Iran fuel for Lebanon
The first batch of the Iranian fuel shipment to Lebanon has arrived in the country. Some 65 tankers entered Lebanon from Syria. The vessel carrying fuel docked in Syria’s Banyas port on Sunday. The consignment was then sent by tankers from there. More Iranian fuel shipments destined for Lebanon are expected in the coming days. The Hezbollah resistance movement will donate part of the fuel to government hospitals and similar institutions. Afterwards, a private company will be tasked with selling the fuel to private organizations and power-generating bodies. Lebanon is facing fuel shortages, which Hezbollah blames on US sanctions.
Aukus partnership controversy
The European Union says it was not informed in advance of the new military partnership pact between Australia, Britain, and the United States, dubbed Aukus. Brussels, which was also sidelined by Washington in Afghanistan, says it will discuss Aukus and assess its implications. The EU's Foreign Policy chief, Josep Borrell reiterated that the bloc must create its own defense and security strategies. The deal, aimed at arming Canberra with nuclear-powered submarines, has caused controversy. France, which sees a similar 90-billion-dollar deal with Australia scrapped as a result of Aukus, slammed the agreement as a stab in the back. Paris also hit out at Washington, accusing the US of excluding France and displaying a lack of coherence. Beijing also decried the contentious deal.
Taiwan arms purchase
Taiwan says it plans to purchase an extra 9 billion dollars worth of weapons in the next five years in a bid to upgrade its arms against China. Wang Shin-Lung said Taiwan needs to strengthen its weapons systems to counter "the severe threat" from China. He said the US would remain an important provider of parts and technology. The proposal, which needs parliamentary approval, comes on top of the planned 17-billion dollar military spending for 2022. Beijing has repeatedly condemned the expanding US ties with Taiwan and its weapons sales to the island as a violation of China's sovereignty. But Taipei has been pushing ahead with a revamp of the island's military in defiance of Beijing.