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AUGUST 2021

Lebanon’s Anti-Graft Drive Is Entirely Fake as Political Groups Fight Hezbollah over the Scraps

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Written by Martin Jay; Originally appeared on strategic-culture.org

There’s a great deal of fake goods in Lebanon’s malls leaving many preferring to buy their designer label clothes when they travel overseas. But fake Lebanon goes beyond Levi jeans or Gucci handbags. In this tiny country ‘fake’ is often services, entire companies and even doctors, care workers, economists. Then there is the fake economy run by a network of companies willing and ready to support a market exploited by the corrupt elite anxious to get their hands on international development cash.

And when you’ve got your head around this fake world, then there is the biggest drain on Lebanon: fake governance.

Lebanon’s Anti-Graft Drive Is Entirely Fake as Political Groups Fight Hezbollah over the Scraps

Fake governance is politicians and MPs pretending to do their jobs when in reality all they are doing is using their position to divert cash into their own overseas bank accounts via a system which has simply got out of hand. Corruption is a hungry pike which has swallowed up a pond full of small fry players who play by the rules. It’s just too late now to hope for a miracle.

And this, in case you were wondering, is what is happening now in Lebanon when we read articles about a new anti-corruption drive brought about by an imploding economy. In January, the national debt reached $85.32 billion — nearly 150% of the gross domestic product — an increase of $4.93 billion compared to January 2018. This debt forced an international conference in Paris called ‘the CEDRE conference’ which in April 2018, international donors committed $11.8 billion to revitalize the economy, while the Lebanese government pledged in return to combat corruption and reform the public sector.

Or at least that’s what written on the side of the tin.

True, the Paris conference has driven a momentum in Lebanon to tackle corruption, but it’s largely for all the wrong reasons and, mostly, entirely fake.

But who to target in such a campaign, in a country which has a built in protection against those carrying out the industrial scale graft?

Public employees are the only viable group as Parliamentarians have a de facto immunity under Lebanese law, while nailing presidents, prime ministers and ministers (former or present) requires the consent of the Supreme Council for the Trial of Presidents and Ministers, which includes eight of the most senior national judges and seven deputies selected by the parliament. That’s a tad complicated given that judges are considered to be a big part of the problem.

Or at least that’s what Hezbollah believes, hence its own farcical war cry against this group – former leaders and judges – to counter the other groups’ own farcical campaigns against public servants.

Yet neither is expected to really do anything. The non-Hezbollah camp, led my Saad Hariri who can hardly be called candida when it comes to feeding from the trough wants to create a pantomime for international donors so that they can get their hands on a big part of the 11bn dollars pledged (90% of which is in loans) , with rumours in Beirut about the environment ministry embezzling a couple of billion dollars abound. Of course, these sort of rumours barely stir the Lebanese who resort to humour to face the reality that faces them, like parodying the new minister in the same ministry who is a real estate tycoon who can’t even keep the plant in his office alive; this is in a country, after all, where each government minister has his own business empire – even the former anti-corruption minister who made his pile in tyres and who’s entire office amounts of three staff and a fax machine – and which has a tourism minister who is so stupid, that he is actually driving droves of tourists away with his one man campaign of idiocy. Add to that a central bank governor who, wait for it, actually knows a thing or two about banking but is not even exempt from rumours of plundering billions. And let’s not even get on the news this week that the central bank in Beirut lost 20bn dollars, which is probably fake news. Apparently.

The real corruption is not with public servants in Lebanon but with the Key Stone Cops who get the jobs of government ministerial posts, for really only one purpose which is to embezzle funds assiduously as possible for their own warlords who installed them there for that express purpose.

The system is corrupt and until there is a momentum of debate in Lebanon about how to wipe the slate clean and go for a new system entirely – probably one which does away with the confessional one – corruption will always run and control every single dime which is in circulation. It’s not only that an economy is held back from developing – as it frightens away foreign investors who would truly love to tap into the high level of education and location –  but even security, law and order, the environment and public health are horrendously compromised as a result. The elite are fervently committed to allowing the ‘wasta’ (corruption by kinship) system prevail and law and order remain as a fanciful notion most Lebanese watch on American TV as it is a tacit deal between them and the masses which support them. Deeply unpopular moves, like, say installing law and order on the roads to curtain the daily carnage, would be deeply unpopular and be seen as a drain on people’s strained purses. Corruption works both ways.

Hezbollah’s anti-corruption drum beat though is driven by US sanctions against Iran, forcing the Lebanese Shiite group to be more creative in how it extracts valuable dollars from the system. They will either get the scalps they crave, or cash as a good substitute. All we are seeing with these anti-corruption drives is groups scrapping over bones, like stray dogs on a rubbish dump of what many might call a smouldering failed state. But fake Lebanon is producing the fake news, by the fake politicians who are faking their anti-graft drive. If most Lebanese taxi drivers know this, why is international media giving it such credibility? Is international media also fake?

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1691

Placing Lebanon, fake or not, under the spotlight is intended.
What happens next? God forbid they get American style “democracy”.

JustPassingThrough

is it as corrupt as israel?

Omega

In terms of corruption, Lebanon is to Israel what a drop of water is to an ocean.

AlexanderAmproz

Bonsoir Omega,
Documentaire intéressant sur la legalisation du cannabis
https://www.arte.tv/fr/videos/080157-000-A/cannabis-quand-le-deal-est-legal/

Cannabis : quand le deal est légal

91 min

Disponible du 29/03/2019 au 31/05/2019

Sous-titrage malentendant

Ce programme est disponible en vidéo à la demande ou DVD.

Ce programme est disponible en vidéo à la demande ou DVD.

Plusieurs pays optent pour la légalisation du cannabis. Cette forme de régulation tient-elle ses promesses ? Une enquête ambitieuse sur les expérimentations menées à travers le monde et les enjeux d’un marché en plein essor.

Après plus de cinquante ans de politique répressive dictée par les traités internationaux, sans guère d’effets sur la production et la consommation, nombre de pays sont de plus en plus nombreux à dépénaliser la marijuana. Si une quarantaine d’États autorisent l’usage du cannabidiol (CBD), la molécule à usage thérapeutique de la plante, d’autres vont plus loin en légalisant la consommation récréative du cannabis. En intervenant directement sur le marché de la drogue, ils espèrent priver les cartels de l’une de leurs sources de revenus. Pour endiguer une criminalité galopante liée au trafic, l’Uruguay a été le premier pays en 2013 à autoriser la production et la consommation du cannabis. Après une longue bataille entre partisans et pourfendeurs de la légalisation, dix États américains, puis le Canada, ont suivi cet exemple. En Amérique du Nord, le cannabis est devenu un business comme les autres, avec ses cultivateurs, ses gestionnaires, ses cabinets d’avocats et ses lobbyistes. Mais face à la reprise en main du secteur, les mafias ne restent pas inactives. Si la marijuana légale rapporte chaque année près de 250 millions de dollars de taxes au Colorado, la filière illicite n’a pas disparu pour autant. Dans le Michigan, des dealers se réorganisent pour vendre de l’héroïne ou de la cocaïne. En Uruguay, le marché noir reste attractif en raison d’une offre légale insuffisante.

Juteux business

Au terme d’une investigation mondiale, les réalisateurs dressent un vaste panorama des différents modèles d’expérimentation de la légalisation du cannabis. Chiffres, témoignages des acteurs du secteur ou avis d’experts à l’appui, ce film révèle aussi comment la légalisation de la marijuana a fait émerger un juteux business aux mains de quelques grands groupes. De la ferme clandestine d’un cartel au Mexique, aux serres ultramodernes d’une exploitation géante au Canada, en passant par l’une des rares plantations légales de cannabis médical en Suisse, un éclairage rigoureux sur les enjeux politiques et économiques colossaux des deux filières de la drogue qui coexistent aujourd’hui.

Omega

Un documentarie qui révèle de très bons points. Merci pour partager.

Real Anti-Racist Action

Postmodernism is materialism. “A Zionist institution of spreading greedy selfishness over ones own tribe”. It softens a people up, and makes them easier to be conquered.comment image?_nc_ht=scontent-ort2-2.cdninstagram.com

Ronald

Why is my comment spam ?

1691

You must have hit a nerve and either SF’s moderator or a troll did not quite like it. and pressed the flag button. Go to your profile and repost again

Omega

The author of this article depicts corruption and the eco-system built around it accurately but he also exaggerates, out of anger or malice, when it comes to the Lebanese society in general. How can services, care workers and doctors be “often fake” and what is the basis of his statement? Is the fake doctor story the bust of two people in 2015? If so, how is it inherent to Lebanon? One also does not need to travel overseas to buy designers’ clothing, watches, etc as every major and boutique brands have an official point of sale in Solidère and throughout Beirut.

Otherwise, politicians, ministers et al. are indeed corrupt goons who solely seek positions to fill their pockets up. I don’t know until when it will go on. Since he was brought up, there is not a single shadow of a doubt that the Ministry of Tourism — a “Lebanese” of Armenian origin who publicly stated to favor Armenia over Lebanon and who uses his position to attack turkey — is an incompetent and absolute idiot.

goingbrokes

Agreed, corruption is very difficult to uproot when it has taken hold, also people have to live and work inside a corrupt system even when they are not particularly corrupt themselves. Corruption is particularly hard to uproot when a foreign power is constantly trying to increase corruption. I believe Hezbollah has made some serious headway to the corruption issue in parts of Lebanon.

InDefenseofMarxism

I misread the headline. I thought Lebanon had claimed to have developed an anti-gravity drive. Personally, I’d be willing to give them the benefit of the doubt.

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