Lebanon hit by severe power cuts and a pharmacy strike
Kanako Mita and Lee Jay Walker
Modern Tokyo Times
The multi-religious jewel in the Middle East crown is crumbling under the pressure of internal political cronyism. Equally detrimental, the weight of endless power plays by Iran, Israel, Syria, and the Palestinians have all abused Lebanon. Thus, for many decades Lebanon became embroiled by the whims of the non-Lebanese. These outside forces also utilized sectarianism for geopolitical gains while the Palestinians sought power under the PLO (Palestinian Liberation Organization). Therefore, the convulsions of many decades, alongside a high number of Palestinian and Syrian immigrants, are finally catching up with Lebanon.
On Friday, two important power plants were disabled. This resulted in much of the country being under a blackout. At the same time, pharmacies decided to strike because of essential medical shortages. Hence, the crisis is never-ending and increasing in severity because of the currency angle.
The BBC reports, “Lebanon’s two biggest power stations, Deir Ammar and Zahrani – which together provide about 40% of the country’s electricity – shut down on Friday, their owner Electricite Du Liban (EDL) said.”
The ongoing economic crisis that began approximately 18 months ago is merely highlighting political inertia. Hence, cronyism and issues related to power concentration continue. Thus the Lebanese Pound has collapsed dramatically. Therefore, apart from the mega-rich and political elites who can channel their money in different ways, the sense of abandonment prevails for the rest of society.
The embassies of America and France in Lebanon issued a joint communique. It stated, “On July 8, 2021, French Ambassador to Lebanon Anne Grillo and U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon Dorothy Shea conducted trilateral meetings with counterparts in Saudi Arabia to discuss the situation in Lebanon. This initiative follows up on the trilateral meetings among U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, and Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan Al-Saud on June 29 in Matera, Italy on the margins of the G-20 conference.”
Hence, the international community is indicating that corruption and mismanagement must be tackled to obtain greater international assistance. However, while this will be agreed upon by many in Lebanon, the international community must also acknowledge the meddling of Israel, Iran, Syria, and Palestinians into the body politic of Lebanon.
In other words, political cronyism internally is a real issue and the same applies to not tackling serious economic issues – and other areas related to the infrastructure of this country. Yet, from Israel and Palestinians enjoying their proxy wars in Lebanon – to Iran treating Hezbollah with being a bulwark against Israel – to the role of Syria in Lebanon can’t be brushed under the carpet. Similarly, a sizeable minority of people residing in Lebanon are Palestinians and Syrians who have fled regional convulsions. Therefore, given the sectarian angle in Lebanon that already existed – and the fear of Christians becoming future dhimmis in the wider majority Muslim-dominated Middle East – the issues are extremely complex.
Lebanon needs a fresh start and for friendly nations to help during the current economic and political crisis. This applies to economics, politics, and enabling the Lebanese to control their own destiny without the hands of other nations – and peoples – endangering this country.
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