Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘triumvirate

Mondassin? Trouble demonstrators who infiltrated Peaceful rallies?

How about jobless, famished and lost all hopes youth?

Before I delve into the latest violent marches and rallies of the Lebanese people against the mountains of garbage littering the streets all over Lebanon, it is important to set in context a few facts.

There is this trend in rallies, marches and sit-in…:

Factor One: The day is mostly peaceful. At dusk, violent acts set in

Factor Two: During the day, the people are locked in and caged by the police forces and barbed wires. By the end of the day, the people are restless, fatigued, and ready for actions. The police force wait for this moment to start confrontations, knowing that likewise reactions will be ignited.

Factor Three: By day, women, children, babies and elder people join the rally. By the end of the day, mothers, children, husbands and elder people have to go home for many reasons. By the end of the day, only youth remain to guard the land. The police force feel confident that tear gas and other means are safer to use since the media is not going to howl for casualties among children, mothers and elderly people.

Factor Four: The power-to-be wait for late afternoon to infiltrate troubling demonstrators: They are more inclined to react violently to police activities and are selected to be catalysts for events going out of hand. Law and Security is threatened and the police force is legally bound to protect properties and…

Factor Five: In Peaceful demonstrations, the protestors are mostly highly educated students, teachers…and they have this sense of “Not making a fool of myself” and to behave according to community standards. This is more acute when media are covering direct the event.

The trouble is that live media coverage are Not hot about boring peaceful demonstrations and the protestors feel ignored by everyone, particularly the political institutions who fail to dispatch someone to negotiate or listen to their demands and recriminations.

Qui a lâché ses chiens parmi les manifestants?

(Who released these dogs?)

Photo AFP

Lebanon witnessed scores of peaceful demonstrations and sit-in in the last decades and they were inconsequential in pulling off any reforms or change.

This time around, the mountains of garbage piling up on each street in the last 5 weeks simply hurt the sensibility of the educated youth.

The eyes and noses sent a strong message to their ideals and principles: “How the external world would view us under these conditions?”

For 30 years, the Lebanese citizens have been suffering from and greatly ignored and humiliated by this post militia rotten political system and they refrained to act according to the level of indignity.

The current educated youth were removing themselves from political engagement and ignoring the names of their representatives and even the President of the Republic.

As long as their parents were paying their tuition, paying twice the bills for electricity, water and every other facility that should be provided by the State… then there were no terrible problems.

And then the garbage catastrophe hit the sensibility of this educated youth and got them into questioning

What’s happening? How did we got to this shameful conditions? How come the waste collector Sukleen was pocketing $150 per wet ton of garbage when Ireland pay $40 for the dry garbage? How the money is distributed among the former militia leaders who are running the country?…”

Suddenly, the garbage piled up and the political leaders refused to reach a resolution.

The youth finally learned that the feudal Druze militia leader Walid Jumblat was Not financially satisfied with the garbage collection deal with Sukleen, run and managed by former Prime Minister Seniora for over 20 years, and who is actually representing the Hariri political movement and financial deals in Lebanon. Actually, Seniora is an Israeli spy since 1974 (read the Israeli Filka file) and became the USA fromt man after the assassination of his boss Rafic Hariri.

The waste land in Na3ema used for dumping the garbage was in Jumblat’s fiefdom and he wanted $25 per ton to his personal account.

Jumblat dispatched his militia members to shut access to the dump until a “reasonable” deal is negotiated after the contract expired. (A contract that has been automatically renewed in the last 25 years with higher costs without any formal bidding process)

And the garbage piled up for 5 weeks.

The morning of the first day of the youth rally was very peaceful and degenerated in the evening: The power-to-be hated to see the youth united against the will of the political parties and wanted to vacate the place by any means available. When water canon failed to disperse the gathering then tear gas canisters were thrown among the women and children. And rubber bullets were shot at will, including live ammunition fired at a slight angle in the air.

The use of bullets galvanized the demonstrators and people converged from all Lebanon to show their horror while two dozens of soldiers have been taken hostage by the extremist Islamic factions for more than a year and the political system refused to give the military the order  to take any action to free them.

And the demonstrators returned and brought tents and slept in Riad El Solh Quarter. (Ironically, the government erected a prefab wall of shame around the Serai after the rally was disbanded)

The next day was also very peaceful and the gathering increased in number and families flocked in with their kids, and singers and famous artists joined in.

By late afternoon, it was reported that trouble makers have been infiltrating the rank, and rumors wanted it that the appointed Maestro of the militia leaders Nabih Berry is effectively in charge of disbanding the peaceful gathering. It was a terrible horror scenes that night.

But claiming that most of the trouble-making infiltrators were injected and dispatched by Nabih Berry is not doing justice to the brave and heavy hearted demonstrators who converged from the 4 corners of Lebanon to take a stand. The government blocked the highway access from the north and the south to slow down the convergence of citizens from other regions in Lebanon

These dispatched infiltrators were few and had their faces covered and they were meant to act as catalysts and TV commentators lamely explained: the police force got its order toclear the place” with tear gas in profusion.

The so-called infiltrators (Mondassin) are the youth out of jobs (50% unemployment rate), famished, living in crowded family quarters, lacking health coverage and political cover for misdemeanours.

These disinherited youth gave the live coverage scenes of courage, determination and stubbornness that the Wild West could not match.

The story will not stop and reforms and changes will take place.

Note 1: This hapless Minister of the Environment divulged today the 5 winners in the bidding for waste management. Each main political party (read leader) got his share in the district he mostly represent. Ironically, every deal is far more expensive than Sukleen and the stench is increasing exponentially, politically and health risks

In context: After the end of the civil war in Lebanon, then Syria, Saudi Arabia and the USA agreed on a triumvirate to  be the Godfathers of the new political system, a system of cantons representing the civil militia aspect of a de-facto divided Lebanon among its various religious sects.
Two of the triumviri leaders were let militia leaders:  Nabih Berry (main man of Syria and current chairman of Parliament for the last 35 years and leader of Amal shiaa militia) and Walid Jumblat (Druze militia leader) and the rich real estate developer Rafic Hariri, parachuted by Saudi Arabia to be their main man and Prime Minister. (The militia leaders were tacitly allowed to keep their weapons hidden from the searches and collection by the Lebanese army).
All the other political figures in this theater, even the new comers of billionnaires to the scene, were the front.
The Maronite Christian militia leader Samir Jaagea was put in prison for 13 years.
General Michel Aoun, designated  Prime minister by the leaving President Amin Gemmayel, was remove by force by the Syrian and sent to exile in France. (Current leader of the Tayyar movement)
After Rafik Hariri was assassinated in 2005, the two militia leaders had a field day to rule Lebanon in every political, social and financial aspects
When all the parties agreed on a law or a project the political figures shared in the looting of the public funds and each one had his own financial Black Box and shares in the numbers of ministers, public services, the army and police forces. Accumulating the national debt to reach $70 billion was meant to compensate for the greedy cheese partakers in the system of post militia control under the semblance of a civil State.
Berry was appointed as the maestro of this system of systematic and blatant looting of the wealth of the nation.
When they disagreed, the Lebanese citizens had to suffer in many ways that is conceivable in any sensible State. (No electricity, no potable water, no health insurance…)
Then they disagreed on the ratio of splitting the garbage collection and treatment deals.
And for more than a month, the wastes have been accumulating in every street all over Lebanon and no resolution in sight.
The educated youth decided to rally against this garbage crisis under the slogan: “You stink. Get out of the way”
When the demonstrators gathered in  Sa7at Nejmeh (Star square where the Parliament is located), Nabih Berry ordered the guards to open fire with live bullets.
This order backfired and the people know who is the real gangster in this militia system of government.


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




March 2023

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