Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘mass upheaval

Tidbits and notes. Part 421

Wars of choice“? And decided by the 1% elite class in the “war industry” that plunder other nations raw materials and oil.. and open market

Do you know there are 40% unemployed youth in Lebanon? This anomie system expected that most of them will find jobs overseas. It turned out that there are no jobs overseas at this junction. This militia/mafia system has to contend with all these educated youth demanding drastic changes: This is the real cause for the current mass upheaval 7iraak.

Since its independence in 1943, Lebanon successive governments and institutions totally ignored the southern region, the Bekaa3 valley and the northern regions: they were to fend for themselves to survive. The southern region had no borders with Syria and they were plagued with the “legitimate” presence of Palestinian PLO in their midst and the successive excuses for Israel to bomb their towns and force them to flee, mostly toward the Capital Beirut (al Da7iyat)

What is the main institution that ruled and controlled this fiasco in Lebanon for 30 years? It is the Parliament and all its deputies for 30 years. They all, and invariably, elected the non-changeable Nabih Berry by all the deputies. They all have to face the justice system for cooperating with this anomie system

Nothing is spontaneous. Nothing but paying jobs can organize a mass movement. And the more the content is based on abstract concepts (freedom, liberty…) the worse is the “Style” of the particular 7iraak (tent, khaymat)

The higher the indirect taxes the more outdated the political/economic system. Lebanon is the worst: a non-productive society and budget mostly based on indirect taxes that rob the citizens in every of his daily activities

In Middle-East politics, I have two invariable positions, based on daily confirmation for many decades: 1) Israel is our Existential Enemy, and 2) Greater Syria forms one Nation with One people (current Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, Jordan and Iraq)

Think with me: if you are an Ethiopian from the center of the country, how could you manage to save $400 in order to flee the country toward Djibouti, Yemen and Saudi Kingdom? Would you take this totally hazardous and and insane  route if you were Not submitted to an ethnic cleansing? I submit that the multinational agro-businesses that rent for cheap vast land and entice the peasant to flee their land? This regulated scheme has been going on for decades in Ethiopia. And how come the world community dare attribute a Nobel of Peace to the President of Ethiopia?  And why this dam on the Nile if Not to provide cheap water for the multinationals?

Same basic rule in Japan: No eye glasses are to be worn by female employees in tourism, fashion industries…

Apparently, frequently catching cold is the symptom of a transformed constitution that is getting allergic to many items and pathogens that it was previously immune of. Kind of the immune system got set on an old administrative routine and unable to cope with the exponential increase in polluters and human-made poisonous products

Let’s us Not be that confused: In every country, there is an “elite class” that managed to take roots with all the privileges that have Nothing to do with “money” as we know it. For fundamental reasons, and Not related to any rational basis, No revolution ever eliminated the elite class.

Every other “citizen” regardless of color, genders, race, financial social status… are necessarily second class, given that the Elite Class conserves its status. Sure, there are third and fourth classes… All you can do is learn and do your best to advance to the second class.

 

 

A few facts on the robberies taken place in the Lebanese institutions: Like Central Bank 

Do you know there are 40% unemployed youth in Lebanon? This anomie system expected that most of them will find jobs overseas. It turned out that there are no jobs overseas at this junction. This militia/mafia system has to contend with all these educated youth demanding drastic changes: This is the real cause for this “7iraak” (mass upheaval going on for 3 weeks)

An anomie system is when every deputy in the Parliament has snatched a monopoly on a few consumer goods, services, communication, energy, financial transactions… and with the blessing of the chief of the Parliament (in Lebanon case is Nabih Berry who has been controlling the Parliament in the last 28 years without interruption)

For 30 years, all Lebanon public institutions have been staffed by “supporters” of the militia/mafia leaders. One third of Lebanon population work in public service institutions. 50,000 dead servants still receive monthly checks. Hundred of thousands are Not meant to show up for work, and those who show up have no official positions or jobs to perform.

At the root of the economic grievances fueling Lebanon’s mass protests lies what looks like a regulated Ponzi scheme (and that for 3 decades).

The problem will not be solved by a change of government—even with a cabinet of experts—or by injections of capital from friendly Arab states: it will require tougher measures, including a compulsory haircut for many of the country’s richest citizens.For decades, Lebanon depended on remittances to sustain its economy and the lira peg.

Fixed at 1507.5  LP (lira) to the U.S. dollar since 1997, the peg resulted in an overvalued currency, relative to the country’s productivity.

This gave the Lebanese a higher income and standard of living than in any neighboring Arab country, allowing them to spend on travel, cars, clothes, and gadgets.

Since its independence in 1943, Lebanon successive governments and institutions totally ignored the southern region, the Bekaa3 valley and the northern regions: they were to fend for themselves to survive, until Hezbollah came into being.

The southern region had no borders with Syria and they were plagued with the “legitimate” presence of Palestinian PLO in their midst and the successive excuses for Israel to bomb their towns and force them to flee toward the neighborhood of the capital Beirut (al Da7iyat)

What is the main institution that ruled and controlled this fiasco in Lebanon for 30 years?

It is the Parliament and all its deputies for 30 years. They all and invariably elected Nabih Berry by all the deputies. They all have to face the justice system for cooperating with this anomie system, controlled by the Godfather (Berry) of all militia “leaders”

And why the ministry of agriculture has 92 managers (moudir), and 16 million each one is paid 16 million LP?

And why 340 retired deputies are paid $30 million?

We have no trains in the last 50 years. And yet we have an institution for trains where the manger get 9 million LP per month and 300 civil servants receiving a salary of 3,250,000

One of the batch of the Panama financial leaks, list these figures

The first batch of names are:

  1. Bassam Yammine, a former minister assigned by the potential new President of Lebanon Michel Suleiman
  2. Hind Nabih Berry: Daughter of Chairman of the Parliament for 26 consecutive years
  3. Nader Hariri: Brother of Saad Hariri, former and current PM and political successor of his late father Rafic Hariri
  4. Tarek Sami Nahass: a member of the board director of the Hariri clan
  5. Maysara Sokkar: general manager of Sukleen and Sukomi (waste disposal and contracted out to Saad Hariri)
  6. Wael Fouad Seniora: Son of former PM Fouad Seniora who didn’t deposit $11 billions into the Central Bank
  7. Houda Abdel Basset Seniora: wife of Fouad Seniora PM
  8. Walid Dawook: Relative of Adnan Kassar and appointed minister by former Mikati PM
  9. Riad Salameh: Chairman of the Central Bank for 20 successive yearsNote: Iceland President submitted his resignation after he was listed in the leaks

What the 4 deputies to the Chief of the Central Bank Riad Salami do for what they are paid such enormous money? About 43 millions and paid for 16 months. They receive loans above one billion LB with zero interest rate. And another one billion lean at very low interest rate. And they deposit that money in the Central Bank at 17% interest rate.

ثالث ورابع اقتصادين بالعالم اليابان وألمانيا. كل بنك مركزي عندو نائبين لحاكم المصرف علماء اقتصاد بمعاش لايتعدى مع بدلاتو ال ١٥ الف دولار.

نحنا عنا ٤ معاقين نواب الحاكم من كل مذهب واحد.

المعاش ٤٢ مليون وبيقبض ١٦ شهر.

والو قرض سكني فوق المليار بفايده لاتذكر.

والو قرض تاني فوق المليار بفايده لاتذكر. بيرجع يحطو بالبنك بفايده ١٧ بالميه.

والو كذا امتياز جمركي وخرج راح و…
كلن يعني كلن

 

And why the highways and streets have been blocked in the last 2 week

Ahmad Mroue posted on Fb . 21 hrs

الإعتراض والأملاك العامة :
= الإعتراض هو رفض لقول أو فعل يرى المعترض أنّه يمس بكرامته الإنسانية أو حقوقه الوطنية .
= حق الإعتراض لا يُمكن نفيه أو إنقاصه من أي جهة .
= حق الإعتراض هو مِن صميم حرية الفرد والجماعة .
= الحريات الفردية والجماعية هي حقوق متوازية ومتوازنة ومتساوية بين الأفراد والجماعات وبنحو لا يجوز فيها التداخل المتعدي بحيث تتجاوز حدود حقوق وحريات الآخرين .
= الأملاك والمرافق العامة يتساوى فيها المواطنون بحق الإنتفاع دون ممانعة من أحد .
= حق الإنتفاع من المرفق العام هو حق محصور بإيجابية الإستهلاك بنحو عدم جواز تعييبه أو تعطيله كلياً او جزئياً لأنّ ذلك يُعتبر تعدياً جرمياً على حقوق الآخرين .
= الطرق العامة الموصلة بين أماكن سكن وعمل المواطنين هي من أهم الأملاك العامة التي يتساوى فيها الناس بحق الإنتفاع المتوازي .
= الإرتكاز العقلي الإنساني لا يُجيز لأحد إستخدام أساليب إنتفاع تلحق ضرراً بالآخرين .
= تطرقت التشريعات والقوانين في مختلف البلدان إلى مسألة قطع الطرق العامة بتفاصيل دقيقة منها :
– قطع الطريق العمومي هو قيام مجموعة من الأشخاص بإغلاق طريق بري بقطع جماعى للطريق العمومي للإحتجاج أو بهدف الحصول على منافع عامة، أو إحتجاجاً على تعثر الدولة في علاج مشكلة ما .


الطريق العام هو :” كل طريق يباح للجمهور المرور فيه في كل وقت وبغير قيد .
– إنّ قصد الفاعلين عرقلة المرور وإعاقة السير تعتبر وحدها كافية لقيام جريمة كاملة الأركان وهي قطع الطريق .
– بعض القوانين أقرّت عقوبات على قطع الطريق بالسجن عدة أشهر وبعضها قال بالسجن من 3 إلى 15 سنة . وبعضها إلى ما هو أشد من ذلك .
= إنّ الإعتراض الذي هو حق للمواطنين لرفع الظلم عنهم أو لتحصيل حقوقهم قد يأخذ عدة أشكال مشروعة وتصاعدية وصولاً إلى ما يُعبّر عنه بالعصيان المدني .


= العصيان المدني هو بإختصار عصيان المدنيين على السلطة الحاكمة وتتجلى برفض التعامل مع مؤسساتها والإلتزام بالموجبات المالية المفروضة من قِبلها .
= قطع الطرق بين المدنيين ليس مِن العصيان المدني ويتسبب بسلبيات وعواقب وخيمة على تحصيل المطالب وقد تؤدي إلى إنشقاقات مخيفة بين المواطنين وما لا يجوز ولا يُحتمل .

= مِن أهم لوازم العصيان المدني هو التكاتف والتكافل والتعاطف الإنساني بين المواطنين لتأمين أفضل ما يُمكن مِن إستقرار حياتي لأفرادهم وجماعاتهم .
=====
إبراهيم فوّاز .

And how this Lebanese mass upheaval is guided and controlled?

From the start, nobody claimed to be guiding and controlling this mass movement (7iraak).

All pointed out that in the first 2 days, the movement was spontaneous and totally frustrated with the government insensitive consideration of the citizens.

And then social media started to pinpoint the involvement of hooligans backed by Samir Ja3ja3, Kataeb, Walid Jumblaat, Nabih Berry, the US embassy agents, the funding from Qatar and Saudi Kingdom to 24 hours live coverage of the local channels TV channels (MTV, Al Jadeed, LBC…)

This mass movement spread to Tripoli, Saida and Akkar, The Bakaa3 Valley…

I am Not familiar with the many organizations and movements that mushroomed in the last years, but I don’t mind posting this article for feedback

جهينة انطون posted on FB names of organizations that might be trying to lead this mass upheaval. November 5 at 11:29 AM

من هي تنسيقية الثورة التي يعتدي المتظاهرون بأمرها على طرقات لبنان؟؟

كتبت د. روزا أمين – بيروت بيروت (اسلام تايمز) – يرأسها جورج ….وهو عميد متقاعد كان مقرباً جدا من البنتاغون حين كان في الخدمة. والان هو من كبار المنسقين من اجهزة امنية تدعم منافسين على منصب رئيس الجمهورية.
يشارك في التنسيقية بصفته ممثل ٧٠ الف متقاعد من القوات المسلحة.
يشارك في التنسيقية ممثلون عن كل من:

– تيار المستقبل – اجنحة المنشقين من انصار السنيورة وموظفيه ومن جماعة نهاد المشنوق والمطرودين من جنة سعد الحريري بعد عودته من الاختطاف عام ٢٠١٧.

المؤيدون لاشرف ريفي. ولا تهتمو للتسميات ففي كل يوم يولد خمسين اسم وخمسين جمعية وهم انفسهم يبدلون اسمائهم.

– المنتدى الاشتراكي(جنبلاطيون)
– حزب القوّات (تسميات مختلقة)
– الكتائب اللبنانية(تسميات مختلقة)

طلعت ريحتكم (جاد شعبان ومنى فواز) تمويل اميركي وخبرات اتحاد الشباب العالمي التابع للخارجية الاميركيين وارتباط مباشر بخبراء معهد كاتفاس في صربيا.

– بيروت والشوف – اسعد ذبيان (جزء منشق من طلعة ريحتكم لكن نفس الارتباط)

‎-بدنا نحاسب خليط كل شخص منها ممول من جهات تعادي بعضها يجمعهم ما يجمع الناصري عمر واكيم بتحالف وطني الممول من تحسين خياط.

‎”بيروت مدينتي” برجوازية ليبرالية تضم معظم وجوه الكوادر العليا للنخب اللبنانية المرتبطة مصلحيا بالغرب عامة والاميركيين خاصة.

‎- ثائرون – قوميين سابقين – معارضين لأسعد حردان.
‎- مجموعات من الشيوعي ناشطة جنوباً وفي بيروت ومعهم ستة شباب يشكلون الحركة الشبابية للتغيير ويتبع لهم اتحاد الشاب الديمقراطي اللبناني و
شخصيات شيوعية أنور ياسين و كاسترو عبدالله الخ.

‎- مواطنون ومواطنات في دولة شربل نحاس

‎- الحركة البيئية – بول أبي راشد
‎-جنسيتي حق لي ولأسرتي – كرمية شبو
‎- هيئة تنسيق الثورة في رياض الصلح وساحة الشهداء – قوميين– جناح جورج عبد المسيح ويساريين معارضين لحنا غريب

المجتمع المدني ( يمثلون ٦٠٠٠ جمعية مسجلة بعلم وخبؤ وتمولها منظمات اميركية وهي التي تسمى منظمات NGO الممولة أميركي.

حزب سبعة (اعجاب شديد من قطر بالحزب واعجاب شديد من السفارة الاميركية لدرجة مشاركة موظفي السفارة اللبنانيين في تأسيسه.

هو ميني كتائب لان مؤسسيه خليط كتائبيين وجماعة اسلامية مثال (مالك مولوي ابن امين عام الجماعة الاسبق والمذيعة في ام تي في ورئيسة الحزب التي هي من ال ماروني وعضو سابق في حزب الكتائب في زحلة وتخفي انتمائها لال ماروني لتبعد صورتها عن ابن عمها النائب الكتائبي السابق ماروني.

– شبان وشابات جمعيات الليونز والروتاري.

حراس المدينة(يعرفهم اهب طرابلس بحراس الدين يضمون ١٢٠٠ متفرغ ويقودهم د. جمال بدوي – مدعوميت من أشرف ريفي الان لكن علاقاتهم بتركيا وقطر سمحت لهم بدفع رواتب ل ٣٠٠ متفرغ طوال ٣ سنوات ماضية. زادوا عدد المتفرغين مؤخرا.

يحيى مولود – مندوب تحسين خياط ورئيس تجمع ثوري يموله خياط الذي يموله الاماراتيون.

– جمعيات ممولة من تركيا في طرابلس وعكار.

– جمعيات تمثل حزب التحرير والجماعة الإسلامية وتتخفى باسماء جمعيات مستقلة.
تمويلهم قطري – دعم لوجستي من قطر ايضا.

– جمعيات تمثل شخصيات سلفية إسلامية (بلال دقماق) (احمد المير) (حسن مرعب)
– رجال دين شيعة مرتبطون بالسعودية وقطر وبعضهم لا يقطع مع ٨ اذار .

– ست عناصر تابعون للشيخ ياسر عودة ومكتب فضل الله يقودهم محامي لديه “شهرةزوفينيا” يدعى حسن بزي يقال ان علاقته بالاماراتيين وثيقة منذ نزل الى ساحات التظاهر مع اشقائه الثلاثة وثلاصطثة اخرين من عائلته.

مكتب فضل الله لم يتبناهم علنا. ولم يدعو انصاره للمشاركة حرصا على عدم اغضاب حزب ال…

– جمعيات تمثل بقايا 14 اذار

– المرصد الشعبي لمحاربة الفساد يضم واصف الحركة وهو بعثي عراقي.

– حراك المتن الأعلى – الجبل والمتن

-حركة كافح

-شبكة مدى (جامعة اميركية واوتوبور وكانفاس)
تضم النادي العلماني والنادي النسوي في الجامعة الأميركيّة في بيروت
النادي العلماني في الجامعة اليسوعيّة،
نادي العلاقات الدوليّة في جامعة سيّدة اللويزة،.

-حدا منَا وهم طلاب (بلا فاعلية)
– تجمع ثورة ضد الظلم ( طلاب )
-تجمع المرأة اللبنانية (بلا فاعلية)
-نادي النسوية التقاطعية في الجامعة اللبنانية الأمريكية. ( اوتوبور كانفاس)

يدعم تلك التنسيقية ويروج لها ويتبناها
تحسين خيّاط – الجديد
ميشال وغبريال المرّ – MTV
ولهم فيها ممثلون وجميعات يفترض انها مستقلة

Third article on Lebanon’s mass upheaval since October 17

Note: If you care to read the second article

https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2019/10/20/the-mass-upheaval-in-lebanon-starting-in-october-17-is-growing-stronger-and-widespread/

From 1971 to the onset of the civil war, Beirut experienced a mass upheaval that turned out to become a continuous movable feast/fair.  The upheaval demanded reforms in the political system that would drop this sectarian/comprador political and economic structure. You may read the link at the end of the article.

The militia/mafia “leaders”, in control of the political system since 1992, were trying hard Not to have a budget within the legal period and then Lebanon forgo the concept of budget from 2005 to 2018.

The current mass upheaval is in its 12th day. During the first 2 days, the protesters wanted to foment the people against the President Aoun and Saad Hariri PM, as totally impotent in governing and perform any change.

Their fake news and lies backfired. Even their hooligans felt shame facing this united massive uprising.

This surprised mass upheaval forced these militia leaders (Nabih Berry, Walid Jumblaat and Samir Jeaja) to backtrack and vote on the budget and all the reforms in the last government meeting.

Hariri was the first to deliver a speech and promised 72 hours before taking a decision for his resignation. Hezbollah secretary general was second in talking to the movement and declared that the resignation of the government is out of the question for practical reasons and to avoid a long lasting void.

Then the President delivered his speech and it was Not basically different from the PM, since Not a single reform action was executed in the last 9 days.

I warned that it was Not advisable for the President to deliver a speech without offering the protesters a tangible reform: Confidence that the President can deliver is worth a thousand speech.

Hassan Naser Allah’s second speech was alarming: he stated that this movement has been guided by foreign powers in order to drive Lebanon into chaos and ordered his followers to desist from joining the upheaval. He warned that if the government proved a resistance to deliver on its promises, then Hezbollah will act vigorously to prevent any chaos.

The army and the internal security forces met and reached an agreement to open blocked highways. The militia “leaders” such as Samir Ja3ja3 and Walid Jumblatt were given 48 hours to call home their armed hooligans and desist in acting as militia by blocking side roads and demanding citizens to show their identity cards…

The main difference between this mass upheaval and that of 1971 is that the newer generations refused to listen to the older “revolutionaries” and could Not produce quality political awareness.

In the 1971 uprising there were cultural events that bolstered the quality of the civil Lebanon, theaters, great movies, discussions… Should we hope for a qualitative change in how the protesters are spending their time?

I have no problems with a few protesters sitting on sofas and surrounded with the facilities of a cozy home. I am disturbed that they are Not discussing to enhance their political awareness: each one of them is isolated with his expensive iPhone. Thus, what basically changed?

Actually, you have people instructing the protesters methods of how to confront the army.

Nothing of quality comes in a hurry: it needs reflective periods and the ability to select the relevant facts in the constant streaming of the mass of facts. And be able to pinpoint the fake news on the base of good general knowledge

All the government institutions have been staffed with personnel that owe its survival to the mafia/militia “leaders” for 3 decades. You can constitute any government you want, the result is “who will execute the decisions”?

A technocrat, if Not strongly politically backed, cannot pressure the civil servant to obey his decision, especially those in the upper echelons.

The question is: How can any change occur if One Third of the population survive as civil servants and are used to sizable “backsheesh” and shady deals?

Pragmatically, only a Big Fish in a stagnant pond can clean it from the smaller fishes.

Thus, the movement must strike a deal with the government to dismiss the main higher level civil servants whom were demonstrated to be as rotten as the main mafia/militia “leaders” and who fully cooperated in this endemic “fassaad” or highway robbery of the budgets since 1991.

This mass upheaval can force this government to move forcefully against most of the civil servants that are in cohort with the monopolies of consumer goods, energy, financial transaction, services, communication…

So far, the movement has been intent on blocking roads and streets, in fact emulating the tactics of the civil war militia without being aware of their behavior. Blocking roads is tantamount of cutting communication among the citizens and making it difficult for the daily economic trade cycle.

This movement keep chanting “Down with this government”, “Down with this rotten regime”… but no viable pragmatic alternatives are materializing.

If the western States, Israel, Saudi Kingdom and Qatar are intent on weakening the social base of Hezbollah by persisting on a long upheaval without any communication with the current government, then I submit that Lebanon will experience a long protracted period of miseries.

The Lebanese will have to invent an alternative financial and economic structure to circumvent the lack of cash flow and investment. We will be going through very difficult time that will last years, until we manage to re-create another economical and financial system that permit us to survive as a State.

Representatives of this movement “7iraak” must meet with the President, the PM, Nabih Berry (chairman of Parliament for a quarter of century)and Riad Salami (Central Bank chief since 1992). They should meet with them on individual settings and on condition that these meetings be Live and transparent. Let see who of them dare meet the people Live.

Note 2: This link for a special article of most of my comments that I posted on FB pertaining to this mass upheaval. https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2019/10/25/special-articles-of-comments-pertaining-to-lebanon-mass-upheaval/

Note 3: My article on the long upheaval from 1971 till the onset of the civil war: this movable feast. https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2019/09/05/movable-fairs-in-beirut-1971-74/

Recession Without Impact? And why Lebanese Elites Delay Reform? Again, who are these “elites”?

October 2019
Mounir Mahmalat and Sami Atallah, respectively doctoral fellow at LCPS and LCPS director

The survival of Lebanon’s political elites is highly dependent on the well-being of the economy. Why, then, do they delay necessary reforms to avoid crisis?

This column examines the role of politically connected firms in delaying much-needed economic stabilization policies.

Lebanon’s post-war financial and economic woes are perennial.

Initially triggered by the spillover effects of Syrian crisis in 2011, macroeconomic and financial indicators were set on an utterly unsustainable path.

Government debt exploded after prolonged political gridlock led public spending to skyrocket to what is forecast to be more than 158% of GDP by 2021. Combined with increased exposure to external debt and rising interest rates, economic growth may tip into recession this year.

In short, crisis looms.

In an effort to rally support for painful reform to stabilize the country’s gloomy finances, the government of Prime Minister Saad Hariri recently declared a ‘state of economic emergency’. President Michel Aoun accommodates the efforts and calls for ‘sacrifices to be made by everyone’.

Lebanon’s elites finally seem to be eager to reform.

Understandably so, because in Lebanon the personal wellbeing of the political elites is highly dependent on the wellbeing of the economy. A recent analysis by Ishac Diwan and Jamal Haidar shows,[i] of the firms with more than 50 employees, 44% are politically connected and have a board member who is a relative or close friend of a member of the political elite. (Basically, mafia “khouwat”: you get shares without disbursing money in return?)

The few reforms that passed, however, involve little structural change that could, for example, improve the competitiveness of the private sector or curb tax evasion.

Instead, the costs of economic distortion continue to be socialized via tax exemptions, the ex post approval of appropriation of public lands[ii] or high interest rates. Despite the economic challenges, political actors still benefit excessively from the status quo.

In July, for example, seven months into the new year, the parliament ratified what it called an ‘austerity budget’ for 2019. It introduced a number of expenditure cuts and revenue increases that aim to restore the confidence of investors and the international community into a government eager to reform.

But as recent research by LCPS shows, the budget law only formally curbs the budget deficit.

It leaves untouched the structural conditions that gave rise to the economic deterioration in the first place, such as a regressive tax regime that exacerbates existing inequalities and crowds out much needed public investments.

Proposals to tax the salaries, benefits, and pensions of current and former politicians were dismissed during the political bargaining.

Amendments to increase the fees on tinted car windows and the licenses to carry guns, widely used among the security entourage of politicians, vanished in the final documents.

Expenditure targets are achieved by simply deferring the bill of investment projects to the upcoming years.

But when the wellbeing of political elites, in fact their very survival, is so highly dependent on the wellbeing of the economy, why would they delay more structural efforts to contain the budget deficit or make the tax regime more efficient?

The high degree of their entrenchment in key sectors of Lebanon’s economy calls into question how political elites calculate the opportunity costs of political gridlock. (Not just key sectors but monopoly for every consumer goods, energy, services and financial transactions…)

And why is Lebanon’s stabilization delayed?

Research on the political economy of reform explains the delay of stabilization as a consequence of the struggle of powerful interest groups to shift the cost of reform onto each other. Precisely because reform comes at a cost for elites, they prolong political bargain by embarking on a ‘war of attrition’.[iii]

Stabilization, or a change in the status quo, occurs when economic conditions deteriorate sufficiently so that one of the groups concedes and bears a higher burden of the costs.

To understand the war of attrition among Lebanese elites, one must look at the structure of their entrenchment with the private sector.

Politically connected firms concentrate in sectors that are not—or are relatively less—affected by a downturn of the overall economy. Economic conditions, at least until recently, simply exerted little pressure for actors on a personal basis to concede and to bear the costs of reform.

Dis-aggregating the data provided by Diwan and Haidar (2019) shows that economic downturn leaves those sectors comparably well-off in which more than half of all firms are politically connected (we excluded sectors with less than 10 firms in total).

Take the hospitality sector, for instance. Firms running hotels and waterfront resorts are, respectively, 61% and 55% connected to political elites.

Passengers at the Beirut airport increased constantly over the past years, while the number of tourists increased by almost 45% from 2012 to 2017. Accordingly, hotels and waterfront resorts recorded a major improvement in their booking records. The occupancy rates of four and five-star hotels in Beirut reached 69.2% (up from 58.9% in 2018) while the average room yield rose by 29.

The banking sector is another example.

Profiting heavily from the huge margins paid by treasury bills, the profitability of domestic banks remained, until recently, almost unabated.

In 2017, Lebanese commercial banks significantly expanded their profits, reaching a return on average equity of above 11.2% for the group of major banks.

Despite the challenging macroeconomic environment and the difficulties sky-high interest rates impose on the Ministry of Finance’s ability to repay its debt, the return on average equity for the sector as a whole (10.8%) is on par with the 11% average of banks in the Middle East and North Africa.[iv]

Other sectors are structurally less affected by economic downturn and exhibit a low elasticity of demand.

Security companies, for example, are employed by politicians, business people and other public figures, for whom security remains a necessity in the face of prevailing political and security uncertainty.[v] The same holds for garbage collection, which continues to be collected at sky-high rates.

Shipping lines are also spared much of the effects of Lebanon’s economic woes, since foreign trade activity must be done by ship after the closure of land routes through Syria in 2011.

In fact, the number of vessels at Beirut port remained almost constant between 2012 until 2018. Public works and investments enjoy rosy prospects due to internationally funded major capital investment programs worth almost 40% of GDP.

The game-changer, however, may be the real estate sector. It is the only major sector with a high share of politically connected firms that suffers from a gradual decline in activity and output.

Since the boom year of 2010, the area of new construction permits has almost halved until 2018: From 17,625 to 9,020 thousand square meters.

Slowing demand lowers the value of sales transactions, which plummeted by 40%, from $4,504 million to only $2,726 million in the first six months of 2017 to 2019.

Given the central role that the real estate sector plays in Lebanon’s economy—the largest contributor to national GDP at 15%—a collapse of major real estate developers can well be the tipping point for the economy to crash.

History might repeat itself.

On several occasions in the past, Lebanon was bailed out by international support when conditions became untenable. Lebanese elites seem to assume that the country remains ‘too small to fail’ for influential regional players.

But with declining interest in the country from Europe and the Gulf countries, this time might well be different.

This time, the war of attrition would not only be lost by Lebanese citizens by suffering through prolonged periods of economic stagnation. As other crucial sectors started to follow the declining trend, uncertainty about the integrity of the pillars of the Lebanese economic model threaten both economic and political stability.

Without concerted effort, Lebanon’s elites cannot win this war either.

This article was first published by the Economic Research Forum.

Note 1: And the mass upheaval (7iraak) that started in October 17, 2019 took every one by surprise. It felt like a miracle that the 2 million protesters all over the cities and the country held only the Lebanese flag and chanted the national anthem. This has been going on for 5 days without interruption.

The government quickly had to pass the 2020 budget with all the associated reforms in a single meeting. The banks were required to deposit $4 bn to get out of that mess and the salaries of all the current and former deputies cut in halves…

But the mass movement is Not satisfied: they lost all confidence in this mafia/militia “leaders” controlled sectarian political system

Note 2: You may read my article on this glorious mass upheaval

https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2019/10/20/the-mass-upheaval-in-lebanon-starting-in-october-17-is-growing-stronger-and-widespread/

What 72 hours reserved by the PM can resolve the plight of 3 decades of militia control system?

72 heures C’est le temps que donne le chef du gouvernement libanais Saad Hariri à ses partenaires du “deal”, pour qu’ils apportent une “réponse convaincante” aux Libanais en général et aux protestataires en particulier, ainsi qu’à la communauté internationale, sur l’existence d’une “décision unanime pour réformer l’Etat, arrêter le gaspillage et lutter contre la corruption”

Sinon, la kel 7édiss 7adiss, vogue la galère. Comme ils sont tous aussi déterminés, on se demande pourquoi ils ne s’entendent pas 🎭

J’ai rédigé deux réquisitoires accablants contre les dirigeants libanais pris en flagrant délit de négligence dans la maintenance de nos bombardiers d’eau Sikorsky ayant eu de graves conséquences.

J’ai dénoncé aussi avec vigueur le gaspillage de l’argent public par le ministre de l’Environnement, Fady Jreissati (Courant patriotique libre), qui n’a pas jugé utile de trouver 100 000 $/an pour faire fonctionner nos bombardiers d’eau, mais qui est en négociation en Espagne depuis des mois pour acheter de nouveaux bombardiers d’eau pour 8 millions $. (You are biased and Not fair on this issue. And you know the issue pretty well. So many older and well entrenched highway robbers in this government and you selected the one who is clean)

J’ai également réclamé sa démission ou son limogeage et une enquête approfondie pour déterminer qui sont ses complices. C’est pour vous dire, moi aussi je suis en colère.

Mais en ce temps des émeutes de rues et des esprits fumants, où chacun a son idée sur la marque de l’interrupteur qu’il faut installer pour que ‘bé kabsitt zirr’ tout soit résolu 🎭, je pense pour ma part qu’il vaut mieux investir dans une bonne boussole plutôt 🧭, afin de ne pas perdre le nord

Il nous revient en tant que citoyens responsables de nous rappeler trois principes fondamentaux de la vie en société :

1. Rien, absolument rien, ne justifie le recours de gens mécontents à la violence quelles qu’en soient les raisons et les époques. Les auteurs doivent être poursuivis selon les lois en vigueur.

2. Brûler des pneus, du mobilier urbain, des bennes de recyclage et des panneaux publicitaires, reste comme l’acte le plus primitif qu’un être humain ayant 100 milliards de neurones est capable de faire. Il doit être sévèrement puni par la justice. D’autant plus que ces émeutes sont devenues criminelles, on compte déjà plusieurs morts.

3. Les cercles du pouvoir, le Grand Sérail, le Parlement et le Palais présidentiel, ainsi que l’accès aux centres vitaux du pays -comme la Banque centrale, l’aéroport et le port de Beyrouth, les raffineries, les centrales électriques et téléphoniques, etc.- sont des lignes rouges. Quiconque s’y aventure doit être traduit devant les tribunaux et condamné avec la plus grande sévérité.

On peut ignorer ces principes, mais il faut assumer les conséquences, c’est la voie grande ouverte au chaos qui précipitera le #Liban dans l’abîme à la vitesse du son.

Respecter ces principes et tout sera permis. Tout acte civique doit s’inscrire dans le respect des lois en vigueur dans notre pays. Sinon, il est nul et non avenu.

*

. Qui a des revendications légitimes sur l’enquête concernant le scandale des Sikorsky, la taxation des narguilés, la cherté de la vie, le cumul des taxes, la hausse des prix scolaires et universitaires, la gestion des déchets, la pollution, la corruption, le népotisme, l’incompétence, les négligences, le confessionnalisme, le communautarisme…

Le recyclage, l’assurance maladie, la justice sociale, la relance de l’économie, le droit au logement, les locations anciennes, l’extension de la souveraineté de l’État sur tout le territoire libanais…

Le trafic illégal sur la frontière syro-libanaise, la réhabilitation d’Assad, le retour des réfugiés syriens installés au Liban en Syrie, la lutte contre Israël, la dissolution des milices palestiniennes, le désarmement du Hezbollah, est totalement libre de les exprimer dans le respect des lois en vigueur.

. Qui a envie de se perdre dans des slogans creux, « al sha3eb youreed eskatt el nizaam » (à bas le régime), « sawra » (révolution), « yi fello kelloun » (qu’ils partent tous), « tol3et ri7etkon », (You smell) « ta7élouf watani », les revendications vaseuses de la société civile 🎭, roue libre, dans le respect des lois en vigueur.

. Qui a un agenda politique déclaré, « faltaskout el 7oukoumi » (démission du gouvernement / revendications de la société civile, Parti socialiste et parti des Forces libanaises qui appellent à manifester mais dont les ministres ne démissionnent pas 🎭)

Et « intikhebaat niyabiyyé moubakkira » (législatives anticipées / revendications de la société civile, Kataeb), ou un agenda politique non déclaré comme et surtout le Hezbollah (agiter la rue pour faire pression sur le gouvernement libanais afin de le contraindre à adoucir les conséquences des sanctions américaines sur le parti-milicien chiite), qu’il aille fumer sa moquette, il vaudrait mieux.

. Qui veut carreler la mer (société civile en général), qu’il ne se gêne pas, yi rou7 yi balto el ba7er.

*

OUI aux manifestations pacifiques à #Beyrouth, Baalbek, Tripoli, Sour, Jounieh, Saïda, Nabatiyeh etc.

NON aux manifestations violentes aux quatre coins du Liban, même à celles qui consistent à couper les routes avec des pétales de roses !

Réclamer la baisse des tarifs des communications mobiles exorbitants est légitime, mais pénétrer dans les immeubles des compagnies pour les saccager est illégal.

On n’ hiberne pas 365 jours par an, pour ne se réveiller que le 366e jour, une fois tous les quatre ans, avec dans la tête l’idée incongrue de jouer au « Che » et de se prendre pour des « révolutionnaires » 🎭

Qui veut changer le monde s’implique en politique et travaille tous les jours pour cela dans le respect des lois en vigueur.

S’il n’est pas content des lois, il n’a qu’à militer d’arrache-pied pour les changer.

Jamais les citoyens n’ont disposé d’autant de moyens pour peser sur les décisions politiques. Il faut vraiment comprendre, que l’activisme agressif de nos jours est contre-productif par rapport à l’activisme pacifique qui est beaucoup plus efficace s’il est intelligemment mené.

*

Mon soutien est total à la population pacifique qui manifeste dans le RESPECT ABSOLU des lois en vigueur au Liban.

Je n’apporte aucun soutien aux protestataires agressifs dans la rue.

Vu cette « violence » qui prend différentes formes et ces « revendications » de toutes sortes, que je vois et j’entends depuis jeudi, mon soutien est aussi total au président Michel Aoun, au Premier ministre Saad Hariri, au chef du Parlement Nabih Berri, au commandant de l’armée libanaise Joseph Aoun, au directeur général des forces de sécurité intérieure Imad Osman, au gouverneur de la Banque centrale Riad Salamé, et à chacun-e des 128 députés de la nation.

(I doubt that the more than a million protesters all over the country agree for Nabih Berry to remain chairman of the Parliament after 29 years of continuous tenure, or for Imad Osman who remained on vacation in Chili while all the unrest was going on, or Riad Salami who is the middleman for all the highway robberies of the mafia/militia “leaders”…)

Je ne le fais pas spécialement par estime aux personnes citées, mais par respect à ces hauts représentants des institutions de la République libanaise et du peuple libanais, jusqu’à nouvel ordre, qui ne peut survenir qu’à travers des élections organisées dans les délais prévus par la Constitution libanaise et jamais sous la violence de la rue.

(But what kind of fair election law?)

Halte au populisme à 5 piastres. Demander des élections présidentielles alors qu’il a fallu 900 jours de vacances pour y parvenir la dernière fois est grotesque.

Réclamer des élections législatives en octobre 2019, alors qu’on vient d’organiser en mai 2018 est une aberration démocratique.

Saad Hariri est incontournable au niveau internationale pour mettre en oeuvre les accords de la conférence CEDRE, promesses de $11 milliards de prêts avantageux et de dons contre des réformes structurelles.

Former un gouvernement de technocrates apolitiques, alors que le Parlement est politisé à 99% est une chimère, il faut 9 mois pour y parvenir et ne tiendra que 3 mois.

En abolissant le “Parlement des singes” au profit de “Kangaroo courts” populaires qui se prennent pour des tribunaux révolutionnaires, nous ne sommes pas en train de construire un Etat de droit digne de ce nom, mais une ferme au fin fond d’une jungle 🎭

(No body among the protesters demanded Kangaroo court or vigilante courts)

Note: I posted my second article on this mass upheaval

https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2019/10/20/the-mass-upheaval-in-lebanon-starting-in-october-17-is-growing-stronger-and-widespread/

Vive la République, vive le Liban. A bon entendeur, salut ! 🇱🇧

Image may contain: 5 people, crowd, night and outdoor
Image may contain: one or more people, night, sky, fire and outdoor

The mass upheaval in Lebanon, starting in October 17, is growing stronger and widespread

Note: You may read my first post on this mass upheaval

https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2019/10/18/october-17-2019-the-start-of-an-all-out-revolt-in-lebanon-in-every-district/

The mass demonstrations in all cities and districts have unified the citizens under Lebanon flag and National anthem: this is a miracle, in this sectarian political structure since 1943.

A few may say that this upheaval has no definite program. I say this reasoning is irrelevant and is a big plus for this mass demonstration: What this upheaval proved is that that a unified people is possible and we will have to work toward that purpose.

This upheaval has planted the seed for a non-sectarian political structure.

It planted the seed for a civil state where laws are civil for personal status and away from the religious sects privileges.

It planted the seed for an election law that restrict voting to the affiliation to religious sects.

This upheaval has backfired on all these militia/mafia “leaders” of the civil war, in control for 3 decades.

These militia “leaders” inserted their hooligans to disrupt this growing unified movement: they gave order to set fire on building, break in private properties, destroy public institutions and set fires on tires to block the main highways…

In fact, the hooligans of Nabih Berry (chairman of the parliament for 28 years and the main militia leaders who distribute the stolen wealth to the other militia partners) have confronted the peaceful protesters in Tyre (his stronghold) and Nabatiyyeh with weapons and violent body activities.

The army was forced to disperse the protesters in downtown Beirut and arrest the hooligans. Actually, it is the “soldiers” assigned to Nabih Berry around the parliament that acted most violently against dozens of the peaceful demonstrators. “Shou hal wejj el 7elo. Khood hal box”

The army even cracked down in Tripoli and arrested many who contributed in using machine guns.

We have no news if the army entered Tyre to round up Nabih’s hooligans. It seems the local channels got scared of Nabih’s warning and desisted of covering what is taking place in Type.

Today, Nabatiyyeh is scintillating with thousands of personal lights: Hezbollah got it right that this upheaval is legitimate and peaceful. I guess this is a strong message against the Amal militia of Nabih Berry.

Today, the upheaval grew stronger and the hooligans were absent from all the scenes: the militia “leaders” got the message clear and loud: the protesters can pinpoint them and the army is ready to quickly arrest them and prosecute them.

The secretary general of Hezbollah, Hassan Nasrallah, delivered his speech in Baalbak this morning. He said:

  1. There will be no resignation of the government. Otherwise, we will have to wait another year to constitute another government. And Lebanon cannot contemplate this luxury since we have a short period to re-establish a viable resolution.
  2. The option of a government of technocrats will be brought down within 2 weeks by the same “leaders’ demanding this alternative.
  3. Going for another election will take a year. We will have to discuss a new election law that takes a great time. And in any case, the parliament will basically end up being constituted by the same members
  4. All those politicians who controlled this political structure in the last 3 decades should Not hope for a bygone be  bygone: They will be prosecuted and their stolen wealth restituted.
  5. He claimed that this mass upheaval was Not planned by any foreign powers or even internal parties: it was carried out by citizens who could no longer suffer hunger, frustration, indignities… by this rotten ruling classes.

My conjecture is that the accumulated comments and opinions on social platforms (positive or negative) have increased the awareness of the citizens on their state of affairs. Every wrong doing committed by a politician or a high ranking member in the various institutions created a web of endemic deep structural reality in the entire  political scene.

The masses finally got aware of this kleptocracy class of politicians and financiers who have monopolies on every kind of consumer goods, energy, services and financial transactions

Here are a few of my notes and comments:

It is 10 am.  The carts in supermarkets are overflowing with goods. Kind of fearing the worst to happen?

(mfawleen chariots? thikat awta min 7arb 2006?)

The militia “leaders” desisted today from unleashing their hooligans

(Zo3ama militias dabdabo zo3raanon. Intahat al khouwaat)

I see cars “protesting”: young people driving fancy cars, the Lebanese flag planted inside the windows. They are Not hungry, but pocket money is being reduced in this financial crisis.

(Tazaahor bil Voitures. Shakko 3alam Loubnan bil shebbak. Moush jou3aneen. “Argent de Poche” ma kaafi)

I feel that all politicians, current and former, are scared shit and getting ready to leave the country, especially, those who used hooligans against the protesters. First, their wives and children leave, carrying the cash and Jewelries. Actually many have already fled in their luxury yachts and private jets.

(E7ssassi, kel al politicians, 7ali wa saabek, 3am yi dobbo shinaton, especially, eli hayyajo zo3ranon wa e3tado 3al moutazahireen. 3am yi shekho wa yi tommo.
their wives and sons and daughters have already fled with their cash and jewelry.
Seniora ila Egypt
Mikati ila Morocco
Berry ila Detroit yefta7 gas stations.
Walid 3am yi fattesh ila ayn yahrob. Momken 3end Putin?
Samir bi faddel Canada
Sett Rida bet faddel Gulf States
Mosbaa7 ila Egypt?…. Any more suggestions?)

If the PM gave himself 3 day to decide on the state of the government, how many days is Al Sayyed (Hezbollah) ready to give this government if it failed to deliver on promises?

(Kem yawm a3ta al Sayyed lel 7oukoumat to deliver?)

The main question is: how you intend to create jobs? What kind of jobs can feed families? Jobs that can recoup the expense of allowing children to graduate?

(Aya 3amal betsed al jou3, aw bet 3awed takaleef al jaami3aat?)

The TV channels need to archive the recording of people feedback in these demonstrations and give a copy to all the deputies.

(Drouri al e3laam yejma3o ta3likaat al sha3eb wa yenshorouha, wa yi kadmoha lel nouwaab)

To current and former politicians and “nouveaux riches”: Make sure your body guards don’t carry machine guns

(Bala body guards 7aamel rashaash. Mosbaa7 ma elo mawte2 kadam la bi Trablos wa la bi Loubnan: Exiled for trying to join the protesters in his luxury cars and well armed body guards)

Israel is as cunning as the Romans: the Romans decided Not to confront directly Hannibal and instead starved his army

(Israel 3akrouti metel al Roumaan: decided Not to confront Hanibaal directly: jawwa3et jaisho wal moukaawami)

How the PM is considering the 72 hours to calm the uprising? Decide that the deputy blocks of Moustakbal, Tayyar and Hezbollah are big enough and homogeneous enough to carry out the intended reforms? And shed this government from the parties that are “actually in the opposition”, like Samir and Walid?

(72 hours 7atta Sa3ed yi karrer: al eslaa7 ma3 al Tayyar wa Hezbollah, wa yi tayyez 3a Walid was Samir. Bi hal 7aali bi sour fi mouwalaat wa mou3aradad. Sheyyab drouri yen zaa7. Walid modtarr yen khonret li anno ma3zool min kel al jihaat)

La folie c’est de faire la meme routine et d’esperer que ca change?

(Une autre revolte jusqu’a ce que zo3raan al militias tet3ab?)

And now? What kind of discussions are going around among the political leaders? And how are they communicating? Using What’sApp?

(wa halla2 shou? ayat nawe3 min al ta7aawor? ayat khitabaat mjahzeen?)

3 days to allow the wives of politicians to leave with their cash and Jewels?

(3 ayaam 7atta neswanon yohrbo ma3 Cash wa moujawharaat?)

I warned Raya Hassan (minister of interior): Do Not use gas canister.

(Bahdalti 7aalek wa intahat mesdaakiyat Sa3ed).

Just suppose the political kleptocracy class (Faassed) agreed to return his wealth, will Switzerland and the USA return these wealth to the government? About $320 bn?

Note 1: Not a single politician (current or former) dared to join this upheaval: they got the message pretty loud that they are Not welcomed and considered to be part of this downhill trend in Lebanon. Good intentions do Not count: their actions are on trial. Actually, even singers and entertainers got the message: “You are part of this structure”

Note 2: My conjecture is that the accumulated comments and opinions on social platforms (positive or negative) have increased the awareness of the citizens on their state of affairs.

Note 3: If this phenomena in Lebanon took so long to galvanize the “left-behind” grass root and totally forgotten, it is mainly because of the Silent Majority who considered themselves “above the fray“, for one reason or another.

There are classes of educated citizens who cared about international state of affairs (climate change, pollution, human rights…) and considered focusing on Lebanon society “beneath” their worries or mental “complex” level. Kind if they have a good paying job or business, then the rest is Not of their concern.

There are classes of entrepreneurs who managed to have the backing of a politician and wouldn’t dare ruin their business on “petty free expression”  (The politician had a share in the business without paying a cent, mafia/khouwwi).

Many parents thought they are part of the “leader” entourage and denied their children to critique the leader or have an opinion on social media…

Note 4: The public servants constitute one third of working force in Lebanon. They didn’t rely on their meager salary, but on the bakhshish for every transaction in their institutions. In the last 3 years, these “servants” discovered that money is getting too tight for the normal citizen who didn’t want to waste their little money on redundant transactions

 


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

May 2020
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