The winds that toppled British Prime Minister Liz Truss are omens of a bigger storm that could drag the next government into a whirlwind of turmoil. With Rishi Sunak as Premier, the political landscape in Britain is bound to change. Born to Indian immigrants who came to the United Kingdom in the sixties, Sunak will set a historic first in the country, which has rarely, if ever, seen a non-English government leader in its history.
Lebanon is on the brink of collapse. Some say Lebanon has collapsed already. All economic indicators speak to a dramatic situation: hyperinflation, loss of purchasing power, growing poverty, brain drain and a disappearing middle class, the backbone of Lebanese society. Lebanese do not need economic indicators. They feel what is happening on a daily basis.
When does a country become designated as a narco-state? Have Lebanon and Syria already reached that stage? The simple definition of such a state is that drugs are openly traded with the approval or even protection of the government. So, the answer is simple: The growing Captagon trade has made these two countries narco-states.
Teressa Walid is a mother of three who works as a nurse in the epidemiology department of Rafik Hariri University Hospital, Lebanon’s largest public hospital, located on the outskirts of Beirut. Like most Lebanese, she is struggling to survive in the midst of the worst financial crisis in the country’s history, which has seen a substantial deterioration in living conditions. Electricity, clean water, medicine, and fuel are in short supply, the Lebanese currency has lost 90 percent of its value and inflation has soared to triple digits. As a result, more than 80 percent of the country’s population now find themselves living below the poverty line.
Justice Minister Henri Khoury has walked the walk. He announced Tuesday, after a meeting with President Michel Aoun, that a judge would be appointed shortly to address the “urgent matters” related to the probe into the Aug. 4 Beirut port explosion, especially the fate of detainees in the case.
Lebanon is suffering in the throes of one of the largest economic collapses of modern times as it struggles to recover from a disastrous peacetime blast that devastated the Beirut port and whole neighborhoods in August 2020. Presidential elections in the fall could influence the course of the country for years to come. The next few months deserve particular domestic and international attention to help Lebanon move toward socioeconomic recovery.
Lebanon’s nonstate actors, charities and international donors have always had an important role to play in picking up the government’s slack. Ever since a brief renaissance following the end of the country’s civil war, Lebanon’s governments have been characterized by inefficiency and corruption, constrained by powerful militias and the political movements they represent.
The recent extensive armed confrontations, the storming of the Presidential Palace that is a state symbol, and the casualties have all made Baghdad a more dangerous city than before. Despite the army’s intervention, the removal of road blockades, and the cessation of clashes, Iraq’s near future is still hard to predict as long as its disputes remain unresolved.
On Thursday, Lebanon will enter the two-month constitutional period during which parliament must elect a successor to President Michel Aoun. Revealingly, Hezbollah has adopted a different attitude than the one six years ago, when it had provoked a debilitating two-year presidential vacuum as leverage to bring Mr Aoun to office.
Last Thursday marked the second anniversary of the massive explosion in Beirut port that was caused by a large stockpile of ammonium nitrate stored in warehouses. According to the UN, the powerful blast killed more than 200 people, damaged 77,000 apartments, wounded 7,000 people and displaced over 300,000 more, at least 80,000 of whom were children.
When Russia invaded Ukraine in February, many observers expected that Russia’s military would make quick work of President Vladimir Putin’s mission: to capture the country’s capital, Kyiv, depose its democratically elected government and restore Ukraine to Moscow’s control.
Two years after Beirut’s port catastrophe — which was an apt metaphor for the wider state of Lebanon —the port’s huge grain silos continue to disintegrate and toxic fires feed upon their decomposing contents, terrorizing locals and prompting fears about stinking clouds of carcinogenic dust visiting new afflictions upon a capital city that has been brutally stripped of its soul.
Last Thursday, the day of the second anniversary of the Beirut port blast, was the day that it became conclusively certain that the Lebanese have been expelled to nature and that they must manage their affairs there, not in a state of laws or through socialization.