Rear View – Lebanon in review (13 September 2020)

Rear View – Lebanon in review (13 September 2020)

7 Sept: Hezbollah & Hamas Leaders meet to discuss Israel-Arab ties

The leaders of the Lebanese and Palestinian resistance groups, Hezbollah’s Sayed Hassan Nasrallah and the Palestinian resistance leader, Ismail Haniya, held emergency talks to discuss the surprise decision by the UAE, on 13 August, to normalize ties with Israel, quickly followed by Bahrain’s decision on 12 Sept, to do likewise.

It was Haniya’s first visit to Beirut in over 30 years, which indicated the importance of the meeting and the need for these two resistance leaders, to coordinate their strategy to prevent a further dissolution of Arab support for their cause against Israel.

My view? Yes, this is a blow in the guts to the Palestinian cause. Devastating to the people who have been stripped of their homeland since 1948 and denied basic human rights by the oppressive Israeli regime. Please be clear here – this is not an anti-Jewish issue. Don’t be misguided or deceived into thinking so superficially. My views are purely humanitarian. What has happened to the Palestinian identity is no different to what happened to the Kurds, Armenians, and so many other ethnic groups after World War I. The British and French royally stuffed up so much for so many races with their imperialistic attitudes at the time. Today’s British and French leaders are trying to make amends but they are falling way short of their humane and just duty when it comes to the Palestinians, as is the entire United Nations.

7 Sept: Lebanese flee Lebanon on boats

Around 123 people, Lebanese and Syrians, escaped Lebanon last week aboard 4 boats and were picked up by Cypriot authorities off the coastline of the east Mediterranean nation.

Most of the migrants were permitted to disembark but Cypriot Police said 21 were forced to stay on board. Another 33 were put back on another Cypriot vessel and were ferried back to Lebanon.

Cyprus’ Interior Minister Nicos Nouris said that an urgent meeting would be convened this week to assess the unfolding situation. He said Cyprus’ migrant reception center is reaching its limits amid concerns over sticking to health protocols to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The sad part about this story is that these poor people have been pushed to the brink that they feel so desperate that they have to escape with only the clothes on their back and yet our political leaders sit arguing over which political group is going to be assigned which ministry in the new Government of Mustapha Adib, which is yet to be announced. More on that later…

8 Sept: US sanctions two Lebanese politicians 

In a rare move that directly targets individuals, the US imposed sanctions on the former Finance Minister, Ali Hassan Khalil and former Public Works and Transportation Minister, Youssef Fenianos, who are both strong allies of Hezbollah.

In announcing these sanctions, the US said Hezbollah used its relationship with officials in the Lebanese government, including Fenianos, to siphon funds from government budgets to ensure that Hezbollah-owned companies won bids for Lebanese government contracts worth millions of dollars,” it said.

Specifically, it accused Mr Fenianos of receiving in 2015 hundreds of thousands of dollars in exchange for political favours.

The US accused Mr Khalil, who previously served as the minister of finance (2014-2020) and minister of public health (2011-2014), of helping Hezbollah in moving money to avoid sanctions.

My View: Why stop at Khalil and Fenianos – the vast majority of members of the Lebanese Government whether Ministers or not – ARE ALL DOING THE SAME THING! So, America – why are you just targeting those connected to Hezbollah?

You claim to be supporting the Lebanese people in our call for reform against ALL CORRUPTIONWELL?? DO IT! Sanction ALL OF THEM!KILLON YIHNI KILLON!

10th Sept: Another Fire at Port Beirut 

Yes, another fire broke out allegedly from more “welding” – just like the first one – and this time it conveniently destroyed containers of documents, files and folders that were critical to the ongoing criminal investigation into the massive explosion.

The second fire caused panic and mayhem as people ran in fear of a repeat of last month’s horrific event. The latest fire erupted in a warehouse storing oils and tyres in the Duty Free area.

In addition to destroying valuable documents, the fire also incinerated much needed humanitarian aid destined for desperate families. Fabrizio Carboni, regional director for Near and Middle East at the International Committee for the Red Cross, said half a million litres of oil and thousands of food parcels were stored at the warehouse that caught fire.

“The extent of the damage still remains to be established. Our humanitarian operation risks to be seriously disrupted,” he said in a tweet.

Just a few days before the fire, the Lebanese Army said it had found another 4.35 tonnes of ammonium nitrate at Beirut’s port. It said it has since destroyed the explosive material.

An army source said the security forces were in the process of undertaking a complete survey of the entire port area.

12th Sept: Army Fires on Protesters

The Lebanese Army has come under criticism for firing live ammunition and rubber bullets on anti-government protestors marching on the presidential palace on Sunday in a show of frustration against the incompetence and corruption that continues to weigh down the country causing ongoing suffering of the population.

They were met by another group of Pro-President Aoun supporters causing clashes and aggression between the two camps. Hundreds of Lebanese soldiers tried to separate the two groups and in doing so fired live ammunition and rubber bullets in the air to disperse the protestors.

However, some soldiers became aggressive and were caught beating protestors unnecessarily which fuelled greater anger and animosity towards the government.

My View: Tensions are going to continue to increase until the Government meets the needs of the population and gives them something that will allow the people to feel some level of confidence. At the moment, despite President Macron’s two visits to Lebanon and hard line on the need for immediate and massive reforms, despite the world shunning the government by not sending any aid, financial or material, to the Government but rather to NGOs and direct to the people impacted by the explosion, and despite nearly 12 months of protests and revolution by the people demanding changes to the political system, structure, and most importantly the leaders – NOTHING HAS CHANGED – NOT ON IOTA!

So it is no wonder the people are still pissed!

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