Remember when the Democrats were livid at former President Donald Trump’s administration for his purported love of strongmen?
He has a bromance with Vladimir Putin! He’s even willing to talk to Kim Jong-un!
Well, finally, we have a president who’s supposedly willing to take a stand against dictators everywhere. Oh, but he’s also willing to waive sanctions on the bloody regime of Syria’s Bashar al-Assad in order to get energy to Lebanon in a deal that has terrorist organization Hezbollah claiming victory.
Human rights are on the march, no?
According to the Washington Free Beacon, congressional sources who have been briefed on the Biden administration’s plans say that the White House wants to waive sanctions imposed on Assad’s regime for his war crimes in the Syrian civil war.
The deal would allow energy to be carried across Syria to Lebanon, which has been hit with a massive financial crisis that has paralyzed the country since 2019. According to an AFP report in May, the nation’s central bank is in a position where it can’t afford fuel, which means power cuts can often last for 22 hours per day.
The White House’s coordinator for the Middle East and North Africa, Brett McGurk, is currently pressuring Egypt to sell gas to Lebanon. It would be transported to the country via a pipeline that runs through Jordan and Syria — which means that if the deal goes through, Assad’s cash-starved regime would stand to benefit handsomely.
Remember, too, that this is the same Biden administration that canceled the Keystone XL pipeline under the rubric that more energy going through pipelines would only mean more climate change and environmental destruction. That killed over 10,000 U.S. jobs.
So a Syrian dictator is getting an opportunity to benefit from a fossil fuel pipeline that’s being denied American workers.
Couldn’t John Kerry have jetted over to Lebanon with some solar panels in tow?
But alas, gas it is. One of the reasons behind such a move, according to AFP, is that the Biden administration wants to counter a deal between Hezbollah and Iran — a state sponsor of the Lebanese terrorist group and political party — which began shipping tankers full of fuel to Lebanon last Friday.
Dorothy Shea, the U.S. ambassador to Lebanon, confirmed in late August that the United States was finalizing an energy transit agreement with other parties, including the World Bank and Middle Eastern nations.
“I’m trying to find solutions for the Lebanese people. We’ve been talking to the governments of Egypt, Jordan, the government here [in Lebanon], the World Bank. We’re trying to get real, sustainable solutions for Lebanon’s fuel and energy needs,” Shea told Saudi-based Al Arabiya.
In terms of a potential agreement between Hezbollah and Iran to get fuel, Shea said, “Lebanon can do whatever it wants.”
“I don’t think anyone is going to fall on their sword if someone’s able to get fuel into hospitals that need it. But I think the Lebanese people deserve importers of fuel to distribute it equitably. And I ask you, can you count on Hezbollah to do that?”
“There is a will to make this happen,” Shea added. “There will be some logistical things that need to happen too, but I think that it will all fall into place fairly easily.”
How it falls into place, however, involves running it through Syria — and providing a financial lifeline to Bashar al-Assad, according to a congressional source, who told the Free Beacon the dictator would receive hard cash from allowing gas to go through his country’s pipeline.
“Assad is desperate for hard currency and that’s what they are going to get from this via the transit fees,” the source told the outlet. “The regime is literally starved for cash and Biden is saving them by the bell.”
And then the sarcasm kicked in.
“A great new win for the human rights agenda after the Taliban taking over Afghanistan,” the source said. “So glad we have the geniuses in charge like McGurk.”
Republicans weren’t happy.
“Why in the world would the Biden administration lift sanctions on one of the most brutal human rights abusers in the world — the Assad regime?” said GOP Rep. Joe Wilson of South Carolina — a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee — in an interview with the Free Beacon.
And by the way, Hezbollah is celebrating the deal as a victory.
“The stupidity of the U.S. ambassador was in her rush to react” to the energy situation in Lebanon, said Hashem Safieddine, the head of the terrorist organization’s executive council, told Iran’s Fars news agency, according to the Free Beacon.
“With one stroke we broke the siege on three countries: We purchased the fuel from Iran, we transferred it through Syria, and besieged Lebanon benefited from it. This is a first step that we will follow with others.”
And this isn’t the first dictator with a pipeline who’s been rewarded by the Biden administration. Russian President Vladimir Putin — public enemy No. 1 for the Democrats — is also avoiding sanctions for his country’s Nord Stream 2 pipeline.
As The Wall Street Journal noted in July, both the Obama and Trump administrations opposed the pipeline, which carries natural gas underneath the Baltic Sea to Germany and bypasses the usual route through Ukraine.
“The pipeline would allow the Kremlin to increase European dependence on its natural gas, then use it to blackmail U.S. allies, critics have said, charges Russia has dismissed,” the Journal reported.
However, given that Germany is for the pipeline and the Biden administration wants to curry favor with Germany — the biggest player in the European Union, after all — the Biden administration waived sanctions against the Russian firm building the pipeline.
“Mr. Biden continues to oppose the pipeline and views it as a Kremlin move to expand its influence over others, officials said Tuesday, but considers a united group of allies to be the most effective way to counter Moscow,” the Journal reported.
Alas, we can’t have the Keystone XL pipeline because the administration believes it would harm the environment and contribute to climate change. Over 10,000 American jobs gone — poof, on day one of the Biden administration. But when it comes to a Russian dictator expanding his influence over Europe’s energy or a bloodthirsty Syrian autocrat desperate for cash, that’s when the Biden administration will cave on the matter.
But remember, Democrats keep claiming Trump is the one who cuddles up to autocrats. So, pay no attention to the Biden administration’s willingness to throw a lifeline to a desperate dictator and allow a terrorist organization to claim the pipeline deal as a win.
They’re the ones who respect human rights, remember?
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