“Is there any hope for this place?”

“In recent decades Lebanon has been a place of relative calm in a turbulent region. Now it is living through a once-in-a-century economic meltdown.

The collapse, rippling through all levels of society, has been accelerated by the lasting effects of the explosion in the Port of Beirut one year ago today.

Power outages have become so frequent that restaurants time their hours to the schedule of electricity from private generators. Brawls have erupted in supermarkets as shoppers rush to buy bread, sugar, and cooking oil before they run out or hyperinflation topping 400% for food puts the prices out of reach. Medical professionals have fled just as the pandemic hammers the country with a new wave of infections. Thefts are up 62% and murder rates are rising fast.

In May, Gaith Masri, a 24-year-old law student and gas-station attendant from northern Lebanon, was shot dead after a scuffle with a customer when he refused to go beyond a rationing limit. “He was killed in cold blood, just because he wouldn’t fill up someone’s tank,” said Firas Masri, Gaith’s cousin. A month earlier, a gasoline smuggler had shot their uncle in almost the same spot for also refusing to go beyond the maximum allowance the station had set. He may never walk again.

The World Bank, measuring the contraction of GDP per capita—which was down about 40% from 2018 to 2020—and the estimated time it could take for Lebanon to recover, reported in May that the country’s economic crisis could rank among the top three in the world in the past 150 years.

“At some point the crisis gets so bad that even the building blocks of a recovery end up disappearing,” said Mike Azar, a debt-finance expert who has advised U.S. government agencies. “You never get back to the kind of economy that you had before.”” WSJ

Comment: It must have been ten years ago that I stood alongside my driver in the street outside Beirut International Airport watching a mob coagulate against the airport authority. “Is there any hope for this place?” he asked despondently. He was an educated man.

“Leave,” I told him.

The foreign policy of the US, driven by Zionist imagined interest, has contributed a lot to Lebanon’s disaster. The Israelis think what has happened to Lebanon is funny, more of the disarray they wish to see in any country that does not submit to them.

Hizbullah? Anathema. Any participation in a Lebanese government is anathema. Say what? Bullying! They win elections to parliament.

Stealing money from the public treasury, selling personal licenses for telecommunication companies. Corruption! Corruption is Lebanon’s middle name.

Money laundering on a grand scale, Corruption!

“Leave.” I told him. pl


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11 Responses to “Is there any hope for this place?”

  1. Babeltuap says:

    Our civilizations break down rather swiftly to uncivilized. A matter of days. Unfortunately leaving is not an option for those of meager means without heavy assistance. The kicker here as you describe is the neighbors on the high ground like watching the show. Pathetic.

  2. Sam says:

    Seems like perfect conditions for another civil war much to the satisfaction of Israel and the ziocons in the US.

  3. William H Buckey says:

    Coming soon to a neighborhood near you.

  4. Deap says:

    Does Russia still want to take over the US, considering it currently distressed state of affairs? What would they do with it, after they threaten us with their “hypersonic” flying machines.

    I can see China needs our farm land and our living space. But what does Russia want from the US? Besides being left alone.

    Which I thought we were doing, until the Democrats trot out Russia-Russia-Russia like Pavlov’s dogs, when their own dire situation demands a scape goat.

  5. Polish Janitor says:

    Multi-ethnic and religious pluralist nature of several ME countries (most notably in Syria, Lebanon, Iraq) has proven to be a curse and especially in recent decades the rise in democratization (think of the long gone Arab Spring) has basically paved the way for deadlock, corruption, cronyism, and rampant dysfunction in these nations.

    Geopolitically, all three are unfortunately the site of a shadow war between the Resistance proxies supported by Iran vs Zionism backed by the U.S. et.al. Interestingly, wherever the Iranian proxies emerge from (that is mostly among the Shi’ite populace there), the A-Z of that country gets sanctioned which leaves them nations with no other choice but to accept fuel, food, personnel, medicine, expertise from Iran. Israel too would benefit dramatically as the those nations are permanently mired in crisis, division, and weakness, and thus in no position to stand against Israeli bullying. The winners become Iran and Israel. Add Turkey to this list as a relatively new and minor actor who does its own ‘carving-up’ in Azerbaijan, Somalia, Syria, northern Iraq and you have three major regional powers dividing the ME for themselves.

    Iranian gains emerge when the central state is very weak and fragile so proxies then become activated to provide security on the streets and furthermore become import/export arms of Iran in those countries. You can see the same framework working out in Venezuela (Iran’s new frontier) where fuel tankers and food shipments are regularly docking in Venezuelan ports in the absence of a competent central state. This framework is referred to as the ‘Resistance economy’ in Iranian (especially among the IRGC) academic circles. It is how just it works basically.

    What dysfunctional multi-ethnic states like Lebanon need most are two things: 1. Stability/authority/political order, and 2. State-owned and Semi-state managed free enterprises and to never 100% deep dive into the political pluralism of every-four-years UN-observed elections just for the fun of it, otherwise they keep getting destabilized until they are no longer a sovereign nation-state.

    Take a look at what happened in Tunisia where the powerful and ever politically-hungry Muslim-Brotherhood PM just got sacked by the reasonable president a few weeks ago. Since the Arab Spring Tunisia had been slowly moving toward instability which the mishandling of the Covid-19 by the MB-supported government finally exposed this bad formula. All things considered, Tunisia got somewhat lucky too because of its vicinity to Europe and so it was also in the interest of its northern neighbors to see a stable Arab nation than a crisis-ridden one resembling Libya, Lebanon or Syria.

    As a final note I somewhat disagree with Colonel Lang here. I don’t think the act of leaving the homeland behind solves it. For example my 11 year-old son sometimes acts like a jerk and does gnarly stuff, should I just leave him (and my family) to save myself some headaches? I don’t think so. If the aforementioned educated driver leaves Beirut to Marseille, Jeddah, Dubai or Milwaukee, it would be exactly what the Izzies want and probably even what Hezbollah would prefer.

  6. Serge says:

    Pretty good Youtube video breaking down the realities of hyperinflation in Lebanon:

  7. TTG says:

    This situation must be especially disheartening for Michel Aoun. In 1983 he led the desperate defense of the Souk El Gharb ridge. It was a time of great peril and sadness as mountain villages that have lived in peace for generations turned on each other in savage brutality. Still, within the 8th Infantry Brigade, there was an air of hope for the future of Lebanon. Aoun is no longer a young colonel. He is an old man with no options. You tied. You did all you could do, but it wasn’t enough. May you find peace.

  8. mcohan says:

    probably better if southern lebanon becomes a province of israel.The potential is a win win for both sides.It will happen

    new poem

    uncle jack

    I will be back
    said my uncle Jack
    I am going to sail the middle sea
    just my parrot and me
    wait for me by the shore
    I will be home by four
    with fresh fish for the table
    this seaman is able ~
    when my daddy died
    uncle Jack took me in
    did a good deed
    kept me from sin
    he was firm but fair
    put a roof over my head
    gave me a half share
    kept me well fed ~
    you can take the bike
    uncle Jack said
    ride it when you like
    it is in the shed
    while you are at it
    go down to the store
    it will keep you fit
    salts finished get some more ~
    I watched him sail away
    It was a sunny day
    later on the wind blew
    black clouds replaced the blue
    there was a storm out to sea
    I wondered where he could be
    they never found his boat
    just a few pieces afloat ~
    the sea can give or take
    I have learnt over the years
    leave grief in its wake
    joy when the sky clears
    I sometimes go down to the shore
    and look out to sea
    wait for the hour of four
    wonder what will be.

    • Ishmael Zechariah says:

      re: probably better if southern lebanon becomes a province of israel.The potential is a win win for both sides.It will happen
      Interesting logic. Interesting prediction. I hope you guys try it. It will be fun to watch. Hezbollah did not dare fire into israel three days ago, did it?
      Ishmael Zechariah

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