Logo
Cover

The guided revolt

South of Beirut, near the suburb of Khalde, a man was hit deadly on Tuesday, when soldiers under the use of firearms tried to expel a gathering of people after a violent dispute from an important traffic intersection. The man, whose Name is specified with Alaa Abou Fakher, was a member of the Progressive Socialist party (PSP), for which he sat in the city Council of Khalde. The PSP-Chairman Walid Jumblatt called on the protesters, “to count on the state”, because “the Land will otherwise be thrown into Chaos”. The Army Command began an investigation against the soldier in question.

President Michel Aoun spoke on Tuesday in an interview with Al Mayadeen about the protesters ' demands for a technocrat government. “A government based solely on technocrats cannot determine the country's policy,” says Aoun. He wanted to form a government of technocrats and politicians.

The protesters called on Aoun to release the country after four weeks of protests: “if they continue to do so, they will destroy Lebanon and its own interests.“One works” day and night to stabilize the situation”. On the question of whether the retired prime minister Saad Hariri would return to office, Aoun replied that nothing had yet been decided. In the meantime, the former minister of Finance Mohammad Safadi had been proposed to take over as prime minister. Only a few days later did Safadi withdraw its approval. The IMF and the world Bank are already waiting.

Last weekend, the World Bank had asked Lebanon to call a new cabinet” within a week " to halt the further economic crash. Lebanon is heavily indebted, and although the Lebanese living abroad have billions of US dollars on the Lebanese banks, they cannot have their money. The banks have for years made private deposits to the Lebanese central bank to finance government operations, said the head of the central bank Riyadh Salame in a recent CNN Interview. The banks had been promised up to 20 percent interest.

However, neither interest was paid nor the borrowed money was returned. For weeks the banks have been closed and only occasionally open for a few hours. Holders of US Dollar accounts will not have access to their money, in the banks it is said to have occurred in part grievances between the account holders and the bank staff. ATMs spending US dollars and Lebanese currency until early October provide only Lebanese pounds (LBP). The national currency, which since the end of the Civil War 1990 is bound at 1.500 per 1 US Dollar, has lost value. On the black market, one US Dollar now costs up to 2000 LBP.

Prices for food have risen by up to 20 percent, even private electricity and water suppliers demand more. How hard it is, foreign workers who work in Hotels and private households and their monthly salary in US dollars. Most of the money is transferred to the Workers ' countries of origin, where they support their families. Employers have no access to their US dollar assets and are in arrears with payment. The rise in the cost of living means that workers demand more to compensate for the rise in prices.

New loans only in case of sale of silverware

On Tuesday, President Aoun met with representatives of the international support group representing the United Nations, China, France, Germany, Italy, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States, as well as the European Union and the Arab League.

Western States, as well as the International monetary Fund and the world Bank, demand from the Lebanon sale state table silver, such as, for example, the lucrative mobile phone or the electricity sector. In order to obtain loans promised at the donors ' conference in Paris 2018 (CEDAR), privatisation is to be pushed forward.

Investors are also eager for the oil and gas sector, whose Exploration in the eastern Mediterranean has not yet begun due to border disputes with Israel.

Aid remains largely absent from the Arab Gulf states, which have invested billions in Lebanon since the end of the Civil War. Only the Qatar golf Council paid $ 500 million to the government in June. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has pledged new investments but has not yet transferred anything. Saudi Arabia, which has invested billions of US dollars in support of Saad Hariri in Lebanon, is also holding back its money. This is due to the growing influence of Lebanese Hezbollah, which emerged as the winner with an alliance from the elections in May 2018. In the government, which is only a transitional government two weeks ago after the resignation of Prime Minister Saad Hariri, the Hezbollah alliance is represented with four ministers.

In the meantime, the uprising of hundreds of thousands of Lebanese in mid-October, which was originally triggered by economic concerns, is being carried out by forces that want to bring down not only the government but also the parliament.

Various parties, including the Lebanese forces, mobilize their supporters on to the streets and reject every offer. The Alliance for Hezbollah and the Free Patriotic Movement, which also includes President Michel Aoun, call for dialogue and urge the protesters to release the streets. In mid-October, the Communist Party of Lebanon (KP), which cooperates closely with Hezbollah, especially in the south of the country, had partially led the protests at the beginning. A KP interlocutor, who did not want to be named, acknowledged that other forces are now trying to control the protests. The situation is unclear and dangerous.

Similarly, Sofia Saadeh, professor emeritus of the new history of the Middle East in Beirut, describes the Situation. At first it was about fair wages, electricity, water, health care, people protested against corruption. Now the slogans were similar to those known from Syria: “they want the overthrow of the regime, but in Lebanon there is no Regime like in Syria.“Not only the government, also the president and especially the Parliament should go, Saadeh describes the demands of the protesters. “The government and the president have invited to dialogue, proposed reforms, and the Parliament should discuss them. But people don't want to talk to anyone. What do you want?”

It was firmly convinced that the legitimate criticism of the population of the many maladministration would be used to overthrow the government that belonged to Hezbollah. The Parliament was finally elected just a year and a half, but the US had rejected the result due to the strong performance of Hezbollah and its Alliance from the beginning.

The reason for the conflict is the poor economic situation, which has intensified with the US sanctions against Hezbollah.

Hezbollah calls for trade with the East

Hezbollah President Hassan Nasrallah strongly criticized the US's economic and financial pressure against Lebanon on Monday. The United States prevented the flow of capital to the Cedar state, including Chinese investments. Lebanon will be threatened because it is trading with its natural neighbours Syria, Iraq or Iran. According to Nasrallah, the pressure is so great that Lebanese firms are now afraid to invest in Syria. The country had to free itself from it and to build its own agriculture and industry. Chinese investments for this were promised that this would be in the national interest.

“The market in Iraq is a historic opportunity for Lebanon,” said Nasrallah further. The ongoing dispute over the sea border with Israel along the oil and gas reserves in the eastern Mediterranean prevented Lebanon from promoting its oil and Gas.

According to Nasrallah, criminal investigations against politicians and officials for possible corruption are supported. “If there is a case that has to do with a representative of Hezbollah, I urge you to start with us. I guarantee you the respect of Hezbollah.”