Any real hope of one-two reality punches from France and the US?

President Macron of France is due in Lebanon September 1 to insist on political and economic reforms required to free up international financial support for the country. Despite warning during his previous visit August 6 that he would return with the same message of reform required before funding, it appears that the same cast of political elites intends to stay in power. There is no sign that the political oligarchy has any intention of ceding control, and President Aoun began Monday, August 31, with consultations at the Presidential Palace on naming a new prime minister. In the meantime, Sunni leaders designated current Ambassador to Germany Mustapha Adib as their nominee. Like his predece

What is/are the Truth/s Behind the Beirut Explosions?

I prefer not to think in terms of conspiracies, even when they feed my perceptions of certain events. Certainly, the US political landscape thrives on plots and claims built on muck, reminiscent of countries where rumors are the dominant form of news coverage. Having spent most of my life working on US-Arab issues, conspiracies are part and parcel of the territory. I can remember staying at the Intercontinental Hotel in Amman, Jordan, in the early 80s, checking with the hotel switchboard operator as to who was in town and catching up on the latest gossip. Even earlier, in the 70s in Lebanon, it seemed that all the regional players had a captive press outlet that provided their particular spi

Okay Lebanon, What’s Next?

Watching the many webinars on the crisis in Lebanon has been enlightening but sobering. While analysts often refer by way of illustration to the well-known facts and figures behind the country’s systemic failures, it is truly literally the most recent shock that has brought the country to a point of no return. Here is where those who want Lebanon to survive have met their challenge: what to do next? I just saw a story that the Lebanese parliament has given its staff and contractors a month off from work, illustrating that there won’t be any leadership coming from that body – no surprise there. Maybe that’s one way to avoid further publicity about resignations. Hassan Nasrallah has made know

Priorities and Possibilities - A Future to Rebuild Together

In October of 2019 a “revolt” was launched that started as a wave of popular rejection directed at the extreme levels of corruption that have plagued the traditional political system since the civil war. I am not calling this episode in our history a revolution yet, because so far nothing much has changed. As this spontaneous and massive revolt progressed, it was overcome with bigger issues, including the usurpation of the movement by the traditional political parties who had a vested interest in maintaining their crony-based status quo – which had allowed them, from the privileged positions of their power perches, to profit massively and obscenely for decades. As soon as the revolt exposed

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