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Lebanese Prime Minister Hassan Dian, Feb. 3, 2020. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

Lebanese society on verge of collapse, says its prime minister

Lebanese Prime Minister Hassan Diab warned on Tuesday that the country is in dire crisis and set to explode, and called on the international community to help.

“Lebanon is a few days away from the social explosion. The Lebanese are facing this dark fate alone,” Diab said during a meeting with diplomatic missions in Beirut, reported Reuters.

Its currency has lost 90 percent of its value with more than half the country living in poverty.

Diab has been serving as caretaker prime minister since a government has not been formed since the massive explosions at the Beirut Port last summer.

He said that the populace was running out of patience and that “linking Lebanon’s assistance to the formation of a new government has become a threat to the lives of the Lebanese and to the Lebanese entity.”

Even Israel is concerned, although the two countries are at odds with Hezbollah controlling much of the Lebanese countryside.

In an opinion piece, Emile Nakhleh, a retired CIA Senior Intelligence Service Officer and founding director of the CIA’s Political Islam Strategic Analysis Program Office says the problem is complicated.

“Sectarian politics in Lebanon has allowed national politicians to pursue their narrow interests at the expense of the country. Alliances have been formed, for example between the Maronite president and the Shi’ite Hezbollah leader Hasan Nasrallah, in order to maximize their control of the national purse, expand their wealth, and keep their armed militias well-funded. The corruption in Lebanon is notorious and widespread,” Nakhleh states.

The extravagant lifestyles of the political elite attests to this corruption, and the people know it. If these conditions are allowed to continue, Lebanon could become bankrupt within two years, which would allow neighboring states like Syria, Iran, Turkey, Russia and terrorist groups to exploit Lebanon’s instability.

Currently, “Citizens have no money to buy groceries and when they do, the Lebanese currency, the lira — which has lost over 80 percent of its value in the past year — is becoming almost worthless. Tempers are flaring in markets, at banks, in government offices, and on the streets. The anger against the political class and leading politicians is driven by ‘bread and butter’ issues, not ideology.”

–JNS and wire services