The article titled “Lebanon at a Turning Point” appeared in Al Arabiya on 23rd January, 2020 and is posted below. Click here to access the original article.
Lebanon at a Turning Point
Endemic and persistent corruption, mismanagement, gross mal-governance, and failure to address Lebanon’s economic, social, and environmental challenges have driven protestors to throng the streets amidst bank closures, payment restrictions, and foreign exchange controls. Protesters had called for a cabinet of professionals, “technocrats,” politically independent, experienced persons, divorced from sectarian politics. The new government formed under duress is a mix of professionals and politically affiliated members. Significantly, it is comprised of 20 non-parliamentarians promising better accountability and has six female members (including the Middle East’s first female defense minister). However, the stark reality, as Prime Minister Hassan Diab clearly identified, is that the country is at a “financial, economic, and social dead end.” Indeed, Lebanon has become a failed state. Will the new government have the political courage to undertake deep and unpopular reforms? Will it be willing to commit political suicide?