As Lebanese nationals, we all appreciate efforts by any friend of Lebanon to assist in finding a working solution to our festering problems.
France is definitely and has always been a friend of Lebanon. We hope however, that friends do not abuse each other. From either side of course.
In his latest visit, President Macron said the Lebanese have to solve their problems on their own. The large responsibility of the matter falls upon us Lebanese to solve, no doubt. However, today, a large part of the problem is regional, if not a global.
The involvement of the international community is a must, as the country has been hijacked since the civil war and the ‘Taef’ agreement. The Syrians rigged the game while keeping one party armed to the teeth, while all other militias were dismantled. This time however, the resolution needs to be done away from the ‘legitimized warlords’ and corrupt ruling cartel, who have entrenched themselves in all departments of government. Any effort to reform, by the cartel or their cronies, is doomed to fail, from the outset. The carrot does not work, the stick is the way. The international community should rely more on the stick than the carrot to enable true change. This issue is akin to the global drug trade from South America, that required the assistance of serious external forces to dismantle it. The only way to beat a mafia is by beheading it. Our ‘monster’ is an eight-headed beast.
Negotiating with the current leaders perpetuates them, and condemns future generations. If this happens, this would be partly a responsibility President Macron would have to live with as he would have aided and abetted the criminals hijacking #Lebanon
President Macron’s proposed plan, if managed by the current Corrupt Ruling Cartel including the ones that participated intermittently during the 35 years past, will also be a ‘rigged’ approach, intentionally or otherwise. Negotiating with any of them is tantamount to partnership with them, and will perpetuate them, and condemn our kids and the future generations. If this happens, this would be partly a responsibility President Macron would have to live with as he would have aided and abetted the criminal Cartel.
We know what happened with the ‘Gilets Jaunes’ when they were invited to negotiate. They were diffused by a classic tactic of engaging and compromise. Such an approach is rejected outright by the Lebanese People. The People today have lost everything and will not compromise on principles.
It is very noble for France to assist its younger sibling in resolving its issues. There is nothing wrong for France to seek benefits, for it and or its French companies, in Lebanon (Total and the off-shore Gas, or even lucrative rebuilding contracts, the Port, the Healthcare systems etc…) or even elsewhere, in Iran. However, this cannot and should not be done at the expense of the will of the majority of the Lebanese People.
President Macron proposed a ‘concept paper’ with reforms and laying a road map. His starting point is flawed. Asking the Corrupt Ruling Cartel to initiate reforms is like asking a murderer to judge him/herself and give a ‘get out of jail card’ #Lebanon
President Macron proposed a ‘concept paper’ requesting reforms and laying a road map. His starting point is flawed. President Macron is asking the Corrupt Ruling Cartel to initiate the points and reforms! This is like asking a thief and a murderer to judge him/herself, and give him/herself a ‘get out of jail card’. A non-starter and unfair approach altogether. The Cartel will stall for time, play the long game and bleed the people further, hoping that many will emigrate or acquiesce to their unfortunate fate, while awaiting more favorable geopolitical shifts to ensure their further grip on the country. That is their strategy!
President Macron’s main points in his ‘road map’ are:
1- The Audit of the Central Bank
2- The Appointment of an interim government, capable of enacting reform
3- Early legislative elections within a year.
Yet his ‘road map’ is missing one key important point required for real reform: the independence of the Judiciary, which might or might not have been included in the second item.
Instead, we believe that the following should be the steps.
To enact true change and achieve true reform and a new Vision for the Country, that matches the aspiration of the majority of the Lebanese, requires a Salvation Government, not one of Unity, which has been tried and tested but tragically failed over the last 35 years.
This should be part of a package deal solution, supported and sponsored, by the International friends of Lebanon, as per the Aid Donor Conference of August 9, 2020, with the assistance of the United Nations, EU and the Arab League.
This should not be based on any compromise whatsoever and be conditional upon the following:
1- Disassociation form the regional and international conflicts, and a resolution to the arms of Hezbollah and in no way should be done as was done in the past failed Taef experience of integrating the war militias into the Lebanese armed forces.
2- Sidelining and/or removal and/ or replacement of the existing ‘illegitimate’ President, Prime Minister and Speaker of the House by truly independents either via ‘governing council’ or otherwise.
3- Launch of a “Marshal” like socio-economic recovery plan, conditional on all the above, and conditional on non-participation of the ‘Kleptocratic’ Corrupt Cartel, their representatives, or the usual suspects.
4- A Salvation Interim Government with Decree Powers to:
- Install proper governance measures including full Transparency and accountability across all government branches and Public Administrations (eg: execute all laws related to beneficiary ownership, subcontract laws and the like, and the lifting of banking secrecy, etc..)
- Enact all laws to enable the Independence of the Judiciary
- Plan, execute and distribute equitably and evenly the Socio-Economic recovery plan
- Enact and adopt a modern parliamentary election law that embodies the vision outlined above (one year might be too tight – 2 years is a more likely timeline)
- Manage and prepare for free and fair elections with the assistance and oversight of the United Nations, EU and credible and arm’s length third parties.
- Enact and enforce all necessary laws to enable change
This might sound naïve, but why not identify a truly clean and independent Team, and involve the younger generation who will surely outperform the Cartel that is responsible for the 15 year civil war, and destroying the country many times over, mismanaging public affairs with negligence and corruption, systemically integrating corrupt practices into the daily lives of the Lebanese, to the point of economic melt-down, and the latest, a “Hiroshima” like disaster. The so-called ‘Elite’ got fat while the ordinary Lebanese had no choice; either emigrate or accept the corrupt system as it is. It is time to put an end to this spiraling nightmare.
To effect change, Lebanon needs the help and support of the international community, including President Macron’s. On the other hand, the Corrupt Ruling Cartel does not. We hope President Macron will do the right thing and chose the side of the righteous
The Cartel must be forced to step aside. They will surely fight this, as the Mafia traditionally would rather burn the house down and go down with it. Gadhafi and Saddam are examples of how far they might be willing to go at the expense of the People. President Macron should not align himself with them, and instead stand on moral ground.
What is needed is a new breed of leadership. One that has stepped up and literally cleaned the Cartel’s mess. One that gives and does not take. One that is on the good side not the bad. This is the leadership that shall set the foundations of the new Lebanon that was alluded to during the French President’s latest visit.
Today, to change and build a properly governed Lebanon we need a salvation Government to include this new breed, of truly Independents, of non-aligned true patriots that are not agents to foreign powers, nor colluding with the established corrupt Ruling Kleptocratic System. This New Leadership, besides having the will, the readiness and the requisite competencies for the job at hand, must be vetted to be truly independent, commit and be held accountable, unlike the current ruling Cartel, who evade responsibility at every occasion. This New Leadership needs to be selected and filtered by committing and acting according to the Vision for the New Lebanon and the Values and Principles of the new generation, that was witnessed in President Macron’s latest visit to Gemmayze and Mar Mikhael.
The ‘Alternative’ talent and capabilities for the New Leadership are available. It however needs cover and protection from the malevolent Cartel to emerge. The Cartel will eliminate it if identified and if it has no protection. This has happened many times in the past. This is where the international community can help by guaranteeing protection. More importantly the New Leadership must be empowered, internally and externally, and be granted the tools and powers to effect the required change. If not it will fail. This would be a waste of time, a luxury the Lebanese cannot afford.
To effect real change, Lebanon needs the help and support of the international community, including President Macron’s. On the other hand, the Corrupt Ruling Cartel does not. We hope and believe that President Macron will do the right thing and pick the side of the righteous.