“Lebanon: Financial crisis or national collapse?”, Bassem Snaije (CIDOB, Barcelona)

Lebanon is experiencing an economic and financial crisis that seems to have begun with the outbreak of major demonstrations in October 2019. During those three to four months, a population usually divided along religious and sectarian lines appeared united against the whole reigning political elite, calling for them to step down with slogans such as “all of you means all of you”. The popular and united uprising soon faded as the Lebanese people came under pressure from the fast deterioration of the national currency. This essay aims to analyse the very secular economic and financial mechanisms underlying the crisis in Lebanon. It will attempt to show that it is not a chance event and should not be considered surprising. The paper will focus on the context behind the economic changes and the transforming financial flows used by the governing political groups to fund their sources of power. This will show that they all became functionally unable to solve or alter the course of the unfolding collapse.

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