The lebanese prime minister, Saad Hariri, has announced on Tuesday the resignation of the unity Government, something that demanded for the past 13 days, thousands of lebanese have taken to the streets of the country. The announcement occurred after violent clashes repelled by the military and police in the centre of the Beirut stage from noon of one pitched battle after hundreds of supporters of the parties shiite Amal and Hezbollah burned and ripped through the tents that had been erected to the protesters. Hariri has justified its decision on the “impasse” to which, in his judgment, has come to the country.

“To all allies in the political sphere, our responsibility today is to protect Lebanon and to promote their economy,” said Hariri after admitting that the country had reached a “dead end”. According to the Constitution, it is up to the president, the former general christian Michel Aoun, call queries to the different parliamentary groups to nominate a new prime minister.


A fragile unity Government by great threats PHOTOGALLERY of The protests in Lebanon, in pictures

“next, Next”, saying the crowd in the streets after applauding the resignation of the Government. “This is the first step, now we want the fall of the entire political class, and we want a secular Government, and a technocrat”, he said in the lebanese capital Lina Daouk, a professor of the American University of Beirut, and a prominent figure in protests until now devoid of leadership.

The current Executive managed to form in January after nine months of intense negotiations between the different parties, who chose to join together to tackle the pressing economic crisis that threatens to collapse the country. After surviving a decade to external pressures with the neighboring war in Syria as a backdrop, is the financial crisis internal the has ended up to roll up to the Executive. Decades of bad recipes financial and a chronic corruption among politicians have left the 60% of the national wealth in the hands of 2,000 families, and a foreign debt reaching 150% of GDP, which is equivalent to 75.800 million euros.

The response that was proposed by the Government to the crisis came in the form of higher taxes and less public spending, to spark popular anger. “When they announced a rate of 20 cents [18 cents] for the use of WhatsApp was the straw that broke the camel’s back and we decided to go down to the streets”, had on a tent in Martyrs ‘ square of Beirut to the journalist Mohamed Awad, for 28 years. “We cut a street with eight friends and we put it in the social networks and in a matter of minutes, hundreds of people came down from their houses to join,” he adds. From the 17th of October, hundreds of thousands of lebanese demonstrating in the major cities and have set up barricades to cut off traffic. Say they are weary of a few leaders who during the past 30 years have squandered public resources and faced to the people around a dialectic sectarian. And is that in Lebanon the political power is distributed in function of a fee-denominational, according to which the president has to be christian, the prime minister a muslim sunni, and the speaker of the Parliament muslim shiite.

The majority bloc in the Government is the tandem shiite Amal and Hezbollah, along with the christian party Free Patriotic Movement, led by the son-in-law of president Aoun, and current Foreign minister, Gibran Basil. Their leaders have been called to preserve the current status quo and keep the unity Government and called on the demonstrators to return to their homes. However, opposition parties like the Lebanese Forces of Samir Geagea or the druze Socialist Party, Progressive withdrew its ministers from the Government after their leaders were encouraged to support the popular demand for a “Government of experts”. “The parliamentary groups of the majority could re-appoint Hariri, but street’s not going to accept and ask to fall also the president or the speaker of the Parliament,” explains the expert Khaled Saguiyeh.

The alliance between Hariri and Hezbollah has managed to avoid for the past few months all derive violent and sectarian in the country. Dead the entente, the lebanese fear that their respective sponsors external, Riyadh and Tehran, back to making the Lebanon the board preferred to wage their regional disputes.

baby boom Generation

In a festive atmosphere led by members of the post-war generation —the civil war ended in 1990, we have heard the same slogans of the north to the south of the country: “Revolution” and “the people want the fall of the regime”. The unusual atmosphere of unity has been rotated away from the speeches confessional that for decades governed both the protests and the social relations. The flag of lebanon has been the only waved and was cheered to the Army, whom the protesters have given roses as the sole depositary of the national unity. “All means all”, have claimed this Tuesday the protesters after the brief speech of Hariri, making reference to the caste-political-confessional composed by a handful of families since the end of the war remain in power.

“we don’t want a military coup or a change of Government outside of the Constitution”, said the retired general Andre Bou Maachar, spokesperson of the collective of retired military who have joined the protests. In may this group took to the streets when the Cabinet announced cuts in their pensions. In the summer of 2015, the poor management of the wastes caused the indignation citizen for several weeks, in what protesters are lebanese considered the prelude to the current protests.

however, several hundred supporters of Amal and Hezbollah have met this Tuesday to the protesters, sending a dozen of them to the hospital. “The first five days were revolutionary, then they have seen the hand of foreign actors who want to manipulate people,” said a young man with the face covered while trampled under feet a tent. “Goodbye, farewell, revolution”, warned another.

enlarge photo Protesters and riot police face, this Tuesday in Beirut. NATALIA SANCHA

A family saga with strong links with Saudi Arabia

Until the day of his death, in February 2005, Rafic Hariri, former lebanese prime minister and father of which has resigned, Saad Hariri, took a pulse so clear to Syria that cost him his life. The politician and magnate of the construction died when a car bomb —the nth in the sinister tradition of Lebanon— did it jump in the air in Beirut the vehicle she was riding and other off-road cars and limousines to your entourage (in addition to the political, killed 21 people). Hariri had dimitgone as chief Executive just three months before, leaving the free passage to a representative more in tune with Damascus. For the assassination were tried in The Hague, in absentia, four members of the party-militia, a shi’a Hezbollah.

Despite its humble origins, the founder of the saga received in the business and soon became a multi-millionaire: at the beginning of the eighties, was already one of the 100 richest men in the world. His fortune was hatched in Saudi Arabia, a country that has also played a pivotal role in the life of your child. Contractor staff of king Fahd, the role their companies played in the rehabilitation of downtown Beirut —destroyed by the civil war (1975-1990)— was interpreted by many as the necessary stimulus to recover the country’s finances; the own Rafic confessed that he wanted to make the city “a new Singapore”. But the magnificence of the works undertaken by Solidere —the all-powerful society that was founded in 1994 to rebuild the capital— barely managed to hide rampant corruption. During his prolonged mandate, from 1992 to 2004 except for the period between 1998 and 2000—, it increased the division between the shi’a community, supported by Syria and Iran, and the sunni, inclined towards Saudi Arabia.

Saad Hariri, who is also a saudi national and was president of the construction company Saudi Oger, lived in November 2017, an episode bizarre. From Riyadh, announced his resignation by the interference of Iran —the mother of Hezbollah— in Lebanon. The prime minister said that he feared for his life. The maneuver arabia achieved a rare unanimity in the country of the cedars, whose political class came out in their defense. Lebanon was on the verge of becoming so, again, in flammable gameboard regional, but, after an intervention of France in their favor, the fled was able to return to Beirut.

and Subject always to the power of Hezbollah —the main winner of the parliamentary elections of 2018—, although in coalition with that party, Hariri was re-elected prime minister, for the third time since 2009. Until this Tuesday.


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