Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘lebanon

Lebanon pre-qualified oil and gas investment bidders

A total of 52 companies are pre-qualified to bid in Lebanon’s first offshore oil and gas

licensing round, which closes on October 12, 2017.

While the government ran transparent pre-qualification processes to screen these companies in 2013 and 2017, important questions need to be asked as we proceed into partnering with some of these companies that will be awarded licenses to explore in Lebanon’s offshore EEZ.

• Who are these companies? Who are the real owners of these companies?

• How have they been performing in other countries?

It is no secret that the oil and gas companies indeed dwell and frequently work and thrive in murky waters.

The fact remains, however, that we will always need to work with these oil and gas companies if we are to develop our nascent extractive sector.

Building safeguards within our regulatory system is a must if we are to benefit from this partnership with these companies.

Lebanese decision makers and citizens need to learn more about these companies’

behaviors and overall performances when it comes to corruption and the environment.

Using 6 criteria for evaluation, the Lebanese Oil & Gas Initiative (LOGI), in collaboration with Matt Nash, a well established researcher and journalist,  set out to study the background of these companies that have been pre-qualified.

These criteria relate to companies’ corruption as well as  environmental track record and policies.

Based on the research findings,LOGI developed sets of recommendations that aim at safeguarding against any abuse that may be practiced by these companies.

For example, LOGI recommends that the Lebanese government revisits and modifies some of the aspects related to its future licensing rounds especially ones that relate to companies publishing their anti-corruption policies.

LOGI also recommends that the Lebanese government discloses the list of companies that did not qualify and the reasons behind that, in addition to addressing the issue of New Age company pre-qualification.

Finally, we would like to mention that we have also included recommendations on pertinent issues such as beneficial ownership, contract disclosure, EITI implementation that the Lebanese government is currently putting into practice.

Note: Our TV news said that Israel and Cyprus were unable to get major oil companies to invest in their oil fields as did Lebanon. Still, these two States have been siphoning oil and gas in the last 5 years.


Thoughts on the Cyber-crimes Bureau Chief Sacking

Gino Raidy on Oct. 3, 2017

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t feel gleeful at such ironic poetic justice: the person heading the bureau that had summoned and arrested so many civilians, journalists, activists and bloggers for shares, retweets, likes and statuses, would be sacked from her job for “liking” a tweet about Saudi Arabian women being able to drive now.

However, past the initial “you deserve it” gut reaction, there are several worrying things about this case, which I will try to discuss below.

Saudi Arabia is a Topic You Can Be Fired for in Lebanon

It’s a bit sad that all the violations of the Cybercrime Bureau, didn’t cost anyone there their jobs, but a tweet seen as “insulting” to Saudi Arabia did the trick.

Where were her superiors when university students were lured to the offices under false pretenses, like “your phone is a stolen one” only to be arrested and thrown in jail for days and weeks over an article they shared or a status they wrote?

What about the random phone calls after hours, asking a person to show up for “coffee” the next morning, only to be interrogated, without the charge or reason being specified, and without officially summoning them in person, as the law states.

The message being sent to taxpayers by the ISF, is that if its bodies abuse citizens’ rights, no one will be held accountable for that, but if you “like” a tweet poking fun at Saudi Arabia, the main financier and godfather of several political parties in Lebanon, then you’ll be out of a job at lightning speed.

This is both demoralizing for taxpayers like us, but also honest cops, who know that they will not be punished for breaking human rights law, but might suffer the full wrath of their superiors if they dare utter, by mistake or not, something that a foreign ambassador might not like…

Hobeiche’s Response Was Even More Censorship Attempts

You’d think that being at the receiving end of censorship and bullying, that the former head of the Cybercrimes Bureau would realize the error of her ways and the negative, unfair and obtuse impact of trying to control what people can and cannot say, share or agree/disagree with. Instead though, she has filed a lawsuit against the person who caught her “like” of Charbel Khalil’s tweet.

Whether by mistake or not, she did like that tweet, and punishing the person who revealed that, instead of taking it up with her superiors as a misunderstanding, shows that this ironic twist of fate didn’t really hammer in the idea we might have hoped it would: that trying to shut people up by force, and twisting their arms when they say something you don’t like, is never the answer.

Alas, this is not the case, and I wish that person luck in the upcoming investigations.

The Real Problem is Still There

The Cybercrimes Bureau is a symptom, not the disease. The real issue is with the judiciary, especially the general prosecutors, which are the folks who forward cases to that bureau.

The problem is, any and all Internet-related cases are sent there, whether it’s child porn or a tweet that someone found offensive to the “symbols of the nation”. (Are emptying our pockets as State highway robbing schemes a symbolic issue?)

So, it’s no surprise the detectives there treat you like some criminal for a like or share, if what they’re supposed to be investigating is heinous crimes like credit card fraud, sexual abuse online, blackmail and malicious hacking.

That bureau is no place for a journalist or activist who in their passion said something that the current ruling elite were ticked off by.

The removal of Hobeiche, will not solve anything, and in the spirit of not prejudging her successor, he might do a better job, but he might also ramp up the bureau’s bullying activities as a tool against anyone who dissents from the general party line of the ruling political parties and politicians in Lebanon.

In Conclusion

The Cybercrimes Bureau needs to focus on real crimes, and stop wasting our tax money and arresting people for something they wrote, shared or liked. The judiciary needs to keep up with the times, and appoint qualified people who enforce laws that don’t date back to the 1950s before the Internet had even been conceived in fiction novels of the time.

What happened to Hobeiche is a valuable lesson for everyone in power, that the loopholes and ambiguities and lack of accountability you use to bully taxpayers like us, can come back to haunt you yourselves one day.

I hope the Cybercrimes Bureau will stop being a tool of oppression against taxpayers, and instead do the job it’s supposed to: fight online crime, not online free speech.

For this to happen, public prosecutors need to stop wasting the bureau’s resources and accomplishments against actual crimes, in order to bully innocent citizens of Lebanon.

This flatulent young Saudi prince wants Syrian refugees to remain in Lebanon

Otherwise, Lebanese in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf will be expulsed?

Wed Aug 2, 2017 7:2AM
Famille de réfugiés syriens au Liban. ©UNHCR
Famille de réfugiés syriens au Liban. ©UNHCR

Le prince héritier d’Arabie saoudite a menacé les dirigeants libanais d’expulser des milliers de Libanais résidant des pays littoraux du golfe Persique.

Selon Fars News, Mohammed ben Salmane prince héritier d’Arabie saoudite a averti que si le gouvernement libanais essayait de faciliter le retour de réfugiés syriens dans leur pays, Riyad expulserait des milliers de Libanais résidant à l’étranger.

Pour ce dernier, la non expulsion de réfugiés syriens du Liban est à l’origine de l’absence de tout conflit interne au Liban, d’autant plus qu’il y a toutes les raisons pour une telle guerre et que certaines parties du gouvernement libanais sont directement impliquées dans des conflits à l’extérieur du Liban.

Ben Salmane a envoyé, via le Premier ministre Saad Hariri, un message au président de la République Michel Aoun et au président du Parlement Nabih Berri, dans lequel il a menacé qu’en cas d’expulsion de réfugiés syriens,  les Libanais dont le nombre s’élevait à un million, seraient renvoyés des Émirats arabes du golfe Persique.

« Si cet un million de Libanais se voient expulsés des pays du golfe Persique, qu’est-ce que vous allez faire avec ces gens qui ont de la rancune envers vos politiques ? », a dit ben Salmane à Saad Hariri.

Il a également prétendu que Beyrouth n’avait dépensé aucun sou pour les réfugiés syriens et que tous les frais de leur éducation, alimentation et résidence avaient été assurés par des institutions caritatives de l’ONU.  (And why Saudi Kingdom refused to aid financially? Or even accept Syrian refugees?)

Cette information a été publiée alors qu’en vertu d’un accord de cessez-le-feu entre le Hezbollah et le Front al-Nosra (rebaptisé Front Fatah al-Cham), quelque 9, 000 hommes armés et réfugiés syriens devraient se déplacer, ce mercredi 2 août, à Idlib, dans le nord de la Syrie.

Lebanon’s dumping of toxic garbage into the Mediterranean stinks of EU corruption

June 17, 2017

The EU’s farcical ‘foreign policy’ in the Middle East is failing in Lebanon, where dumping toxic garbage into the Mediterranean Sea is creating a massive threat to the entire planet. But what’s the link with Syria’s refugees?

Recently, a government minister here admitted that Lebanon’s policy towards its garbage crisis was to simply dump 2 million tons of toxic garbage into the Mediterranean Sea.

My own investigation revealed, however, a side to this shocking story which few editors of giant media titles around the world could believe. Until now.

The Costa Brava ‘landfill site right next to Beirut airport holds a filthy secret that a large number of environmentalists, leading academics and corruption experts all know and have revealed to me in a series of recorded interviews.

Not only did the EU know about the massive sea-dumping operation, which was built at the end of the summer of last year, but the EU’s own ‘embassy’ here in Beirut deliberately kept quiet about it. Why?

Because it did not want to annoy the Lebanese government, which is hosting almost 2 million Syrian refugees.

Let that sink in for a moment.

The European Commission is keeping tight-lipped about what might be the largest environmental calamity in the Eastern Mediterranean – which not only threatens marine life, but also the health of Europeans holidaying in Greece – because it is too afraid of the political fall-out in Europe [Read: Germany] if Syrian refugees start to leave Lebanon and head for Europe.

Of course, no one is suggesting that the glamorous French EU delegation here in Beirut kept quiet and played dumb, because they have their careers to consider too.

But Christina Lassen, head of the Delegation of the European Union to Lebanon, has some explaining to do.

Hundreds of millions of euros are spent each year on policing EU member states and their environmental misdemeanors; hundreds more on jobs for eurocrats in EU institutions; and hundreds more on EU-sponsored films, brochures and paid TV spots.

And then there’s the EU External Action Service which has had its own number of scandals as it soaks up a cool 700 million euros a year, much of which goes to support lavish embassies around the world and ‘diplomats’ who appear to live the high life.

But what is really the job of this super diplomacy outfit?

In Lebanon, it was clearly to keep this tiny country’s government happy at any cost – even the health of Europeans who cough up a 150bn euros a year to keep the EU project running – as corruption comes in many forms.

Lebanon is ranked by Transparency International as one of the most corrupt countries in the world.

And yet it receives well over 200 million euros a year in cash from Brussels just to contain at least 1.8 million Syrian refugees. (More than 50% of Lebanon total population)

It’s actually not even a lot of money. For this pathetic amount, Europe has to console itself that it won’t have a refugee problem from Lebanon in exchange for possibly some of its 400 million citizens getting cancer from swimming in contaminated waters or eating contaminated fish.

Add to that the gradual extinction of indigenous turtles who lay their eggs on Lebanese beaches, and the stink just fills your lungs.

Fishy business snares EU holiday makers

Think this is far fetched? Not according to one of Lebanon’s leading expert academics at the American university who confirms the pollution is heading towards Europe.

“The pollution never stops at one point,” Professor Najat A. Saliba of the AUB tells me. “The ocean is a living beast and currents are always in motion. Trash and leachates will move mainly from the south to the north as this is the prevalent wind in Lebanon.”

Her further explanation sounds almost apocalyptic as the entire region could be affected by dire health implications.

The environmental impact on the water, animal life, ocean biodiversity and the whole marine ecosystem is horrific… Leachate full of toxins will be seeping through the piles to contaminate the marine life. In addition to the toxins, organic matters will use up the oxygen in the sea and as such deprive the marine life from its oxygen,” she warns.

“Health damages also come from eating fish, increase in bacteria in the air, and infiltration of sea water into the coastal wells,” Professor Saliba concludes.

This point has been seized upon by one British MEP, who slammed it as an “hypocritical and a shameful indictment on the incompetence of the EU.”

“What is going on here is an environmental disaster with this toxic waste spreading to other countries from the sea’s currents and polluting anything it gets in the way of,” says UKIP’s MEP Mike Hookem, its party’s Fisheries spokesman.

“Not only will sea life be at risk but people could be too, through contaminated food and through polluted water particularly as it spreads up through Mediterranean countries where people go on holiday,” he warns.

One explanation why the Lebanese government has allowed the EU projects to fall apart is that its leaders in Beirut have a vested interest in other, bigger garbage contracts, if the Costa Brava plan is finally scrapped.

Lebanon also has a legacy of its corrupt leaders taking areas of the coast, filling it with garbage (and ultimately concrete) and them making hundreds of millions of dollars in developing the plots as luxury apartments.

Presumably, the EU’s highly informed diplomats know about that as well though.

Garbage and destroyed hill in Kalimantan, Indonesia © Andre Vltchek 

‘Pay off for Syrian crisis’

Laury Haytayan is an anti-corruption campaigner in Lebanon who believes that the “EU surely knows about the sea dumping of the garbage” but argues that “the garbage crisis is keeping politicians in power as it brings in money” even including contracts around the sea dump so “it’s hardly surprising that the EU projects don’t work.”

What she is referring to is 13 EU-funded sorting and composting centres which are a shambles and, in reality, have only served as cash cows for corrupt politicians, which a number of experts also blame as contributing to the government’s “sea dump.”

But no one is holding their breath for the top brass in Brussels to even acknowledge what is going on with their own diplomats.

Mike Hookem scolds the EU for the massive error but takes it further. “To make matters worse the EU diplomatic corps has one of their erzatz ’embassies’ in Lebanon so Brussels can’t claim to know what’s going on – although incompetence has admittedly never been a firing offence in the EU”, adds the UKIP MEP.

“This is all just a pay off for the Syrian refugee crisis which the EU can’t get a handle on because it is more obsessed with attacking Russia and Assad than it is dealing with ISIS,” claims Hookem.

In reality, the EU is probably not guilty of incompetence.

In my view, the role of its diplomatic service is to engage with corrupt, backward countries – often with appalling human rights records – to ensure that they comply with a contingent requirement of Brussels: to assist the EU in its PR campaign to make it look much more relevant and important than what it really is.

Give our EU chief the over-the-top VIP treatment when she visits, get your journalists to write up our press releases verbatim and do the ‘grip-n-grin’ photos. And never criticize our policies. That’s the deal.

The Lebanon story is about refugees.

The millions of refugees poised on the EU’s perimeter – in Lebanon or in Turkey – are there because of failed states which are supported by the EU through slush funds, or payouts to corrupt governments – dressed up as state-building tools – but in reality are simply bribes, pay offs.

No one is kidding themselves that the Barcelona Process is really anything other than a broken URL link on the European Commission’s own website (which it really is).

In Lebanon, the EU keeps quiet not only about the garbage scandal but much more besides.

Many Syrian refugees have resorted to either slavery (often child) or prostitution for young girls. This tiny country is also falling into a chasm of authoritarian rule which is usually associated with African states. (An anomy State where the politicians own all the businesses)

Just recently a video went viral of peaceful protesters being brutally beaten, while new measures are being adopted all the time here to crackdown on anyone who criticizes the state (similar to Gulf Arab countries). I can’t be the only one who notices the tight-lipped EU diplomats who assist in this process by tacit approval.

Remarkably, the EU’s own diplomatic service doesn’t even generate good PR though for Brussels, such is its colossal failure as a fake news conduit. But the stench of graft which reminds me of 1999 has returned to my nostrils in Beirut.

The EU today has no whistleblowers or investigative journalists holding it to account, due to its own crackdown so that a 1999 scandal would never repeat itself. It is a power-crazed unhinged beast which seeks survival at any cost, even of its own people.

The EU’s relationship with Lebanon, like scores of other poor countries it uses as a means to promote itself, just stinks.

In 1999, in Brussels, I witnessed and reported on the collapse of the European Commission whose executive resigned en masse under a cloud of shocking corruption allegations involving EU commissioners themselves manipulating the system by employing friends who, in turn, scooped million dollar contracts.

The scandal not only threw a spotlight on the guilty, but also on the system itself which spectacularly failed to root out corruption and embezzlement from within the EU institutions.

The Barcelona Process, a bold and ambitious plan for the EU to harness Mediterranean countries closer to the Brussels sphere kicked off four years earlier. It also aimed to guide these countries on Europe’s periphery to modernize and improve their human rights aligning themselves with the moral tutelage which European Commission Presidents used to dish out in those days, while at the same time destroying at least four whistle blowers (in 2002) and arresting and charging journalists on trumped up charges.

The case of Hans-Martin Tillack in 2004 is well documented and will be remembered for the police banging on his door at 5am in the morning and taking him and his computers away, with a Belgian cop telling him ‘it’s not as bad as Burmah, eh?’

So, fast forward to The Lisbon Treaty in 2010 which gave the EU its own foreign policy along with up to 1 billion euro a year budget to create its own ‘External Action Service’. But since the EEAS started, its own venal working methods just seem to exacerbate how corrupt Brussels is and will probably always be.

It’s not just that the Barcelona Process was such an outstanding failure – Libya, Syria, Lebanon (2006) – and not to mention the Arab Spring. Today, the EU’s farcical foreign policy is actually doing more harm than good as it’s not even serving its own corrupt masters in Brussels.

More recently you might be astounded to see how far and how desperate the EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini is prepared to go, just to give her own department credibility and serve the EU machine with PR capital. From offering jihadists in Syria hundreds of millions of dollars in cash to stop fighting, right through to planning to secure a UN mandate so EU battleships could bomb refugee boats coming from Libya, there’s plenty to read for a good laugh.

But the darker side to the EU’s diplomatic service is no joke.

Indeed, there could never have been a more febrile example of how corrupt, ill-conceived and hypocritical the EU’s foreign policy is, than in Lebanon today.

Martin Jay is based in Beirut and can be followed on @MartinRJay. 

Martin Jay is an award winning British journalist now based in Beirut who works on a freelance basis for a number of respected British newspapers as well as previously Al Jazeera and Deutsche Welle TV. Before Lebanon, he has worked in Africa and Europe for CNN, Euronews, CNBC, BBC, Sunday Times and Reuters. Follow him on Twitter @MartinRJay

Discrimination documentary in Lebanon: So many. Where to start attacking the problems?

See-Hear-Tell” is a documentary that rotates around the subject of discrimination, treated from kids’ point of view.

The documentary puts to test 8 kids between the age of 8 and 12 (2 Christians, 2 Sunnis, 2 Shiite, 2 Druze), giving them the opportunity to talk freely about the other religions and sects without letting them know that the treated subjects are basically racism and religious discrimination.

In this documentary, my target is not to attack the kids but to blame the society.

My intention is to recognize this dilemma and prove that we are under the influence of bad media, rising by that awareness around this subject, starting with the kids, and arriving to the adults.

Motivation and Objective:

After working with children between the age of 8 and 12 as a drama instructor, I noticed that our children give us the clearest image of our society. They are exposed to the media, they imitate how their parents treat and act towards someone who is “different”, and they bring to our face a reality we often try to hide.

Following an exercise I did in class with my students, I found that this subject is becoming a serious problem that we can no more ignore.


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This Zero Waste Plan Might Solve The Trash Crisis In Lebanon!

The garbage is engulfing Lebanon and is starting to pollute the Mediterranean Sea. (Greece and Spain are officially harassing our government)

Politicians are making this crisis seem hard to solve.

However, the Lebanese environmental and industrial engineer Ziad Abichaker shows, through this video, how easy it is to put an end to this national mess.

The importance of this plan is that it offers a sustainable solution. In fact, what government officials need to do is to find a permanent solution to make sure Lebanon stays clean.

Actually, this zero waste plan is all about recycling and involving all Lebanese people in the process.

It all starts in our houses where we have to divide the trash into two bags. One should contain food leftovers, napkins, and dirty papers. The other one should contain cans, aluminum, plastic, glass, iron, and other products that can be recycled.

In fact, the plan is decentralized which means that municipalities and private sectors have important roles.

Here are the steps:

Step 1: Transportation

First of all, each region should sort its own waste meaning that municipalities should not send the trash to Beirut to sort them. That way, the traffic jam will be significantly lowered.

Step 2: Waste sorting

The goal in this step is to encourage people to recycle.

When the trash arrives at the factory where it has to be sorted, it will be weighed. Depending on the amount of the trash the municipality has to pay money. So if people in that region recycle less, they will pay more.

Zero Waste Plan

That way, municipalities will encourage people to recycle in order not to generate a lot of trash and to avoid paying a lot. Then, unrecyclable trash will be transformed to fertilizers.

Step 3: Recycling

Thanks to recycling, we can make a lot of products from waste, which are the following:

Bottle of water and soda: polyester

Colored plastic: flower pots, plastic containers for fruits and vegetables, and water hoses.

Cardboard: toilet paper

Iron: re-bars

Glass: bottles and jars

Plastic bags: eco-boards

The benefits of this plan are cost-effective and eco-friendly.

it offers a lot of job opportunities which will reduce unemployment. In addition to that, this plan makes sure that our health will not be affected in a negative way, so people will pay less for healthcare.

(The stench and the fumes everywhere you travel along the sea coast. People in many villages are experiencing high levels of sickness and cancers)

Promoting waste management through eco-friendly planters

This is not the first time Abichaker finds an eco-friendly way to make Lebanon clean again. He recently showed us how we can use rubbish to produce food.

In fact, Abichaker built eco-friendly vertical planters that are made of discarded plastic bags and other plastics that cannot be recycled.

Zero Waste Plan
FB | Ziad Abichaker

Also, by using these planters that should be placed on roofs, one can use household waste, industrial waste, and 1 square meter to produce 200 lettuces every 45 days.

Economic Strategy of neutralizing State interventions in Lebanon:

The public chaos of war militias in power

And they buy their educational degrees, or buy their honorary doctorate degrees

Almost all profit generating public facilities were ignored to purchase them at ludicrous prices.

نحاس: يشترون الشهادة

مروان طحطح
حسين مهدي

أحد مظاهر تسليع التعليم، برأي وزير العمل السابق شربل نحاس، أن نرى الشباب يلجأون إلى التعليم العالي الخاص، يعتبرون أنهم يشترون «شهادة من الجامعة»، وسينجحون بذلك حكماً، بما أنهم لم يرتكبوا خطأً جسيماً. لأن «بلا الشهادة ما فيهم ياخدو مكان أهلهم في العمل ولا الهجرة إلى الخارج». يشير نحاس إلى أن تراجع التعليم الرسمي يترافق مع ارتفاع كلفة التعليم 200% في مقابل ارتفاع كلفة المعيشة بنسبة 120% في عقد ونصف عقد!

نهج الاقتصاد السياسي

يقول نحاس إن موجة الترخيص للجامعات الخاصة التي بدأت في عام 1995، ترافقت مع منعطف في الاقتصاد السياسي اللبناني. فبعد اتفاق الطائف، اتفق زعماء الحرب وبعض اللاعبين الجدد، على إرساء نظام اقتصادي جديد، يثبتون من خلاله قدرتهم على نقل ما اكتسبوه في ساحة الحرب إلى ساحة شبه الدولة.
في عام 1996 اتخذت مجموعة من القرارات ذات وقع، استمرت مفاعيلها لفترة 18 عاماً: وقف الاستثمارات العامة. وقف صيانة هذه الاستثمارات (مثل المياه والكهرباء).

وقف التوظيف في الإدارة. وتجميد الأجور في الدولة اللبنانية من 31-12-1995 حتى 31-12-2011، أي لمدّة 15 سنة ارتفع في خلالها مؤشر غلاء المعيشة بنسبة 120%. وفي خلال هذه الفترة أيضاً، خلقت السلطة السياسية عدداً من النقابات، برعاية ما يسمى اليوم «الاتحاد العمالي العام»، الذي حافظ على العقد مع السلطة السياسية بمنع أي صوت نقابي أو عمالي مطلبي. يشرح نحاس أن مجلس الوزراء ألغى وقتها مفاعيل القوانين التي أنشأت المؤسسات العامة، واستهدف الجامعة اللبنانية مباشرة حيث أوقف التوظيف فيها، ونزع منها استقلالية قرارها.
جرت محاولتان لتصحيح النهج المتبع: الأولى عام 1999، والثانية عام 2004، لكن لم يكتب لهما النجاح. وجرى الانتقال حينها (بنجاح) من نظام الرشوة إلى نظام التقشف، «كما يسمونه»، علماً بأنه نظام ابتزاز، إذ إن أي مطلب كان يواجه بمقولة «الاستقرار المالي» و»حماية الليرة» و»المصارف». ففي هذه المرحلة تراكم الدين العام بفعل السياسات الحريرية. واستمرت هذه السياسات، وأُقرّت بدعة «التعاقد الوظيفي»: المتعاقدون بالساعة، المياومون، الأجراء، عمال غب الطلب، وغيرهم. نجحت السلطة من خلال ذلك بإسكات المطالبين بالحقوق وتكريس منطق التنفيعات، ومن جهة أخرى نجحت بتكريس سياسة تقمع أي تحرك مطلبي من قبل هؤلاء، لكونهم يعلمون أن وضعهم القانوني غير سليم، وعملية طردهم من عملهم مسألة بسيطة جداً.

وجدت الدولة في العسكر أيضاً باباً للتوظيف والتنفيعات، «لدينا 140 ألف عسكري، يشكلون 14% من القوى العاملة اللبنانية المقيمة. إسقاط هذه النسبة على عدد المقيمين في الولايات المتحدة (أي 14% من القوى العاملة) يساوي جيشاً من 24 مليون عسكري، أي إن القوى العسكرية عندنا تساوي مرتين أكثر من الذروة التي وصلت إليها أعداد الجيش الأميركي في الحرب العالمية الثانية». والأمر ينسحب على التعليم، إذ حُوِّلت الدولة إلى أداة للتوزيع على حساب وظائفها الأساسية وعلى حساب كرامة العاملين فيها، هو نهج متبع، منتظم، مدروس ومستمر، وكان من الطبيعي أن تواجه هيئة التنسيق بهذه الشراسة.

إذاً، الناحية المطلبية، بحسب نحاس، هي المحرك الطبيعي لأي مجموعة. ولا تستطيع جميع الفئات المواءمة بين المطالبة بمصالحها وبين الخيارات في الاقتصاد السياسي (مثال ما حصل مع رابطة الأساتذة المتفرغين في الجامعة اللبنانية التي انسحبت من هيئة التنسيق النقابية فور حصولها على زيادة الأجر). هيئة التنسيق ورثت نتائج كل هذا النهج المتبع منذ ما بعد اتفاق الطائف، من إدارة مضروبة، إلى جيش متورم عدداً، إلى بدعة التعاقد الوظيفي. فعندما يتضح أن الموظف يتقاضى أجره من المكلفين، أي المواطنين اللبنانيين، فعلى هذه الأجور أن تحصّل من الأرباح الضخمة للكتل الريعية في قطاعي المصارف والعقارات ومخالفات الأملاك البحرية والنهرية وغيرها، وليس من جيوب الفقراء. نتيجة هذه المطالبة، جاء ردّ فعل الكتل التي قادت هجوماً مضاداً، بضرب هيئة التنسيق والتيار النقابي الذي يمثله حنّا غريب، في انتخابات رابطة الأساتذة الثانويين.

إعادة الاعتبار للأجر

يقول نحاس إنه بين عامي 2006 و2011، جرى دفق هائل من المال إلى البلاد، نتيجة ارتفاع سعر النفط والأزمة العالمية عام 2008. هذا أدى إلى ارتفاع في الناتج المحلي الاسمي بنسبة 75%. ثم انخفضت الفوائد الفعلية، في مقابل ارتفاع متسارع في الأسعار بلغ 15%، فيما بلغ ارتفاع أسعار الأصول الثابتة المحلية (ولا سيما الأراضي) نسبة تراوح بين 250 و350%. نتج من هذه المسألة توجهان: الأول التفكير بتسديد الدين العام بفعل وفرة المال، والثاني يرى في كل ما حصل محض صدفة قد لا تتكرر، لكنها فرصة سانحة لتصحيح النهج الاقتصادي المتبع.

نظراً إلى الفشل الذريع الذي أدت إليه الخيارات التأسيسية للنمط الاقتصادي الذي بدأ منذ التسعينيات، ووجود البلاد بظرف مالي (دفق الأموال) وسياسي (حكومة الوحدة الوطنية)، ظهر اتجاه يسمح بتصحيح «الخيار التأسيسي لشبه الدولة»، الذي أدى إلى تراكم الدين العام وتهديم أساسات الدولة اللبنانية. هذا التصحيح، كما يشرح نحاس، كان ممكناً من خلال عملية تحويل الموارد. فاقترح نحاس (عندما كان وزيراً للاتصالات وثم وزيراً للعمل) مشاريع قوانين تزيد الضرائب على أرباح المصارف والريع العقاري، بما يوفر كتلة من الإيرادات تستخدم في رفع نوعي لنسبة الاستثمارات العامة بهدف زيادة الإنتاجية، ورفع مستوى الأجور بشقيها النقدي والاجتماعي (التغطية الصحية الشاملة، وإعادة الانتظام إلى جسم الإدارة العامة، من خلال الأجور وإعادة التوظيف، ما يجعله غاية للشباب المتعلم، لا وسيلة لتوزيع المنافع).

حاول نحاس، بحسب شرحه، إحداث خرق من خلال استعادة الدورة العادية لإعادة النظر في الأجور، بحكم تفويض القانون للحكومة بذلك في عام 1967. ليجري تصحيح الأجور بحسب مؤشر الغلاء المعيشي. ومن باب الاستشارة، طرح الموضوع على لجنة المؤشر، فقرر الاتحاد العمالي العام مقاطعة أعمال اللجنة بهدف العرقلة، فيما أشرك نحاس هيئة التنسيق النقابية، بقيادة النقابي حنا غريب، في الحوار الحاصل لتصحيح الأجور. في هذه الفترة، بدأ أصحاب المصالح بالتحرك ودخلوا إلى المعركة بوجه السلطة، وحققوا خروقاً معيّنة: الأساتذة في التعليم الرسمي أضربوا في عام 2010 وحصلوا على 4.5 درجات من أصل 6 مطالب طالبوا بها، أساتذة الجامعة اللبنانية نفذوا إضراباً لـ50 يوماً لإقرار زودة، وبعدما أخذوها انسحبوا من هيئة التنسيق النقابية، والقضاة نفذوا سلسلة إضرابات واعتصامات لزيادة رواتبهم أيضاً.

من هذا المنطلق، رأى نحاس ضرورة إعادة الاعتبار للأجر: تحصينه قبل تحصيله. وذلك عبر تعريف الأجر، على أنه دين ممتاز على المؤسسة، ويترتب عليه مكملات الزامية من خلال أنظمة التقاعد والضمان وغيرها، وبالتالي هو كل مبلغ يدفع لقاء تأدية العمل هو أجر، بما في ذلك بدل النقل والمنح التعليمية. الأمل كان أن تحدث هذه الخطوة خرقاً في الانتظام الحاصل، لتحصين الأجر النقدي، وإرساء ما يُسمى الأجر الاجتماعي، وبالتالي إحداث اختلال كبير في المالية العامة، بما يدفعها إلى تعديل توازناتها الأساسية.




October 2017
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