In a strange saga even by Lebanese standards, Prime Minister Saad Hariri somehow convinced Algeria’s Sonatrach this week to provide state-run Electicite du Liban (EdL) with two cargoes of fuel oil, free of charge, to help avert an imminent power crisis. The two tankers had been moored offshore since 26 October because the Lebanese government, embroiled in a six-month standoff over cabinet formation, could not get the finance ministry to release the $420mn needed to purchase the fuel.

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