to transport natural gas by pipeline from Jordan through Syria to Lebanon, or to transfer electricity generated in Jordan to Lebanon. But many of the details of these plans remain to be worked out, including who will pay for the necessary infrastructure repairs, so there are months left at best for Lebanon to benefit.
Most Lebanese rely on private generators to generate electricity, but many have been forced to cut or abandon them due to soaring fuel prices.
Fatima Baidun, a 50-year-old mother of three from Beirut, said her family could not afford electricity from a generator because her husband, a security guard, had been out of work for over a year. Without state electricity, she cannot use the washing machine, and her family’s taps are dry because the water pump is powered by electricity.
“We try to sleep as early as possible,” she said.