The 28th edition of The Fact series, analysts from US, Canada and Lebanon talk about various aspects of Lebanon protests.
MWFpress - The 28th edition of The Fact series, analysts from US, Canada and Lebanon talk about various aspects of Lebanon protests.
Guests: Khaled Al-Kassimi International Relations Doctoral Candidate, Political Analyst Canada
Randi Nord Political Analyst and Founder of Geopolitical Alert USA
Questions asked at the conference:
1- What s the main reason or reasons behind the protests in Lebanon ? 2- The Lebanese government issued some suggested reformations but the protests didn’t stop? Why is that? 3- What s your analysis about Sayed Hassan’s approach toward the protests and the government? 4- There has been some encouraging from Saudi and Zionist toward these protests and there was also some violent movements in these protests. Do you think there is any connection between these two? 5- Sayed Hassan Nasrullah has warned about a complex plan to make a civil war in Lebanon. Who do you think are behind this plan? 6- Do you think there is a coordination to make protests in both Iraq and Lebanon at a same time?
Khaled Al-Kassimi International Relations Doctoral Candidate, Political Analyst Canada
What's the main reason or reasons behind the protests in Lebanon? There are a lot of economic problems but I think the major issue right now is political and the reason why I say this is because Lebanon is a post-colonial state. We still suffer from the colonial governing structure which was imposed by the French mandate. There's so much turmoil right now because the political structure of Lebanon is still highly colonial; colonial in the sense that economics becomes sectarian and that's precisely the neoliberal problem that we have in Lebanon. All over the world is a neoliberal economic problem but the issue in Lebanon is that neoliberalism is compiled with a sectarian character.
The Lebanese government issued some suggested reformations but the protests didn’t stop? Why is that? The issue is the implementation of these reforms. Some people are saying they are impossible unless we change the structure or we reshuffle the ministers in the government because there are ministers who have a portfolio of corruption and they wouldn't want to implement these reforms precisely because one it exposes them; and two it pretty much removes the economic power that they used to have since the colonial days until this day.
There has been some encouraging from Saudi and Zionist toward these protests and there were also some violent movements in these protests. Do you think there is any connection between these two? From every religion every sect everybody has now emphasized that this is no longer an organic protest and what I mean by organic is that it is no longer simply people who are genuinely taking the streets. Western think tanks and local parties who are against the resistance block, against our current government and reopening relations with Syria. We can see how they're capitalizing on these protests by collaborating with these civil society groups who adhere to this liberal capitalist idea of development who are asking for the full resignation of all ministers but this only set political vacuum and then chaos which they hope would occur. Thus, they can reshuffle the government to fit their own political perspectives which is Syria as an enemy, Bashar Assad as an enemy.
Do you think there is a coordination to make protests in both Iraq and Lebanon at a same time? In relation to Iraq, Iraq is a post-war country since 2003. The individuals who have taken power in Iraq and literally divided the country based on sectarian policies and they've advanced specific policies that have not seen the wealth of for instance oil revenues going to the people. It’s gone to specific classes petty-bourgeois classes who have benefited from Iraq be in a state of chaos. So Iraq is similar to Lebanon post war; Lebanon post 1990 Iraq post 2003. There are people in government who have taken advantage of the political chaos that has transformed it into a sectarian structural political problem and that's the similarities between the demands of the Iraqi people and the Lebanese people. There still is not a government that is actually serving the people as a whole. It’s serving only its own interest which is obviously being at the expense of the whole nation. Randi Nord Political Analyst and Founder of Geopolitical Alert USA
What's the main reason or reasons behind the protests in Lebanon? People are fed up. It's no secret that corruption is a big problem across all of Lebanon and it's impacted economic inequality and cost of living. Basically, there's just a lot of poverty and it doesn't seem to be getting any better because of the corruption. And not only that but Lebanon has been pushed to its brink with unprecedented numbers of refugees after the war in Syria pushed. A lot of people have returned home but a lot of people have not and that kind of goes on top of the Palestinian refugees who are already there so that puts a further strain on the labor market and a lot of refugees who don't live in the camps have kind of integrated into the city areas and the cost of living has gone up. People are just basically fed up with corruption and how it affects their day-to-day life and their future.
What s your analysis about Sayed Hassan’s approach toward the protests and the government? A lot of people were very excited that at first he was very supportive of the protesters and then I've seen a lot of people kind of disappointed asking them to vacate the streets and but they did trust his judgment. It doesn't seem like it's in anyone's best interest to keep calling for the fall of the government. They could be preparing to blame some kind of attack on civilians and that would lead to escalation of outside involvement because Lebanon doesn't exists in a vacuum. We have Israel to the south and Syria which is just winding down.
Sayed Hassan Nasrullah has warned about a complex plan to make a civil war in Lebanon. Who do you think are behind this plan? Obviously the US and the Israelis have kind of been salivating over some kind of opportunity to blame some kind of violence and unrest on Hezbollah in Lebanon. So as Syria kind of winds down and the Saudis face defeat in Yemen I know Lebanon kind of seems like the most likely next target for them but at the same time they'll obviously need US support so that kind of begs the question of with the US get involved personally but I don't really think the United States is interested and entering a war they're not convinced they could win especially at this time with the election going on. There are groups in Lebanon who would have interests in controlling power; the Neoliberals like the National Endowment for democracy and those kind of think tanks who obviously would love to have a kind of technocratic neoliberal privatize everything. So I do think a lot of different groups have plans to kind of create some kind of civil war but the question would be who would actually go through with it.
It’s worthy to mention that this video conference is held regularly with several international subjects inviting various activists and analysts from different countries. (see the archive of The Fact web conferences)