Delayed Lebanon.. until the end of the conflict over quotas and profit sharing

In Lebanon, many events are similar in different historical stations. It was previously said, specifically in the era of Lebanese prosperity, that is, the golden age of the “Switzerland of the East”, that this small country was built on the hardships of the Arabs, from the Palestinian Nakba to attracting capital due to the nationalization policy in the region, activating economic facilities, the banking sector and more. Currently, Lebanon is experiencing an unprecedented collapse in all these sectors, associated with a severe political crisis, which can only be resolved by solving all existing financial and economic problems, through which a new identity of the country must be defined. At this stage, Lebanon is paying the price of its collapse, as well as the price of the collapse of the entire state formula that existed in the region in the past decades. It will inevitably be affected by the Syrian and Iraqi collapse and pay the financial and economic costs as a result of regional political alignment.

Complex and intertwined interests overlap in the Lebanese, American, French, Arab and Iranian arenas. All these powers and countries show a fundamental interest in the files on gas and oil, the restructuring of banks, the development of the reform plan within state administrations and in all production sectors. Each of these powers and states has interests and visions that can intersect in one place and conflict in another.

Under that roof lies a deep political crisis, which represents an existential threat to the country’s formula. The political crisis cannot be resolved without resolving the direction in which intertwined interests collide.


In the 1950s, during Lebanon’s financial and economic boom, INTRA tried to buy Middle East Airlines. Then there was a dispute with the French company Air France, which was a partner with the Lebanese company. At first the French refused, and the deal only happened after high-level political interventions in Beirut and Paris to get the job done. The same is happening today, with regard to French interest in Lebanon, from the management of the ports in Beirut and Tripoli, to investments in the oil and gas sector, and other investment projects.

France is not alone in this. There is a link here with American strategic interest in the region and pushing Lebanon into the Eastern Mediterranean alliance in a gentle way through Egyptian gas and Jordanian electricity, and political conditions need to be met for this. Iran is not far from that path either, which has tried on several occasions to provide fuel for the production of electricity, based on an official agreement with the Ministry of Energy. It is still reeling because of US sanctions and political connections. Iran has also previously tried to reach the Mediterranean Sea through shipments of petroleum products to the Syrian coast and from there to Lebanon, as a trial process for the delivery of Iranian oil to the Mediterranean.

Saudi Arabia and its conditions

As for the Gulf, that is, Saudi policy towards Lebanon, the position is divided into two parts. The first is purely political, related to the confrontation with Hezbollah and Iran behind it, and the consideration of the Lebanese state as part of this axis, which led to negative financial, economic and political consequences. The second, economic investment, refers to 22 joint Saudi-Lebanese agreements that were agreed upon in previous years, specifically in the period after the election of Michel Aoun as President of the Republic. These agreements have a strategic, political and investment dimension, through the connection with joint projects with Saudi Arabia, based on the benefits between the two parties. However, what has prevented its implementation are political divisions, disagreements and security conditions over border and crossing control, which Lebanon has failed to meet. Nor did he take political positions consistent with Saudi Arabia.

unproductive movement

Because of all these conflicting interests, the differences between the Lebanese forces continue. How political calculation overlaps with economic and investment. At the moment, the conflict revolves around the achievement of the expected Lebanese solution, the election of a new president and the formation of a new government.
In order to achieve this, the interests of all these conflicting forces must intersect. It takes time and until Lebanon is on the list of priorities. Meanwhile, the Lebanese arena is witnessing an unproductive political movement, but it continues within the framework of filling the vacuum.
This is where Gebran Bassil’s political movement comes from, either with his meetings with Jumblatt or Mikati, or other meetings. Here it is necessary to highlight the effort of businessman Alaa Al-Khawaj to arrange a meeting between Mikati and Basil, which must be related to investment and economic files. This brings back memories of the golden era for Khawaja in Lebanon, during the distinguished relationship between Saad Hariri and Gebran Bassil, one of the pillars of which were the terms of the 2016 political agreement, from which today’s crisis arose.

All internal meetings remain marginal, waiting for the determination of the economic and investment direction at home, in connection with external developments. French President Emmanuel Macron did not hide that his solution will be regional. Before this is achieved, internal meetings will intensify, discussions on the conditions of a political and economic solution will multiply, especially regarding the resolution of the financial crisis, restructuring of banks, regulation of production sectors and communal services.
Then all the names of the presidential or government candidates and their composition will be just details.

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