Parliamentary bloc leaders to discuss unrest in Lebanon

The heads of Lebanon’s parliamentary blocs, along with current leadership and former high-ranking officials, will today meet at Baabda to

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Photo: REUTERS/Mohamed Azakir

The heads of Lebanon’s parliamentary blocs, along with current leadership and former high-ranking officials, will today meet at Baabda to discuss recent domestic violence and political unrest.

The meeting will attempt to address the convergent issues of pandemic-induced economic upheaval, internal political discord and bloody street protests, which were sparked by the pound’s drastic depreciation against the US dollar. The demonstrations, which developed a sectarian lens last week, have featured a disjointed collection of demands ranging from the eradication of corruption to the controversial disarmament of Hezbollah.

Analysts have attributed Lebanon’s recent sectarian fervour—and the resultant partisan clashes—to political factions that have sought to leverage anti-government sentiment by shifting protest parameters toward the Hezbollah issue. Expect rapid deflation and plunging standards of living to complicate the government’s ability to contain future protests, as the country’s political misalignment continues to stoke the flames of discord. The distinct lack of transparency practiced by competing parties—as well as their antagonistic role in fuelling tensions—bodes ill for the nation’s pandemic response, as COVID-19 cases continue to rise and the cash crisis facing Lebanese hospitals is exacerbated. The issue of Hezbollah’s liquidation will likely continue to be a major flashpoint as the government deflects populist challenges by injecting sectarian fears into protest parameters.

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