Lebanon Says Maritime Deal ‘Make or Break’ After Israel Snubs Request for Changes Local Entrepreneurship Ecosystems and the Survival of Rural Economies Sectarianism Driving Lebanon Toward Economic Collapse
Lebanon Says Maritime Deal ‘Make or Break’ After Israel Snubs Request for Changes Israel has rejected Lebanon’s draft revisions to the maritime deal. A US Embassy representative in Jerusalem said the parties were “at a critical stage in the negotiations and the gaps have narrowed.” Media sources suggest the final area of disagreement is over a line of demarcation buoys Israel has placed along the coast. Elias Bou Saab, Lebanon’s top negotiator, said the deal “is 90% done but the remaining 10% could make it or break it.” [Reuters]
Although many Lebanese officials are optimistic of concluding a deal, the longer it takes the more opportunity there is to derail a final agreement. A number of Israeli political and security leaders have spoken out in support of the deal, while others are stoking the flames of fear with their eyes set on their country’s upcoming elections. A deal will enhance stability and security on Lebanon’s southern border. The Lebanese should make sure not to give the Israelis an excuse to walk away from a deal that appears to be in Lebanon’s interest.
-ATFL President Edward M. Gabriel
Local Entrepreneurship Ecosystems and the Survival of Rural Economies Linna Maddah, with the Lebanese Center for Policy Studies, argues that local cultural transformation is necessary to create the conditions for local entrepreneurship to thrive. [LCPS]
Lebanon’s last two Caretaker Ministers of Economy and Trade have taken their title and responsibilities seriously by advocating for relief for the poverty stricken masses as well as the liberation of the small and medium enterprises (SMEs) that can drive an economic recovery for Lebanon. Now, despite good intentions from international donors and the work of local NGOs, these entrepreneurs and their enterprises are suffering from neglect and misguided government policies. Through decentralization and robust support for SMEs, Lebanon can put money back into the economy, contribute to the well-being of the country, and learn the lesson of investing in people. As the study points out, “Only with well-fashioned, bottom-up development strategies that support local entrepreneurs—their ecosystem, institutions, and culture—will these areas be able to generate the economic activity required for recovery and sustainable development.”
-ATFL Vice President Jean AbiNader
Sectarianism Driving Lebanon Toward Economic Collapse Julian McBride traces the various sectarian, political, and economic challenges facing Lebanon from the country’s independence up until the present day. [Eurasia Review]
Although a bit too loose with the facts, the article is right on target with how the existing system of governance by a few has damaged Lebanon for forty years, extending from the Civil War through the Syrian occupation, to the current state of dystopia. It is obvious that the failure of Lebanon is the failure of the few who govern for their own goals rather than the national interest. It is also clear that it is the failure of the many who continue to return these same political elites to office. Lebanon needs leadership that breaks with the past practices and focuses on empowering and liberating the people to live up to their potential.
-ATFL Vice President Jean AbiNader
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of the American Task Force on Lebanon, a non-profit, nonpartisan leadership organization of Lebanese-Americans.