Entering into battle against Israel would result in Lebanon plunging into “the Dark Ages,” according to Lebanon’s Minister of Economy, who noted that the “vulnerable” crisis-stricken country “cannot afford a war,” as he warned that even a “small escalation” would result in Lebanon paying a “very heavy price.”
In a Friday interview with the Abu-Dhabi-based National, Lebanon’s caretaker Economy Minister Amin Salam expressed grave concerns about the potential implications for Lebanon in light of the escalating conflict between Israel and Hamas, insisting that even a minimal escalation with Israel would “plunge [Lebanon] into the dark ages.”
Salam appeared to be referencing the heavy toll from past conflicts as well as the country’s ongoing severe economic crisis.
Economy Minister Amin Salman says war would send Lebanon into the 'dark ages' https://t.co/IqjBIeqLfC
— The National (@TheNationalNews) October 13, 2023
While noting that Lebanon’s government, which includes Hezbollah members, agrees on avoiding war, Salam stressed that the country will defend its borders against any full-scale Israeli attack.
“We will not accept any invasion of Lebanon, nor will we tolerate the possibility of Lebanon facing a fate and slaughter akin to that witnessed in Palestine,” he said.
However, he reiterated that Lebanon is “already very vulnerable,” and the country “cannot afford a war.”
“We have bad infrastructure, no national reserves of food and medication,” he explained, noting, “We will pay a very heavy price, even with a small escalation in the south of the country.”
Salam pointed to today’s geopolitical climate, noting that the current situation is “very different from 2006, with different challenges and stakes.”
In July 2006, the Lebanese terror group Hezbollah attacked Israel in what launched the Second Lebanon War, which resulted in hundreds of casualties, infrastructural damages, and further economic troubles for the Levantine country.
What we’re facing today threatens the very existence of Lebanon,” he stated.
Amidst the current tensions, he noted, emergency plans focusing on food security and medical contingencies are being formulated by the government.
“We are planning for the worst and hoping for the best,” he said.
Salam also emphasized Lebanon’s unwillingness to be a pawn in a “larger geopolitical game.”
The country is at an existential intersection,” he said. “We don’t want, as a small state, to be a bargaining chip in a larger geopolitical game. The only way forward is to stand up and declare that we will not be a weak link.”
On the actions of Hamas, an ally of the Iran-backed Hezbollah, the minister declined to comment.
“When I look at Palestine today, I see a dire humanitarian crisis,” he said, adding, “I don’t like to interfere in the politics of parties that are not Lebanese parties.”
The matter comes as Israel and Hezbollah, along with its Palestinian allies in Lebanon, have exchanged fire in recent days following Hamas’s multiple-pronged attack on October 7, which saw the Gaza-based terror group resorting to abuse, executions, and kidnappings of men, women, children, and, at times, full families and even an elderly Holocaust survivor.
In southern towns, the terrorists went door-to-door, shooting Jews and burning homes with families inside, proceeding to murder soldiers and infants alike, all while thousands of rockets rained down on Israeli civilian centers.
On Wednesday, Hezbollah declared that it views the U.S. as a “full partner” of Israel in the current conflict initiated by Hamas, stating it is “not frightened” by the arrival of a U.S. aircraft carrier in the region
“We consider the United States a full partner in the Zionist aggression and hold it fully responsible for the killing, criminality, siege, destruction of homes, and horrific massacres against defenseless civilians, including children, women, and the elderly,” the group stated.
Lebanon has been grappling with an economic crisis for four years, marked by shortages of fuel, medicines, and basic goods, with the nation’s financial system coming to a standstill following a staggering 95 percent plunge in the local currency’s value