Lebanon in free fall

The situation for Lebanon’s inhabitants is getting worse.

Inflation in the country has reached a new, historic high, with one American Dollar now worth 12,000 Lebanese Lira on the black market. By 2019, as the real value of the currency has increasingly decoupled from the officially stated one, it was around LL 1,500.

To this end, the country is heading for major energy supply problems. A few days ago, the Minister of Energy and Water, Raymond Ghajar, warned that the state funds for purchasing and subsidising fuel had almost been used up and were only paid for this month. If no solution is found in this area, a nationwide collapse in power supply is imminent, he said.

As well, the situation of the security forces is tense, as they are also affected by the decline of the currency, many of whom have been waiting longer for their salaries anyway. There is a proposal from the parliament to guarantee a monthly salary of LL 1 million to about 120,000 employees of the security services. However, this money would have to be reprinted, which would further fuel inflation. Moreover, only current employees would benefit.

This is important because the current protests in the country, whose epicentres have shifted from Tripoli in the north to Beirut and the major southern city of Sidon, are often led by former professional soldiers whose living conditions are becoming increasingly difficult.

There is no lack of international warnings, whether from Brussels, Washington, Moscow or Ankara. The leadership in Lebanon, however, seems hardly interested.

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