In the cause of this week, there has been some changes in the country and in the perception of the country by other states. The meeting between French, Americans and Saudis to discuss the country´s future, the resignation of Hariri as designated Prime Minister including the following currency-breakdown, and today news of a 860 million US-Dollars engagement by the IMF, which may extend up to four billion, in case a new government is formed. The weekly review.
How might the future of this tiny country look like? That´s the topic of an endless stream of wild and brought discussions. The usual prediction is that of a further downfall. In fact, there´s hardly anyone to find who wouldn´t say this. But what´s than? A new civil war? A slowly disintegration towards a poor, forgotten country without a future? A new seperation into spheres of influence for the great powers of the world?
All of these scenarios can be prevented by the establishment of a new government. And even though the resignation of Hariri sends new waves of resignation through the country, this might lead to some new opportunities, as the fights between Hariri and Aound were going on for far to long. Trust in Hariri by foreign countries was gone.
The mysterious meeting between the embassadors of France and the United States with representatives from Saudi Arabia, that we can say with confidence now, had great influence on the events of this week. Only a few days after the meeting Hariri announced his resignation, while another three days later, there seems to be some money for the country.
The International Monetary Fond engages itself with 860 million US-Dollars, without any conditions. It´s supposed to provide some stability to the state, which is suffering under several crises. Added to this, the IMF promised some 3 to 4 billion Dollar in turn for a new government and crucial reforms. But is any sign of a new government visible?
To be honest, no, not even close to. The political parties of Lebanon are just as dispersed as before, Hariri´s going to be the most powerfull acteur in the Sunni population, just as Aoun will stay President and Hezbollah will remain the strongest force in the country. A new government has to be initiated by foreign countries, but it would take long negotiations to reach a level of understanding. At least, USA, France and Saudi Arabia seem to found a similar position.
At the meantime, pressure on the political elites is increasing. The European Union announced new sanctions for politicians who helped to prevent a new government. They shall be implemented by the end of this month, astonishingly fast for the EU. The leader of this initiative was France, just as it is anyway the leading country in Lebanon since the blast last year.
And Macron made clear to remain in this position. According to this, he wants to host an international conference on the future of the country. After the events of this week, a surprising turnaround seems to be possible.
Iran´s behaviour will be crucial. The new government, which will take over the office in August, will work towards a new agreement with the USA, a long and tiring process. But it will be under pressure from the first minute on. The economic situation in the country is terrible, and the poor management of the corona pandemic will be remembered for some time. In the East, the Taleban took over Afghanistan, while in the West, Iraq is increasingly unstable. Syria is in an overall terrible shape, with further desintegration of the state and a catastrophic economic outlook.
Assad just declared that the financial crises in Lebanon is the major reason for economic troubles. As every country in the region, Syria stored a lot of money in the Lebanese banking system, which Damascus can´t use anymore. That Assad feeled the urge to emphasise this, as he took over the office once more, can be seen as a hint for Tehran to finally stop the crises in its tiny neighboring country.
The next two weeks, until the 4th of August, will be very interesting for Lebanon, which future is at stake now.