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Middle East Press (07 Apr 2018 NewAgeIslam.Com)

How Egyptians Are Mobilized By Mohammed Nosseir: New Age Islam's Selection, 07 April 2018





New Age Islam Edit Bureau

07 April 2018

How Egyptians Are Mobilized

By Mohammed Nosseir

The Ankara Conference: We Are Strangers Here!

By Mashari Althaydi

In The Face Of Violence: Children and Hate Crimes in India

By Amiti Varma   & Arijit Sen

It Is Time To Protect The Rights Of Employers

By Abdulaziz Al-Suwayed

Cuba A Key Player In Global Campaign Against Iran

By Dr. Theodore Karasik

Astana Troika Determined To Deepen Cooperation In Syria

By Sinem Cengiz

The Cedar Conference and Macron’s Trust in Lebanon

By Randa Takieddine

Compiled By New Age Islam Edit Bureau


How Egyptians Are Mobilized

By Mohammed Nosseir

April 06, 2018

Even though we Egyptians tend to conduct tense debates on a wide range of economic and political issues, we often discuss the content of a given topic without realizing the metaphorical frame within which we live and that affects our manner of thinking — a frame that is designed by the Egyptian state to enhance its ability to mobilize citizens. As long as our minds are enclosed within this framework, the back and forth of the arguments we exchange with one another are of no value.

Our population at large is living within a mental frame that shapes all aspects of “living behavior” — it affects all of our thinking and activity, leaving only the narrowest room in which our minds can operate.

Egyptians are well framed by the state, which works on forming their patterns of thought by setting up mental boundaries that constrain their ability to think. Framing differs from the social norms that we can easily identify and work to change. For the majority, the virtual framework within which we live is difficult to notice. Once it has set the frame in place, the state works on mobilizing citizens, moving them, unawares, from one milestone to another within the designated mental framework.

The recently held presidential election is a good example of how the Egyptian state designed a political frame and mobilized its citizens toward a clear goal. The goal was to limit Egyptians’ choices of presidential candidates and to work on mobilizing their thinking pattern to serve this purpose. The state did a good job in this regard by narrowing citizens’ choices from the beginning and offering valid justifications that favored its preferred presidential candidate.

Some Egyptians argue that education is the gateway to overcoming many of our challenges. However, a large portion of our well-educated citizens are oblivious, living effortlessly within the state-designed framework and being successfully mobilized by the state, their intelligent minds completely absent.

Culturally, Egyptians belong to a conservative, traditional society that values emotion over reason; we do our utmost to maintain our norms and have no desire to cross any boundaries. Emotional propositions work better to trigger Egyptians; thus, the state tends to make the utmost use of them — to the extent that, in my opinion, the Jan. 25, 2011, revolution took place within the state’s framework, without crossing any of the boundaries it had designed and established specifically for this kind of development.

The framing and mobilization of Egyptians come at a high economic cost and have a clear objective: To strengthen the Egyptian state’s power to rule over citizens.

A significant portion of society affirming the state’s famous political and economic slogans without bothering to subject them to any sort of critical thinking is a measure of the state’s success in framing and mobilizing society. This is largely happening in Egypt — even among the most knowledgeable of citizens.

Egyptians today are moving from one theme to another, believing they are progressing by the force of their own will, unaware they are intentionally driven by the state. Since any application of proper scientific thinking will gradually conclude in wiping out the state’s efforts to frame and mobilize, the expansion of ignorance often favors the state’s stance. While Egypt is not the only nation that is a victim of these metaphors, their weight and impact on Egyptians are glaringly obvious.

Source: arabnews.com/node/1280186


The Ankara Conference: We Are Strangers Here!

By Mashari Althaydi

6 April 2018

The photo that brought together Russia, Iran and Turkey’s leaders who were meeting in Ankara to discuss the Syrian affair sums up the current gloomy Arab scene.

With a big smile, the three countries reached an agreement despite the different political beliefs that drive them and the conflicting biases in Syria. Russia and Iran are the reason why Bashar al-Assad’s regime stayed. Meanwhile, Turkey, under Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has beaten the drums of the “verbal” war against the Assad regime from the beginning.

Erdogan drew plenty of red lines for Assad in Syria, like not allowing another Hama-like scenario in Aleppo, and later on, “Sufficient was Allah for the believers in battle.”

A Joint Statement

A joint statement following the summit between the three leaders, Erdogan, Rowhani and Putin, in Ankara, said the three countries are working “to bring peace and stability in Syria”. Yes! Russia from its air base in Khmeimim and through its air force in Ghouta and Northern Syria, Iran through the gangs of Qassem Soleimani and Nasrallah and Khazali’s militias, and Turkey through the Muslim Brotherhood brigades and the shelters in Gaziantep that house the fighters of Syrian fundamentalist groups are all “working to bring peace in Syria.”

It’s all clear. What happened in Ankara is a “regional” version similar to the Yalta Conference which was held after World War II to divide the spoils of war and global influence.

In a joint press conference, Rowhani said: “Today, we officially announce the end of the Syrian war.” While Putin said: “We agreed to cooperate in settling the Syrian crisis.” As for Erdogan, he said: “Those who do not comprehend that ISIS and the Kurdish fighters serve the same aim cannot contribute to (achieving) permanent peace in Syria.”

Perhaps the only thing that may disrupt the division of the spoils of war in Ankara is US President Trump’s retreat from his “strange” decision to exit Syria as seen following his meeting with his national security team. The hawk Mike Pompeo was firm as he noted that a hasty withdrawal may harm US interests in terms of stabilizing ISIS’s defeat and curbing Iran. US Secretary of Defense Mattis agreed with Pompeo, according to Ash-Sharq al-Awsat.

Arab Countries Missing

Alright, so these are all non-Arab countries. Some are neighbouring countries, like Iran and Turkey, and some are far like Russia and the US. Where are the Arab countries?

Or rather, where are the original protagonists of the Syrian story, Bashar and his rivals?

The photo of Putin, Rowhani and Erdogan smiling and holding hands in Ankara while discussing Syria’s future is the photo of the year.

While returning from a meeting with the Roman emperor, poet Imru' al-Qais, who was known as the Lost King, fell ill at a mountain near today’s Ankara – some say it was in Ankara itself. As he was dying, he saw a woman by his side and said:

O neighbour mine, the time of visiting draws near, And I will remain forever with you here

O neighbour, We are both strangers here, And every stranger is in fact a relative to another stranger

Source: english.alarabiya.net/en/views/news/middle-east/2018/04/06/The-Ankara-conference-We-are-strangers-here-.html


In The Face Of Violence: Children and Hate Crimes in India

By Amiti Varma   & Arijit Sen

07 April 2018

On 22 June 2017, 15-year-old Junaid, a Muslim boy, boarded a train at the Sadar Bazar railway station in North Delhi. Junaid, his brother Hashim, and two others had gone to Delhi to shop for the Eid festival and were returning home to Haryana, just a few stops away. This would be his last journey. He was stabbed to death on the train by a mob when an alleged argument over a seat turned into an attack based on religious identity. Religious slurs were hurled at Junaid and his companions, they were derided for eating beef, their skullcaps thrown away, their beards pulled, and they were slapped and kicked. Junaid, Hashim and their brother Sakir, who boarded the train to rescue his brothers, were repeatedly stabbed. Junaid's body and his two injured brothers were then thrown on to the railway station platform.

Nine months after Junaid was killed, two of the six accused who had been arrested are still in custody. Fifteen witnesses have been examined. The Supreme Court is reexamining a plea for a CBI investigation into the murder. Jalaluddin, Junaid's father, maintains that "deep-rooted communal hatred against the community" was behind the murder of his son. A suspicion that might be true in the face of growing evidence of hate crimes - criminal acts against people based on their real or perceived membership of a particular group, such as caste, religion or ethnicity - across India.

Two months after Junaid's murder, India's two-term Vice President Hamid Ansari, in his outgoing interview to India's state broadcaster, stated that "there is a feeling of unease and a sense of insecurity is creeping in" among Muslims in India. Ansari's concerns are applicable not just to Muslims, but also to many other Indians who are being attacked for who they are.

Hate crimes against marginalised communities are not uncommon in India, with the highest number of reported crimes being against Dalits and Muslims. However, it is especially concerning when children or minors are the victims of hate crimes. During Amnesty International India's research on hate crimes in India, we find a range of incidents being reported in the media that relate to violence inflicted on minors from marginalised communities.

In incidents across India, children from marginalised communities have been targeted because of their Dalit, Adivasi or Muslim identity. In some instances, they have been blinded, tortured, beaten publicly and electrocuted on absurd pretexts. This includes a range of allegations including stealing a pigeon, stealing corn, touching utensils, absenteeism from school or even answering nature's call.

Impact of Violence on Children

Exposure to violence can have a lasting impact on a child's physical growth, self-esteem, and emotional and psychological well-being. A 2006 United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) report (PDF) by the independent expert for the United Nations study on violence against children states "Violence may result in greater susceptibility to lifelong social, emotional, and cognitive impairments and to health-risk behaviours, such as substance abuse and early initiation of sexual behaviour. Related mental health and social problems include anxiety and depressive disorders… as well as aggressive behaviour." A report (PDF) by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs entitled Mental Health Matters, highlighted that some of the most common types of trauma reported among children include physical assault, emotional abuse, community violence, witnessing someone being hurt or killed, and loss of a loved one. Children develop coping mechanisms that range from internalisation to externalisation of trauma

In July 2016, a 15-year-old Dalit boy, shocked and traumatised by an alleged hate crime against him, had to move away from his family because he could not bring himself to continue living in the same area where he was attacked. Harsh Parmar was assaulted after his father refused to dispose of cattle carcasses from a village in Ahmedabad district, Gujarat. His father had pledged not to dispose of the carcasses in solidarity with a protest by Dalit leaders against the Una flogging incident where four Dalit youth were publicly flogged for skinning dead cattle, which was their profession. The attackers beat the boy for refusing to do the "traditional work" of Dalits, which was disposing of the carcasses.

Risk Of Engaging In Criminal Behaviour        

The impact of exposure to violence is not restricted to the physical and psychological harm suffered by children who are victims or witnesses. In certain cases, children exposed to violence are at a higher risk of engaging in antisocial or criminal behaviour later in life and becoming part of a cycle of violence. The UNICEF International Child Development Centre has detailed in a report (PDF), "There is no doubt that the direct experience of violence… in childhood substantially increases the risk of subsequent violent behaviour."

When children are exposed to violence that is motivated by discrimination against people with a certain identity or members of a particular group, it is conceivable that they will internalise the discrimination and violence, and model their subsequent behaviour towards such people based on what they have learned from their environment.

Through our research on hate crimes documented in the interactive website, Halt the Hate, we discovered that children have also played a role in violence perpetrated against people from marginalised communities. In October 2016, a 16-year-old Dalit boy in Bihar was brutally beaten for scoring better grades than his classmates who belonged to "higher" castes. This attack was perpetrated by two children and filmed by another child, who uploaded and shared the video online. In December 2017, when a migrant worker named Afrazul was hacked to death for being Muslim, the attack was filmed by a 14-year-old boy, a relative of the attackers. These examples indicate that deep-seated prejudice against certain people and communities can have an impact on children.

Implementation of International Human Rights Safeguards

The impact of hate crimes on children can only be addressed through the effective implementation of national and international mechanisms to protect the rights of the child. As per the UNGA report on violence against children, "No violence against children is justifiable; all violence against children is preventable."

The primary responsibility for safeguarding the rights of children rests with the state. Hence, national planning processes must integrate measures to prevent and respond to all forms of violence against children. India must develop a systematic and integrated framework to respond to violence against children including the impact of hate crimes. The framework should be in line with its obligations under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and other international human rights standards.

The UNGA report recommends that the state must ensure justice and accountability by improving “data collection and information systems in order to identify vulnerable subgroups, inform policy and programming at all levels, and track progress towards the goal of preventing violence against children.” India must take special measures to prevent and respond to hate crimes and minimise its impact on children.The time has come for us to protect future generations by bringing an end to hate crimes and the cycle of violence they perpetuate.

Source: aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/face-violence-children-hate-crimes-india-180406092438358.html


It Is Time to Protect the Rights of Employers

By Abdulaziz Al-Suwayed

07 April 2018

We do not have any statistics about the percentage of companies that do not pay the salaries of employees on time. It is clear that some companies do delay the salaries of expatriate employees. However, we should not generalize and say that all companies do not protect the rights of employees. Some countries have taken advantage of this negative stereotype and use it to apply pressure on Saudi authorities. Of course, they do that to protect the rights of their citizens. In fact, it is their duty to protect the rights of their nationals.

Speaking of rights, why has the Ministry of Labor not taken into consideration the rights of employers, especially when an employee refuses to work or runs away.

To resolve the issue of delayed salaries, the ministry and the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA) have agreed to issue bankcards to domestic workers that they can use to withdraw their salaries directly from ATMs. The bankcard is linked to the sponsor’s bank account and can only be issued if the sponsor signs an agreement with the bank and is physically present at the bank when the card is issued. Of course, the agreement works in the interests of banks, not the sponsor or employee.

I believe there is a simpler solution to this problem: Banks should allow domestic workers to open accounts themselves without the approval or presence of sponsors. Domestic workers are legally resident in the Kingdom and hold resident permits.

However, banks do not support such solutions because they are looking for profits with fewer costs. They do not want to open bank accounts for domestic workers and that is why the Ministry of Labour and SAMA decided to link the issuing of bankcards for domestic workers to the sponsor’s approval. The bank deducts SR95 every year in VAT. If banks opened current accounts for domestic workers, then they would not be able to charge any additional fees.

Some banks have also closed the current accounts of domestic workers that were opened before the decision of linking the issuance of bankcards to sponsors was reached. These banks have asked domestic workers to get approval from their sponsors to continue using their accounts.

In conclusion, it can be said that the countries of origin of expatriate workers protect the rights of their citizens while SAMA has brought in more income for banks and the ministry has protected the rights of employees but has overlooked the rights of employers and citizens.

Source: saudigazette.com.sa/article/532112/Opinion/Local-Viewpoint/It-is-time-to-protect-the-rights-of-employers


Cuba A Key Player in Global Campaign against Iran

By Dr. Theodore Karasik

April 06, 2018

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir this week visited Cuba for two days. His visit should not come as a surprise, as Riyadh’s policy toward Havana and the wider Caribbean Basin has followed a new line of thinking.

Saudi-Cuban ties date back to 1956, with the Kingdom opening its Embassy in Havana in 2011. In May 2017, King Salman held talks in Jeddah with Cuban Deputy Prime Minister Ricardo Cabrisas and they agreed on bolstering economic cooperation. Saudi Arabia has also granted Cuba loans through the Saudi Development Fund to finance projects worth over $80 million.

Al-Jubeir’s visit to Cuba shows how Riyadh needs Havana to be part of its anti-extremist program. Riyadh is seeking to bring Cuba into its fold, especially against Iran, in order to mitigate any support from Havana to Tehran as the confrontation between the US and Iran grows.

Saudi Arabia is no longer standing by and watching how Iran conducts its foreign policy anywhere in the world. Riyadh took notice of how Cuban-Iranian relations have developed over time and given Tehran a hub in the Caribbean.

But there is a bigger issue. Cuba’s alliance with Iran dates back to 1979, when Fidel Castro became one of the first heads of state to recognize Iran’s clerics. Over the years, Castro created a unique relationship between secular, communist Cuba and theocratic Iran, united by a common hatred of the US and the liberal, democratic West.

Barack Obama sought to engage Cuba and Iran by initiating discrete and patient diplomatic approaches with two of America’s most aggressive antagonists. Last year, when US President Donald Trump signaled a reversal of Obama’s previous Cuban policy, Havana rushed to Tehran to sign cooperation agreements. As part of the non-aligned movement, or what is left of it, Cuba and Iran have teamed up for decades as part of ideological struggles. Now, in the age of geopolitics, this argument no longer has any validity given that countries are taking sides in a new dynamic involving the future of Iran.

Before the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, Tehran’s support for Havana was significant. In total, Cuba has received the equivalent of more than $1.2 billion in loans from Iran since 2005. With this financing, Cuba has begun to make critical investments in the rehabilitation of Soviet-era infrastructure. Iran is funding some 60 projects, ranging from the acquisition of 750 Iranian-made rail cars to the construction of power plants, dams, and highways. This infusion of Iranian capital is seen as a strategic threat.

Geographically, Cuba’s strategic location has enabled Iran, on at least one occasion, to engage in electronic attacks against US telecommunications that posed a threat to the Iranian regime. This type of behaviour by Iran in Cuba is no longer acceptable. Recent claims of sonic warfare against the US Embassy in Havana may be tied to Tehran’s ability to harass US diplomats, although such activity could also be linked to other countries and their tit-for-tat balance sheet in this new geopolitical Cold War.

Al-Jubeir’s visit to Cuba is tied to the future of Venezuela, as Havana and Caracas have been aligned for decades. With OPEC member Venezuela in serious political and financial trouble, Saudi Arabia is keenly aware that Havana is a back door to Venezuela. Cuban support for Venezuela is across many spheres of political, economic and, especially, security and intelligence matters. Saudi foreign policy toward Venezuela is not only about Cuba and Iran but also the future of oil markets. Getting between Havana and Caracas is good for Saudi foreign policy in the Caribbean.

Trinidad and Tobago, meanwhile, is one of the largest liquefied natural gas producers in the world. As the leading producer of oil and gas in the Caribbean, Trinidad and Tobago maintains the most favorable economic climate in the region. Saudi interest in Pemex and Mexico’s energy infrastructure is also part of Riyadh’s calculus for the future of energy. As the energy picture changes in the Caribbean, Riyadh wants a front row seat for what comes next in America’s strategic backyard.

To be clear, shrinking Iran’s global footprint is part of Saudi strategy and Al-Jubeir’s visit to Havana sets a new tone in pulling Cuba away from Iran as Saudi Arabia and the US develop plans to confront the Iranian regime. Havana is seen as a key lynchpin in the geopolitical struggle and adding Cuba’s voice to Saudi objectives is important. Now is the time for Havana to challenge the ills of the Iranian regime.

Source: arabnews.com/node/1280151


Astana Troika Determined To Deepen Cooperation In Syria

By Sinem Cengiz

April 06, 2018

One could clearly read the messages hidden in the photo of the Turkish, Russian and Iranian leaders shaking hands when they posed ahead of the Ankara summit for Syria on Wednesday. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan hosted his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin and Iran’s Hassan Rouhani in the Turkish capital on the day that coincided with the anniversary of the establishment of NATO. From their facial expressions and body language, it was clear the three leaders wanted to send significant messages to some actors that are uneasy about the deepening cooperation between them.

A few hours before this highly symbolic photo, German Ambassador to Ankara Martin Erdmann made a crucial statement to the Turkish press: “There is no logical place for Turkey’s geopolitical location other than the Euro-Atlantic sphere. Replacing the European Union with Russia or China is nothing but a fantasy, which is not connected to Turkey’s reality.” He also emphasized that he was making this statement the day after the Turkish and Russian leaders laid the ground for Turkey’s first nuclear power plant, which will be built by Russians. It is obvious that Ankara finds it more beneficial for its national interests to cooperate with Moscow and Tehran over Syria instead of the US or its European partners. It prefers to buy Russian S-400 air defense systems instead of NATO-interoperable American Patriots. If a NATO country prefers to work with other actors rather than its so-called allies in the most crucial matters related to its security, then EU countries and the US should turn to themselves and ask: “What went wrong?”

Not surprisingly, on the same day, US President Donald Trump, who last week announced that American troops will withdraw from Syria in the near future, changed his rhetoric and said they will stay a little longer. Based on these contradictory statements, it may be hard to determine whether US troops will withdraw or not. However, it seems like the US decision is somehow related to the summit taking place between three leaders who are at odds with the Trump administration.

First of all, the withdrawal from Syria is equivalent to accepting the fact that the US lost. Secondly, it is implying: “We will be leaving Syria, let others deal with the war-torn country.” The US seems to be targeting the Turkish-Russian-Iranian initiative with the aim of breaking the harmony between the troika involved in the Astana peace process. So far, despite having opposing visions regarding the war in Syria, the three countries have managed to find common ground on certain issues and have an interest in building closer ties as the conflict in Syria continues.

Needless to say, the withdrawal of the US will serve the interests of the three countries. However, the vacuum created by the US would also lead to a collision of their interests. For Russia, the preservation of its key naval facility at the Syrian port city of Tartus and its air base in Latakia is a priority. Russia does not consider Turkey a threat, but a partner that could control the rebel-held areas close to Russian bases. This could be understood from the Russian approach to Turkey’s Afrin operation. Turkey was able to carry out the campaign because Russia opened up air space there. Meanwhile, Putin’s visit to Turkey was his first trip abroad since being re-elected in March, which shows his foreign policy priorities.

For Turkey, the dismantling of Democratic Union Party (PYD) rule is a priority. While for Iran, ensuring the presence of Bashar Assad rule that could serve its strategies in the region is vital. While Turkey’s advancement in the country may serve Russian interests, the same does not apply to Iran, as the latter does not have a military base to be concerned about. With the recent US announcement, it seems Washington is about to eliminate the common threat (American presence) that unites these three countries. That would be the moment of truth, when the troika will sit a significant exam. In this context, the recent meeting between the leaders is very important.

History is filled with attempts of mediation to end conflicts and, as said by a Turkish diplomat: “The conflict in Syria has proven particularly resistant to mediation. Success might sometimes only be achieved after many failed attempts. There is no single recipe for successful mediation, just as no conflict is the same as another.”

There are several factors that led to the failure of the Syrian peace initiatives of the last seven years and there is no guarantee that the Astana process will succeed.

However, it is obvious that the leaders of Russia, Turkey and Iran are determined to continue until they can achieve a solution that will benefit all parties. After the summit, the most important statement regarded the securing of Syria’s territorial integrity. The partition of Syria would be of no benefit to these three countries, which may face significant losses in such a scenario.

Acknowledging the diversity of interests of Astana’s guarantors, one can argue that the process at least managed to achieve a modest success in the formation of the de-escalation zones inside Syria, the lessening of conflict that serves the national interests of all three countries, and bringing all the parties of the conflict to the negotiating table due to the many ambitions at stake. The success of the Astana peace process will also depend on if the guarantors continue their efforts in an innovative and adaptable way in light of the changing conditions in Syria.

Time will show whether their common interests will drift apart and confronting interests will emerge. But, for the time being, despite the US and the Western powers, the Turkish-Russian-Iranian tripartite is determined to move hand-in-hand and put in place the new picture of Syria.

Source: arabnews.com/node/1280156


The Cedar Conference and Macron’s Trust in Lebanon

By Randa Takieddine

6 April 2018

On Friday, the Cedar Conference will be held in Paris as part of French President Emmanuel Macron’s initiative to mobilize international support for Lebanon. It is also to show that France and the international community are keen on promoting Lebanon’s security and stability as well as to help it bear the burden of refugees living there.

With the efforts of the French president and Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, France has been able to draw more than 50 international delegations that will study investment plans in infrastructure projects in Lebanon. Everyone in Lebanon expects that the conference will supply around 4 to 5 billion dollars. Nevertheless, as described by the French envoy in Lebanon who is also in charge of arranging the conference, the latter will primarily pave the way and not be merely an investment or donor conference.

Investing in Lebanon

The amount of funds for investment and moving on with these investment plans will be fixed when the Lebanese government carries out real reforms in the economic sector after the elections. The country has not witnessed any actual reforms in electricity, water and other vital sectors.

The Lebanese in general are questioning the feasibility of this conference because they lack confidence in their politicians, who have until now failed to solve the main issues related to electricity, environment, waste management and marine pollution. The Lebanese coast could have been a draw for tourists — just as it is in the Greece, Turkey and Cyprus coasts, but swimming and fishing remains a health hazard in Lebanon. Thus, it would be too much to expect large investment without the proper reform and renewal of vital sectors of the Lebanese economy.

We are grateful to President Macron who is encouraging Western and Arab countries as well as member states of the Security Council to help and support Lebanon. Macron trusts Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri, who has been a traditional ally of French leadership, just like his father Rafic Hariri was. Now Macron’s relations with Hariri and Lebanese President Michel Aoun, who recently visited France, proves that the young French president strongly wants to support Lebanon.

Burden of Debt

But just like John Kennedy said, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country. This particularly applies to the Lebanese people, as they have to strictly question their politicians, especially through the upcoming elections, which are expected to be disappointing in terms of the law adopted and the candidates in general. It also applies to politicians who should not consider their country as a resource for making personal profit.

There is a general impression in Lebanon that the situation in the country is disastrous and that corruption will go on. It’s as if the Lebanese people have surrendered to this reality. However, there are individuals with requisite capabilities and competence in the country that raise our hopes that the country will rise and overcome its ordeal.

According to a leaked recording allegedly for an International Monetary Fund (IMF) expert, the organization has, since 1999, been providing recommendations for administrative reforms in Lebanon - reforms which the country must pursue if it wants to reduce the high level of its debt. He added that Lebanon suffers from an incurable cancer which is the absence of good management thus resulting in corruption – a high level of corruption that is only matched by Botswana out of the 20 other African countries where he worked.

The expert noted that it is illogical that a country like Lebanon, which has good educational levels and capabilities, has not carried out administrative reforms in the electricity, waste management and other sectors. The expert was also critical of the large number of ministers in the Lebanese government which is 30. In contrast, Russia only has nine ministers.

Despite these facts, some still believe in Lebanon and in the path initiated by Macron to help Lebanon as an important initiative that raises optimism. The dynamism, movement and mobilization of the French president to push for support of Lebanon should be matched by effective Lebanese action for reform, or else it would be the last chance for this country to rise. Hariri, who has Macron’s confidence and friendship, should not disappoint him or the Lebanese who trust him. He should work hard to implement the commitments of the reforms as soon as possible, for Lebanon can no longer bear promises without fulfilling them.

Source: english.alarabiya.net/en/views/news/middle-east/2018/04/06/The-Cedar-conference-and-Macron-s-trust-in-Lebanon.html


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