Finally... In garbage the Lebanese are united!

It seems the heavy stench of rubbish in the hot and humid summer of Beirut is likely to linger for a while

Mohamed Chebarro
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It is not an exaggeration to suggest that for once the Lebanese people could step back and watch how much of a dump their country has become! The garbage littering the streets is just another example and a result of the Lebanese internal political stalemate...

The Lebanese president's post has been vacant for over a year because some Lebanese will not endorse General Michel Aoun, a christian MP and leader of a pro Hezbollah christian block, as president of the republic. As a result. the MPs loyale to Aoun and those of his ally Hezbollah boycotted parliament sessions dedicated to electing a president. A simple majority of attendees is unconstitutional in Lebanon's parliamentary democracy.

It seems the heavy stench of rubbish in the hot and humid summer of Beirut is likely to linger for a while

Mohamed Chebarro

The Lebanese government led by a middle way Sunni, Tamam Salam, is incapable of even renewing the contracts for garbage collectors and dumping sites, among other things, due to the abstention of General Aoun ministers in the cabinet meetings.

Aoun's block insist on scrutinizing the priorities on the government agenda. This block deems appointing Aoun's son in law as head of the Lebanese army a priority that supersede discussions related to matters such citizens' security and hygiene!

The Lebanese constitution vest the powers of the president in the Prime Minister once the post is vacant but the tradition is that the Prime Minister observes precedents and tries to rule consociationally.

Simple daily needs

And in so doing the government is failing its people on simple daily needs such as garbage collection.

The parliament in Lebanon is also currently obsolete for similar reasons. Though it managed to extend the tenure for its serving MPs because of the failure to hold general elections, this parliament has long put the election of a president as a sole point on its agenda but that too is subject to Lebanese consociational and regionally linked politics.

So it seems the heavy stench of rubbish in the hot and humid summer of Beirut is likely to linger for a while as state apparatus has come to a halt.

The election of a president, it seems, is also subject to the ramifications of the Iranian nuclear deal and how it will impact on relations between Tehran and the international community and by default, how it will translate to discord or accord between the Lebanese various factions, and their allies and patrons in the region.

This alone is unlikely to push all parties in Lebanon to find and agree a new dumping site for the country's rubbish.
Part of the problem, we are told, is the outcome of the battle fought by the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his Lebanese ally Hezbollah against the Syrian opposition that rose against Assad four years ago seeking a bit more freedom..

Other factors can also be cited, but In summary, every small and big decision in Lebanon is linked to the regional barometer and precarious balance of power in the Middle East varied conflicts, from Yemen to Iraq and from Syria to Palestine including Bahrain and Libya.

All the above directly impacts on Lebanese consociational politics and deal making. So if all the above questions reach a settlement this decade or the next, Lebanese political parties, religious groups, or sects could differ in interpreting the outcome and subject the country to further inconclusive discords and conflict.

Put simply, the Lebanese, all the Lebanese, should unite and pray collectively that a deal is reached soon on many of these questions and maybe then they can live without garbage on their streets.

The garbage issue for once crosses the divides and affect all factions and sects in Lebanon, creating a rare consensus among the Lebanese to call on the state to act fast. Failure to do so my well tip this country and its people into the gutters of history.


Mohamed Chebarro is currently an Al Arabiya TV News program Editor. He is also an award winning journalist, roving war reporter and commentator. He covered most regional conflicts in the 90s for MBC news and later headed Al Arabiya’s bureau in Beirut and London.

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.
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