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Lebanon: Foreign Intervention and Economics

The Lebanese bloggers are united this week in wishing their readers all the best during Christmas, Al Adha and the New Year.
Some of these bloggers have taken up the issue of foreign intervention in the region as a subject of reflection while others highlight the sad state of economy and the effects that the political situation is having on it.

A reader left a comment praising the positive aspects of colonialism and/or occupation to which Ibn Bint Jbeil responded:

i have a plan for you. i would like to help you advance in your life. i am a very rich man and also own much property, and have immense and enviable political clout. my plan for you will commence soon, with or without your consent, once i locate where you are.
my plan is simple: i will break down your door, move in, turn your living room into my own private barracks, complete with mounted gun near the front entrance. my first step towards improving your life will be to force you at gunpoint to fix the door that i broke down.

Mehlis, who was the investigator in the Hariri murder case before Brammertz, was part of a witty post by EDB in which she ends with thorny questions about the on going investigations:

The problem with March 14th is that they are evidently as foolish as the White House, hiring disreputable Ahmed Chalabi-types to make their case. Mehlis has no credibility. None whatsoever. And why not get someone honest and well-respected to do the job?…
The funny thing is that March 14th's media will hype any of the UN investigation's conclusions. If Brammertz reports that Bashar al-Assad was taking a crap when Hariri was killed, well then that's evidence of foul play. If Brammertz suggests that an aerial attack might have caused the former Prime Minister's demise, well then what?
We don't know and I dare say we will never know who killed Rafiq Hariri. It's shameful, I know.

Russia has suddenly shown interest in the Lebanese affairs and has intervened to resolve the issues in conflict. This has raised Raja’s doubts:

the Russians are very ambitious all of a sudden. I'm left asking myself: exactly what has boosted their sense of relevance (confidence?) all of a sudden? They're talking of throwing the tribunal into the dust bin of history, hosting a peace conference that would, of all things, bring Iran and Israel to the table, and spewing all sorts of audacious initiatives into the wind. Essentially, they're telling the Americans: leave the Middle East to us, and we'll take care of things!

On the internal front, Hilal uses caustic satire to criticize the snobbish and almost racist attitude that some Lebanese are showing towards the the anti-government protestors (Ar).

All of this politics-free post must be read to really appreciate the waste of time and energy involved in a normal business day at the bank according to Jamal:

Banking facilities in Lebanon are world class. But don't be fooled by the spotless sparkling floors, fancy chandeliers, impeccably dressed employees, and the priceless historic artifacts that adorn the lobby, that's all just a facade. What really keeps our banks going and pumping money into all the patriotic feel good ad campaigns you see on TV and just before the feature presentatrion at the movies is not phoenecian financial whizzery but rather a precious little thing of ours that we call banking secrecy. Banking secrecy involves plenty of questionable business ethics; though that's a different issue for a different day because as advertised this post is politics free.

The vulnerable state of the economy and the inability of the talented Lebanese to solve its problems are highlighted by Lazarus:

as various political players continue to compensate for personal insecurities by hurling accusations and (im)mobilizing people, the lebanese economy is slowly but surely evaporating. several multinational technology companies have had a significant drop in sales within the lebanese market over the past year and a half, and the current bulk of their revenue comes from long-term deals closed over a year ago. even the quota for employees has been reduced in recognition of the faltering tempo of business.

Finally the following interesting quote on the feelings towards Israel that some Lebanese grow up with from a post titled “On Israel’s “Right to Exist”” by Mirvat:

When one grows up, one tries to examine his values and i do not say re-examine. I had the time and the freedom to think about how i feel towards Israel. I had to get rid of the pre-conceived ideas and the rooted feelings that were even involuntarily planted in me by my society. As a kid, the name Israel was associated with fear, with running for life, with neighbors getting blown up in the invasion of Beirut, with poor Palestinian refugees and their kids that my mother helped, mostly with confusion seeing my parents being helpless. As an adult, the name Israel evokes pictures of babies blown up under the bombs, ruthlessness and unfairness, mostly it is my turn to feel helpless. I then realized, I did not hate then. Kids do not hate. I hate now.

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