Asharq Al-awsat English Middle-east and International News and Opinion from Asharq Al-awsat Newspaper

Two Obstacles Face the Lebanese Uprising: Banks, Hezbollah

Two Obstacles Face the Lebanese Uprising: Banks, Hezbollah

Thursday, 12 December, 2019 - 14:00
Demonstrators carry national flags and gesture during a protest targeting the government over an economic crisis in the port city of Sidon, Lebanon October 18, 2019. REUTERS/Ali Hashisho

Two obstacles stand in the way of the Lebanese uprising and prevent it from achieving its goals: the banking sector and Hezbollah.

While the dynamics of obstruction and counter-revolution overlapped with these two components, each of them has a strategy to thwart and besiege the uprising.

The banking sector seems to be ignoring and refraining from making any concessions, not only to meet the demands of the street but also to respond to calls made by the governor of Banque du Liban, who was involved in maximizing the influence of bankers decades ago.

It is a strategy of laziness and deliberate indifference, waiting for the anger to fade and for the ruling political group to be able to beg some aid from unknown “philanthropists”.

On the other hand, Hezbollah is adopting an active strategy by threatening to use violence, similarly to its allies who faced the revolution in Iraq and suppressed protesters in Iran.

The policy of intimidation and threats falls within attempts to end the uprising and resume the previous course, while disregarding the fact that the Lebanese economic-political model that arose with the establishment of Greater Lebanon a hundred years ago, has been damaged, ceased to function, and cannot be repaired without a fundamental and structural change.

These two factors, represented by the banking inactivity and the armed threat, form the gallows stifling the Lebanese uprising.

Banks, by ignoring the citizens and preventing them from using their deposited funds, add an overwhelming burden to the daily life concerns of the majority of the Lebanese people.

The banks, of which the politicians constitute more than forty percent of shareholders and owners, do not want to listen to rescue plans prepared by some of the most brilliant economic experts. They reject every approach that calls them to be what they were claiming throughout the previous period, i.e. the pillar that carries the entire national economy. Instead, they are currently assuming the role of Shylock, who has no objection to seeing blood covering the streets instead of contributing, even with a small amount, to preventing the catastrophe.

Hezbollah joins this bleak scene, by providing its supporters with a myriad of conspiracy theories and accusations of betrayal against anyone who dares to call for a change in the group’s behavior. The party pretends that every change, no matter how simple and fair, is nothing more than an introduction to the elimination of the resistance for the sake of the US-Zionist project.

The encounter between the banks and the resistance seems strange. They both constitute wings of the “private sector”, which flourished at the expense of the Lebanese state and society.

Editor Picks