A Bundle Of English Reports, News and Editorials For November 17-18/2019 Addressing the On Going Mass Demonstrations & Sit In-ins In Iranian Occupied Lebanon in its 32th Day

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A Bundle Of English Reports, News and Editorials For November 17-18/2019 Addressing the On Going Mass Demonstrations & Sit In-ins In Iranian Occupied Lebanon in its 32th Day
Compiled By: Elias Bejjani
November 17-18/2019

Titles For The Latest English LCCC Lebanese & Lebanese Related News published on November 17-18/2019
Army Commander calls for “moving away from rumors aimed at creating a rift between citizens and the military institution”
FPM: Hariri’s policy is based on the principle of “I and no one else” as head of cabinet
Bank Employees’ Syndicates Union: Strike continues tomorrow, resumption of operations depends on outcome of Banks Association meeting on Monday
Rahi supports Lebanon’s Intifada
Hajj Hassan says popular movement’s demands a top priority, government formation a pressing need to achieve these demands
Report: Efforts Underway to Convince Hariri to Lead New Govt.
Independent candidate Melhem Khalaf wins Beirut Bar Association
Protest Movement-Backed Candidate Elected Head of Bar Association
FPM Nominee Pulls from Bar Association Vote over ‘Situation’ in Lebanon
Lebanon’s outgoing PM Hariri blasts president’s party over delays
Hariri Slams FPM over Safadi Nomination Controversy
Lebanon: Hariri Blames Aoun’s Party Over Delay in Forming Cabinet
Lebanon’s outgoing PM blasts president’s party over delays
Lebanon’s Safadi withdraws candidacy for PM, urges Hariri for post
Safadi gives up Lebanon PM bid under protest pressure/He expressed hope Hariri would be reinstated.
Lebanon: Safadi Withdraws Candidacy for PM
Safadi to Testify over Zaitunay Bay, Voices Surprise over Hariri Statement
Safadi asks Judge Ibrahim to open an investigation into case of Zaitunay Bay
US embassy in Lebanon ‘supports’ peaceful protests
U.S. Embassy in Lebanon Denies Link to ‘Revolution Bus’
Qaouq: Some Planting Mines in Way of Govt. Formation
Arab Banks Union to convene in Cairo upcoming December 8 & 9

The Latest English LCCC Lebanese & Lebanese Related News published on November 17-18/2019
Army Commander calls for “moving away from rumors aimed at creating a rift between citizens and the military institution”
NNA/November 17/2019
Army Chief, General Joseph Aoun, called Sunday for staying away from rumors that only serve to create a wedge between citizens and the army, and aim at misleading the public opinion.
“History will show that the Lebanese army saved Lebanon,” he underlined. Aoun’s words came as he inspected the military units deployed in Beirut and Mount Lebanon, in charge of maintaining security in wake of the ongoing popular movements in various areas. The tour included army regiments in Sarba, Naccash, Roumieh, Ras Beirut, Baabda Presidential Palace Road and Fayadieh Barracks. The Army Chief praised the efforts of the military units during these exceptional circumstances and the awareness they showed in dealing with the recent events, sparing the country any opportunity for trouble. “The Army is working and acting in the manner it deems fit,” he stressed.
General Aoun commended the “level of professionalism, discipline, high morality and courage demonstrated by the army in carrying out all the tasks entrusted to it with honor, sacrifice and loyalty in the face of challenges at all costs.”Addressing the military men, Aoun hailed their devotion and dedication to their oath in serving their country, and in proving that the military establishment is an umbrella for all citizens of the country, regardless of their orientations, affiliations or views. “You have preserved the rights of citizens, all citizens,” he emphasized. “The army, like all armies, is trained to face enemies and dangers, while the Lebanese army is currently carrying out the task of maintaining security at home before its citizens and people,” the Army Chief went on, stressing that the army is “responsible for the security of demonstrators and other citizens.” Aoun reiterated herein that road closures are not permissible acts, highlighting the fact that “freedom of movement is sacred in international conventions.” Pointing to the recent arrests, the Army Commander indicated that “these arrests included individuals who worked to create chaos and riots, and confronted the army and tried to prevent it from carrying out his mission,” adding that “they also included non-Lebanese citizens and others found to be in possession of drugs.” Aoun expressed his deep regret for the death of young Martyr Alaa Abu Fakhr. “The case is in the hands of the judiciary,” he said, noting that this incident was the only one to occur during a month of popular movements in Lebanon, whilst the situation is different in a number of countries that are experiencing similar events, where a large number of victims are falling. “This is what we are working to avoid,” he corroborated. The Army General concluded by calling for “maintaining utmost degrees of readiness and awareness in the face of the challenges lurking ahead of our country.”

FPM: Hariri’s policy is based on the principle of “I and no one else” as head of cabinet
NNA/November 17/2019
In an issued statement by the Free Patriotic Movement’s central media committee this evening, it criticized Caretaker Prime Minister Saad Hariri’s policy, considering that it is based on the principle of “I and no one else” as head of government. “While the efforts of the Free Patriotic Movement were a platform to facilitate the process of establishing a rescue government, starting with reaching consensus over the new PM who can bring the Lebanese together in terms of economic and financial rescue away from political divisions, we were surprised by the statement issued by Caretaker PM Saad Hariri’s press office, which contained a series of fabrications and distortion of facts,” the FPM statement said. In light of the above, the Movement clarified that “the reasons for Lebanon’s difficult situation witnessed at this stage is due to the financial and economic policies and practices that have embraced the approach of corruption for 30 years, and which still persist till now.”The statement indicated that FPM provided all possible means to accelerate bridging the gap caused by the resignation of Prime Minister Hariri, by not rejecting any name put forward by Hariri.
The statement stressed that the Free Patriotic Movement’s utmost concern in the end is the formation of a government capable of stopping the financial collapse and preventing chaos and sedition in the country.
The FPM statement, thus, urged Hariri to rise above any political rivalry and combine efforts to form the new government. “We call on him [PM Hariri] to join us in the efforts to agree on a prime minister who is uniting of all the Lebanese…We say that there is still an opportunity for all of us to save the country, instead of continuing to slaughter it with bankruptcy and corruption,” the statement underlined.

Bank Employees’ Syndicates Union: Strike continues tomorrow, resumption of operations depends on outcome of Banks Association meeting on Monday
NNA/November 17/2019
In a statement by the Union of Bank Employees Syndicates Executive Council on Sunday, it indicated that their strike will continue tomorrow, noting that the resumption of operations depends on the outcome of the Banks Association’s meeting on Monday in terms of work mechanism. “The cessation of the strike requires first of all an atmosphere of safety in various work stations, especially in bank branches, to be achieved by the measures undertaken by the security forces,” the statement indicated. Meanwhile, the Executive Council commended the procedures announced by the Directorate General of the Internal Security Forces to ensure the safety of employees and customers in the banking sector, considering them “adequate and suifficient.”In this connection, the Council thanked Caretaker Interior Minister Raya El-Hassan and ISF Director General Imad Othman, for promptly responding to the Banks Association’s request in terms of providing the necessary security and safety measures upon the resumption of work in banks.

Rahi supports Lebanon’s Intifada
NNA/November 17/2019
Maronite Patriarch, Cardinal Beshara Boutros Rahi, called on Lebanese politicians during Sunday’s Mass service in Bkirki to “support and respect the peaceful intifada of the Lebanese youth.”Meanwhile, Rahi urged the demonstrators to “adhere to the code of ethics and respect the freedom of movement and stay away from conflicts.” He also prompted politicians to form a new government and rise above their personal interests and narrow calculations for the country’s sake.

Hajj Hassan says popular movement’s demands a top priority, government formation a pressing need to achieve these demands
NNA/November 17/2019
Head of the Baalbek-Hermel Parliamentary Bloc, MP Hussein Hajj Hassan, considered Saturday that the civil movement and its demands are a top priority, adding the formation of a new cabinet is an urgent necessity to realize these demands. Speaking at a political gathering organized by the Baalbek Municipalities Union at its headquarters, Hajj Hassan said: “The demands of the popular movement are rightful, for we are fed up of corruption, and we all suffer from wasted public money, absence of jobs and lack of efficiency and integrity.”He added: “At the municipal level, we also suffer from the confiscation of municipal responsibilities and decisions, in terms of construction and administrative decentralization, and delayed payment of dues.”The MP praised the civilized manner in which the people of Baalbek and Hermel took part in the uprising and voiced their demands. “We know how much the region is in dire need for developmental projects,” he said, highlighting the need for balanced development in all Lebanese areas.

Report: Efforts Underway to Convince Hariri to Lead New Govt.
Naharnet/November 17/2019
After the proposed nomination of Mohammed Safadi for the PM post was dropped under popular and political pressure, there is inclination to task caretaker PM Saad Hariri with forming the new government, ministerial sources close to the Presidency said. “The formula under which he might return to the post is being discussed,” the sources told Asharq al-Awsat newspaper in remarks published Sunday. And as sources close to Hariri said he is still insisting on the formation of a technocrat cabinet as a precondition for returning to the post, the ministerial sources noted that there are efforts to convince the caretaker PM of a format that he has recently rejected. The proposed solution calls for the formation of a government in which the four so-called sovereign portfolios – defense, interior, foreign affairs and finance – would be held by political figures. The rest of portfolios would go to technocrats.

Independent candidate Melhem Khalaf wins Beirut Bar Association elections
Georgi Azar/Annahar/November 17/2019
BEIRUT: Melhem Khalaf, a law professor at Saint Joseph university, has become the new head of the Beirut Bar Association after beating out the political ruling class’ candidate. Khalaf, an independent candidate, ran against Nader Gaspard, who was backed by the Free Patriotic Movement, Lebanese Forces, Future Movement and Progressive Socialist Party.  In the first round, Khalaf was elected as a member of the Bar Association before securing a commanding majority in the second round to head the Beirut Bar Association. Khalaf is the first independent to head the association in recent years. “We hope this day will renew democracy within Lebanon’s institutions,” Khalaf said after his win.

Protest Movement-Backed Candidate Elected Head of Bar Association
Naharnet/November 17/2019
A candidate backed by the protest movement that is sweeping the country was on Sunday elected as head of the Beirut Bar Association, scoring a precious win for the nascent movement over the country’s established political parties. Lawyers who backed Melhem Khalaf erupted in joy and chanted “revolution, revolution” as the results were announced. Protest movement supporters also took to social media to celebrate the news as a dear victory that came as they marked one month since the beginning of their uprising. Khalaf also received votes from the opposition Kataeb Party as the defeated independent candidate, Nader Kaspar, was backed by the political parties of the ruling coalition, including al-Mustaqbal Movement, the Lebanese Forces and the Progressive Socialist Party. Speaking after he was declared the winner, Khalaf saluted “the enthusiasts of democracy,” hoping democracy will renew all institutions.
“We want the institutions to be an immune fort for the protection of the country and its citizens, in the vein of the Bar Association,” Khalaf said. “The Bar Association has been the first fortress of freedoms for 100 years and it will always be,” he added. Khalaf and three other activists had in 1985 founded the prominent Lebanese NGO Offrejoie (Joy of Giving), with a declared mission of “mobilizing around social projects promoting the unity of the Lebanese people.” In 1982, Khalaf and three other volunteers of the Lebanese Red Cross assisted the wounded during the war. Horrified by what they saw, they wanted to act in favor of children suffering from the violence and misery of war, thus founding Offrejoie.

FPM Nominee Pulls from Bar Association Vote over ‘Situation’ in Lebanon
Naharnet/November 17/2019
The candidate of the Free Patriotic Movement for the post of president of the Beirut Bar Association, Georges Nakhle, announced Sunday that he withdrew from the race over “reasons related to the general situation in Lebanon.”
“I leave the full freedom to the colleagues who support me to choose the appropriate candidate,” he added. MTV later announced that those who were elected as members eligible to run for the chief post were Melhem Khalaf, Pierre Hanna, Saadeddine al-Khatib, Nader Kaspar and Ibrahim Musallem.
This year’s vote comes amid an unprecedented popular uprising in the country against the entire political class.

Lebanon’s outgoing PM Hariri blasts president’s party over delays
The Associated Press, Beirut/Sunday, 17 November 2019
Lebanon’s outgoing prime minister is harshly criticizing the party of the country’s president after weeks of delay in forming a new Cabinet. A statement released on Sunday by Saad Hariri’s office called the policies of Michel Aoun’s party “irresponsible.”Almost three weeks after Hariri resigned amid massive anti-government protests, Aoun has yet to call for consultations with parliamentary blocs’ leaders to name a new premier. Nationwide demonstrations began on October 17 against new taxes amid a plunging economy. They’re now calling for the downfall of the political elite who have run the country since the 1975-90 civil war. Some major factions in Lebanon’s sectarian political system want to keep Hariri in the new government. But they want him to form a cabinet of politicians and technocrats. He’s insisting on only technocrats.

Hariri Slams FPM over Safadi Nomination Controversy
Naharnet/November 17/2019
Caretaker Prime Minister Saad Hariri on Sunday harshly criticized the Free Patriotic Movement – the political party of President Michel Aoun — after weeks of delay in forming a new Cabinet. A statement released by Hariri’s office called the policies of the FPM “irresponsible” in connection with the controversy over the nomination for the premiership of ex-minister Mohammed Safadi. Below is the full text of an English-language statement issued by Hariri’s office: “Since former Minister Mohammad Safadi asked to withdraw his candidacy for the formation of the new government, the Free Patriotic Movement has been trying, either through statements from its deputies and officials or through media leaks, to hold Prime Minister Saad Hariri responsible for this withdrawal, under the pretext that he backed down on promises made to Minister Safadi and that this candidacy was only a maneuver to limit the possibility of forming a government to Prime Minister Hariri. In view of the persistence to make false accusations, the following points should be clarified: First: Reviewing the withdrawal statement of Minister Safadi is sufficient to show that he was sure of Prime Minister Hariri’s support for him and his best relationship with him. He also hoped that Prime Minister Hariri would be designated again, which totally contradicts the FPM’s version. It is also clear in the statement that Minister Safadi was sincere and transparent in announcing that he found difficulty in “forming a homogeneous government supported by all political parties that would enable it to take immediate rescue measures that would put an end to the economic and financial deterioration and respond to the aspirations of the people in the street”, which completely contradicts the allegations of the FPM and its officials.
Second: It was Minister Gebran Bassil who insistently proposed twice the name of Minister Safadi, which Prime Minister Hariri quickly agreed to, after Hariri’s proposals of names from the civil society, most notably Judge Nawaf Salam, had been repeatedly rejected. It is not surprising that Prime Minister Hariri approved the candidacy of Minister Safadi, as everyone knows their friendship that was translated in many political occasions. Third: Prime Minister Hariri does not maneuver, and does not seek to limit the possibility of forming a government to himself. He was the first to present alternative names to form a government. He was clear, from the first day of the government’s resignation, with all the representatives of the parliamentary blocs, that he does not evade any national responsibility, but national responsibility itself requires him to inform the Lebanese and the parliamentary blocs in advance that if he is named in the binding parliamentary consultations imposed by the constitution, he will only form a government of technocrats, based on his conviction that only such a government is capable of facing the severe and deep economic crisis through which Lebanon is going. Fourth, and finally: The policy of maneuvers and leaks and the attempt to score points adopted by the Free Patriotic Movement is an irresponsible policy in the major national crisis that our country is going through. If it had done a real review, it would have stopped such an irresponsible policy and its repeated attempts to infiltrate the government lineups, and the government would have been formed and would have begun to address the serious national and economic crisis. And perhaps our country wouldn’t have reached this point in the first place.”

Lebanon: Hariri Blames Aoun’s Party Over Delay in Forming Cabinet
Asharq Al-Awsat/Sunday, 17 November, 2019
Lebanon’s outgoing prime minister is harshly criticizing the party of the country’s president after weeks of delay in forming a new Cabinet. A statement released Sunday by Saad Hariri’s office called the policies of Michel Aoun’s party “irresponsible,” the Associated Press reported. Almost three weeks after Hariri resigned amid massive anti-government protests, Aoun has yet to call for consultations with parliamentary blocs’ leaders to name a new premier. Nationwide demonstrations began on Oct. 17 against new taxes amid a plunging economy. They’re now calling for the downfall of the political elite who have run the country since the 1975-90 civil war. Some major factions in Lebanon’s sectarian political system want to keep Hariri in the new government. They want him to form a cabinet of politicians and technocrats. for his part, Hariri is insisting on only technocrats. Meanwhile, Reuters reported that Lebanon slipped deeper into political crisis on Sunday after the withdrawal of a top candidate for prime minister fruther narrowed the chances of creating a government needed to enact urgent reforms. Mohammad Safadi, a former finance minister, withdrew his candidacy late on Saturday, saying it was too difficult to form a “harmonious” government with broad political support. Safadi was the first candidate who had appeared to win some consensus among Lebanon’s fractious sectarian-based parties since Hariri quit as prime minister on Oct. 29. However, protesters denounced the choice of Safadi, a prominent businessman and longtime politician they said was part of the elite they sought to oust. “We are in a deadlock now. I don’t know when it will move again. It is not easy,” said a senior political source. “The financial situation doesn’t tolerate any delay.”According to Reuters, another political source described efforts to form a new government as “back to square one.”

Lebanon’s outgoing PM blasts president’s party over delays
Associated Press/November 17/2019
BEIRUT: outgoing prime minister is harshly criticizing the party of the country’s president after weeks of delay in forming a new Cabinet. A statement released Sunday by Saad Hariri’s office called the policies of Michel Aoun’s party “irresponsible.”Almost three weeks after Hariri resigned amid massive anti-government protests, Aoun has yet to call for consultations with parliamentary blocs’ leaders to name a new premier. Nationwide demonstrations began on Oct. 17 against new taxes amid a plunging economy. They’re now calling for the downfall of the political elite who have run the country since the 1975-90 civil war. Some major factions in Lebanon’s sectarian political system want to keep Hariri in the new government. But they want him to form a cabinet of politicians and technocrats. He’s insisting on only technocrats.

Lebanon’s Safadi withdraws candidacy for PM, urges Hariri for post
Reuters/Sunday, 17 November 2019
Former Lebanese finance minister Mohammad Safadi withdrew his candidacy to be the next prime minister on Saturday, saying that he saw that it would have been difficult to form a “harmonious” cabinet supported by all parties. Safadi, 75, emerged as a candidate on Thursday when political sources and Lebanese media said three major parties had agreed to support him for the position. His decision to withdraw throws Lebanon’s push to form a government needed to enact urgent reforms back to square one in the face of unprecedented protests that prompted prime minister Saad Hariri to resign last month. Safadi said in a statement that he had decided to withdraw following consultations with political parties and a meeting on Saturday with 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. Protesters who took to the streets on Saturday denounced Safadi’s potential nomination, saying it ran counter to nationwide calls to oust a political elite they see him as part and parcel of. In the statement, Safadi thanked President Michel Aoun and Hariri for supporting his candidacy and said he hoped Hariri would return as premier to form a new government. Hezbollah and its ally Amal had agreed to back Safadi following a meeting with Hariri late on Thursday, according to Lebanese media and political sources, but no political party had since formally endorsed his candidacy. The two Shia groups, along with Aoun, a Maronite Christian, have sought for Hariri to return as premier but have demanded the inclusion of both technocrats and politicians in the new cabinet, while Hariri has insisted on a cabinet composed entirely of specialist ministers. The process for choosing a new premier requires Aoun to formally consult members of parliament on their choice for prime minister. He must designate whoever gets the most votes. Lebanon’s prime minister must be a Sunni Muslim, according to its sectarian power-sharing system.

Safadi gives up Lebanon PM bid under protest pressure/He expressed hope Hariri would be reinstated.
The Arab Weekly/Sunday 17/11/2019
Lebanon’s former finance minister Mohammed Safadi has backed down from seeking to be the country’s new prime minister, after reports of his nomination sparked ire among demonstrators railing against the ruling elite. The wealthy 75-year-old businessman and former finance minister Safadi said Saturday it would be difficult to form a “harmonious” government in the country rocked by a month of unprecedented nationwide protests demanding radical reform. The tycoon said in a statement that he hoped outgoing prime minister Saad Hariri, who resigned on October 29 under pressure from the street, would be reinstated. Protesters, who see Safadi as emblematic of a corrupt and incompetent establishment, had reacted angrily on Friday to media reports that key political players had chosen him for the top job. Although there was no official confirmation of his nomination, demonstrators gathered in front of one of his properties in his hometown of Tripoli to protest against what they regarded as a provocation. It came as the US embassy in Lebanon on Saturday expressed support for the cross-sectarian protest movement that has swept the Middle Eastern country since October 17. “We support the Lebanese people in their peaceful demonstrations and expressions of national unity,” the embassy said on Twitter. Several mass rallies are planned for Sunday in cities across Lebanon to keep up the pressure on the country’s rulers, widely seen as irretrievably corrupt and unable to deal with a deepening economic crisis. The government has stayed on in a caretaker capacity since stepping down. Some local players, notably the powerful pro-Iranian Shia movement Hezbollah, have accused “external parties” and Western embassies of supporting the popular uprising, including through financial backing. On Saturday, a so-called “revolution bus” traversed the multi-religious country from north to south, decorated with the names of protest hotbeds. According to protesters, the initiative sought to break down geographical and sectarian barriers and overcome the collective trauma of the 1975-1990 civil war.

Lebanon: Safadi Withdraws Candidacy for PM
Asharq Al-Awsat/Sunday, 17 November, 2019
Former finance minister Mohammad Safadi withdrew his candidacy to be Lebanon’s next prime minister on Saturday, saying that he saw that it would have been difficult to form a “harmonious” cabinet supported by all parties. Safadi emerged as a candidate on Thursday when political sources and Lebanese media said three major parties had agreed to support him for the position. His decision to withdraw throws Lebanon’s push to form a government needed to enact urgent reforms back to square one in the face of unprecedented protests that prompted prime minister Saad Hariri to resign on October 29 — nearly two weeks into the demonstrations demanding the removal of a ruling elite seen as corrupt and incompetent. Safadi said in a statement that he had decided to withdraw following consultations with political parties and a meeting on Saturday with 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. Protesters who took to the streets on Saturday denounced Safadi’s potential nomination, saying it ran counter to nationwide calls to oust a political elite they see him as part and parcel of. In the statement Safadi, a prominent businessman, thanked President Michel Aoun and Hariri for supporting his candidacy, and said he hoped Hariri would return as premier to form a new government. The process for choosing a new premier requires Aoun to formally consult members of parliament on their choice for prime minister. He must designate whoever gets the most votes.

Safadi to Testify over Zaitunay Bay, Voices Surprise over Hariri Statement
Naharnet/November 17/2019
Ex-minister Mohammed Safadi on Sunday said he has requested to appear before the financial prosecutor to refute allegations about the Zaitunay Bay promenade and marina. “After the issue of Zaitunay Bay was tackled in a false manner, and after the controversy, ambiguity in people’s minds, the launch of accusations and the claims about the presence of violations, Minister Mohammed Safadi took the initiative of calling Financial Prosecutor Ali Ibrahim and asked him to schedule a meeting,” Safadi’s office said. “He urged him to launch a complete and comprehensive probe and to hold accountable any wrongdoer in order to wrap up the file once and for all,” the office added. Safadi, who is a partner in the Zaitunay Bay project, has been accused of being involved in a venture that encroaches on public seaside property and of suspected money laundering and other violations. Separately, Safadi’s office commented on a statement issued by the press office of caretaker Prime Minister Saad Hariri. The office said Safadi was “surprised” by the statement which “divulged the details of negotiations” between him and Hariri, which he had wanted to remain confidential. Describing the statement as an attempt at “political exploitation,” the office said Hariri did not keep promises made to Safadi to convince him to accept the nomination. “This prompted me to declare my withdrawal and today I call on everyone to show prudence and realize that Lebanon is bigger than us all and that it is in impending danger,” Safadi said in the statement.

Safadi asks Judge Ibrahim to open an investigation into case of Zaitunay Bay
NNA/November 17/2019
Former Minister Mohammad Safadi said in a statement on Sunday that he contacted the Financial Attorney General, Judge Ali Ibrahim, urging him to schedule an appointment to initiate an investigation into the case of Zaitunay Bay and hold any perpetrator accountable for any crime in this regard.”

US embassy in Lebanon ‘supports’ peaceful protests
AFP, Beirut/Sunday, 17 November 2019
The US embassy in Lebanon said on Saturday it supported the one-month-old anti-government protest movement in Lebanon. “We support the Lebanese people in their peaceful demonstrations and expressions of national unity,” the embassy said on Twitter. Lebanon has since October 17 been swept by an unprecedented cross-sectarian protest movement against the entire political establishment, which is widely seen as irretrievably corrupt and unable to deal with a deepening economic crisis. The government stepped down on October 29 but stayed on in a caretaker capacity, and an economic crisis has also battered the country. Some local players, notably the powerful pro-Iranian Shie movement Hezbollah, have accused “external parties” and Western embassies of supporting the popular uprising, including through financial backing. Several mass rallies are planned for Sunday in cities across Lebanon to keep up the pressure on the country’s ruling class. On Saturday, an initiative dubbed the “revolution bus” traversed the country. Lebanese anti-government protesters arrive in a “revolution” bus escorted by Lebanese army soldiers in the southern city of Sidon on November 16, 2019. (AFP) Leaving Akkar region in the north in the morning, the bus – decorated with the names of protest hotbeds in the multi-confessional country – arrived early in the evening in the southern city of Sidon. According to protesters, the initiative sought to break down geographical and sectarian barriers and overcome the collective trauma of the 1975-1990 civil war. In an incident that became emblematic of inter-sectarian schisms during that deadly conflict, a bus was strafed by gunfire.

U.S. Embassy in Lebanon Denies Link to ‘Revolution Bus’
Agence France Presse/Naharnet/November 17/2019
The U.S. embassy in Lebanon has said that it supports “the Lebanese people in their peaceful demonstrations,” but denied financing a so-called “revolution bus” that sparked controversy. “We heard the rumors and no, the U.S. Embassy is not financing ‘the revolution bus’,” the embassy tweeted.
“We support the Lebanese people in their peaceful demonstrations and expressions of national unity,” it added. Rumors circulated on social media had accused some organizers of the bus initiative of having ties to Washington and the U.S. embassy. The rumors created tensions and the bus was prevented from moving south beyond the Elia square in Sidon over security fears. Organizers and protesters who started their journey in the northern Akkar region had sought to reach the southern cities of Tyre and Nabatiyeh, strongholds of Hizbullah and the AMAL Movement which have also witnessed anti-corruption protests. Lebanon has since October 17 been swept by an unprecedented cross-sectarian protest movement against the entire political establishment, which is widely seen as irretrievably corrupt and unable to deal with a deepening economic crisis. Some local players, notably the powerful Iran-backed Hizbullah, have accused “external parties” and Western embassies of supporting the popular uprising, including through financial backing. According to protesters, the bus initiative sought to break down geographical and sectarian barriers and overcome the collective trauma of the 1975-1990 civil war. In an incident blamed for sparking that deadly conflict, a bus was strafed by gunfire on April 13, 1975 in the Beirut suburb of Ain el-Rummaneh.

Qaouq: Some Planting Mines in Way of Govt. Formation
Naharnet/November 17/2019
A senior Hizbullah official on Sunday accused some parties of “planting mines in the way of the government formation process” in a bid to “change the political equations” in the country. “Regardless of the government’s shape and whoever its premier might be, Lebanon will not have a government subject to American diktats that would work on implementing the U.S. wishes at the expense of the Lebanese interests, specifically at the expense of Lebanon’s strength in resistance,” Hizbullah central council member Sheikh Nabil Qaouq said. “From the position of historic national responsibility, Hizbullah has managed to thwart strife and Israel’s civil war ambitions, and it is keen on facilitating all contacts and consultations for the sake of forming a new government,” Qaouq added. Noting that “U.S. policy and Saudi electronic media sought to push citizens into clashes on the streets and were waiting for the eruption of strife among the Lebanese,” the Hizbullah official acknowledged that protesters on the streets “are rallying in order to rescue the country and demand their social rights.”But he warned that “those who infiltrated the popular protest movement, be them political parties or U.S. interferences, do not want to rescue the country but rather to bring it down in order to achieve political gains.”

Arab Banks Union to convene in Cairo upcoming December 8 & 9
NNA/November 17/2019
The Union of Arab Banks is expected to hold its annual conference on December 8 & 9, 2019, which will tackle the “impact of political and economic fluctuations on the flow of banking operations in the Arab region.”
“The conference will discuss the economic reforms and their impact on achieving economic and social security, as well as the pressure imposed by international legislation on the banking sector and its repercussions,” the Union’s Secretary General Wissam Fattouh said in a statement. Referring to the Beirut banking conference, Fattouh indicated that it was postponed due to the developments in Lebanon. He added that the conference will be held immediately upon the new cabinet formation and after the return of political conditions to normal, with the participation of all parties and international institutions and Arab monetary funds. “This reflects the belief in Lebanon’s financial and economic role, and comes as a token of devotion which the Arab bankers have for Lebanon,” he said. “Beirut remains the capital of financial and banking conferences, attracting all Arab bankers who insist on the Lebanese capital to hold their conferences,” Fattouh concluded.

Titles For The Latest Lebanese LCCC English analysis & editorials from miscellaneous sources published on November 17-18/2019
With deadlock continuing, Lebanon’s crisis is set for the long haul/Samar Kadi/The Arab Weekly Editorial/Sunday 17/11/201
The bright side to the Lebanese October revolution/The Arab Weekly Editorial/Sunday 17/11/2019
Lebanese abroad look for ways to get involved in protest movement/Justin Salhani/The Arab Weekly/Sunday 17/11/2019
Let Aoun, Nasrallah and Bassil be the ones to emigrate/Baria Alamuddin/Arab News/November 17/ 2019
What’s next for the Lebanese banking sector?/Dan Azzi/Annahar/November 17/2019
Lebanon protests one month in: Demonstrators score electoral win but politicians still deadlocked/Sunniva Rose/The National/November 17/2019

The Latest Lebanese LCCC English analysis & editorials from miscellaneous sources published on November 17-18/2019
With deadlock continuing, Lebanon’s crisis is set for the long haul
Samar Kadi/The Arab Weekly Editorial/Sunday 17/11/2019
BEIRUT – The month-old demonstrations that brought Lebanon to a halt and toppled Prime Minister Saad Hariri’s government have yet to deliver on protesters’ demands for an “emergency administration” of independent technocratic ministers capable of rescuing the country from its acute financial crisis.
Reports that a consensus was reached to nominate Mohammad Safadi, a former Finance minister, as prime minister fuelled the anger of protesters who gathered outside Safadi’s home. “Reports about Safadi’s nomination could be a test balloon to see how it would be received. The people reacted with more protests. I don’t think that would work, unless the ruling class wants to confront the people,” said political analyst Amin Kammourieh.
“We are stuck in an impasse,” he said. “A government of technocrats will not be accepted by Hezbollah and its allies while a cabinet of politicians and technocrats will still face opposition in the street.”Hariri, who resigned October 29 after unprecedented protests against ruling politicians blamed for rampant state corruption and an economic crisis, said he would only return as prime minister of a cabinet of non-partisan specialist ministers. While the powerful Iran-backed Hezbollah and its allies, the Shia Amal Movement of parliament Speaker Nabih Berri and the Free Patriotic Movement of President Michel Aoun, wanted Hariri to return as prime minister, they insisted on a cabinet of both technocrats and politicians. “They want him (Hariri) back because he represents a Sunni majority and has strong relations with the West, which they don’t want to lose,” Kammourieh said. Kammourieh said a cabinet of independent technocrats would eliminate or weaken the hold of Hezbollah, which does not want to be seen as “if it has conceded to the international community, notably the West and the Americans,” he said.
Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah has repeatedly insinuated that critics of Hezbollah’s political line were manipulating the protests and that the demonstrations had been exploited by international and regional powers against Hezbollah. Protesters blocked roads and crammed city squares despite little sign of an imminent breakthrough. Lebanon appears to be in for a prolonged crisis. The first fatality in the protests occurred November 12, when a Lebanese soldier shot a protester south of Beirut shortly after a live interview during which Aoun implicitly rejected the protesters’ demand for an independent cabinet.
A non-partisan cabinet of experts with a well-defined agenda, including early general elections, “is the only option to surmount the crisis,” said Sami Nader, director of the Levant Institute for Strategic Affairs.
“If the deadlock persists, Lebanon will be plunging into a more severe economic crisis. The World Bank has warned that 50% of the Lebanese will fall into poverty. That will lead to complete chaos and all-out civil disobedience.”Neither side appears prepared to compromise and there is no political leadership or opposition party that could be an alternative to the ruling parties. “Hezbollah and its allies are not willing so far to relinquish their dominion over the political establishment but, in the meantime, the country may collapse… We are still at square one.”

The bright side to the Lebanese October revolution
The Arab Weekly Editorial/Sunday 17/11/2019
No matter whether the demonstrators succeed or fail, politicians will never again dare to steal with impunity as they have so frequently done in the past.
Sunday 17/11/2019
The popular demonstrations in Lebanon that began with euphoria and hope and forced the resignation of Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri are unlikely to unfold the way the crowds wish.
Drastic changes in the political and social structure of Lebanon, which is what is needed if the demands of the people are to be met, are highly unlikely.
Meaning that the revolution is dead? No, far from it. The revolution is in its infancy. It is only starting. A revolution is a continuous movement. It is ongoing. It is perpetual, otherwise it dies. It was not only residents of Beirut taking to the streets — so, too, did people in cities around the country. They protested in Sidon, in Tripoli, Tyre and many other locations. It is likely that some changes will be introduced. However, the demonstrators will soon realise that not all of their demands will be accepted by the establishment. Much to the displeasure of the establishment, it will soon realise that it has no choice but to adapt to the new realities. Lebanon’s traditional leadership, based along confessional and sectarian — almost tribal-clannish — lines reflecting a quasi-medieval social structure, has led the country to the brink of economic disaster, almost reaching the level of a failed state. This cannot go on.
It is inevitable that some changes as demanded by demonstrators over the last month are going to be met but not all the demands will be addressed and many promises will be broken.
However, in typical Lebanese manner, the president will appoint a new prime minister, who will introduce some new faces to the political arena and will retain some of the establishment’s defenders. Those may be second- or third-tier establishment people who will continue to serve their masters, rather than their country. Lebanon’s revolution is unlikely to be successful in its first try. This must be seen as a multistep endeavour, which may take decades. As with almost every major development in Lebanon since its independence, the crisis will have to be resolved through consensus.
There is, however, a bright side to the dark and murky waters of Lebanese politics and some changes to the Lebanese political scene are inevitable. Many people in Lebanon are realising that, while they may not be as optimistic as they were in the early days of the protests, there may be a silver lining.
No matter whether the demonstrators succeed or fail, politicians will never again dare to steal with impunity as they have so frequently done in the past. Flagrant disregard of laws and corruption simply because one is powerful enough to get away with it will not disappear entirely but changes of motion set out in the October revolution will make those with bad intentions think twice before committing similar crimes. The real test — to see how many Lebanese have changed and just how much they have changed — will become apparent at the next elections.
Will the country continue to vote for the same people who took the nation to the brink of the economic meltdown or will they be faithful to the ideals of the October revolution and vote in new faces without the traditional requirement of belonging to a certain religion, group, sect or party?
If Lebanon aims to achieve a true level of democracy, it should strive to have its laws made applicable to all citizens and residents of the country. That includes the Hezbollah-dominated sectarian system of benefits, many of which smack of unfairness and corruption.

Lebanese abroad look for ways to get involved in protest movement
Justin Salhani/The Arab Weekly/Sunday 17/11/2019
PARIS – As Lebanon marks one month of protests, activists and demonstrators are charting their next steps in the effort to remove what they say is a corrupt political system. The Lebanese diaspora, which faces a different set of struggles, is finding ways to get involved in the movement.
When the protests began, many Lebanese outside the country experienced a whirlwind of emotions. There was pride in compatriots standing up to the long-entrenched government but also some uneasiness about not being present to support them.
This was not the first time Lebanese have had a protest effort aimed at revolutionising the political system but previous setbacks made many lose hope. In 2005, massive demonstrations led to the expulsion of occupying Syrian forces but the following ten years were punctuated by social and economic crises. In 2015, a waste-disposal crisis led Lebanese to again protest in mass but that movement broke down because of internal divisions and the political class’s efforts to keep them at bay.
“I really lost heart after the (2015) ‘You Stink’ (protests),” said Drew Mikhael, a Belfast-based academic who said he visits Lebanon around eight times each year. Mikhael said that, after the collapse of the 2015 protests, he stopped keeping up with Lebanese news.
This time, however, something feels different, protesters said.
“The united nature crosses sect, class, gender. It’s inclusive of the LGBT community and it has reignited hope,” Mikhael said, adding that the new social contract forged by Lebanese across the country appears to be a watershed moment in casting off sectarian divisions.
The Lebanese diaspora is re-energised. Weekly protests have taken place in New York, Paris, London and elsewhere since mid-October. There has been a significant backlash to Lebanese President Michel Aoun’s suggestions that Lebanese unhappy with their government can simply emigrate. That struck a particularly harsh note with the diaspora, many of whom left because of a lack of opportunity at home.
Many Lebanese living abroad confess they feel guilt, shame or fear of missing out in the protests. It isn’t helped that they are sometimes stigmatised by other Lebanese for having left their country, whether or not by choice.
Nasri Atallah said he was at a protest in London, where he lives, and heard people chanting how they wish to live and work in Lebanon. While he doesn’t disagree, he said his personal situation is different.
“I thought about how, even if things in Lebanon were ideal, I would probably leave anyway because my ambitions are matched in a place like London or New York,” Atallah said.
When the protests broke out, Atallah said he considered returning to Beirut but he felt uneasy. “I felt it would be conflict tourism to go to my own country as an expat under these circumstances and I thought about how I could be of better use in my own city,” he said.
Since then, he’s been talking to others in the diaspora about how to help and build a network that can help find opportunities for young Lebanese artists or professionals, similar to networks used by the Armenian or Chinese
communities abroad.
There is a stark dichotomy between the lives of Lebanese diaspora members and Lebanese at home, many pointed out. A meme on social media during the first days of the protest movement showed a drawn figurine of an expat woman watching developments on her laptop surrounded by trinkets and dishes that reminded her of Lebanon.
“For the first week, I was glued to (Lebanese news channel) MTV and I’d be at my job and listening to all the latest developments at the same time,” said Micha Maalouf, who lives in New York. “I told everyone at my office what was happening and why this was so important.”
She was not the only Lebanese living abroad eagerly keeping up with the news but while expatriates used social media to stay informed, they sometimes struggled to manage their daily lives. Maalouf admitted she’s had to shut off the news so her work performance didn’t suffer.
Many diaspora members observed a strange dichotomy between following developments in Lebanon and staying connected to local happenings. Some found it surreal to flip through memes of their friends and family supporting the protests, only to be interrupted by an Instagram story featuring a plate of food posted by a non-Lebanese colleague.
“It felt like a moral obligation at first,” Youssef Mallat, a Lebanese living in Paris, said about focusing solely on “the revolution.” “When I’d see posts not about the revolution it made me a bit angry because I felt it wasn’t time to talk about other things and we have bigger problems but as an expat what do you do? At some point, your life is still going,” he said.
The divide reminds the Lebanese diaspora of the duality of their lives. Many left Lebanon for the chance at a more stable life but their hearts are with protesters on the streets of Lebanon chanting “thawra, thawra, thawra!”

Let Aoun, Nasrallah and Bassil be the ones to emigrate
بارعة علم الدين/اتركوا عون وباسيل ونصرالله يحاجروا من لبنان
Baria Alamuddin/Arab News/November 17/ 2019
http://eliasbejjaninews.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=80647&action=edit
Michel Aoun’s depressingly out-of-touch interview last week — culminating in him disparagingly declaring “let them emigrate,” addressed at all Lebanese discontented with the miserable status quo — focused renewed popular anger against the president. A month after it began, the revolution accumulates momentum, energy and confidence with each passing week.
The nomination of Mohammed Safadi to head a new government reassured nobody that Lebanon’s sectarian governing framework has renounced its clientelistic instincts (Safadi has since withdrawn his candidacy anyway). Protesters denounced the 75-year-old former finance minister as one of the corrupt elite’s more grotesque faces. “Choosing Mohammed Safadi for prime minister proves that the politicians who rule us are in a deep coma,” remarked one demonstrator.
No possible choice of Sunni prime minister can solve this crisis — the sectarian system is rotten to the core and must be abolished in its entirety. Saad Hariri is one of the few leaders to understand the depth of the popular anger; hence his insistence on only cooperating with a government entirely composed of technocrats. Hariri was burnt by his participation in previous governments for the sake of consensus and civil peace — yet amounting to no more than a sticking plaster over a gaping wound.
Following his opportunistic embrace of the pro-Syria/Iran camp after his 2005 return from exile, Aoun became the cornerstone on which Hezbollah consolidated its dominance of the Lebanese state, effectively neutralizing Lebanon’s Christians as a potential counterweight to Iranian hegemony.
Aoun, at the age of 84, is disconnected from the realities of contemporary Lebanon. His son-in-law Gebran Bassil has been the real driving force behind efforts to cobble together a government behind the scenes and subvert the revolution’s momentum. These labors reportedly included meetings with Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah to prepare the ground for a transition of power from Aoun to Bassil. Yet Bassil is even more deeply loathed than Aoun — as attested by the unrepeatably rude chants from demonstrating crowds. Even among erstwhile Christian supporters of the Free Patriotic Movement, there is recognition that Aoun and Bassil stand guilty of facilitating Iran’s hostile takeover of their homeland.
This weekend’s sudden outbreak of protests across Iran over skyrocketing petrol prices, along with the sustained explosion of anger against Iranian meddling in Iraq, should be a salutary reminder to Nasrallah that the future disintegration of the Islamic Republic will cause the ground to disappear beneath his feet. Until recently, Hezbollah appeared omnipotent; yet, with each passing day of mass protests, Nasrallah is left scrabbling to adjust to new realities.
Ordinary people’s voices have been extinguished entirely in a state governed for the malign pleasure of oligarchic and foreign interests.
The Iranian protests already have many commonalities with the Lebanese and Iraqi uprisings, with economic grievances rapidly giving way to calls for “death to the dictator.” Attempts by Iraqi and Lebanese protesters to directly communicate with each other indicate a way that citizens can capitalize on their common grievances — as they all ultimately desire an end to the detested ayatollahs’ regime.
Lebanon’s sectarianism and factionalism have set communities against each other, rendering the country a plaything of foreign powers, with France, the US and various regional states having their favored factional allies. However — as is the case with Syria and Iraq — Arab influence in Lebanon has lamentably withered away altogether in recent years.
Of all the foreign parties, it is Tehran that came to dominate the Lebanese arena through its chosen vehicle of Hezbollah, while exploiting clients like Aoun to monopolize the entire political system. Instead of the sectarian system guaranteeing that all communities are represented, ordinary people’s voices have been extinguished entirely in a state governed for the malign pleasure of oligarchic and foreign interests. The Aoun-Bassil relationship is a further reminder of the feudal nature of Lebanon’s politics, with the same few families monopolizing power since pre-civil war days. How can anybody mistake this for democracy?
The civil war shattered Lebanon’s sense of collective national belonging. Recent protests herald the rebirth of this unified identity, the rejection of sectarianism, and an assertion of national sovereignty. The revolution’s first martyr, Alaa Abou Fakhr, has posthumously come to embody this patriotic mood, with his face appearing on huge murals and across social media, while the local school and the American University of Beirut have pledged to cover the costs of his bereaved children’s education.
Whether in Iran, Lebanon or Iraq, democracy only exists when people’s choices at the ballot box are meaningfully reflected in the composition and agenda of the administration. A nation state can only exist when people’s primary loyalties and affiliation are to the entire motherland and not to communities segmented along bitter sectarian divides or to foreign powerbrokers.
Aoun’s insulting retort about appointing independent technocrats — “Where can I find them? On the moon?” — illustrates his blinkered detachment from the deep reserves of experienced, educated and dedicated figures that Lebanon can draw on when the crooks are forced to step aside.
Lebanon’s chronic crises and cronyism, generation after generation, have consistently impelled its finest minds to choose the uncertainties and rootlessness of exile. Rather than dismissively exhorting patriotic citizens to emigrate, future leaderships should offer their most outstanding citizens incentives to invest their energies, wealth and expertise in their homeland.
This is a nation capable of great things, if only protesters retain the courage of their convictions and follow through on this revolution to bring in a new generation of leaders dedicated to Lebanon’s well-being rather than their own.
If Nasrallah, Aoun, Bassil and others dislike this aspiration, then they know where they can go.
*Baria Alamuddin is an award-winning journalist and broadcaster in the Middle East and the UK. She is editor of the Media Services Syndicate and has interviewed numerous heads of state.

What’s next for the Lebanese banking sector?

Dan Azzi/Annahar/November 17/2019
This also makes the current unwinding that we’re currently witnessing, the biggest destruction of wealth in the history of the country.
Who remembers a banker or politician beaming proudly about the banking sector’s $170 billion in deposits? The Lira is safe, they would continue without skipping a beat, because the size of our deposits is 3 times GDP. This is like me borrowing $3 million from someone and going around town bragging that I’m a multi-millionaire. Deposits are liabilities, i.e. debt, owed by the banks to you, the depositor. Banks and people forgot this simple principle, which is why we are where we are today. The banking sector and the central bank in Lebanon have presided over the biggest artificial creation of money and wealth in the history of the nation, which I wrote about here Effectively, they did something that nobody’s ever done before — they printed US dollars. If this had happened in physical form, special agents from the US Secret Service, wearing Oakley sunglasses, would have been dispatched to Beirut to investigate … except it was all perfectly (or imperfectly) legal. This also makes the current unwinding that we’re currently witnessing, the biggest destruction of wealth in the history of the country.
We were featured in the Guinness Book of Records in 1976 for the biggest bank heist in history, the British Bank of the Middle East (HSBC today). The armed bandits, thought to be PLO, made out with around $125 million in today’s dollars, and, except for the largest Hummos plate, we haven’t graced its pages for anything significant since. We will soon have the dubious honor of being featured again, for the biggest bank heist in history, except this time it won’t involve armed men with AK-47s and RPGs. It was perpetrated by men in Ermenigildo Zegna suits, Hermès ties, and Rolex watches.
It will more accurately be featured as the largest government-sponsored Ponzi scheme in the history of mankind, more than double the size of that amateur Madoff. A Ponzi Scheme is defined as a fraudulent investment scheme paying inexplicably high returns to old investors, funded by new investors. This definition applies precisely to what happened in Lebanon, except the fraudulent part. Madoff promised high returns using a “split-strike option strategy” — an outright lie, and too complex-sounding for anyone to ask further questions. In our case, it was explained by “financial engineering” which was also too complex-sounding for anyone to ask further questions, however nobody actually lied, meaning nobody claimed that this was being invested in widgets, when they weren’t. Banks simply offered high returns of say 15% to a customer who didn’t know or care how these returns were being generated.
While Madoff affected a few hundred rich investors, our Ponzi involves the government, the whole banking sector, and will touch, in some shape or form, some 5 million Lebanese citizens, as well as a few adventurous foreigners — Iraqis, Syrians, and even the likes of some Jordanian banks, tempted by the interest rates offered by our banking geniuses, unmatched anywhere in the world. Once again, they will be reminded, the hard way, of the eternal cliche and fallacy, “too good to be true” and “this time is different.”
A few months ago, in a conversation with the author of the book with the same title, the renowned expert on financial crises, Harvard Professor Carmen Reinhardt, said, “Lebanon has been the source of largest errors in the Kaminsky-Reinhart early warnings model (i.e. Chronic false alarms) … Lebanon is a tricky and very interesting case. I have been expecting a currency devaluation for a long, long time! I think you have sources of funding that are difficult to track.”
If more than half of all dollar deposits in Lebanon are fake, as I’m claiming, how does this affect day-to-day life?
For one thing, whether or not you believe in the inevitability of a haircut, it’s pretty clear that a dollar outside Lebanon (or cash) is worth more than a dollar in your bank account (let’s call this a fake or “Lebanese dollar”). We’ve already seen this reflected in some unusual transactions in the market, such as a person trading a $100,000 deposit in his bank account for $80-90,000 in cash. We’ve also seen a spike in real estate transactions, meaning people buying land or apartments using checks drawn on fake dollars to buy tangible assets — the bet here is that even if real estate drops further (which it will), it’s a better store of value than the eventual recovery value of a typical deposit. A developer is happy to take a check for fake dollars, because his bank has no choice but to accept it in return for his loan in (real dollars). In some sense, this is positive for the banking sector, because it shrinks their balance sheets and reduces their nonperforming loans. Of course, a person buying real estate with real dollars (cash or dollars transferred from an overseas account to an overseas account) might pay half-price on the same deal. Other forms of these types of deals might be buying a used car (or other depreciable assets or even commodities such as gold or diamonds) using fake dollars, and exporting it outside the country and selling it overseas … assuming the seller accepts fake dollars. The only seller who would accept it is one in debt, because his bank has no choice but to accept this check to settle a loan.
Traditionally, banks have competed ferociously for your deposit. Have you noticed that these days they’re not offering you high interest to switch to their bank? Why do you think that is? Because, the dollars you’re transferring are fake and you’re probably switching banks assuming that the receiving bank will be more permissive in letting you withdraw money or transfer overseas. In other words, you’re making the problems of the receiving banks worse, because of increasing the demand on their dwindling real dollars, rationed by the central bank.
They no longer want you.
In fact, banks will no longer be as proud of their deposits increasing, because those are liabilities (debt) that they can’t pay.
The best banks today are the ones who can reduce their deposits, reduce their loans (especially NPL), and unwind as much as they can from their deposits at BDL. That last one is the most tricky part and the key to its survival.

Lebanon protests one month in: Demonstrators score electoral win but politicians still deadlocked
Sunniva Rose/The National/November 17/2019
Independent Melhem Khalaf elected to lead Beirut Bar Association as uprising enters its second month
As Lebanese politicians seemed to be caught in a disastrous deadlock on Sunday, the anti-establishment protest movement scored its first electoral win, voting in an independent to lead the Beirut Bar Association.
Melhem Khalaf won by a comfortable margin against Nader Gaspard, a candidate backed by the Free Patriotic Movement, Lebanese Forces, Progressive Socialist Party and the Future Movement.
Pierre Hanna, previously backed by the LF, PSP and Future Movement, withdrew his candidacy in favour of Mr Gaspard to try to secure his win.
“We hope this day will renew democracy within Lebanon’s institutions,” Mr Khalaf said in his victory speech.
Until now, the Beirut Bar Association had not taken a formal stance on the month of mass protests against corruption, poor governance and a crumbling economy. But as Mr Khalaf’s name was announced, many in the crowd of lawyers at the tally cheered and broke into chants of “thowra”, or revolution.
Meanwhile, a plan by parties to form a new government to tackle the dire economic situation and address the demands of protesters appeared to fall apart. Two days after he was chosen by Lebanon’s most powerful political parties to be the country’s next prime minister, veteran politician Mohammad Safadi withdrew his candidacy on Saturday evening.
As the country faces a possible “total economic meltdown with potential violence”, its political system is “completely paralysed” by the mass protests that started on October 17, analyst Imad Salamey said.
After resigning on October 29, caretaker Prime Minister Saad Hariri had reportedly agreed to meet protesters half-way by forming a small government of technocrats.
An apolitical government is one of the key demands of protesters. Triggered by a suggested tax on WhatsApp calls, the protest movement quickly became a rejection of the entire Lebanese political system, based on sectarianism.
But Mr Hariri’s proposal was reportedly dismissed by President Michel Aoun, who wants politicians to be part of the new government.
In a meeting on Thursday evening, the Christian Free Patriotic Movement founded by Mr Aoun, Lebanon’s two Shiite parties, Hezbollah and Amal, and Mr Hariri all agreed on Mr Safadi’s nomination.
Lebanon’s prime minister must be Sunni Muslim, according to the country’s sectarian power-sharing system. But picking Mr Safadi, 75, a billionaire with strong ties to the country’s elite, to lead a government that would include other familiar politicians was a slap in the face for protesters, who rejected the proposal. Mr Safadi, an MP for 18 consecutive years, held key ministerial positions between 2005 and 2014. Like Mr Hariri, he made his fortune in real estate. Adding insult to injury, it was caretaker Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil, the most unpopular politician with protesters, who said parliamentary consultations would begin on Monday and would confirm Mr Safadi’s nomination as new prime minister.
Mr Bassil, who has aspirations to succeed his father-in-law as president, is regarded by protesters as representative of one of the worst aspects of Lebanese politics: nepotism. Mr Bassil took over leadership of the FPM from the president in 2015.
But nepotism is not limited to the FPM. Mr Hariri inherited his position from his father, Rafik Hariri, who was assassinated in 2005.
Parliament is made up of political dynasties, long-time politicians and their relatives. Mr Bassil’s announcement immediately led to attacks from Mr Hariri’s party, the Future Movement, which accused him of overstepping his powers. Parliamentary consultations should normally be announced by the country’s president, not a caretaker minister.
Mr Bassil’s office argued that local media had distorted his words, the Lebanese daily L’Orient-Le Jour reported.
Analysts have suggested that choosing Mr Safadi in a closed-door meeting was unconstitutional, although opaque procedures are standard practice in filling top posts in Lebanese politics.
Even Ibrahim Al Amine, editor in chief of Al Akhbar, a newspaper close to Hezbollah, which has accused protesters of receiving funding from abroad, questioned the FPM and Hezbollah’s agreement in an article on Saturday titled: “Those who thought of the Safadi option, suggested it or accepted it, are crazy.” By Saturday evening, Mr Safadi had withdrawn his candidacy.
He said it would be “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”.
Mr Safadi also said he hoped Mr Hariri would return as premier to form a new government. As politicians bicker over power, others have used the threat of a new civil war. Mr Hariri condemned the FPM, saying Mr Safadi’s name had not been used as a pretext to build support for him to return as prime minister in the next government. “Prime Minister Hariri does not manoeuvre and does not seek to limit the possibility of forming a government to himself,” his office said. “He was the first to present alternative names to form a government. He was clear, from the first day of the government’s resignation, with all the representatives of the parliamentary blocs, that he does not evade any national responsibility.”
Mr Hariri also said Mr Safadi’s name had been put forward by Mr Bassil, whereas the prime minister was pushing for Nawaf Salam, a judge at the International Court of Justice and formerly Lebanon’s ambassador to the UN.
Caretaker Defence Minister, Elias Bou Saab, said on Thursday that the country was in a “very dangerous situation”. But protesters refuse to back down.
“Politicians love saying how dangerous the situation is because they want people to be too afraid to protest,” said Alaa Sayegh, an activist from the LiHaqqi political movement created in 2017. “They want the situation to go back to what it was like before October 17, but there is no bigger danger than the same political parties staying in power because they brought Lebanon to economic ruin.” The source of Lebanon’s deadlock is the dichotomy between Hezbollah and its allies’ strong grip on local politics resulting from the 2018 parliamentary elections, and the country’s economy that relies on Arab and western support, Mr Salamey said.
One of the most indebted countries in the world, Lebanon needs international help as it faces imminent economic collapse. But donors would be reluctant to help a government dominated by Iran-backed Hezbollah, designated a terrorist group by the US. Lebanon is suffering from a liquidity shortage that has led to banks limiting daily withdrawals, causing difficulties for importers.
As a result, there is a shortage of basic goods such as fuel and medication, and prices in supermarkets have increased in some areas by up to 20 per cent.
Mr Salamey said the only solution for Lebanon was to establish a “new political formula” that is not beholden to the outcomes of the elections in 2018.
“The situation hinges on Hezbollah and the FPM’s willingness to make serious concessions in that direction,” he said. But on Sunday, Hezbollah signalled that it was not yet open to concessions. “There are those who deliberately lay mines in the path of forming a government and whose goal is to change the political equations between the country’s main forces,” said senior Hezbollah official Nabil Qawouq. “Lebanon will not be a government of American dictates.”