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Friday, July 20

Because Saudia doesn't want Lebanon to regain crucial revenue

Headline today from Reuters: "Lebanon must strike deal with Syria to use export crossing." But why must a deal be worked out, given how important Syria's restored M5 highway and 
border crossing is to the Lebanese economy not to mention Jordan's economy and the Turkish one as well?  

Because the Saudis want Lebanon to remain economically crippled, and for the same reason they want Jordan to stay on its knees. The Saudis want complete control of the governments in both countries (and I doubt they've given up trying to control Syria). 

So while Reuters doesn't directly mention the Saudi role, there's a political battle between the Lebanese faction controlled by the Saudis and factions controlled by everybody else in Lebanon, now that the Lebanon-Syria border crossing is safe for commercial international trucking:
One complicating factor for Lebanon is the political row over whether or not the country should have official ties with Damascus, with Lebanese politicians bitterly divided over the issue.
Before I return to the Reuters report some background; by the time you get through it, you might ask, 'So how much of foreign interference in Syria has been to keep the M5 highway from going into key commercial points in Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey?'

I've been meaning to ring up the Saudi regime and its flunkies in the U.S., U.K, French, and Israeli regimes and ask them just that question. 

While I'm at it, I might as well ask what percentage of criminal activity by Hezbollah and other Lebanese in Latin America they think is due to Lebanon being in desperate economic straits.  

[muttering to herself] How did it become my lot to spend my life studying the machinations of scoundrels and fiends?  Pundita don't whine it's bad for your blood pressure.
Syria Sitrep - Liberating The M5 Highway, Syria's Economic LifelineMay 19, 2018, Moon of Alabama
[...]
Until two weeks ago a large area around al-Rastan between Homs and Hama was still held by mostly local "rebel" forces. The Syrian government sent its Tiger forces and an ultimatum - give up or die. The "rebels" decided to avoid a fight which they would surely have lost. They agreed to be evacuated and were dumped into Idlib. Al-Rastan is back in government hands. This move freed the M5 highway between Homs and Hama.
The M5 highway is the main north-south artery of Syria. It connects Gaziantep in Turkey with Amman in Jordan. The highway runs through the main Syrian cities of Aleppo, Hama, Homs and Damascus. Before the war started all transit traffic between Turkey and the rich Gulf countries as well as most of the internal Syrian commerce ran along this road. 
Turkey, Syria and Jordan have a common economic interest in securing and reopening this important lifeline. [Pundita note: True for Lebanon as well]
M5 Highway  
The next strategic task for the Syrian army is therefore to secure the M5 highway in its full length.
In the south of Syria the M5 connection to Jordan runs through the eastern part of the "rebel" held area (green) towards al-Mafraq in Jordan.
The border to Jordan is closed for the "rebels" and tightly controlled. There have been talks between Jordan and some of the "rebel" groups with the aim of ending the conflict in the south but they have so far failed.
[...]
Since the MoA sitrep in May the Syria-Jordan border area has been cleared of "rebels," the Syria-Iraq border has been cleared, and as I write these words the Syria-Israel frontier area is being cleared except for a pocket of Islamic State fighters, who will be leaving soon one way or another. 

Lebanon must strike deal with Syria to use export crossing-minister
July 20, 2018 - 12:05 PM ET
Reuters (U.K.-based news outlet]

BEIRUT (Reuters) - Lebanon must seek a deal with Syria so Lebanese exporters can reach wider Middle East markets via the Syrian border with Jordan now that Damascus has recovered state control of that frontier, Lebanon’s caretaker economy minister said on Friday.
Raed Khoury said it was vital that Lebanese exporters be able once again to send their produce overland through Syria to the Nassib crossing with Jordan and onwards to the wider region, calling it “a vital artery” for the Lebanese economy that had been closed because of the war.
“God willing, with the negotiations that will happen between the Lebanese and Syrian parties, and Jordan, this route will open because our (total) exports fell by 35 percent after the war in Syria erupted,” Khoury told Reuters in an interview.
Syrian government forces recovered control of the Nassib crossing in a Russia-backed offensive that has swept insurgents from a swathe of territory near the borders with Jordan and Israel since it began one month ago.
Khoury’s comments point to the significance of the Nassib crossing’s reopening for economies in the region. Before the Syrian conflict erupted in 2011, it served as a major transit route for hundreds of trucks a day transporting goods between Turkey and the Gulf in multi-billion dollar annual trade.
“In my opinion, it is in the Syrians’ interest that this crossing is opened, and in the Jordanians’ interest,” Khoury said. “Let’s see what the conditions and other factors are that must be taken into consideration,” he said.
One complicating factor for Lebanon is the political row over whether or not the country should have official ties with Damascus, with Lebanese politicians bitterly divided over the issue.
[END REPORT]

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