Home Trends The Current Challenges of Lebanon and Repercussions for the Region and Europe

The Current Challenges of Lebanon and Repercussions for the Region and Europe

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[Music] hello everyone and welcome to today’s session uh i’m honor sultan from beyond horizon international strategic studies group beyond the horizon is a non-profit brussels-based think tank specializing on defense and security related matters today we will discuss an extremely important subject with distinguished guests the subject is as you know the acute crisis in in lebanon as you know in october 2019 the country was was subject to protests which we call today as a revolution and after the protests that started in center in beirut quickly kind of spread across whole lebanon and the protesters started to want the resignation of the prime minister saad al-hariri at the time after 12 days of protest the prime minister submitted his government’s resignation and the protesters continued to make their protests and the people rushed to the banks to withdraw their monies in expectation of the financial crisis the the the parity between usd us dollar and lebanese era at the time before the revolution was one dollar to 1 500 lebanese lyras after these events it doubled and became came to the level of 3 000 lebanese eras in january 2020 a technocrat government was formed under the leadership of hassan the up and after the explosion in august 2020 in the port of peru the government had to resign after one weeks of in face of facing kind of public frustration and anger since then there has been continuous efforts to to find a solution to this political deadlock but unfortunately a government has not been formed in the meantime so the problem is that so the problem uh is that since then the the lebanese lira has been making a free fall and the people that there is a big kind of economic challenge that is coming together with this political deadlock as of today the the rate for usd to lebanese lira is around 18 000 lebanese zeros to one usd dollar us dollar which means 12 times as before when compared to the level before the revolution today with our distinguished guests we will discuss this acute problem acute crisis in in lebanon so as of today as i said there are lines in front of the gas stations for the people who want to get gas there’s a shortage of medicine and the people are really frustrated and the crisis is deepening so we need to discuss all these things and get a better grasp of what is really happening in nabana for that today we have as i said three distinguished guests let me briefly introduce them to you our first guest is uh retired general marouane hitti sir welcome thank you thank you sir that’s our honor general haiti served as officer and general for more than 38 years in lebanese armed forces and after his retirement he served as special defense and military advisor to the prime minister between june 2017 until january 2020. general hattie was deputy chief of staff for planning j5 from september 2012 until september 2016 where he handled the planning for long and medium term strategic vision thank you sir thank you for joining today thank you mr obada ladan is an economic and financial journalist with 18 years of experience covering business strategies and macroeconomy with a special focus on the banking sector and central bank’s policies in the gulf region and lebanon he is currently a senior producer in the business desk at el arabia based in dubai and a regular columnist for lebanese media services he previously worked as the business editor head of business department for erai newspaper the leading daily in kuwait and as a pundit for several tv channels in the region thank you very much for joining us welcome thank you thank you great honor to be with you thank you it’s our honor and finally as our guest third speaker we have uh mr ibrahim johar together with us he’s a senior political analyst electoral expert and university instructor focused on political science diplomacy u.s foreign policy and lebanon his level is history he has written extensively on various issues on the 128 lebanon website alongside beyond the horizon tackling various issues such as the political causes of economic crisis the geopolitical situation in the middle east and the political intricacies of the lebanese electoral system he is also the manager of data liberation project focused on publicly publishing the raw electoral data of the previous parliamentary elections of 2018 2009 and 2005. welcome ibrahim welcome and [Music] so i just want to mention a few kind of housekeeping rules for this webinar we’re going to conduct this webinar in three rounds in the first round i’m going to ask for our each of our guests one question and they will answer those questions for 10 minutes then we will have a second round to answer the more in turin in the in the in the discussions in the first round and also answering another question in the second round for five minutes and then we are going to be left with 10 minutes for answering your questions and answers should you have any questions please don’t hesitate to post them by clicking on the q a button below your screen and hopefully we will get answers to them for you with such distinguished as a guest together with us today so uh i want to turn to ibrahim for my first question iran you’re a political scientist and you have been following the elections in lebanon lebanon for a long time now as you know lebanon has been a political deadlock and the politicians are not reaching an agreement since the explosion and the resignment of the government of hassan and in february this year the patrick petros array called for an international conference led by by the u.n in order to find a solution to the crisis do you see a new coalition being formed in the coming weeks if not days are there any international efforts that you want to mention and specifically what prospects for a solution do you see in the coming days hi well ushi thank you and um i’m very glad to be here uh yes the the situation is dire lebanon is now in its tenth months of political uh it’s even worse than deadlock it’s paralysis nothing is happening at all the government that’s supposed to be formed has not been formed the government the caretaker government that should be dealing with at least the daily issue as per say earlier the constitution has not been doing its job the people are left to their own accord while many different international efforts has been tried first immediately after the port explosion the the third largest explosion in the world happened france led by president macron led an international effort to try and come and find a solution which in brief was the idea that okay we understand there are political issues there are political disagreement there are politicians that want a bigger pie of a bigger part of the pie but let’s put all that aside let’s form a government of mission uh mission that is tasked with doing the very urgent and needed reforms that will enable us as lebanon to start receiving foreign aid starting by the imf and then by the now three years old sad conference that was organized in order to help lebanon with the launch of several big infrastructure projects especially on infrastructure unfortunately for many reasons and mainly for political uh balances and and calculation this government official did not pan out the prime minister who was tasked was elected or nominated to do it resigned after two weeks and after that prime minister hariri the previous prime minister who as you mentioned resigned after the eruption of the different manifestation demonstration he took it upon himself to form a government that is in spirit with the french initiative as it was called the president macron effort uh which is forming a government that is slowly focused solely focused on making the reforms pushing the country forward making a deal with imf and then getting said unfortunately again political paralysis political deadlock and we ten months later we are here it has been a slow decline the world bank in its previous report called it um a decline that is premeditated it’s not just haphazardly the world bank accused the political political elite in lebanon of not doing anything and letting the whole uh the whole political and economic structure slowly erode going into a full free fall and you can see it in the summer first you had the dollar that was at six seven eight it slowly declined and now it’s rapidly at the same time you had the basic necessities you had electricity you had the medicine and drugstore you had food that was still subsidized slowly but with premeditation all of these helped all these subsidies all of these if you want social networks have been eroding slowly being removed we are now at a point that i i just came from saida it took me uh almost double the time why because the line that you also spoke about in front of the fuse station has become monstrous we are talking about three four kilometers of line people sitting in full uh july let’s say june july heath and people who visit lebanon and i hope one day we become weak back to our tourist attraction status when you come to lebanon you know and in these three months the sun really hits hard people turn their car off because if you’re gonna stay in line for for an hour all the fuel that you’re gonna put is gonna be lost and and for me there’s only one word to describe this line and all the situation that uh people are are are going through is in arabic uh in english it’s uh um it’s making people feel so bad so uh this destroying their their their their not honor but destroying their will if you want it’s i know for me it’s really sad uh lebanon lebanon was not that and is not this you’re asking me about a political consensus a political movement unfortunately he it seems that even internationally uh the friendly countries france at the forefront the u.s the arabs the gulf have slowly lost hope and maybe interest i don’t see anything at the horizon happening what i see is and i think internationally it has now they are trying to stop lebanon from going into a failed state and for that uh there are efforts to help the army but we are talking about uh minimal help to make to make it maintain meanwhile there are also efforts to push for election as you know we have election in around 10 months for me it is uh i think the only solution to get out of the political deadlock and i’m not talking about change although i hope but the political parties have such a strong and hermetic control of the political life that it’s gonna be a tough battle but there are glimmers of hope and especially if the alternative uh parties are united uh there is there are a push and a lot of pressure from the international committee to make sure that elections are held on time and for me this is crucial and the two issues are just raised helping army make sure that the country does not fall into a failed state and uh make sure that the elections are held on time are the only way out of uh the problem the elections are important because even if we are not capable of uh completely overturning the political landscape at least the election will allow for the nomination of a new prime minister the election because after the parliamentary election you have then gonna have a presidential election the election of a new president and even and the election of a new speaker of parliament these three nomination in addition to 128 new mps or returning mps will at least bring some new blood into this awful and believe me awful paralysis that is taking its toll on all of us i don’t know where i am in time you’re fine you’re finding rhyme thank you very much for the remarks that you have made so basically you suggest and you think that a new reshuffling of the cars in the political landscape with the change of the president the prime minister and the leader for the parliament he’s going to bring a new blood a fresh blood to the system and hopefully he’s going to open the blocking this blocked system i even i’m sorry but just one point sure the change might not come but even electing the same people again will allow the system to be blocked because even because we all know it’s a consultation system and maybe the big names will not change but re-electing them will allow the pro political process to start anew that’s a very important point to know thank you very much and we will we will revisit this issue of supporting the armed forces with general and hopefully we’ll touch up on that but now i want to uh get back to ubada about the economical situation i think we need to get a better grasp of this economical situation in the country well whether how large is the size of the economic and financial crisis nowadays and what repercussions on the lebanese societal and political landscape has it had so far what do you think uh can you omit yourself a father we cannot hear you yeah yes sorry yeah brian was talking about the queues in front of the petrol stations uh actually uh unfortunately things has changed enormously since the eruption of the so-called revolution in october 2019 at the beginning of the of the crisis people were outrageous about their money in the banks they were you know they were nervous about what was discussed at that time about the hikes and taxes or fees so now people are thinking about their basic needs when we talk about the uh economic situation in the country now we are talking about the very basic needs for talking about food supplies about fuel internet uh the struggling uh schools and universities medicine so so if we take it from the uh masters hierarchy perspective we are talking here about the physiological needs then we can talk later on about the safety needs the uh the psychological needs and then the uh at the top of the hierarchy comes the self-actualization needs so when we talk about the basic needs uh i think i think in countries like lebanon uh with the resources with the availability resources uh with the diaspora with the human capital uh available you know i think lebanon should be should have adequate resources to to to provide these needs so i think the the crisis and the nature of the crisis the nowadays crisis is a temporary and it could be addressed swiftly once we form a government all these holidays would be could be resolved swiftly but i have other things to worry about on the local lancaster we have to be worried about the whole model about the competitive advantages that uh lebanon has uh reckoned on uh all over the decades before uh to to to to create the wealth to to have this wealth uh for the lebanese people and to it and to maintain this uh the the lifestyle that the lebanese people has enjoyed uh to a certain extent all over the decades before if i go back to the current crisis i think it’s the result of inaction and this in action is a kind of passive decision made by the politicians or made by the political system uh it’s a passive passive decision not to make any decision they decided not to make any decisions so we kept on using the reserves the mandatory reserves all over this uh you know this period since the eruption of the uh the crisis in october 2019 we have used almost half of the reserves of the central bank the central bank uh had 31 billion us dollars in october 2019 now we are talking about 15 to 16 uh billion dollars so we’ve spent half the reserves uh it could be uh someone decided to do so but i don’t think that uh maria salem has decided the governor of central bank has decided to to spend all these reserves it’s the inaction it’s the dysfunctional state that spent all this money and half of this money was spent on providing the subsidies for food and medicine fuel and the other half was spent to finance the transfers of money their discretionary transfers abroad so at the end of the day now we are left without these reserves and the inaction and the passive decision uh has put all the lebanese people in a situation where they have to choose whether to continue uh having the the fuel the little fuel that they said accessible with uh subsidized price or to uh to remove this or to have these subsidies and keep the market forces uh have its role and has its as play so uh the main issue here the main issue here is the struggle or the conflict among the political parties on the distribution of losses and i think this is the main issue that is causing all this problem uh why the government was under the government of hassan why wasn’t they able to lead a transition or lead restructuring in the financial sector and in the public finance and why they weren’t able to uh lead the position with imf simply because the discord is still there between the political parties on the main issue which is the distribution of losses and in the absence of agreement between the political parties on on this main issue what’s happening is uh distribution of forces on i would say it’s the stat scope is distributing the uh the the the uh losses you know it’s or it’s it’s the factor let me say it’s the de facto basis it’s uh it’s that uh it’s that it’s going like that uh we’ll keep on using the reserves till the last usable dollar and uh the weakest link in the system will bear the biggest chunk of the losses and the weakest link here is the depositors and not all the depositors those are those who are not who don’t have enough influence or let me say the enough wasp and the lebanese system to have their money uh saved and transferred abroad so uh so we are going to uh a de facto distribution of losses and once this dispersion process is settled then we can look what’s left beneath the ashes and what’s left in the uh economic model of the financial model and what’s and how we can rebuild this model on a different basis uh if let me if you want to talk about about this model and what’s left in this model and what could be saved from this model for the uh for the post-crisis era the i can assure that what’s obvious that what we have lost is the confidence in the banking system the financial system this banking system used to uh attract or to uh have inflows from the diaspora and from arabs some of the arabs from the neighboring countries and this money this uh hard currencies or let’s say this dollars were used by the banks to finance the system to find to finance the government and to uh and some of it a big chunk of it was parked in the central bank as diplo since central bank so now this confidence uh has eroded completely so i don’t think that we can uh rebuild this uh confidence in the in the in the coming years this is this is one of the things that we have lost uh one of the things that will remain in the system is the uh of course the uh geopolitical the uh geographical location the natural uh the natural qualities of the country and the human capital at the diaspora those are the three things that will be left and will remain with us and we can capitalize on it to rebuild the economic and financial systems but i think it will take a few years to settle all these losses in the system right now and to know who will be bear the biggest chunk of the losses once this is settled then we can look how we can rebuild the system until that time if there’s no functional government if the dysfunction the government resumes then we will go to a defect or distribution of losses and that’s what’s taking place right now thank you for your for your remarks and you you mentioned about the remittances and the importance of it to the system and hopefully after a kind of government is formed you hope that this confidence can be restored again to to again attract investment to lebanon and those remittances i want to turn to general haiti right now sir you have been following the discussion we have covered the political situation and economical side of the crisis and i want to discuss with you based on the geopolitical location of of lebanon what do you think the security landscape in the country is going to look like in the coming days first of all and the second do you think any repercussions to the region based on this geopolitical location yeah please thank you and an introduction um lebanon today is chaotic and complex it’s a strategic slice of real estate on the shores of the eastern mediterranean lying in an uneasy proximity to a hotel israel and to what is now today the failed state of syria it is a country currently being fought over and pulled apart lebanon is experiencing an unconventional war let’s be let’s be clear on that unconventional war where actors are vying for power and control and using their positions of power and alliances to further their own parochial and regional agendas but we have all to take into account that lebanon’s battles or battles are not driven by religions per se it is in part a cultural war as well as a conflict of communities in which lebanon sect operate more as tribes the adherent being bound together for commonal self-protection and survival rather than united be a worship of a shared religious people i mean for a christian being a christian is not going on sunday to churches and ending wealth so um speaking about the geopolitical domain very quickly despite lebanon’s myriad problems it remains of high geostrategic importance making the country important to international and regional access i will speak very shortly about this and then go back to the security for instance the united states they view lebaron through the presence of its opposition to hezbollah iranian expansionism and the well-being of its allies israel europe the united kingdom and france regards the survival of lebanon as critical to a peaceful middle east it is also concerned that a potential collapse of the love or of the country will hasten the fresh exodus of refugees toward europe israel used lebanon almost solely through the prison of its own security having long ago relinquished any territorial aspirations this is my personal belief and of course it is extremely worried by what i call [Music] the international community’s lexism that has left since 1991 uh the small cat that used to be hella to the big tiger that it is today syria i don’t i don’t like to use the word syria as much as the syrian regime the syrian regime who has always played on two uh big wilds big whites one won its apparent hostility against israel and the second having a handhold on lebanon so syria has never accepted the notion of lebanese independence especially when i say syria the vulgar bad regime so its influence on on that country was great between 1990 and 2005 but it has declined since 2005 in favor of iran it has not declined coming to zero but it has declined in favor of iran iran interest in lebanon begins and ends with hezbollah and its ability to serve as a factor of deterrence or of ins bringing in stability uh for the islamic republic we all like to use the word the malign influence of iran through hagman there are other factors other actors i mean saudi arabia long been a factor for lebanon has distanced itself from lebanon under king salman viewing the country as ruled by unreliable figures who have surrendered yet to iran which is in part very false which is simplistic in my opinion uh like uh uh the stopping of the us three billion assistance that was promised in 2010 and that never uh came [Music] to materialize who should i say well i would add turkey which is exploiting an opportunity in lebanon caused by the absence of saudi arabia and because countries to build support and influence in lebanon’s sydney community turkey’s moves in lebanon are worthy of close scrutiny in the months ahead we have to keep an eye on them i would shift now to speak a little bit longer about the security domain of course it’s easy for me to speak about the lab and uh my views uh i will try to be as objective as possible it is not because i am a former uh lab officer i am today i am in first reserve in fact so that is not because i belong to that body that i will phrase this by only no i see some deficiencies we will talk about them while we will be talking but i i’m very proud to say that no institutional no national institution has contributed more to relative stability in lebanon than the last it is the only functioning organization in lebanon today that can legitimately defend the country and hold it together it is the last bastion in fact this is an effect why is it like this developed is a sample of the lebanese society and bears in itself all the strengths and all the weaknesses that exist within the love society but that with that difference that the love strictly weighs two laws and regulations and there is always a big deal of justice being made within the country which is not the case within the rebellion society and this is an effect i mean this success is an effect to a genuine cross-confessional makeup and it’s strong wide international support i i repeat wide international support because most of the support of the government forces come from partners and allies so it is much to the credit of the lab and its headquarters and its commanders that they remain firmly wedded to the democratic process while attempting when i say when i say uh firmly wedded to a democratic process we understand in the dominion on those forces that we are in a well between brackets shaking democracy but nevertheless democracy in which the civilian power have or the civilian politicians have the power of life and death over the military and this is how it should be the love without being an army of a regime it will never be like that it is a national institution but the lab will never take initiative and we don’t have this uh poor tradition of coup d’etat that used to prevail in so many states in the middle east and in africa uh so they remain weathered as i said to the democracy whilst attempting to support the government and protect the people simultaneously and here if we make the balance between what the uprising was expecting from the lab and what the government was expecting from the lab we can see that the liberal armed forces were successful in maintaining a balanced position between both maybe the uprising wanted the lab to join it and top of the government while the government wanted the lab to bring down the uprising the lab didn’t do either so it’s still in the middle uh however what is happening today to the lab is an image of what is happening to the country and the collapse of the country which is a real possibility will bring a lebanon into an ungoverned space or in a worst case scenario to descend into another civil war love is but at heart i will speak for another i’m looking a little bit uh at the watch just to calculate how much time i will have to do to keep talking so it is by heart and this position a naturally western leaning organization we have to keep this in mind the bulk of its funding comes from the united states the uk france other nato allies and a little bit from arab countries and however its dichotomy is that under the current government all defense ministers unfortunately appointed by president towns have been affiliated to parties allied to hazballah this difference between western-leaning gloves and hezbollah-linked defense ministers has created tensions between the laos and the government talking about the budget the last entire budget have been affected by the economic crisis and collapse of the lebanese pound and is further depriving the lab command of its already scarce financial resources the devaluation of the salaries can lower our lowering the morale across the force resulting in uncompromised state of combat readiness the well i spoke here about combat it is not only a compromised state of combat readiness it is only or it is also a compromised state of cohesion today the main effect to put on the lab to keep it together is cohesion so everything has to be made to keep that body cohesive so the main coping mechanism of the love is loyalty and sense of beauty the love has been until today able to withstand the pressure for the immediate uh today and for the future but at the end the dominion government may be unable to pay all civil servants or will pay its civil servants with a so much devaluated lebanese pound that the salaries will not be worth anything and this will be a big drum and including the last the significant proportion of the rank and five will be looking elsewhere for sustainables should this happen and here i can talk hours because my generation experiences such a situation during the civil war what are the non-state actors that are uh dealing with the yeah sorry uh we’re running out of time maybe maybe we can get those remarks in the second round huh okay so i will stop i will i will stop with that much and i will leave everyone else to speak questions when when i’m recording i’m really sorry for the time time constraint no no no problem okay okay so thank you uh now ibrahim i want to get back to you uh can you talk about a bit about outbound migration from lebanon how serious is it can you guess upon your repercussions on the eu yes look uh uh one other aspect of the crisis that we didn’t even get to although it’s very important but that shows you how bad the christ stayed is that since the start of the syrian civil war we’ve have had almost between 1.5 and from 1 to 1.5 and i’ve heard numbers now totaling two million syrian refugees that fled the war in syria they are still here some of them came back some of them are still here they are also another aspect of the problem that are creating tensions are creating uh further pressure on an already crumbling uh system and services from electricity to water to to internet to everything is slowly company these refugees have been a weight but paradoxically they have also been a source of fresh what we call now any new dollars coming into the country we call them fresh dollars they have been a source of constant fresh dollars because the international community has paying between 1.5 to 1.7 billion dollars a year in support of these refugees and this this money these funds have been helping to a certain degree the lebanese economy so as everything in lebanon there is this tension between the weight and some positive aspect unfortunately we are now entering a point where it’s becoming more and more negative uh and the situation uh many of these refugees used to work uh in agriculture in instruction and in any other such uh jobs uh with all of these sectors suffering heavily and with the lebanese middle class being slashed and most of their savings are inaccessible in banks or in leaders and have become worthless so they are turning to any jobs that can bring minimum of sustenance so you have the lebanese that are trying to get more jobs and the civilian who their jobs have become less worthy so you have this tension and this pertain to dangerous trends which are going for crime and mostly and this is where i think it becomes much more interesting for you and for europe is an increase in illegal immigration in lebanon last year for the first time i think since the war we’ve had lebanese citizens taking the boats and running to cyprus some of them died some of them arrived some didn’t some are lost at sea this for me symbolized how bad the situation is and in case of a further degradation and we’ve seen that that the trend is going down it is not only for civil yeah i think it’s we are facing uh uh a definite increase in illegal uh immigration for the syrian it will increase for the lebanese there are two roads or two ways one of them is taking like last time both up to cyprus or sometimes even up to other countries the other one which is that has been a bit easier is uh going to turkey and from there braving the uh the borders into europe bulgaria and further north this is a trend that will only increase and this is where i go back to uh the issue that the uh the european and the international committee understand that and they have been providing help to the army and to the security forces and to the refugees in order to make sure that another large wave of immigration does not happen okay thank you everyone thank you for this remarks and do you have numbers about this the number of the people who fled lebanon yes as lebanese last year this is one of the project i’m i’m doing now is overseeing and observing the numbers of boats that are leaving the lebanese shore from the start of the year till now we have there have been three boats that have been caught on each there was around 60 to 70. uh personalities were mostly until now syrians but with a few lebanese last year we are talking i think we had a bad connection but uh hopefully brian is going to rejoin us and his absence i want to turn back to you i have one question for you uh in the first kind of round we we heard about the prospects for the new government to be formed and also you invited us about the your your kind of view on the economical situation the general talked about security situation in the country so if you were in a position to recommend the government with a solution to stop the lyra from losing its value and recover what would it be as a kind of crisis management solution and i have actually one question that has come from the the the viewers it says what advice can you give to the citizens regarding their blocked money in the banks uh we cannot hear you bother can you arm with yourself sorry and it’s a big issue they blocked money in the banks you know it’s a very hard situation and i was talking about the de facto distribution of losses so i think that the depositors are the weakest link in the system so uh i’ll get back to this point later on but uh for now we’re talking about the uh weakening leader on the weakened lipids found actually the nowadays problem is the stems of the problem is as you know is a determined deficit the huge deficit in the fiscal balance and the huge deficit in the country come and and this resulted you know that the uh central bank has to defend the peg and to use all the hard deserves the dollars that was parked by the banks and the central bank use all this money all these dollars to defend the spec and i mentioned before that you used almost 15 to 16 billion dollars all over the period since the eruption of the crisis in october 2018. so what can be done now the the the mere solution for this crisis is to have some funding some fresh dollar from outside and the only source of this funding could be come from the imf so no other way but to find to find a way to uh to have a problem with the imf to have a problem with the imf and to find some sort of settlement or uh with the uh with the creditors you have to find the solution with the creditors because as you may know the lebanese government has defaulted the uh payment or the the the uh the payments of the europeans in uh march 200 2020. so no other way but to find settlement with the creditors and to start a program with the imf but the kind of situation in the absence of the functional government what can be done is to to eliminate this discrepancy between the parallel market and the official rate of the lebanese uh of the exchange rate you know now what what’s happening is that uh the the price in the private market is on around 18 000 while the official price is 1500 so it’s uh 12 or 13 volts the real price is 12 or 13 false the uh official rate and we have many cosy in a quasi officer it’s uh namely the 3900 uh rate which which is used for uh finding for uh for financing the imports of foods and now it will be used for the fuel so but all these you know all these engineers by the central bank will not uh resolve the problem of of the fuel and the shortage of supplies if we keep on uh subsidizing the imports this will the supplies will will keep on be smuggled to uh the neighboring countries from one side and the uh it will be uh you know the the importers in some way or another will take benefit from the uh difference between the take the the advantage of the arbitrage advantage between the offshore rate and the uh subsidized rate uh between the parallel the rear rate in the market and the subsidized rate so the only the only way to find a solution is to eliminate this difference between the parallel market and the official market yes many people will not find it affordable to buy fuel to [Music] to buy the food supplies but at least you can provide the market with the necessary supplies the the bottlenecks now and the shortage in the supplies is due to the uh price fixing and we have to make a a decision here we have to make a choice whether we go for a social uh price fixed regime or we we keep on with the minimum possible uh free market we have we have to stick to the uh uh to do you know we have to stick to the market forces to a certain limit uh and at least to keep the uh the supplies flowing to the country so uh uh and we have to and to have to to to note that the banks are not uh providing any dollar uh for uh for uh for the importers to uh to finance the uh import uh imports so uh all the burden uh is on the shoulders of the central bank and this cannot uh this cannot be uh the case for forever at certain time we have to eliminate the difference between the real market and the subsidized markets thank you buddy thank you for these remarks ibrahim was speaking before he he cut off the line uh please derive can you continue on the numbers yes on migration i’ll be very brief but you just had an experience of the crumbling of infrastructures when my internet suddenly comes off so i was telling you last year we had a few couple of hundreds of lebanese that immigrated illegally and again these were the numbers of the people who were caught we don’t know the number of people who didn’t were not caught but this is illegal immigration you have a much larger and more important and much uh with more negative consequences which is the legal immigration the brain drain that lebanon is witnessing last in the last few months there is at least between 200 to 300 doctors that left our top uh hospital in lebanon you at american university hospital we also had university doctors we have engineers we have technicians we have young people full of life that want to change the country they have been leaving and drove to any place that would take them even to places that they would never have so to go even to work at mcdonald’s for me this is the most dangerous as because lebanon was known for its education for its hospital tourism and for its uh health sector the three are witnessing and very very dangerous pain and unfortunately i will end on this bad note okay thank you brian sir i want to get back to you there was an issue that we couldn’t finish in the first round uh maybe we you can comment on that a little bit further but my question is going to be to you does the security problem as you discussed in the previous round also the perspectives that you reflected belonging to different actors in the globe like the us and eu taking all those into consideration what do you how do you think the security problem in lebanon is going to pose a challenge for those outside directors for eu for the us and thank you no thank you listen um yeah well i’m going to say a joke because i have i always thought that the most dangerous work uh in the world was to be in the army but not to work at mcdonald’s i’m making the job for him him and i are very good friends look i agree with everything everyone has been saying i mean brahim said that the solution in elections uh obada was speaking about uh we call them financial solutions that the central bank is trying to provide it cannot go on forever and think that look no lip talk lebanon is a country under occupations we are under iranian occupations our national decisions our sovereignty are taken into custody by hezbollah by iran through hezbollah and with the complicity of syrian regime and syrian intelligence and all this stuff everything we are experiencing today as uh a bad experience is a direct result of the actual political authorities in lebanon have aligned lebanon with the axis of the four five row countries in the world that are north korea iran syria uh the the burger syrian bad regime i always like to say this epitaph on that regime and the winner dweller this is the cause everything else will be treating symptoms providing assistance to the lab it’s excellent good everyone will like it we love the love yeah we fro providing financial assistance making elections do you really believe that elections will bring the solution in lebanon how by bringing another majority of independence like it did in 2009 to what did it lead did it it led to mr navarre uh the parliament and to help allah and the free patriotic movement squattering marquis square and blocking central beirut for two three years it led to hezbollah blocking the presidential election not accepting any president not accepting elections to be held unless hound becomes president this is those are the causes of the disease we are today our disease our diseases name is occupation it is only when this occupation will be dealt will be faced will be named so the first thing we have to say we have to look in the eye of the guy and tell him this you are occupying lebanon you are bringing prejudice to lebanon and this is the first step start speaking and this most of the lebanese in the uprising have already stated it the second is to start to take action start to take actions how it can go from civil disobedience and refusal look uh i cannot imagine and when we say uh we have to avoid lebanon to become a failed state frankly i want lebanon to become the same state i want my country to become a failed state so i would open the door to the international community to intervene it’s it’s a paradox here it is a very lebanese way to look at the things we will not shift from the actual situation in which we are to a better situation as long as we are the hostages of allah and the hostages of syrian regime and the hostages of iran don’t look anywhere else you want the cure let’s work on that all the others are well like uh in lemon we have we have we have a joke for such solutions we name them giving paracetamol to a person who has cancer so this is the place no lip talk let’s go to that if you ask me what are my perspective for the next phase for the next phase unfortunately here i agree with uh with rahim and with the weather because it’s going to get violent it’s going to get worse and i’m not talking uh in a week or in two weeks i’m talking in days for instance today while driving back here i was in downtown beirut i had something i learned from the colleagues that beirut university hospital the rafi hadil hospital has stopped its generators even its electricity generators have stopped supplying power to an hospital because they have no fuel how long do you think this can go on for hours it cannot i’m not talking about days i’m talking about now that to what this will lead listen i have a big mouth during one session a year and a half ago i asked the direct question to the central commander the centcom commander general mckenzie and uh well i’m a soldier i’m not a uh i don’t know neither economist or whatever so what i think i think security i think sir yeah i think the connection is not stable okay actually i was supposed to pass to the questions but now we have overgone our time it’s three two zero zero two so i will finish the panel for today i really think and we are grateful for the participation of guests especially the general obad and iran thank you very much for joining us and for the viewers here who are following the program we’re really thankful please follow us in the next events and hopefully we will provide insight thank you very much for joining thank you thank you thank you thank you very much thank you for the opportunity thank you that was great thank you thank you bye [Music]


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The Current Challenges of Lebanon and Repercussions for the Region and Europe
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