A Bundle Of English Reports, News and Editorials For November 16-17/2019 Addressing the On Going Mass Demonstrations & Sit In-ins In Iranian Occupied Lebanon in its 31th Day

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A Bundle Of English Reports, News and Editorials For November 16-17/2019 Addressing the On Going Mass Demonstrations & Sit In-ins In Iranian Occupied Lebanon in its 31th Day
Compiled By: Elias Bejjani
November 16-17/2019

Titles For The Latest English LCCC Lebanese & Lebanese Related News published on November 16-17/2019
Lebanon Bank Staff Union to Discuss Ending Strike after Receiving Security Plan
ISF Puts Security Plan for Banks into Effect
Protest Graffiti Fills Beirut’s Posh Downtown
Berri Says Situation Getting More ‘Complicated’
Activists Innovate ‘Revolution’s Bus’ Symbolic of Unity
U.N. Votes to Oblige Israel to Compensate Lebanon
Israeli army arrests Lebanese man who jumps border fence
PSP denies circulated news of the injury and death of two people along Naameh road
Lebanese citizen arrested by enemy forces upon crossing the technical fence, after shooting at two people in Wazzani area
Makhzoumi: It is time to look forward to a civil state
Daher says Salameh must issue a decision to put ‘Capital Control’ into effect
Troops halt Lebanese ‘revolution bus’ over security concerns

The Latest English LCCC Lebanese & Lebanese Related News published on November 16-17/2019
Lebanon Bank Staff Union to Discuss Ending Strike after Receiving Security Plan
Asharq Al-Awsat/Saturday, 16 November, 2019
Lebanon’s bank staff union will meet on Sunday or Monday to decide whether to call off a strike, after receiving a plan to secure banks with a stepped up police presence, the president of the Federation of Syndicates of Bank Employees said on Saturday. The union began the strike on Tuesday over safety fears, as protests against political leaders sweep Lebanon and depositors demand access to their money after banks imposed new curbs. George al-Hajj said banks could re-open as early as Monday if the union agrees that the plan is satisfactory. Hajj expressed support for the plan but said there was not yet a final decision. It calls for police officers to guard select branches and provides a hotline for banks to call in immediate security assistance if needed. The demonstrations have been fueled by anger at Lebanon’s ruling elite, widely perceived to have overseen rampant state corruption for decades. Banks have been seeking to prevent capital flight by imposing restrictions on dollar withdrawals and transfers abroad.

ISF Puts Security Plan for Banks into Effect
Naharnet/November 16/2019
The Internal Security Forces put security measures into effect on Saturday to protect banks and their staff when the latter open their doors after a nearly two-week closure. ISF Directorate said security institutions enrolled in the plan include Police of Beirut and Territorial Gendarmerie. ISF said Lebnaes banks were provided with a summary about the plan along with phone numbers to contact in case of emergency. Ongoing nationwide protests since October 17 have paralyzed the country. The country’s financial troubles have worsened since — initially against new taxes — snowballed into calls for the entire political elite to step down. Banks reopened Nov. 1 after a two-week closure amid the protests. But depositors have rushed to withdraw their money in recent days, while the country’s various lenders have imposed varying capital controls that differ from bank to bank.Many schools and universities were closed, as were banks after their employees called for a general strike over alleged mistreatment by customers.

Protest Graffiti Fills Beirut’s Posh Downtown
Asharq Al-Awsat/Saturday, 16 November, 2019
A majestic phoenix spreads its wings as Hayat Nazer adds a splash of color to a Beirut wall. As Lebanon’s uprising enters its second month, graffiti has enveloped the capital’s posh downtown. Since October 17, the chanting of tens of thousands of Lebanese denouncing the political elite have shaken the normally staid district around two Beirut squares — Martyrs’ and Riad al-Solh. Nazer, a 32-year-old artist, is one of the protesters who would not normally frequent the area, famed for luxury boutiques and elegant buildings. But the unprecedented protests also offered her a first experience with street art.
“I decided to go out in the street to be inspired by the people,” she said during a cigarette break, standing next to pots of red, green and yellow paint. Then she turned to place the final brushstroke on the mythical bird emerging from a burning forest — a reference to the fires that ravaged Lebanon’s mountains shortly before the protests began. “The phoenix reminds us that the Lebanese shouldn’t lose hope. When we fall, we need to rise up and fly to freedom, to claim our rights,” she said, according to AFP.
‘Icon of capitalism’
The long concrete barrier Nazer was painting protects a United Nations building, but has been named the “wall of the revolution” for the graffiti adorning it. A ballerina pirouettes under shells, accompanied by the slogan “Rise up”. Further down, a big purple hand flashes a V for victory. On nearby buildings, various causes are championed with spray-painted and stencilled slogans: “Our revolution is feminist”; and “We will burn your palaces”. Political leaders are lampooned in caricature, including outgoing Prime Minister Saad Hariri, longstanding parliament Speaker Nabih Berri and central bank governor Riad Salameh. The contrast is striking compared with the nearby opulence of a district that was controversially rebuilt after being ravaged during the 1975-1990 civil war. Today a Rolex clock tower stands in front of a parliament cordoned off by security forces. Working-class souks have been replaced by a modern commercial center, home to banks and French luxury brands. The reconstruction of the district, famed for its stone buildings in neo-Venetian and neo-Moorish style, was led by Solidere, the real estate company of billionaire former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. Its detractors say the project killed the soul of a formerly vibrant neighborhood in order to attract foreign investment and wealthy tourists. “This city has become an icon of capitalism,” said artist and rights activist Selim Mawad.He jumped onto a plastic barricade to retouch a mural of stylized bulls alongside the slogan: “What is the future of our revolution?”
‘Personal liberation’
Lebanon’s uprising — like protests elsewhere in the Middle East and Latin America — is both political and social. “It’s also about personal liberation, which is the foundation of a revolution,” Mawad said. He sees symbolism in graffiti. “People say, ‘I can’t touch this building, I can’t live there, so I’ll leave my mark on it’,” the paint-spattered artist told AFP. One day, assailants attacked the protesters in the area where Mawad was painting his mural. He was beaten and his bicycle stolen. “Give back the stolen money — and don’t forget the bike,” he later painted next to a picture of a bull brandishing a red bicycle.
He hopes the paintings will be preserved. “It’s the memory of an uprising. If they erase them, we will forget.” Nearby, Rida Mawla left a meeting and decided to take a walk in the city center, something he said he never previously did. “I’m starting to feel like downtown is a bit more like me,” the business consultant said. “In theory it’s the place where everyone should meet, but the ruling class has taken possession of it,” he said. He pointed out his favorite graffiti, a big black tag scrawled on a wall: “Beirut has spoken”.

Berri Says Situation Getting More ‘Complicated’
Naharnet/November 16/2019
Speaker Nabih Berri warned that the situation in Lebanon is getting more “complicated,” emphasizing the need for a quick “resolve” for the crisis, al-Joumhouria daily reported on Saturday. “Things are becoming more complicated and a quick solution must be found to get Lebanon out of this crisis,” Berri told his visitors, following the latest wave of demonstrations rejecting the nomination of Mohammed Safadi for the position of PM. “A lot of time has been wasted, by now the state budget of 2020 should have been approved to then proceed to the application of urgent reform items that have been agreed upon,” said Berri.
To a question whether Lebanon is going to benefit from the CEDRE conference despite the latest developments in the country, Berri said the visiting French envoy assured it will. “CEDRE still stands and was not affected by the events in Lebanon,” French envoy Christophe Farnaud, told Berri during a two day-visit to Lebanon where he met Lebanese officials. Lebanese protesters demanding radical reform since October 17 have reacted with anger to the reported designation of Sadafi as new prime minister they regard as emblematic of a failed political system. Outgoing Prime Minister Saad Hariri resigned on October 29 — nearly two weeks into the unprecedented nationwide protests demanding the removal of a ruling elite seen as corrupt and incompetent.

Activists Innovate ‘Revolution’s Bus’ Symbolic of Unity
Naharnet/November 16/2019
A group of activists from the northern region of Akkar innovated a new method in a bid to prove that Lebanese protesters demanding radical reform since October 17 are united from north to south Lebanon. The activists named a bus as the “Revolution’s Bus”, symbolizing the unity of Lebanese. It is planned to tour Lebanon from north to south.The coordinators of the campaign said the vehicle will pass through all the squares and points of protests, starting in Tripoli’s al-Nour Square to Batroun, Jbeil, Jal el-Dib, Ashrafieh, Ring Bridge, Martyrs Square in Beirut, all the way to Khaldeh to place the “crown of revolution” where Alaa Abu Fakhr was killed. The bus will complete the tour heading south to Naameh, Barja, the city of Sidon, Kafr Rumman and Nabatiyeh. The tour will conclude in Tyre where a dialogue session will be held. The buss is accompanied by a convoy of vehicles to “paint a bridge of love and eradicate sectarianism.”The activists said their march will continue to achieve their demands in “building a state of law, justice, freedom, dignity and equality away from quotas.” “We are in a strong position because our demands are not personal,” they said “our request is to restore our legitimate rights as citizens in this country, lift deprivation and injustice, live freely in dignity and confine the use of weapons to the state’s military and security institutions.”
Nationwide protests demanding the removal of a ruling elite seen as corrupt and incompetent erupted in Lebanon on October 17.

U.N. Votes to Oblige Israel to Compensate Lebanon
Naharnet/November 16/2019
The U.N. on Friday voted in favor of obliging Israel to pay Lebanon compensations over the 2006 oil spill caused by its bombing of the seaside Jiye power plant. According to a tweet posted by MP Hagop Terzian, the U.N. decision obliges Israel to pay Lebanon $856.4 million in compensations.
158 member states voted in favor of the resolution as nine rejected it and six abstained. The oil spill was caused by an Israeli airstrike on oil storage tanks during the 2006 war.

Israeli army arrests Lebanese man who jumps border fence
The Associated Press, Jerusalem/Saturday, 16 November 2019
The Israeli military said on Saturday that it arrested a man who crossed its northern border from Lebanon. The army said the Lebanese national was being held for questioning. Lebanon’s state-run National News Agency said a Lebanese man jumped over the border fence into Israel after shooting two people on the Lebanese side of the frontier. Israel has been on high alert since August, when its aircraft struck targets in Syria and Lebanon linked to Iran and its regional proxy, the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah. In September, brief cross-border fighting erupted after Hezbollah fired a barrage of missiles in response to Israeli airstrikes.

PSP denies circulated news of the injury and death of two people along Naameh road
NNA – Sat 16 Nov 2019
Progressive Socialist Party’s Shouf branch denied in a statement today, “what is being circulated through social networking sites, about the death and injury of two persons as their vehicle was passing along the road to Naameh,” stressing that “this news is false and groundless.”The statement cautioned against circulating such baseless news that only serves to trigger an atmosphere of tension and panic among citizens, while urging citizens to be more responsible and verify the credibility of any news before circulation.

Lebanese citizen arrested by enemy forces upon crossing the technical fence, after shooting at two people in Wazzani area

NNA – Sat 16 Nov 2019
A Lebanese citizen fleeing justice entered the occupied Palestinian territories by crossing the technical fence on the Southern Lebanese border, after he had shot two people in the area of Wazzani this morning, NNA correspondent in Marjayoun reported. The fleeing citizen was detained by Israeli enemy forces and taken for interrogation.

Makhzoumi: It is time to look forward to a civil state
NNA – Sat 16 Nov 2019/
National Dialogue Party Head, MP Fouad Makhzoumi, said in a statement on Saturday that “the time has come to look forward to a civil state, as the Lebanese place sectarian divisions behind their backs.” He cited the national slogans raised by the popular movement in various regions, cities and villages of Lebanon, which have unified all protest squares, namely in rejecting sectarian quotas and demanding a decent living, social justice and the right to citizenship. Makhzoumi concluded his statement by calling for “a civil state that treats its citizens as equals, preserves the rights of all away from sectarian restriction and protects liberties under the rooftop of the law.”

Daher says Salameh must issue a decision to put ‘Capital Control’ into effect
NNA – Sat 16 Nov 2019
MP Michel Daher tweeted Saturday, saying: “Central Bank Governor Riad Salameh must issue a decision to put ‘Capital Control’ into effect, so that Lebanese banks would refrain from withholding their funds outside Lebanon due to the increased lawsuits against them by depositors wishing to withdraw their money so they can transfer them to their accounts abroad.””Banks are in need of a legal cover to put a stop to this bleeding,” Daher corroborated.

Troops halt Lebanese ‘revolution bus’ over security concerns
Arab News/November 16/2019
BEIRUT: A Lebanese “revolution bus” traveling from north to south to unite protesters was halted by troops outside the city of Sidon on Saturday. The army set up a road block to prevent the bus and a large protest convoy entering Sidon, the third-largest city in the country. Local media said that the decision had been made to defuse tensions in the area following widespread protests. Lebanese troops blocked the Beirut-South highway at the Jiyeh-Rumailah checkpoint over “security concerns,” a military source told Arab News. “Some people in Sidon objected to the crossing of the bus and we feared that problems may take place,” the source added. A protester in Ilya Square in Sidon said: “Those who do not want the bus to enter Sidon should simply leave the square because there are many who want to welcome the bus.”The army allowed the bus to enter the town of Rumailah, 2 km from Sidon. “The bus will stop here after nightfall because of security fears and the risk of an accident,” the military source said. The protest convoy is aiming to reach Nabatieh and Tyre, two cities that have challenged Hezbollah and the Amal Movement in southern Lebanon during weeks of unrest. Activists said the protest bus “is spreading the idea of a peaceful revolution by unifying the people.”“The pain is the same from the far north of Lebanon to the south and the only flag raised is the Lebanese flag,” one activist said. Organizers of the protest convoy rejected claims that the cities of Sidon, Nabatieh and Tyre were reluctant to welcome the bus, and voiced their respect for the Lebanese army decision. After leaving Akkar the bus passed through squares that witnessed protests in Tripoli, Batroun, Jbeil, Zouk Mosbeh, Jal El Dib and Beirut. Protesters chanted “Revolution” and lined the route of the convoy, turning it into a “procession of the revolution.”
The bus paused in Khalde, where the first victim of the protests, Alaa Abu Fakhr, was shot and killed a few days ago by a Lebanese soldier. The victim’s widow and family welcomed the convoy and protesters laid wreaths at the site of the shooting. Activists’ tweets on Saturday claimed that life in Beirut’s southern suburbs is as difficult as in other areas of Lebanon. “As a Shiite girl living in the heart of the southern suburbs, I deny that we are living well and not suffering. We are in a worse position than the rest of the regions,” said an activist who called herself Ruanovsky.“No one is doing well,” said Wissam Abdallah. “The suburbs have external security and safety, but unfortunately there is a lot of corruption. There are forged car van plates, motorcycle mafia, Internet and satellite mafia, royalties mafia, and hashish and drugs mafia. Municipalities have to deal with these things as soon as possible.”

Titles For The Latest Lebanese LCCC English analysis & editorials from miscellaneous sources published on November 16-17/2019
Lebanon’s Thawra Bus crosses North to South in a show of unity/Maysaa Ajjan/Annahar/November 17/2019
Lebanon’s sovereign rating downgraded by S&P/Michael Fahy/The National/November 17/2019
Former Lebanese finance minister Mohammad Safadi withdraws prime minister candidacy amid protests/Nicky Harley/The National/November 17/2019
Lebanon’s new leaders must reflect the concerns of a young generation/National Editorial/The National/November 17/2019
Lebanon has become an arena for the Iranian regime’s battle for influence and survival/Raghida Dergham/The National/November 17/2019

The Latest Lebanese LCCC English analysis & editorials from miscellaneous sources published on November 16-17/2019
Lebanon’s Thawra Bus crosses North to South in a show of unity
Maysaa Ajjan/Annahar/November 17/2019
“This event was orchestrated to show that the demands of the Lebanese people are one, from the North all the way to the South,” Mira, a passenger on the bus who came all the way from Nabatiyeh, said.
BEIRUT: From blocking roads to forming a human chain across the country, Lebanese protesters certainly know how to get creative. Their latest initiative is the “Thawra bus” or the revolutionary bus, which took off from Akkar this morning with the aim of passing through all of Lebanon’s protest areas, from the North to the South. It paused in each area for about 15 minutes during which the organizers spoke to various media outlets. “This event was orchestrated to show that the demands of the Lebanese people are one, from the North all the way to the South,” Mira, a passenger on the bus who came all the way from Nabatiyeh, said. “For the first time, we are united by our demands.”After passing through Tripoli, Batroun, Byblos, Zouk Mosbih, Jal el dib, Achrafieh, Ring bridge, Martyr’s Square, Khaldeh and Barja, the bus reached Sidon, where it was met with opposing opinions.
Protesters’ in Sidon were divided on whether they should allow the bus enter their city and pass through Elia Square or not, claiming that it was organized by political parties and funded by the US embassy. The US embassy shortly tweeted that it has nothing to do with the bus.
“The only organizers in this [initiative] are regular people like you and me. If you want to talk to someone you can choose anybody from the bus, as this is a group initiative,” Ahmad Salameh from Akkar told Annahar. In addition, there were claims that MP Osama Saad, leader of the Popular Nasserite Organization, was the one who ordered the army to stop the entrance of the bus to Sidon. Saad, however, released a statement to the media stating his wishes for the army to facilitate the entry of the bus. He also headed himself to Al Awaly, Sidon’s entrance, to facilitate talks. The bus was finally able to enter Sidon, but decided to end the tour there without visiting Nabatieh and Tyre. “They [the people with power] can no longer separate us using religion and sects as a tool. We are brothers and sisters,” Mohammad El Saj, another passenger from Akkar, told Annahar.

Lebanon’s sovereign rating downgraded by S&P
Michael Fahy/The National/November 17/2019
Downgrade follows similar actions by competitors Fitch Ratings and Moody’s Investors Service
Ratings agency S&P Global lowered Lebanon’s sovereign rating further into junk status, stating that diminishing confidence in the country and its economy has led to a reversal of inflows into the country’s banks.
The agency cut Lebanon’s long- and short-term foreign and local sovereign credit ratings to CCC/C from B-/B, and said the outlook on its debt was negative, citing a one-in-three chance of a further downgrade as its next rating action. Its downgrade follows similar recent actions taken by competing credit ratings agencies Fitch and Moody’s. “Depositor confidence has eroded further following recent political developments, protracted social unrest, prolonged bank shutdowns, and individual banks reportedly placing some restrictions on foreign exchange transfers and operations. This reflects rising pressure on Lebanese banks’ liquidity, and continued outflows will likely weigh on (Lebanon’s central bank) Banque du Liban’s foreign exchange reserves,” S&P Global said in a note announcing the downgrade. It also warned the risk of “a protracted political vacuum” increasing “policy uncertainty”. Lebanon’s prime minister Saad Hariri resigned last month following several weeks of protests, with citizens blaming Lebanon’s political elite for widespread corruption and nepotism, which they say contributed to the country accruing $86 billion (Dh316bn) of public debt, equivalent to 150 per cent of gross domestic product.
Confidence in the country’s financial system has ebbed, leading to an outflow of capital of about $3bn in the first nine months of the year, according to the Institute of International Finance.
Last week, Banque du Liban’s governor, Riad Salameh sought to reassure investors, stating that the central bank would look to protect depositors in the country’s banks and was not planning to impose capital controls or impose a haircut (a term used to describe the devaluation of an asset) on the country’s bonds. S&P Global, which downgraded three of Lebanon’s banks on Thursday evening, said in its sovereign downgrade that if a new, technocratic government was able to push through immediate reforms it could help to ease social tensions and support depositor confidence, but warned that the country’s fragmented power-sharing system meant any solution could be delayed. “Furthermore, potential reforms might not be sufficient to fundamentally alter the large financial and economic stresses,” it said, forecasting that double-digit deficits are set to continue, which could push government debt to 169 per cent of GDP by 2022. The premiums required on credit default swaps — a form of insurance on Lebanon’s sovereign bonds — point to an 84 per cent chance of a default on the country’s debt within the next five years, London-based Capital Economics said in a note on Thursday. A default on the country’s debts and a devaluation of the Lebanese pound would trigger severe strains on the country’s banking sector and the economy would be plunged into a recession, it added.

Former Lebanese finance minister Mohammad Safadi withdraws prime minister candidacy amid protests

Nicky Harley/The National/November 17/2019
Withdrawal come hours after Lebanon’s sovereign rating was lowered further into junk status
Former finance minister Mohammad Safadi has withdrawn his candidacy to be prime minister of the next Lebanese government. In a statement, Mr Safadi said it would have been difficult to form a “harmonious” cabinet supported by all parties. He said he hoped outgoing prime minister Saad Hariri would be designated again for the post. On Thursday, three of Lebanon’s main political parties agreed on the 75-year-old billionaire businessman as their choice to become Lebanon’s new prime minister. Caretaker Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil, head of the Free Patriotic Movement (FPM), had confirmed on Friday that Mr Safadi would be nominated for the post when formal deliberations on forming the next government begin in parliament on Monday. But on Saturday evening Mr Safadi said in a statement that he had decided to withdraw following consultations with political parties and a meeting on Saturday with Mr Hariri.
“It is difficult to form a harmonious government supported by all political sides that could take the immediate salvation steps needed to halt the country’s economic and financial deterioration and respond to the aspirations of people in the street,” the statement said.
It comes just hours after ratings agency S&P Global lowered Lebanon’s sovereign rating further into junk status, stating that diminishing confidence in the country and its economy has led to a reversal of inflows into the country’s banks. The agency cut Lebanon’s long- and short-term foreign and local sovereign credit ratings to CCC/C from B-/B, and said the outlook on its debt was negative, citing a one-in-three chance of a further downgrade as its next rating action. Lebanon’s prime minister Mr Hariri resigned last month following several weeks of protests, with citizens blaming Lebanon’s political elite for widespread corruption and nepotism, which they say contributed to the country accruing $86 billion (Dh316bn) of public debt, equivalent to 150 per cent of gross domestic product. After the candidacy announcement on Thursday there were further protests in Mr Safadi’s home city of Tripoli.
Demonstrators gathered in front of one of his properties to protest against his nomination, which they said was the opposite of the changes demanded in a month of protests across the country. Mr Safadi, who amassed his fortune largely through real estate, is also a retired politician with a string of alleged corruption cases behind him. Protesters are demanding a change from the nation’s current political elite, whom they consider to be old and corrupt. Mr Hariri quit as premier on October 29 in response to protesters’ demands for sweeping change in Lebanon’s political system and an end to corruption and sectarian cronyism but politicians had been unable to agree on a new cabinet. Lebanon’s caretaker Defence Minister, Elias Bou Saab, said on Thursday that the country was in a “very dangerous situation” and compared recent street unrest to the start of the 1975-1990 civil war. Rallies have been overwhelmingly peaceful but a protester was shot dead in an altercation with soldiers on Tuesday.

Lebanon’s new leaders must reflect the concerns of a young generation
National Editorial/The National/November 17/2019
Disenfranchised youth must be given hope and improved prospects
With its yacht club, designer stores and multimillion dollar homes, Zaitunay Bay in downtown Beirut epitomises much of what Lebanon’s protesters object to.
To the million-plus demonstrators who have been gathering daily on the streets of Lebanon, its association with Mohammad Safadi, the nominee for prime minister and a majority shareholder in the luxury marina project, is emblematic of the problems that plague the country. Among those issues are the privatisation of public waterfront and the country’s shrinking coastline, which protesters say reflect the corruption that pervades business and politics and prompted them to march on the waterfront a fortnight ago, chanting “Zaitunay is ours”.
This weekend, demonstrators were planning to return to Zaitunay Bay and gathered outside Mr Safadi’s homes in Beirut and his home town of Tripoli, chanting slogans such as: “All of them means all of them – and Safadi is one of them.” The renewed anger comes after caretaker prime minister Saad Hariri met president Michel Aoun and representatives of Iran-backed Hezbollah and its Shiite ally Amal and reached a consensus on Mr Hariri’s replacement. Political parties will be consulted on Monday before Mr Safadi, who has agreed in principle to take up the post, is confirmed as prime minister. Stand-in foreign minister Gebran Bassil said if he does not take up the post, parliament will be locked in “stalemate”.
Mr Safadi has much to prove. At the age of 75, he will have to work hard to show he understands the concerns of a younger generation
He is right in one respect: Lebanon needs strong leadership to steer it out of its current crisis. Its previous government, which resigned on October 29, was only formed after more than 250 days of political wrangling. Indecision and uncertainty have beleaguered the country for too long. The country stands on the cusp of economic collapse, unable to access an $11 billion lifeline promised by donors if it implements tough measures, but paralysed from moving forward with such steps without proper governance.
Schools, universities and banks have been repeatedly disrupted over the past month. Medical supplies are running dangerously low. Petrol stations are running out of fuel after currency caps were introduced, preventing them from importing petrol. Forty per cent of its population are under the age of 25 but many feel hopeless, disenfranchised and voiceless.
It is critical whoever is appointed Lebanon’s new prime minister represents their concerns, works hard to provide opportunities for them and improves their job prospects. The brain drain from Lebanon is indicative of a disconnected youth; they must be given fresh hope by the country’s new leadership.
Mr Safadi has much to prove. At the age of 75, he will have to work hard to show he understands the concerns of a younger generation. Much of the groundswell of resentment aimed at him is because as a billionaire, he is perceived to be a symptom of the vast disparities in income and wealth in society. He has also faced a string of corruption allegations in the past, leading to accusations from protesters that he is in the same league of the ruling class that protesters want removed from power. And as a former minister in some of the departments that have chiefly led Lebanon to this critical point – finance, electricity and water – he will have to prove he can tackle the issues that prevent Lebanon from running smoothly, from frequent power cuts to the downgrading of Lebanon’s banks. He will also have to bridge the sectarianism that continues to split the government.
Critics say appointing Mr Safadi will only widen the rift between the ruling class and protesters, many of whom feel hopeless about the future. The future government of Lebanon should be one that understands their concerns and includes young voices, who can best articulate the needs of a generation whose lives will be affected most by the decisions made today. They cannot be excluded from a conversation that will shape their tomorrows.

Lebanon has become an arena for the Iranian regime’s battle for influence and survival
Raghida Dergham/The National/November 17/2019
Iran is now vulnerable in Iraq, Syria and Yemen as well as at home, where protests are beginning to erupt against the regime’s authoritarianism
There will be more danger ahead for the Lebanese uprising. Iran’s proxies will continue to orchestrate a dispersal of the protests by force or attrition and fulfill their promises to their Russian-backed leadership. On the surface, Tehran and Moscow say the revolution is not against Hezbollah but corruption. In reality, however, the two powers are well aware that the uprising has Hezbollah in its crosshairs as well as the government. The militant group cannot escape accusations of corruption and demands for accountability. Hezbollah itself has declared its allegiance to Iran’s supreme leader and admitted that its funds and hardware are supplied by Tehran. Tehran has decided not only to prevent Hezbollah from falling at any cost but has told the Russian regime it intends to use the current situation in Lebanon to increase Hezbollah’s power, even if it requires force. Iran sees Lebanon as an important arena in the duel with Washington and will not sacrifice its prize, no matter the cost.
The multi-generational revolution in Lebanon against the corrupt political class is in danger. It has a regional behemoth as an adversary, which will not allow it to stand in the way of its projects or undermine its gains. It is therefore imperative for the uprising to take stock of regional and international dynamics, develop tactical and strategic steps to ensure its survival, capitalise on its gains and achieve its demands gradually and consistently. The revolution must not be extinguished as the so-called axis of resistance wishes it to be. If it truly is a revolution, then it will be a long, difficult and bloody march. Its first martyr has already been claimed: Alaa Abou Fakher, killed by a bullet that made him an icon.
Washington of course welcomes the uprising as a benefit to its policy of tightening the noose around Hezbollah and expanding sanctions against the party. However, this is a patriotic, homegrown revolution.
Russia’s leadership has so far sided with the ruling class. At the Paris Peace Forum, foreign minster Sergey Lavrov dismissed a key demand of the uprising, namely to form a technocratic government with no career politicians, saying it was “unrealistic”. He expressed implicit support for Hezbollah’s position of forming a government of politicians combined with technocrats.
The axis of resistance has claimed it now commands a bigger bloc of supporters than the protesters
According to Russian sources, Moscow sees the discord in Lebanon as a threat to its efforts to stabilise Syria, where it faces a complex mission with no guarantee of success. It sees Hezbollah and Iran as easier to deal with than the Lebanese army, say the sources. Perhaps it is Washington’s ties with the army that frustrate Moscow but there is a risk that in supporting and expanding Iran’s influence in Lebanon, Russia is jeopardising Lebanon’s sovereignty.
The sources revealed Tehran had given Moscow promises to pacify the situation and restore normality to the country by putting an end to the protests, adding that instability in Lebanon was not in the Russian interest.
The axis of resistance has claimed it now commands a bigger bloc of supporters than the protesters. But such a bloc of people would not represent either Lebanon’s independence or its national army. Lebanese President Michel Aoun, who has long spoken of his support for the national army, is today hostage to his affiliation to the axis. Indeed, by condoning the Iranian project in Lebanon, he has undermined his own country’s sovereignty and the army he once led. Iran and Hezbollah do not want to allow the national army to lead so the president must remember his oath of allegiance instead of being a silent witness to the attack on his country by Iran.
The president must also apologise for saying the Lebanese should emigrate if they are unhappy with his rule. He must reassure his people that he is not simply a puppet of the axis of resistance and do everything he can to restore confidence and prevent the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in Iran from turning a peaceful uprising into a bloody confrontation. Washington is determined to choke Iran and its proxies economically to force it to adjust its behaviour in issues such as its nuclear and ballistic missile programme and its regional expansionist projects in Arab countries. Hezbollah is the most successful implementation of that model. Lebanon has become an arena for the Iranian regime’s battle for influence and survival. This regime sees uprisings as a threat to its projects, even when they are primarily challenging corruption. Washington, meanwhile, sees Lebanon as a key factor in its bid to block Iran’s schemes. Iran is now vulnerable in Iraq, Syria and Yemen as well as at home, where protests are beginning to erupt against the regime’s authoritarianism, and the hardship and isolation that have resulted from successive rounds of US sanctions.
In view of this equation, the Lebanese army is the country’s safety valve. If the president chooses Lebanon over Iran, he must not fear the social media-fuelled protests and instead forgo his political alliances. Otherwise he will be bound in the service of Iran.