“Lebanon in political stalemate” (by Sybille Rizk, Le Figaro)

To the right, we can see the President of Lebanon. Under his picture, the article goes like:
“The President of the Republic, Michel Aoun, aroused the popular anger by suggesting to the dissatisfied citizens the path of emigration”. – / AFP

First, here is the original French article:


Second, this article, by Sybille Rizk, sheds light on the tragic situation in Lebanon.

Big issues for such as small country.

Below is a translation from French to English, if you have the time or if you care to read:

In Beirut

If Ubu had been multi-headed, he could have symbolized the Lebanese political class. As a “solution” to the unprecedented crisis in the country since the end of the war, the name of Mohammad Safadi was leaked in the media: an agreement was found to succeed him to Saad Hariri at the head of the government. The mere fact of pretending to consider this way out of the crisis is a testimony about the extent of the gap that divides the political class from the street. Not to mention the context in which the decision would have been taken: an informal meeting, outside any institutional framework. The constitution requires the prime minister to be appointed by the President of the Republic after formal consultations of deputies.

As soon as the news spread in the middle of night, the slogans flourished to discredit this former minister, a billionaire whose name is associated with a complex accused of encroaching on the public property of the waterfront of Beirut and trade of Saudi armament.

Oligarchic regime

Analysts hesitate between two readings. Either the announcement involves maneuvers to “grill” an option in order to “sell” then another. Either it shows a flagrant inability of the authorities to take on the reality. In both cases, it signals the extent of the crisis -some of the collapse-of the oligarchic political regime that began at the end of the 1975-1990 war.

One after the other, the poles of this system have shown their extreme vulnerability. The Prime Minister threw in the towel on October 29. His 72-hour rescue plan, in response to the popular uprising, was deemed as unreliable as inadequate. Its main “measure” was the zeroing of the budget deficit, while it has been two years since the authorities were able to reduce it to 7% of GDP.

It was then the irremovable president of Parliament, Nabih Berri, who was forced to postpone a parliamentary session whose appearance was perceived as an affront to popular demands. Ditto for the agenda: a general amnesty law, comparable to that which had absolved all warlords in 1991. Under the excuse of pardon to people who suffer from a denial of justice (because of a criminal justice system plagued by years of political interference), the proposed amnesty also concerns an impressive array of financial and fiscal crimes.

Popular revolt is carried by its geographical, social and confessional transversality.

Finally, during a televised interview, the President of the Republic, Michel Aoun, aroused the popular anger by suggesting to the dissatisfied citizens the path of emigration. A flagrant clumsiness in a country whose youth, the main driving force of the revolt, is overwhelmingly forced to expatriate failing to find work.

Although flickering, these different components of power refuse to give way. They are supported by Hezbollah, which, although shaken as well, remains the main organized force of the country, with an armament whose power exceeds that of the regular army. Iran’s Allied Shiite party fears the emergence of a new political configuration that would directly target it, transposing the conflict between Washington and Tehran to Lebanon, while it has managed to protect itself from it.

In front of them, the popular revolt is anchored in its demands, and carried by its geographic, social and confessional transversality. But it is not yet catalyzed around a political project carried by one or more opposition movements. Hence the risk that the timing of the current political transition is not fast enough compared to that of the economic and financial crisis whose social consequences are potentially devastating”.

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