Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Rafik Hariri

Comments and notes in Lebanese slang. Part 21

Shou naater Mr. president? Naater Saad ye7ro2 kel “zo3ama” al sinniyyi? Leish Al Haririyyat (the Hariri clan) khallet 7ada Senni moush faassed? Leish Nabih Berry , Godfather of militia “leaders”, khala shi naayeb ma 3endo monopoly bi hal balad?

Amine Gemmayel afza3 7arami eja 3al solta bi Loubnaan. He was called Mr. 10% min 50 senni wa kaan ba3do naayeb. Kel mouwaaten nazeeh bil Maten shalla7o mesriyaato wa maata mo3dam. Nabih telmeez Amine.

Israel metel Lebanon: bi 7oukoumi aw bala 7oukoumi, mashrou3 ezlal al sha3eb moustamerr

Taalama Nabih Berry maasek bil lo3bat, la fi eslaa7 wa la taghyeer. ma fi ella a7zaan bi a7zaan

Wlek ma fi shi laazem bel kawaanine, la istisharaat wa la ballout. Leish fi dostour? 3an aya dostour bete3ni lel tatbeek (1943 aw Taef?). Aymata tabbakou aya maadat bi dostour? Nabih 3ala zawko: he interprets what suits him.

Kol mouwaten khafeer. E3lamou al niyabat al 3aamat 3an kol mofssed: min azghar jaabi ila akbar za3eem

Kalaam Ziad Re7bani bi yontobe2 3allayyi: ma baddi al soltat tghayyerni. Ana dod kel anwwa3 al zolm, wal kaher, wal zol. Ana ma t3elamet fakker 7atta yi fakkro 3anni, la 7ezeb wa la solta

Shokran Feltman: sha3bna dmaagho ghaleez. Min halla2 wa raayeh, kel 7iraak Amriki bi wassel li intisaar jabhat al moukaawamat

7aasro Nabih Berry: za3eem al faassideen since the assassination of Rafik Hariri who set the stage for Lebanon State Ponzi scheme

Al 7iraak ma baddo Nabih, za3eem al majless wal faassideen: bi shawweh kel al mataaleb. Down with Nabih. He must be ordered to exile

Badna fassel al deen 3an al dawlat, wa mane3 al khittab al deeni wal mazhabi 3ala kanawaat TV wa fi al mounassabat al jamahiriyyat. Al sha3eb eshma2azza min al taa2ifiyyat

One of the last open spaces in Verdun, which is already crowded with shopping centers, will be cleared for yet another ABC mall.
 in his The Beirut Report posted this February 7, 2014

Rare Verdun greenery cleared for another mall

Photo: Qaph blog
Have a good look at those trees– they’ll be gone soon, if not already dumped somewhere.  Construction has already started according to fellow blogger Gino, who posted this picture today:
Photo: Gino’s Blog
For years the site had been gated, but the gate seemed rather old.
Here is a picture posted by blogger Qaph, who was the first to break the story earlier this month:
In his post, Qaph wrote that the site was formerly the grounds of a St. Joseph school, and judging by the sandstone, it was probably quite old. So why was it demolished? And who sold it to developers?
I had driven by the lot for years but paid little attention to it until I heard Abir Saksouk-Sasso‘s talk about the lack of public space in Beirut at the DiverseCities conference earlier this year.
Saksouk-Sasso, who is part of the amazing performance activism group Dictaphone, argued that despite state efforts to control and limit public spaces, the public has appropriated “left over spaces” and one of these was the Verdun plot.
So why couldn’t the state or the municipality of Beirut (which has an estimated wealth of near $1 billion) save one plot for its citizens?
Photo: Skyscraper City
Plans to build a park were once announced by late Prime Minister Rafik Hariri–at least according to Qaph’s post.
But ironically those leading the mall project are Hariri-owned companies. Did the late prime minister change his mind?
First announced in 2005, the mall complex was to be built by Hariri son Bahaa’s firm, Horizon and Kipco, which is largely owned by the Kuwaiti royal family. Here is the initial press in early 2005:
Photo: Skyscraper city

But those plans, which included a hotel/residential tower and cineplex, have changed markedly over the years. From 2005:

Photo: Skyscraper city

To 2008, where the tower seems to have been reduced significantly, according to this picture posted on Skyscraper city, which still exists on the Horizon website: To no towers at all in 2013, according to this rendering published by Beirut.com early last year:

According to a piece in business magazine Lebanon Opportunities, the Kuwaitis are apparently out, and are now replaced it seems by Lebanon’s ABC group at a 40% share.
Meanwhile Hariri’s son Bahaa has switched from Horizon to his other construction company, Verdun 1544 Holding. The project is reportedly worth $200 million.
Do all the changes indicate a decrease or renegotiation in capital or relationships?
One thing is for sure, no company in this eco-system represented Beirut residents’ rights to green spaces or the fate of these trees, which are all probably firewood by now.
Video of the Hermel car explosion (Lebanon)
The large town of Hermel in north Bekaa Valley has mostly been neglected since Lebanon was handed its independence in 1943, and the last mandated French troops vacated Lebanon in 1946.
Hermel is on the border with Syria and the mighty Al Assy River take source from there and runs 600 km within Syria, passing through Homs and emptying north of Lattaquieh.
Most suicide car bombing receive lots of media attention and the scenes run in loops all day long: Except what happened in Hermel, very late coverage, waiting for the Live Coverage of the International Court first trial reading of the Rafik Hariri assassination.
Hermel was so neglected that the late Sabri Hamadi, from Hermel and Head of the Parliament for many decades, paved the roads of all the towns in the vicinity except the main road leading to Hermel.
A popular saying made the round at the time: “If Hermel roads were to be paved, Sabri’s tail would have done it” (Mind you that sabri means “my patience” and zabri means “my penis”, a saying working on the two meanings). “Lao sabri ma 3abada, zabri ken zaffata...”
I didn’t know about the explosion that took place around 9 am until noon: Someone in the private library that I patronize blurted out this “incident”.
I checked FB and didn’t read any news on that event and wrote: “Hey there. Anyone knows of the explosion in Hermel?”
Not till evening did I read a little about the car explosion on FB.
A mother lost her son who worked as street sweeper in front of the municipality. A girl recounted how the assassin blocked her road in order to park the stolen Jeep from the coastal town of Antilias in the Metn district last year.
The Lebanese channels were covering live the blatant  “accusation” of 4 people who were tracking the ware-about of Rafik Hariri on their cellular, days before his assassination. The car explosion targeting the convoy of Hariri was of  3,000 kilos of TNT on Feb. 14, 2005.
Couldn’t these “accused”, even before the formal trial starts, be assigned to protect Hariri from strong warnings of attempt at Hariri’s life?
Note 1: Two weeks later, another car explosion in Hermel by a kamikaze harvested three people and injured 10 bystanders in front of a gas station.
ر
فيديو اول لحظات الانفجار

terrorist attack @ the peaceful Lebanese village Hermel by the FSA and al Nusra salafist rats and the suicide attack causes 4 deaths and 28 injured death of innocent civilians people

Selfi Mohammad Chaar: “16-year old is not a Martyr nor a Hero”?

This is another re-post on the subject. This one was selected as one of the top posts on wordpress.com
16 year old Mohammad Chaar is not a Martyr nor a Hero.

I feel like I have no right to even mention your name.

I have been sitting at home reading the #RIPMohammadChaar tweets for the past four hours.

Your friend Yasmine broke my heart.

It’s killing me. Wow, what a weird choice of words.

I am going to make it worse by telling you that it’s not fair. And that no, you are not a martyr and that no, you are not a hero.

You are 16.

You still don’t know what you want to do, you just want to be stupid, have fun and stay up late with friends.

You want to kiss someone under the rain, steal your parent’s car, get into college, get a part time job and dance in the streets.

You won’t.

It’s unfair but you won’t.

You won’t because you were murdered and robbed from your friends and family. You won’t because some lowlife squeezed a button.

You did not pick this battle, you did not look for it.

Heroes and martyrs usually know what they’r fighting for.

Right now you are a murder victim.

You are not a hero. The only way for you to become a Hero is if your death does not go in vain.

The only way for you to be a martyr for a cause is if your death causes a change.

Every time this happens we hear the same reactions; and innocent people are automatically given martyrdom and hero status as if they were looking to die; for some cause that we don’t know of.

None of the innocent bystanders wanted to die.

If we gave them all a choice they would not have wanted to die, especially that it always goes in vain.

We cry and get angry, we organize a march or a sit in and then we forget.

Every single time! We get angry, we cry and then we forget.

This is going to happen again.

That’s the sad part, we all know that another bomb is going to blow up somewhere again soon. We have to do something about it.

We have to, this is unbearable.  We cannot accept this anymore, we cannot just sit and watch as homes are shattered, as people’s lives change in a second for nothing! We cannot stand by when 16 year old kids get slaughtered in mid day for reasons that we do not believe in!

We are not allowed to act cool anymore every time a bomb goes off and go have a drink because “nothing keeps us down”…

We cannot distance ourselves from the victims. Guys, anyone of us could have been there when the bomb went off.

I am sick of making phone calls to make sure everyone I know is alive every time a bomb goes off! (Actually, my nephew called a minute after the explosion to relieve our anxiety that he might be one of the victims)

Do you understand what we are getting used to? This is not the norm.

This has to change, we have a responsibility to change it: like it or not, more sisters, brothers, mothers, fathers, cousins and friends are going to die!

Like it or not the bombs are going to keep going off!

Like it or not you are already in this fight! Someone is already killing you!

This is where we decide that enough is enough.

Our friends and families souls are not just statistics and numbers in a newspaper.

Our parents went through even worse times, they had non of the abilities and tools that we now have.

This is the time for us as a generation to say that we have had enough.

Mohammad’s friends are organizing a march that will start from his school “Hariri high school 2″ (next to Lycee Abdel Kader in Zarif) at 10a.m Monday morning leading to where the explosion took place (Details on this Facebook link).

They are asking people to get a white flower with them. They should be joined by students from all over the country. They should be joined by all of us.

This should not end here. I have a feeling it won’t. There already are calls for action.

Once and for all, let us make real Martyrs and real Heroes out of the innocents who have died.

Enough people have died in vain.

“The tyrant dies and his rule is over, the martyr dies and his rule begins.”- Søren Kierkegaard

Note: Another repost by Diaa Hadid, Associated Press, this December 30, 2013

‘Selfie’ captures slain teen’s last moments before powerful car bomb set off in ritzy Lebanese shopping district

Warning: Graphic images

It’s a happy moment, a selfie taken by a group of teenagers on a sunny day in downtown Beirut. Mohammed Shaar sits among his friends in a red hoodie and his dark-framed glasses.

The next photos, captured by journalists only moments later, are tragic. The 16-year-old Shaar lies mortally wounded, his red hoodie and his blood forming a scarlet blur on the pavement – an anonymous civilian casualty of a car bomb that killed a prominent politician.

The before-and-after montage of Shaar, who died of his wounds a day after Friday’s bombing, has rattled Lebanese who in Shaar’s ordinary-turned-horrifying day saw their own lives and potentially their own fate.

The Lebanese teenager has since become a symbol of a population held ransom (by the country’s widening violence and swelling tensions between Sunnis and Shiites, exacerbated by the war in neighbouring Syria and foreign powers meddling in our crappy internal affairs).

On Monday, hundreds of Shaar’s fellow students marched to the Starco building, outside of which the bombing took place. They held signs saying “We are all Mohammed,” waved the Lebanese flag and left flowers.

The powerful car bomb targeted Mohammed Chatah, a former finance minister (allied with the Hariri clan and Al Moustakbal movement).

Chatah’s allies in a mainly Sunni political coalition, backed by the West, quickly pointed the finger at the Shiite Hezbollah guerrilla group, which denied the accusations.

But the blast, on a main avenue of the ritzy downtown shopping district, killed not only Chatah and his driver but also 8 passers-by – including Shaar.

Friends said Shaar was out in downtown celebrating the end of the school semester, having coffee with his three friends at a Starbucks.

They strolled through downtown to the Starco building, a complex of offices and shops. There, they took that last selfie (before going to play basketball)Moments later, the district was shaken by the blast, which sent a plume of black smoke over the area – and Shaar fell with a bleeding shrapnel wound in the head.

At his funeral on Sunday, sectarian anger bubbled up, with some mourners chanting anti-Shiite slogans.

But more prevalent was anger over being caught in the crossfire as powerful factions – whoever they may be – fight out their political differences. Shaar, a Sunni, wasn’t political or particularly religious, those who knew him said.

Several hundred emerged for his funeral, and tens gathered outside, some holding signs protesting the deaths of civilians.

“Every one of us imagined ourselves in that place,” activist Mohammed Estateyeh said outside the Khashakhgi mosque in the Sunni-dominated Beirut neighbourhood of Qasqas after Shaar’s burial. “The picture of Mohammed lying on the ground – and the picture just before the explosion – they were four guys who were just hanging out.”

Estateyeh, of the Muslim Students League in Beirut, printed black-white-and-yellow posters of Shaar, with the Arabic-language hashtag slogan scrawled underneath: “#We-are-not-numbers.”

The slogan caught on online, with some people posting pictures of themselves holding it on Facebook.

Montages of Shaar’s life-then-death photos circulated widely on Facebook and Twitter.

“Kill the person you want to kill – that’s why they invented guns,” Shaar’s former geography teacher Dalal Batrawi wept at the funeral. “If that’s the path you want to take, leave the rest of us alone.”

Earlier Sunday, at a memorial ceremony carried live on Lebanese television, Shaar’s teachers and students from the private Hariri High School – named after an assassinated Sunni former prime minister – described the teen as a bright, goofy student who loved basketball, lasagna and Harry Potter.

Mohammad often bought cookies, croissants and milkshakes for his friends. Friends recalled him chatting with them at 5 a.m. on the instant-message system “Whatsapp.”

“You know what sucks?” his friend Rahaf Jammal said at the memorial, speaking in English. “It’s the fact that he didn’t finish the book I got him for his birthday. He didn’t finish Harry Potter (movies) because he kept asking me to watch it with him.”

“It’s the fact he had his whole future planned out and he couldn’t accomplish anything, because of this stupid, cruel and crappy country.”

The grief over Shaar is given greater resonance by the fears among Lebanese that they are lurching back into the abyss, still battered from their own 15-year war, which ended in 1990.

That civil war was partly ignited by sectarian tensions among Lebanon’s Shiite, Sunni, Christian and Druse minorities.

AP Photo

AP PhotoIn this Friday, Dec. 27, 2013 photo, a Lebanese policeman helps 16-year-old Mohammed Shaar who was injured at the scene after a car bomb explosion in Beirut, Lebanon.

Sunni-Shiite tensions began growing after a powerful car bomb in 2005 killed the former prime minister, Rafik Hariri, who called for an end to neighboring Syria’s domination of the country and criticized Syria’s ally Hezbollah.

Hariri’s assassination was followed by over a dozen other assassinations of anti-Syrian figures. His allies blame Syria and Hezbollah for the killings; both deny involvement.

(A cliché disseminated by the opposition March 14, as if all the other car bombings on Hezbollah strongholds in last month were perpetrated against themselves. Blame it on the Wahhabi Saudi monarchy who are the main funding source for all the terrorists factions…)

AP Photo

AP PhotoIn this Friday, Dec. 27, 2013 photo, a Lebanese policeman helps 16-year-old Mohammed Shaar who was injured at the scene after a car bomb explosion in Beirut, Lebanon.

Although some of the assassinations and attempted assassinations over the past years also targeted Christians, Druse, and Shiaa, Lebanon’s Sunnis have felt the most threatened.

The Sunni community’s leadership is fractured. Religious hardliners preach they are being targeted by a Shiite plot to crush them. Ordinary Sunnis, neither particularly political nor religious, complain they feel marginalized.

Those feelings have sharply grown since Syria’s uprising against President Bashar Assad began three years ago.

Rebels seeking to overthrow Assad are mostly Sunni, and the most powerful are al-Qaida extremists.

Syria’s sectarian splits have enflamed Lebanon’s, with its Sunnis mainly lining up behind Syria’s rebels and its Shiites backing Assad. Hezbollah has dispatched its fighters to shore up Assad’s forces, infuriating opponents in Lebanon.

The result has been violence rooted in Syria’s war.

Two car bombs targeted Sunni worshippers at mosques in Lebanon’s northern city of Tripoli this year; another two exploded in a Shiite neighborhood in south Beirut. Another twin-bombing targeted the Iranian embassy, apparently to punish Iran for supporting Assad.

Civilians have been the majority of the victims.

Amid the grief, the sectarian sentiments emerge.

At Shaar’s funeral, hundreds of mourners chanting against Hezbollah trapped the country’s top Sunni cleric in the mosque, because he is perceived as sympathetic to the group. Soldiers with assault rifles had to muscle into the mosque to protect Mufti Mohammed Qabani and hustle him into an armored vehicle to get away.

Angry worshippers pelted the soldiers with rocks, eggs and shoes.

Shaar was forgotten amid the mourners’ anger, something not lost on his friends.

People are using his death as an excuse for war,” said his friend Jammal. “But really all we should do is pray, pray, pray, and keep praying.”

AP Photo

AP PhotoIn this Friday, Dec. 27, 2013 photo, Lebanese men carry the body of 16-year-old Mohammed Shaar who was injured at the scene after a car bomb explosion in Beirut, Lebanon.
AP Photo/Bilal Hussein

AP Photo/Bilal HusseinLebanese students of the private Hariri High School, named after a prominent assassinated Sunni leader, broadcast a short film about 16-year-old Mohammed Shaar, who was one of seven people killed in a car bomb that ripped through the upscale downtown district of Beirut, during a memorial ceremony, in Beirut, Lebanon, Monday, Dec. 30, 2013.
AP Photo/Bilal Hussein

AP Photo/Bilal Hussein A Lebanese friend of 16-year-old Mohammed Shaar, who was one of 7 people killed in a car bomb that ripped through the upscale downtown district of Beirut, is comforted by others as he mourns during a sit-in at the scene of the explosion, in Beirut, Lebanon, Monday, Dec. 30, 2013.

Typical modern Contractor class in Lebanon political/social structure

You may refer to a previous article on modern Neoliberal Expatriate Contractor class in Lebanon that added a new social/political divide in the community structure https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2013/02/11/complicating-the-class-divide-new-contractor-bourgeoisie-in-lebanon-politics/

The biography of how four of them have accumulated so much wealth is developed in this article:

1. Late Rafik Hariri PM left the city of Saida for Saudi Arabia in 1964. He suffered a few bankruptcies in his civil work contracts. During the oil boom that started in the early 70’s in the Arab Gulf Emirates, Hariri struck gold in 1976 by teaming up with Nasr al Rashid.

Nasr was a Saudi engineer from a prominent family. Al Rashid relied increasingly on Rafik’s ingenuity for fulfilling highly complex public civil work contracts in Saudi Arabia.

The Saudi “rentier or renter State” was an important catalyst for quickly amassing wealth once the proper contacts and connections were established.

In early 1980,Rafik acquired a private plane and the fleet increased in varieties, cost, a luxury.

In 1982, Hariri connected directly with King Fahd after Israel preempted another war on Lebanon and entered the Capital Beirut. King Fahd took over the “cleaning-up” of Beirut city center (the demarcation line among the warring factions in the civil war) and extended to Rafik the necessary checkbook diplomacy to carry out reconciliation in the Chouf war of 1983.

The checkbook was ready in the Geneva and Lausanne (Switzerland) meetings in 1983 and 84. And the diplomacy disbursement resumed in the militia agreement in 1985, to be followed by the Taif agreement on a new Constitution for Lebanon in 1989.

In the early 1980, Rafik acquired Bank Mediterranean, and King Fahd disposed of $2 bn between 1983-96 for a student loan program so that strapped Lebanese could continue education overseas. Over 32, 000 students benefited from this program, and most of them were Sunni Moslems.

In 1991, Rafik Hariri was positioned to be assigned Prime Minister

As Rafik was assassinated in 2004, it turned out that his wealth amounted to $14 bn, and Seniora PM made sure to tax this fortune at $2 million, instead of the regulation 10%.

2. The wealth of the brothers Mikati (Taha and Najib) derives from the Arabian Construction Company, founded in 1967 in Abu Dhabi.

At some points, Taha subcontracted from Rafik Hariri.

In 1982, they founded a telecom company Investcom, which penetrated Sudan, Liberia, and Yemen. It ran an analogue mobile phone network during the civil war in Lebanon.

The Invest company M1 Group owns real estates in New York and London, and the French fashion Faconnable, and interests in oil explorations in Latin Columbia State.

In 1983, the Mikati brothers bought the licence for the British Bank of Lebanon.

In 1988, they created the Azm was Saade Foundation, which provided health and social services, mostly in Tripoli.

In 1994, the mobile Cellis had won a “Build-Operate-Transfer” (BOT) project and the brothers owned one third of the shares. The political gimmicks to extend the BOT from 10 to 20 years failed to materialize, as the President Lahoud was steadfast in retaining this State-controlled communication entity, and Najib Mikati PM allocated to himself $60 million in compensation.

3. Issam Fares, a Greek Orthodox from the district of Akkar, by the Syrian border, started as a merchant in the Lebanese-based Abela Group with vast food trading in Saudi Arabia.

Fares owned a controlling interest in Netherlands-based Balast Nedam and his civil work activities skyrocketed. This company secured lucrative contracts, such as building the bridge linking Saudi Arabia to Bahrain.

Fares created the holding company Wedge Group and opened Wedge Bank in Lebanon in 1983.

The Issam Fares Foundation was established in 1987.

4. Muhammad Safadi (current minister of finance and deputy to the Parliament) hails from a Tripoli established trading family. He migrated to Saudi Arabia in 1975.

Safadi established close relations with the head of Saudi air force Prince Turk al Nasr. He became rich building residential compounds.

In 2000, Safadi was elected deputy and also instituted the Safadi Foundation that offers health, educational, and social services in Tripoli.

Consequently, as a new wealthy Contractor who struck gold in Saudi Arabia, he allied with the March 14 movement against Syria occupation of Lebanon, after the assassination of Rafik Hariri. Seniora PM appointed Safadi minister of public work in 2005.

In 2008, Mikati PM extended to Safadi he portfolio of minister of economy and trade, and then minister of finance in 2011.

Reconstruction of Beirut city center? Like Solidere? By whom again?

Solidere (Societe Libanaise de Reconstruction) is a chartered company in charge of reconstructing and managing the city center of Beirut. The concession was supposed to be valid for 25 years, and Fouad Seniora PM extended the permit for 75 years in November 2005. Seniora was the right hand of late Rafic hariri PM who was assassinated on Feb. 14, 2004.

This private company owns a third of the city center or (108,000 sq.metres). In Sept. 2010, a year after taking office, Saad Hariri PM (son of Rafik) took private possession of 30,000 sq.metres of downtown Beirut and paid for by Solidere.

Solidere was created in 1992 with the total backing of Saudi Arabia and the blessing of the financial neoliberal decision-makers in the US.

Through figure heads, Rafik Hariri gathered the majority of the shares.

Destroyed and badly damaged properties in the city center were expropriated under dubious circumstances and bought judges and ther controlled municipality of Beirut, and the owners of the properties were compensated by shares in the company.

The trick is that Rafik manipulated the stockprices and bought shares at ridiculous prices from panicked shareholders.

What Solidere does?

It sells and rents apartments and offices that guarantee huge profits. How?

1. Prime Lands were acquired virtually for free,

2. The cost of construction was minimal due to cheap Syrian work labor,

3. The investment in infrastructure was mostly done by public money,

4. Public money were poured in the Hariri contracting firms, and at inflated cost estimates

5. The side public institutions related to finance, reconstruction, and internal security… were attached directly to the Prime Minister (Rafik Hariri)

6. The former shopping centers and areas such as Hamra Street and Achrafieh were totally neglected for several years so that the city center attracks all the traders and banks andforeign multinational companies…

7. The network of urban highways and tunnels mainly served the city center to encourage companies to relocate to Solidere Real Estates

8. The airport was 15 minutes away and the seafront less than 5 minutes far, and the city center was located in the main axes to enter and leave Beirut…

9. The prime land of Ouzai district, an extension to Beirut’s seafront of luxury hotels, was inhabited by southern Moslem Shiaa, refuggees from the civil war, and they refused to vacate this district.

The planned Alissar luxury project was blocked temporarily.

Hariri undertook to have a highway run through Ouzai in order to have a legal leverage to pressure the people to leave, and he failed.

If Hariri had the best interest of the people in mind he would have built a flyover express highway as the one crossing the Armenian district of Burj Hammoud in East Beirut. And the highway to the south is detached in several places because of the rapacious personal  interests of the Hariri clan.

Building permits in this lucrative city center, if the projects do not get a go by the Hariri oligarchy, are routinely blocked by Beirut municipality, totally in control of the Hariri clan. And the Hariri clan can side step regulations on urban development to match their interests and the Saudi princes and Emirs of the Gulf…

For an entire decade (1992-2002), Lebanon was run by a triumvirate of Rafik Hariri PM, President Hrawi, and Chairman of parliament for life Nabih Brrri, with the total backing of Syria, saudi Arabia and the USA administrations.

The Lebanese chapter of Transparency International has abundant substanting documents on this matter. The chapter wrote:

As a result of this arrangement, late Hariri became the sole decision-maker on the reconstruction process of the city center, Nabih Berri (chairman of the parliament for life) was given the charge of the reconstruction and relief programs for south Lebanon. Walid Jumblatt, the Druze warlord was given the relocation of refugees Box, and president Hrawi was interested in the oil and gas sector…”

After the failed preemptive war of Israel in June 2006, the opposition coalition put the pressure on the Seniora government to desisit from its oligarchic policies. They set up tents in the city center for 16 months (Oct. 2006 to May 2008). a sit-in symbolizing the exclusion of the people’s re-appropriation of their city center

As a result, investors shifted their interests to Ashrafieh and Hamra Street. The Hariri clan was taken aback and lost vast amount in profits.

Solidere considered moving its wealth to Jordan, in the Al Akaba, Red Sea seafront, to invest in the vast luxury contracting project of the elder son of Rafik Hariri.

The neoliberal expatriate wealthy class forced on this pseudo-State over $70 bn in debt that Lebanon didn’t need so that they satisfy quick wealth to all the warlords and their clientelist political sectarian bases.

The irony is that this neoliberal system is stating that the first $30 bn generated from the potential gas and oil offshore extraction will go to servicing the debt.

They never learn from previous experiences of other States who opted to default and are now well grounded on their feet and prospering.

Note 1. In the Middle-East, the relatioship between political regimes and space is based on political patronage. A city is a place of power to control the space and influence the central government.

This reconstruction project is viewed by the elite classes (foreigns, expatriates, and local bank owners…)  as success story. It is viewed as a striking failure by the Lebanese in resolving unstable social and political class-divide.

Note 2: This urban planning of Beirut city center is inherited by the recent Arab Gulf Emirates Real Estates development programs (Dubai…) with the explicit purpose of attracting foreign investment… This project wanted the Lebanese to believe that “neoliberal globalization” will save Lebanon from its endemic insecurity from its regional enduring conflicts (Israel, jihhadist…)

Note 3: Article inspired from a chapter by Fabrice Balanche in the book “Lebanon After the Cedar Revolution


adonis49

adonis49

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