Lebanon, 1943 to 2020, An Epic story of political and economic crisis
The Beirut explosion shook economically devastated Lebanon. Due to inflation, corruption, and unemployment, the people of Lebanon demanded the resignation of the government, for which the Lebanese government has finally resigned after a nationwide strike began for the resignation of the government.
Lebanon’s economic situation is the worst in the world. The country is in a state of uncertainty, the country is once again on the brink of civil war. How Lebanon reached here, there is a complicated story behind it.
Cause of Beirut Explosion
A huge explosion near the northern city of Beirut has killed at least 200 people and injured 6,000 others. The Beirut blast 2020 was caused by 2,710 tonnes of ammonium nitrate, which was stored at a port in Beirut.
The question now is who controls the port. The Beirut explosion port is controlled by two entities, the Customs Authority, and the Beirut Port Authority.
Interestingly, the two institutions are controlled by two separate figures: the Customs Authority is run by the current Lebanese president, while the Port Authority is run by supporters of the former Lebanese president. Behind this is the Lebanese political system that is causing this division.
Division of religious sects
Lebanon has Syria on one side and the Mediterranean on the other. Due to which the geographical importance of Lebanon increases.
Behind the political system of this country is the process of religious division. In Lebanon, 27% are Shia Muslims, 27% are Sunni Muslims, 21% are Maronite Christians and the remaining 25% are from different religious sects, numbering more than 18.
But Lebanese politics or the Lebanese government is run by the country’s three largest religious groups, Shiites, Sunnis, and Christians. There is a reason for this.
Lebanon’s Political System
When Lebanon gained independence from France in 1943, Lebanese leaders pledged to give equal rights to all religious groups in their country and to equal representation in government. Due to which it was decided that the Prime Minister of Lebanon would be a Sunni Muslim, President Moronite would be a Christian and the Speaker of Parliament would be a Shiite Muslim.
This partition looks simple and excellent but it is very complex.
Each religious group formed its own party to govern Lebanon and worked hard to make it the true representative party of Lebanon. As a result, the distance between all religious groups and parties widened and tensions escalated.
Lebanon’s Civil War 1975-1990
Basically, this distribution of power seems to be influenced by socialism, And we see that, whenever there is a positive change in the country, all the parties try to take credit for that change, while if something bad happens, all The parties blame each other. Due to which mismanagement increased in the country.
When corruption, mismanagement, and economic problems in the country go to extremes, civil war breaks out in Lebanon. The civil war lasted from 1975 to 1990.
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Taif Agreement 1990
Then in 1990 the “Taif Agreement” took place, as a result of which the powers of the President were reduced. Earlier, the president, who was a Christian, had more power than the prime minister.
After 1990, Lebanon’s political leaders understood that the country’s affairs would now be easier. But in reality nothing happened easily. Because religion had so much influence in the politics of the country, an extremist society had come into being.
Under this system, each religious group voted for its own religious party, making it stronger and stronger. In addition, due to this division, foreign countries also began to support their own religious party, which led to increased foreign intervention in Lebanon.
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Foreign Intervention- Beirut Explosion
If we talk about foreign intervention in Lebanon, the Shiite Muslim Party began to be supported from outside Iran, while the Sunni Muslim Party began to be supported by Saudi Arabia and the Moronite Christians began to be supported by Israel and other European countries. Due to which the intensity of the country increased further and an atmosphere of intolerance was created.The situation in the country did not change even after the Taif agreement. Because as many political parties as there were, they were only supporting the people of their sect. Was ignoring other sects. Due to which corruption increased further and the country’s economy was completely destroyed
Worst condition of Economy
Due to the economic crisis in the country, about one-third of the population is living below the poverty line. The devastation in the country after the civil war was never remedied. The gap between domestic imports and exports widened, which was never taken seriously. Factories were destroyed. Many industrialists moved their industries from Lebanon to other Arab countries. Representatives of the Lebanese government were still conspiring against each other, using people in the name of religion. The country had run out of money. To run the affairs of state, the government began raising taxes on the people. By September, October 2019, the situation was so bad that people could not withdraw money from ATMs. On October 17, 2019, the Lebanese government announced that it was imposing a new tax on the use of the WhatsApp.
Protests against inflation and corruption in Lebanon also began in October with the imposition of a tax on WhatsApp and spread throughout the country. The protest is called the October Revolution.
As protests intensified in October, Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri resigned, and Hassan Diab was sworn in as Lebanon’s new prime minister, announcing that Lebanon would have to make tough economic decisions. The Lebanese people had high hopes for the policies, but those hopes were not fulfilled, as after the swearing in of Hassan Diab, Code 19 begins, which further worsens Lebanon’s economic situation. The ongoing economic crisis in the country is getting worse, the situation of the people suffering from poverty, inflation and unemployment for a decade is getting more hard.
The resignation of Lebanon’s Government- Beirut Explosion
On the afternoon of August 4, 2020, two explosions took place in the port of Beirut, the capital of Lebanon. The second explosion was very powerful, killing about 200 people and injuring about 6,000. Poverty and inflation-stricken people are once again demanding the resignation of the Lebanese government, and nationwide protests are beginning. Given the fragility of the situation, Lebanon’s new prime minister, Hassan Diab, has resigned, along with his cabinet.
The blast displaced about 300,000 people and caused more than 15 billion in damage. The Beirut bombing could be described as a trigger, sparking public anger and escalating protests.
The current situation is such that Lebanon once again appears to be on the brink of civil war. After the Beirut Explosion, protesters demanded that the system be changed, not just political faces. Their demands are that
- an end to government corruption
- an end to the sectarian political system
- The recovery of stolen funds and holding the corruption accountable
- Fair tax and financial procedures
These demands seem quite reasonable and seem to be the best solution to Lebanon’s problems. But the coming days will be more difficult for Lebanon. It takes time to fully implement a new system.
It remains to be seen how Lebanon will cope with the current political and economic crisis.
Will Lebanon succeed in bringing about a new political system?
Will Lebanon be able to improve its economy?
These are the questions that will be answered in the future.