Strongly mistaken are those who believe that one or more of the following could lead Lebanon away from the path towards hell. These things are the new cabinet formation, a Aoun-Hariri agreement, Hezbollah’s involvement or absence in the agreement, a Berri-Jomblatt involvement in the formation, the representation of the Lebanese Forces or in the cabinet or lack thereof, or even the continuation/withdrawal of the initiative of the French President Emmanuel Macron. These sedatives may be able to relieve pain for a period of time, but the disease exists elsewhere. This misdiagnosis is exacerbating the risk that Lebanon will remain in hell for very long time.
Lebanon’s entire needs can be achieved by a few surgical changes supervised by external support. We need a government that garners the trust and confidence of the people, the Arab world, and the International community simultaneously.
The brutal fact remains that bankruptcy is already upon us. The crime has been exposed by the bankruptcy of the central bank, and those responsible are plenty. 85% of the Lebanese deposits were siphoned off in addition to hundreds of billions of dollars of their national wealth. The political class is corrupt and impotent at best. They have lost their credibility and all confidence they had previously been given. Domestic financing in the short term is out of the question.
External financing, on the other hand, remains elusive due to Lebanon’s aggressive stance and hostility against its fellow Arab nations, the reluctancy of European allies, and Iran’s inability to fund any entity outside of Hezbollah. Finance remains limited and conditioned upon reforms through international institutions such as the IMF and the World bank. The political class, however, has had no desire to achieve these reforms. Additionally, there will not be any attempts to reclaim stolen deposits that have been transferred abroad anytime soon. Finally, when it comes to political promises of escaping from the crisis, those are all lies. The Lebanese people are in a state of denial, and they need to wake up.
Consequently, the crash of the Lebanese Titanic and its vertical descent is inevitable unless serious treatment is administered. Financial, economic, judicial, or administrative reforms are practically impossible because they depend on the total self-destruction of the political class. There are no sustainable solutions in Lebanon, as its own peace is linked to that of the region’s.
Seeking Arabs or Seeking Hell
What prevents Lebanon from changing course today, as we head forward on the path towards hell, is the apprehension of state sovereignty, and particularly its decision to end the hostility against its Arab allies. The Arab countries are the only side capable of injecting sufficient amounts of currency to revive the market and people’s confidence in Lebanon’s future. Opening the gates for such a step requires an Iranian-Arab reconciliation, with Hezbollah at the core of this agreement. In the absence of the Lebanese state’s ability to fulfil that role directly, or maintain confidence in that role if allowed, Hezbollah’s commitment might be the only guarantee. A solution involving Arab nations seems to be the only serious option available. It is either an Arab bailout or a continued path to Hell!