Lebanon is a country in shambles with the latest sign of its failed nature a violent street battle between Hezbollah and the Amal Movement, two of the groups fighting over control of the state’s affairs. Seven people lost their lives when tensions burst leading to a deadly street battle characterized by gunfire and rocket launchers. The scuffle started when snipers on rooftops targeted protesters, shooting them on their heads. The protests were a result of recent investigations into what caused the Beirut Port Blast and those who were responsible. Even more, the judge tasked with the investigations, Judge Tarek Bitar, has come under a lot of criticism owing to his standing up against impunity and corruption. Some protesters protested against his role in the investigations while others protested in support of his role and efforts to bring those responsible to book. Judge Bitar is seen as one of the only uncorrupt judges in the country, leading to tough criticisms from groups such as Hezbollah that have dominated the political landscape in Lebanon. Their involvement and influence are majorly to blame for the woes leading to the failed state that is Lebanon.
The Beirut Port Blast of 2020
Lebanon is a failed state in every way imaginable. The country is led by corrupt leaders who are affiliated, and some would say, controlled by groups such as Hezbollah that exercise a sort of deep-state political hold over them. There is mounting impunity and corruption that recently culminated into the Beirut Port Blast on 4th August 2020, one of the worst explosions in a city globally. The blast killed 200 people, with hundreds more injured. Entire buildings were destroyed with many people losing their homes and businesses. Fast forward a year later and justice is yet to be served for the families of the victims and Lebanon as a whole. According to reports, the Ammonium Nitrate that exploded was not supposed to be in the port or stored so callously. The mistakes that led to the blast are a huge indicator of the failed state that is Lebanon.
Lebanon: A Culturally-Rich Country with Immense Potential
Lebanon is a beautiful country, let’s make it clear. It is also one of the most culturally rich countries in the Middle East. It has so much potential and despite several civil wars and conflicts in the past, is a country that can be very prosperous. However, the country is plagued by systemic corruption, impunity, and a continually failing justice system. The latest scuffle, Thursday’s open fighting in the streets of its capital city Beirut, is the latest manifestation of that. Can you imagine how horrifying it is for children to have to be evacuated from school after the streets of the city are marred with open violence and gunfights? What happened on Thursday is unacceptable and no city or nation should have to go through such an open show of force by any controlling group.
Hezbollah, the Amal Movement, and Other Deep-State Interest Groups
Hezbollah and the Amal movement have continually crossed the line using violence and force to achieve their ends. The groups should be expelled from Lebanon and should have nothing to do with the leadership of the country. It is unacceptable that they push their interests through the capture of the political leadership of the country to the point that an investigation into the deadly blast cannot be undertaken, to shield their alleged involvement or interests. Their show of force is a crime against the sovereignty of the nation and the safety and security of its people. With that said, it is about time that something is done about their ever-increasing influence in the leadership of Lebanon, even if that means an overhaul of Lebanon’s political system. In our view, there is no other way to save the failed state that is Lebanon.
A Dire Situation in Lebanon: Political Crises, a Failed Economy, and Gripping Fuel and Food Shortages
The situation in Lebanon is dire. This can be seen in the ever-raging fuel shortages, a lack of clean water, mounting insecurity, and a failed currency and economy. Even more, in the numerous political crises that have plagued the country. Lebanon has had numerous Prime Ministers in the last decade, with most of them having to resign out of the failure to form a government or bring the country’s leadership together. Underlying such failures are the ‘interest groups’ in the country i.e. Hezbollah, the Amal Movement, and others. These groups have a firm grip on the leadership of the country and any Prime Minister that fails to align to their interests, is likely to face a leadership crisis.
President Michel Aoun’s Failure
The country’s president, Michel Aoun, who nominates Prime Ministers has been seen to fail in his leadership also. He has failed to expel the various groups exerting influence in the leadership of the country. With a presidential and parliamentary election slated in the coming months, Aoun could well be on his way out. As the country’s president, he could have done so much more to stop corruption and impunity and steer Lebanon into prosperity, social justice, and peace. As it stands, there is an increasing risk of a civil war as tensions rise with the recent street battle and the oncoming elections.
A National Day of Mourning After a Deadly Street Battle
After Thursday’s street battle, which lasted four hours, a day of national mourning was held on Friday with those killed buried. The current Prime Minister, Najib Mikati, has indicated that his government will not interfere with the Beirut Port Blast investigation. There have also been several arrests of those seen in CCTV footage to be involved in Thursday’s street violence. Additionally, some of the snipers have also been arrested.
A Fragile Peace in Lebanon and the Risk of All-Out Civil War
Lebanon’s peace is fragile as we speak and there is an increasing risk of all-out civil war. The fact that there is an election on the way just adds fuel to the fire, not forgetting the now-suspended investigations into what led to the Beirut Port Blast in 2020. The failed state that is Lebanon is increasingly facing numerous woes, including economic troubles with the cost of living shooting up owing to humongous levels of inflation and a failed currency. Many citizens are unable to access basic needs and many have had to grapple with frequent power cuts, fuel shortages, and increasing prices. The future of Lebanon is at stake and it is time the international community upped the ante in its efforts to encourage change, the expulsion of corruption, and social justice in Lebanon. The failed state that is Lebanon is in dire need of an overhaul in its political system, the economy, and the country’s leadership as a whole.