Lebanon is a diverse country with a long history, beautiful nature and many sights. It is a melting pot of Orient and Occident and yet, as a country in the Middle East, it is at the center of a conflict-ridden region.
Official name: Lebanese Republic
Area: 10,452 km²
Residents: around 4.8 million registered residents
Growth of population: 0.84% (2017 est.)
Seat of government: Beirut
Official language: Arabic
Regional languages: Armenian, Kurdish
According to zipcodesexplorer, since October 17, Lebanon has witnessed the largest protests against mismanagement and corruption in the country’s history. The demonstrators are demanding the resignation of the entire political elite and the formation of a transitional government made up of independent technocrats. In response to the ongoing mass protests, Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri announced his resignation on October 29, 2019. The protests spread across the whole country and led to an extensive standstill in public life. On December 19, 2019, the university professor and former Minister of Education Hassan Diab became charged with forming a new government. Previously, a majority of 69 out of 128 members in parliament had voted for Diab. Important Sunni forces have already announced that they will not support Diab. This threatens the next government crisis in Lebanon. Lebanon is experiencing its worst economic crisis for decades. The banking system collapsed. Banks no longer have sufficient foreign currency to meet customer demand. For years they had financed interest rates of up to ten percent with ever new deposits, and for their part had lent the state money they did not own. As a consequence, Lebanon will not pay its foreign debt. The government is asking creditors to restructure the debt. The Lebanese pound has already lost a third of its value against the US dollar on the black market in recent weeks. The banks no longer had sufficient foreign currency, so that savers are only allowed to withdraw around $ 200 from their accounts every two weeks. The government is trying to use the foreign currency that is still available to provide the country with basic gasoline, Secure grain and medicines. Within a few weeks tens of thousands have lost their jobs or are only receiving half their wages. The pound continues to fall, reaching the 7,000 LP / US $ 1 mark in June. The devaluation of the currency also increases the prices in the shops. The World Bank therefore assumes that poverty could increase from 30 percent to 50 percent of the population. Every second Lebanese is currently unemployed. that poverty could increase from 30 percent to 50 percent of the population. Every second Lebanese is currently unemployed. that poverty could increase from 30 percent to 50 percent of the population. Every second Lebanese is currently unemployed.
On August 4, 2020, there was a huge detonation at the port of Beirut, which destroyed large parts of the port. The blast from the explosion wreaked havoc, killing 190 people and injuring more than 6,500. According to civil society, around 250,000 have lost their houses and apartments. Several hospitals were so badly damaged that they were taken out of service. UN observers put the direct damage to the Lebanese economy at up to five billion US dollars.
Very soon after the explosion it became clear that corruption, mismanagement and the absence of the Lebanese state were responsible for the devastating detonation of 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate, which for six years had been negligent and without any security precautions in an unprotected warehouse at the port. Security experts have warned the Lebanese government several times, most recently in July 2020, a few weeks before the disaster.
The anger drove many residents of the country back onto the streets. The protesters denounced that the country’s political elite had failed to organize the most basic needs of the people and had become a mortal danger for the citizens. The government came under increasing pressure, so that Prime Minister Diab proposed early elections and announced his resignation on August 10, 2020. His government is in office until a new government is formed. In a televised address, Diab blamed the widespread corruption in the country for the massive detonation. It is bigger than Lebanon.
President Emmanuel Macron had tied the help of the world community to stabilize Lebanon with the rapid formation of a government. The Lebanese ambassador in Berlin Mustafa Adib was supposed to lead a government made up of experts in line with the French initiative. But he has already failed in the formation of such a government. Confessionalism and the interests of the political elites based on it presented themselves as insurmountable obstacles. Once again the political system proves its inability to react to crises. All Lebanese seem to be waiting for an outside solution.
Because of the spread of the coronavirus, Lebanon has declared a national health emergency. All borders, the only airport in the country and ports in the Mediterranean country are closed.