| 22 February 2024, Thursday |

Sawt Beirut International’s News Bulletin, Saturday, June 19, 2021

A brief of tonight’s news bulletin:

  • As the European Union redraws the path to salvation, will the corrupt become reform campaigners?
  • The run-up to the first legislative elections after the revolution, and the widespread dread of bribery at a time when the country is left in disaster.
  • The Litani is a clear threat, and sewage has contaminated 60% of the Bekaa soil.

In Lebanon, we are celebrating European Union Day today. Borrell, the EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs, toured senior leaders and drew a road map for the small country’s restoration. The present map is built on three pillars: establishing a government as quickly as feasible, immediately implementing essential reforms, and holding parliamentary elections on time.

There is no doubt that they represent a crucial first step in breaking the deadlock, but not all of these measures suit our officials’ interest. It is neither in Saad Hariri’s or Gebran Bassil’s interests to form a government at this moment. As a result, in their media battle, both sides insult, dispute, and use all permissible and illegal weapons with one clear purpose in mind: to stimulate the sectarian nerve in their supporters so that they can play the role of a hero advocating for his sect’s rights. Now that unfortunately we are all well-aware of what a fake heroes they both are, we couldn’t turn a blind eye to their shares and deals when they used to be on good terms, and how they left the country sink into further crisis when they disagreed.

Reforms are impossible to achieve in this framework and inside this system. Who among us believes that the people who led the country to catastrophe will also be the ones to lead it to salvation? And who is feeling that the world’s most visible emblems of corruption, not only in Lebanon, but globally, will become reform advocates? The elections, which could go place on time next spring, are contingent on the international community putting all of its weight behind the officials and ordering them to do so in the same way it did in 2005, as the English expression says: elections now!

To summarize, the European goals are obvious; the issue is figuring out how to put them into action. When they heard Borrell say sanctions are on the table and that the European Union is still reviewing them, the irresponsible Lebanese officials secretly laughed. They recognized that the sanctions were still a long way off, so they could continue to postpone and refuse to execute reforms. As a result, there will be no government and no reforms in the near future, and we hope that the elections will be held on time. See you! Mr. Borrell, until further notice….

  • Sawt Beirut International