Editor-in-chief of “Nidaa Al-Watan” newspaper, Bechara Charbel, said that Lebanon is going through one of its worst stages, due to what he described as the failure of the political class and the parties of the ruling system to address the urgent issues facing the country.
Charbel added – in an interview with an episode of “Scenarios” program (6/17/2021) – that the statements and counter-statements are a reflection of the attraction and the various accounts related to partisan and factional interests, and Hezbollah’s accounts in the region, which delays the formation of the government.
He explained that the efforts to form the government so far are immature, and the pressures are insufficient, while the rift between the parties to the authority and its allies and allies is increasing, expressing his belief that Hezbollah is not exerting enough pressure on its two allies – President Michel Aoun and Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri – to reach an agreement. Concrete result in efforts to form a government.
It seems that today it is entering a new phase of the crisis, entitled more escalation, especially after a statement from President Michel Aoun in which he blamed Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri for the failure to form the government, which Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri responded to with a counter-statement accusing President Aoun of adhering to impossible conditions. And by disrupting his initiative to break the knot of government intractability
For his part, Abdullah Bouhabib, writer, political analyst and former Lebanese ambassador to Washington, said that the absence of what he called “chemistry” between President Michel Aoun and Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri is hindering the formation of the government.
Bouhabib added that the required reforms in Lebanon are painful, and that politicians are afraid of undertaking them, stressing that foreign aid will not come to Lebanon, and if it does come, it will be conditional.
He explained that it seems that there is a lack of acceptance from Saudi Arabia to Hariri, which is blocking Gulf aid to Lebanon.
Bouhabib indicated that there are internal and external fears of a collapse in Lebanon, suggesting the failure of Berri’s initiative regarding the formation of the government.
While initiatives aimed at finding solutions to the governmental crisis are still in place, a United Nations report revealed the tragic situation the Lebanese have reached due to the unprecedented and suffocating economic and financial crisis in the country.
The report indicated that half of the Lebanese people today live in a state of poverty, whose acute level rose from 8% in 2019 to 23% in 2020.
The report stated that the consumption index increased between 2019 and 2021 by 280 percent, and food prices increased by 670%.
The report stated that more than one million Lebanese are in need of continuous support to secure their basic needs, including food.
This comes at a time when the Lebanese pound continues to deteriorate in an unprecedented manner since the start of the economic collapse nearly two years ago.
Since the summer of 2019, the lira has gradually begun to decline against the dollar, coinciding with a severe liquidity crisis and in light of an economic collapse that is the worst in Lebanon.
In early June, the World Bank warned of the consequences of Lebanon’s economic and financial crisis, categorizing it among the 3 worst crises recorded in history since the mid-19th century.
For his part, Heiko Femen, Project Manager for Lebanon, Syria and Iraq at the International Crisis Group, said that he queued for two and a half hours when he was in Lebanon last week to fill half the tank of his car with fuel, which indicates the depth of the crisis in Lebanon.
He added that the World Bank said that the economic losses in Lebanon are similar to those lost by a country in a war.
Femen ruled out forming a Lebanese government soon, pointing out that it is difficult to carry out the required economic reforms because they are painful, and will require those who undertake them to swim against the current of reconciliation and the interests of his allies and his popular base, which is impossible in Lebanon, as he described.
He stressed that the likely scenario is that the caretaker government or another government that is formed will postpone the inevitable collapse, because it will not be able to take sufficient reform steps due to its inability to pay the political cost involved.