And he finally did it. PM Najib Mikati resigned on Friday after lots of previous calls for resignations, explicitly by March 14 and implicitly – in form of threats – by Hezbollah’s camp. But Mikati did not do it to please those guys, it was simply the best action for him.
The Lebanese people won’t accept, after today, the continuation of the government of assassination
In a half-civilised country, if a cat was killed in the same way as Wissam Al-Hassan was killed, a government or at least a minister would resign. So no question what should happen when a security chief gets bombed.
But let’s be honest here, Lebanon is an abnormal farm that makes such a move a high-risk venture with unknown consequences. At its best, we could be looking at political vacuum. At its worst, we are taking about sectarian civil war here. And this message was clearly passed on by the US and EU that they don’t mind this Hezbollah-controlled government to keep going.
I deeply thank Habib Battah for his blog post on The Beirut Report for highlighting an example of the bad conditions under which construction workers (foreign most of the time) live in Lebanon. Construction in general is a subject close to my heart, and “health and safety” is a main aspect of delivering construction projects, considering this industry is statistically one of the most dangerous in terms of accidents and casualties numbers (relative to other office and non-office jobs).
A few conversations took place yesterday between the Lebanese President Michel Sleiman and Iran’s ambassador to Lebanon Ghazanfar (Ghadanfar) Roknabadi. It started with a phone call…
(ring ring ring, ring ring ring, ring ring ring…)
Michel: oh thanks for picking up, at last.
The Lebanese government has passed a new draft law electoral law based on Proportional Representation (PR) yesterday, in which it divides Lebanon into 13 districts. The new draft law will have to be debated and passed by the parliament, which could make it also a totally different animal by then.
In a previous post, I concluded that Hezbollah and its M8 alliance will be the main winners from PR if Lebanon was adopted as one district. Now, the cabinet is proposing 13 districts, which could mitigate Hezbollah’s influence, but overall, they are still winning from such a proposal. Which is why Hariri and March 14 are quite vocal against PR, although I am not sure what they really want instead of it!
Ok, so the airport road was closed again yesterday in Beirut, and reopened this morning. If there are signs of impotency of the Lebanese government, surely its helpless watching of this chaos is one of them (too many signs to list here). If the government can’t impose the rule of law and ensure the safety of its citizens, may be at least it needs to regulate that chaos.
That was me, but more than one year ago:
Soon, they (the government) won’t be able to blame the previous Hariri policies, and as time progresses, their argument against the previous Hariri policies will weaken. They are in charge now, and responsible for steering the economy, cleaning up the state and politics from corruption. It goes without saying that the new lineup could ultimately end up in an explosive manner.
I must admit, I didn’t expect the government to be that bad, and the country to be falling apart as it is now. The government was supposed to contain political parties that defend the ‘vulnerables’, ‘deprived’, ‘socialism’ as featured by their names, or just do ‘Reform and Change’!
This is a new trial on this blog, with the below post being one of my new Storify postings.
Storify is a social media website that allows me to publish main posts from social media with ease in one post. Tonight, the big event in Beirut was the attack on Aljadeed TV and subsequent riots that followed in the capital.
In general, my Storify postings will aim to give an chronological overview of a certain current affair, possibly a ‘breaking news’ type, including relevant commentary or views of pundits or general public as appropriate from facebook, twitter and other social media.
Where there are more than one link in one tweet/post, and you wish to see more details of the links, please click first on the date/time of the tweet/post which will take you to the original source…
Excuse the clumsiness of my first Storify posting… Continue reading »
This is how organised corruption works in Lebanon: you get the Public Works Ministry to contract out cleaning part of the public beach to a contractor, with the main benefit going to some lucky connected developer owning the nearby sea-resort, while the sponsor of this contract gets paid out from selling the surplus of the beach sand, or the whole sand they extract and transport away.
What an end for a story climax, the completion of challenge of the 2011 funding of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL). It ended peacefully this time, with the least damages possible to all parties concerned, by the announcement of PM Najib Mikati on Wednesday 30th November 2011 that he wired the required $32m to the STL. No further details were given; he told us that he just did it! No news where the money came from and how. Rumours spread that it will be covered from donations, or from the High Commission for Relief (HRC) budget, or may be from some dodgy black box type account! Anyway, HRC denied the news that it was funding the STL from its budget, but I couldn’t think of a better relief to avoid a better disaster!
Continue reading »
I think last Friday’s speech for the Secretary General of Hezbollah Sayyid Hassan Nasrallah was one of the most important ones. It had some important (and destructive) subliminal messages, but because Nasrallah has become so anticipated recently, the coverage to the speech was less sizeable or even exotic. Take what he said:
any likelihood of a new Israeli war on Lebanon is considered a means of [intimidation]. Unless there is no plan for waging war on the entire region, we rule out the possibility of a war on Lebanon [in the near future].
Ok, let’s examine these words meticulously. Continue reading »
In response to Syria’s crackdown on its uprising, and with all its decay, the Arab League [of dictators] has marked a historic milestone in its career by suspending Syria’s activities in its organisation. Before the ongoing Arab Spring, this move took place only once when Egypt was expelled due to its unilateral peace initiative with Israel in 1979 (& Libya in 2011); how times change. This is really a big slap in the face, with Syria being ‘the beating heart of the Arab Nation’.
It might be a brave move on the face of it in Syria’s case, but it can only show the Arabs fear from the growing Iranian influence in the region, or simply the delusional rising power of Qatar, or a mix of both (you can check the legal basis of the decision here).
The daily commute in Beirut massively imbalanced against the use of any public transport methods (or may be the lack of them!). Traffic jam is a real problem over there where the bulk of commuters use their cars for their daily movements. Lebanon is so desperate for alternative and new public transport systems. Without looking at traffic figures, I see the proposal as a combination of many solutions, which are existent somewhere else, tested and proven. Executing one of them rather all of them could render the implemented solution redundant:
1. Park and Ride: building parking outside the city of Beirut, where cars park for the day or longer, and passengers from outside the city take the bus to centre. This ‘Park and Ride’ system exists in tight cities like Oxford in UK. Parking and ride fees are subsidised to reduce the problems of the congestion and parking spaces in the city. Potential locations will be near the main access points to Beirut: Khaldeh, Choueifat, Kfarchima, Hadath, Furn Al Shebak, Sin El Fil, Jdaideh, Hazmiyeh, Dowra and others.
A quasi-government Lebanese body, which is desperate for regulation and review itself, is planning to regulate the ‘electronic websites’. The National Council for Audio-Visual Media (NCAVM) announced this week its intention to create a register for websites. They didn’t specify for what type of websites and what are the criteria, though I can only speculate the initiative is targeted at the main sites that deals with news and politics, which became in the recent years as close as they can be to the ‘Main Stream Media’.
These websites would be the likes of Lebanonfiles.com, beiruobserver.com, cedarnews.net, elnashra.com, nowlebanon.com, Naharnet.com, 14march.org, Lebanonfiles.com, and many others including the websites of the main TV channels, newspapers and political parties. Saying that, media is not just ‘politics; it’s advertisement, films, entertainment, documentaries, social and cultural shows – all published or broadcasted. This move by the NCAVM to create a register has a lot of problems and unwanted consequences: