Hussain’s answer

Hussain answered me by email to what was written in a previous post. I will answer soon to his comment that I quoted below:

bech, apokraphyte, boumb and all,

In my article on Hariri, I gave numbers and evidence. Bech you should know better, you used to work with such numbers. So if you have evidence against his theft and monopoly, please point it out. Solidere is a private company with public shareholding. Other economic monopoly, please cite verifiable examples. Don’t tell me the Dalloul/cellphone deal. Dalloul has connections in Syria before Hariri was born.
Anyway, I cannot discuss the whole Hariri policy in this small post. My piece was a personal experience.
As for leftism ya Bech, you should know better. Any social welfare program can never pick up without prior accumulation of wealth, walaw… this is 101 leftism.
Hariri’s plan was not my favorite for Lebanon. I disagree with his no diversification of economy. But that’s too luxury of a debate in a country that has Assem Kanso and Nasser Qandil. Hariri had a plan, but he was never given a chance to implement it.
And ya boumb, for your own credibility and good image, drop the Najah Wakim style of how much Hariri paid me or others. Let’s be more civilized in our debate.
Hussain

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14 Replies to “Hussain’s answer”

  1. well, i do agree with the guy that some should stop the accusation method, although i think the others on this blog did not mean to be “collectively” accusating, the dynamics of a blog give that idea but its not necessary a “conscience de classe” activity.

    anyways, i didnt read the hussein article yet, will do and comment on it later.
    but i do want to make a remark on hussein’s “references”:
    please, if youre gona criticize hariri as only beeing not to “deversified of an economy guy”, do not talk of leftism 101 for there is much more in leftism than jihad azourish-critique de l’economie politique issues, and critereas.
    leftist critique is not yours to quote.

    apart from that, this huy deserves “verifiable examples”, so for the rest: do your homework hehehe and good day

  2. I’m sorry but anyone who pretends not to know the scandals behind Solidère does not even deserve to have his say in Lebanese politics (that means a lot of people sadly…).
    Also alhaqid is right that this idea that leftism has to go through liberalism to be possible is a gem, really, pure rethorical genius.

  3. “leftist critique is not yours to quote.”

    wow. not only does the left think topics such as poverty, unemployment and social justice are their exclusivity; but they also want to monopolize ideas about their own critique? this is priceless.

  4. In my article on Hariri, I gave numbers and evidence. Bech you should know better, you used to work with such numbers. So if you have evidence against his theft and monopoly, please point it out. Solidere is a private company with public shareholding. Other economic monopoly, please cite verifiable examples. Don’t tell me the Dalloul/cellphone deal. Dalloul has connections in Syria before Hariri was born.

    Hussein I wonder if you just don’t know or if you’re purposefully hiding the blatant truth. To take but one example, the project of Solidere in itself is the best example of privatization of public space against all legal norms (they had to create a special decree for that no where existent in the world) and that’s first. Baaden most of its shares are owned by Hariri and you know that.

    Second, Solidere has literally expropriated the land in downtown. Ask any landlord in the area how much they were paid at the time and you’ll find it not so weird that most of them form a league today against Solidere.

    I’m just talking about Solidere here. What about the mafia-like groups of banks (where Hariri and co. have the biggest share) and central bank on which head stands an Hariri quasi-employee. Do you know how the interest rate is set in Lebanon? Do you know how the biggest public debt in the world (relatively to the size of the economy of course, and held by the same banks) got formed? This is pure ‘state’-racketing. Tell me if you need me to explain in detail how this happened.

    And if Hariri is not at the head of other monopolistic formations he surely take active parts in it and this includes the telecommunication (not only cellular networks, but internet, cable, etc.), but also airport, and related companies. I know so many first account stories of competitive bids that happened for the management of companies (best example is TMA), where Hariri simply rejected the process and just appointed some people to head it (in this case, relative to Fransabank’s chairman).

    Anyway, I cannot discuss the whole Hariri policy in this small post. My piece was a personal experience.

    Well if we were to discuss the ‘whole Hariri policy’ it could get very nasty, because there is no such thing as a ‘policy’ here except if crony capitalism is a policy.

    As for leftism ya Bech, you should know better. Any social welfare program can never pick up without prior accumulation of wealth, walaw… this is 101 leftism.

    ya Hussein, are you serious? do you really think that ripping off a country, increasing poverty lines, unemployment, de-industrialize the country, paralyze its economy, weaken already weakened state structures by completely privatizing any left-over of public sphere would help create capital accumulation?

    And here I’m assuming that the ‘capital accumulation’ argument holds. Marx and co. did not think exactly this way. They had in front of him an industrial revolution, an increasingly wealthy and dynamic MIDDLE CLASS and not a bunch of ultra rich parasiting cronyist. In effect, Hariri destroyed any Middle class that still kind of existed in Lebanon.

    Besides, welfare comes with the creation of an effective public and not just with capital accumulation. the latter is a consequence and not a cause of state consolidation (of course there are so many other variables too).

    Hariri’s plan was not my favorite for Lebanon. I disagree with his no diversification of economy. But that’s too luxury of a debate in a country that has Assem Kanso and Nasser Qandil. Hariri had a plan, but he was never given a chance to implement it.

    3ayb ya Hussein, 3ayb tfaker hek. hala’ you’re going to tell me that poor Hariri dreamed of a vibrant industrial and agricultural sector but kanso and qandil weren’t sympathizer with industrial and agricultural matters??? The truth is that Hariri was like anybody else in this country in a position of power: let’s profit of our standing, try out thing that people told it could work (i.e. washington consensus type of policies), but of course let’s apply them how we think they should be applied (i.e. without the rule of law, without social safety nets, etc.)

    This argument that ‘the syrians’ and this includes the whole demonization spirit that comes with it was blocking all kinds of economic development is simply untenable. The Syrians were concerned mostly with security issues, if they profited here and there it pales in comparison to how the whole political economy of the country followed a radical course that Hariri lead and could do buy paying the Syrians to let him do the job.

    You know well that the correct relationship between all these groups are shared interests. you take this i take that, i am concerned with this file you with this one etc.

    And ya boumb, for your own credibility and good image, drop the Najah Wakim style of how much Hariri paid me or others. Let’s be more civilized in our debate.

    Hussein, you may not get paid, but let me tell you that there are so many people working in the media that receives monthly salaries from Hariri co. and I’m sure you know that very well. So let’s not hide that.

  5. I’m not going to answer all the article’s mistakes, it would take a lifetime.
    One thing only, I’ll leave the rest for the others.

    You say: “believing that Lebanon could resume its pre-civil war economic prosperity”…

    Dearest leftist Hussein,

    What Lebanon pre-civil war economic prosperity are you talking about??

    There are different indicators to determine the prosperity of a country:
    proportion of the population living underneath poverty line, emigration rates, wealth disparity, …

    – The “pere Lebret, IRFED” study in 1960 declared that 50% of the population was living under the poverty line.

    – Just before the war and while waves of migrants were living in the suburb, (Beirut’s “misery belt”) there were 40 000 to 50 000 empty luxury apartments in Beirut alone.

    – Emigration for the years 1960-70, developped at an average rate of 8 566 per year. And for the years 1970-74 it rose to 10 000 a year.
    If you suppose that at the time, Lebanon’s population was 3 million, it means that in 14 years: 25 % of the population left the country.

    – According to the Lebanese communist party’s “report of the central committee to the 4th national congress”, 1979 (For the period going from 1967 to 1973):
    “In the banking sector, 57 family holding controlled 72% of the capital of the industrial SARLs, 75% of the deposits of Lebanese banks, 52% of the capital of the SARLs in trade, agriculture and services, 64% of the capital of the insurance companies, 92% of the capital of financial joint stock companies and 37% of the capital of property companies”.
    […] 20 entreprises produced half of total industrial production in 1973”

    I don’t call this “prosperity”, but major theft of the country’s capita by a mafia.
    (and yes Hariri tried to restore THIS situation).

    If there’s any technical economical term I used you don’t understand Hussein, please tell me, but please stop writing bullshit

  6. Well, this debate is certianly a complicated one.
    Boumb, again let’s stick to civlized terms.
    I encourage anyone who is interested to go read Toufic Gaspard’s book on Lebanon’s economy. Accumiliation of wealth does not mean fair distribution. The country needs to start generating wealth, before a state can step in and tap this wealth for welfare, just like someone who opens a business. It cannot happen without some capital.
    Now bech, about Solidere again it is a public traded stock and there are rules on maximum stock ownership and real estate owners were given shares. It might not be the fairest kind of compromise, but this is perhaps the only way to salvage a completely destroyed area, just like Hezbollah is trying to do now with the suburb because with this scale of destruction of public and private areas, over this span of time (some owners died and their grandchildren inherited which gave some properties hundreds of owners), no easy way out can be found.
    Anyway, again I still don’t see concrete examples. You say the banks. Let’s discuss the banks. First, Hariri became PM in 1993 and military operations in the south did not end until 2000. As you also now, this put Lebanon in the high risk zone for country investment, which means you cannot attract investments in the middle of war except if you increase the interest rate which Hariri did. The investors were mostly domestic (banks consolidating private money accounts). During Paris II, Hariri negotiated scrapping a good part of bank profit for the country’s interest.
    Another thing, Hariri — against IMF advice — insisted to peg the Lebanese currency. This currency stabilization, in the middle of war, cost the country a lot. You know bech that the only way through which the Central Bank could replenish its FX reserves was through the issuance of bonds in foreign currency. This means that a great deal of today’s debt was spent for this purpose.
    Finally, boumb, IRFID or no IRFID, Lebanon has witnessed in its history good opportunities of wealth accumulation during the silk boom, then later after WWII. The problem is that officials at the time (mainly Michel Chiha) refused to use capital to diversify the economy and Hariri’s idea seems similar to that of Chiha, to restrict activity to tourism because they think Lebanon is too small to be competitie in other sectors. I disagree with this.
    And welfare follows capital not accompanies it.
    Economics is a matter of views. But meanwhile, if we want to accuse Hariri, let’s give solid proof, not like the one that almost took Siniora to prison which was all non-sense. Hariri is a big investor and Lebanon is not that a good a market for someone his scale. For instance Hariri won the bid for the construction of GSM in South Africa, or Turkey, or he won bids in Saudi Arabia where he first started. In a country like Lebanon, there are no bids that can be worth the hassle. But I might be wrong, and Hariri might have salivated for smaller scale bids. Until I see some proof (other than New TV crap), I will stick to my defense of him as an honest man.

  7. I encourage anyone who is interested to go read Toufic Gaspard’s book on Lebanon’s economy. Accumulation of wealth does not mean fair distribution. The country needs to start generating wealth, before a state can step in and tap this wealth for welfare, just like someone who opens a business. It cannot happen without some capital.

    I read Gaspard, and have actually helped working on a paper on competition policies at the Ministry of Economy that takes Gaspard’s work as one reference. I don’t (and other economists) agree completely with Gaspard’s conception of economic development but still the book is very interesting, and has nothing to do with what Hariri has been doing.

    Please you have to be able to distinguish between accumulation of wealth and state consolidation. There is nothing inherently bad in the accumulation of wealth. As you learned and keep on repeating, this is one step that helps economies develop. But the other is state INSTITUTIONAL formation. This means a lot of things, no time to develop everything here, but for the subject of the argument it at least means having a concrete political economy ‘national’ policies. Hariri focused on developing 1% of the geography of the country, mostly downtown the airport and the region where people can vote for him. Just have a look at other ‘developmental successes’ from east-asia to latin-america (where present), and you’ll see that the most important point is how state could devise comprehensive economic policies, something Hariri did not know anything about (as he as a business man, an investor as you call him).

    Now bech, about Solidere again it is a public traded stock and there are rules on maximum stock ownership and real estate owners were given shares. It might not be the fairest kind of compromise, but this is perhaps the only way to salvage a completely destroyed area, just like Hezbollah is trying to do now with the suburb because with this scale of destruction of public and private areas, over this span of time (some owners died and their grandchildren inherited which gave some properties hundreds of owners), no easy way out can be found.

    Hussein you again speak what you were endoctrinated. Shu hal hakeh? First of all, it was not the only way to rebuild a downtown. When Lisbon was destroyed for example, the government gave soft loans to all the landowners of the affected parts in order to start from scratch, rebuild and develop their businesses. The result is a highly diversified city with a richness that plastic downtown will never have you know why? Because when you give everything to one company, then this company has to make sever budgetary choices and has to act on cost-benefit basis and has to scrap most of the buildings. This is why half of downtown was never rebuild, instead we have beautiful parking lots for the use of an ultra-rich minority.
    Second not only the compromise is not fair but it is pure racketing (do you know how many shares these people were given? Go speak to them and you may learn the true extent of the abuse of public power for private ends that Hariri and co. exercised: Another definition for the word corruption). Also, the majority of the shares are in the hands of one business empire.
    Again nowhere in the word does one privately owned company get to manage public space and such a free way, especially when its owners happen to be in top executive governmental positions.

    In any case, Georges Corm explained in great detail how Hariri and co. succeeded in establishing the Solidere option as the one and only economic paradigm suitable for Lebanon. Just review how alternative plans could have been devised. And here again, the whole reason for Hariri acting this way was based on “cronyist” principles: making his business friends (the banks are an excellent example) benefit from this whole enterprise, and staying at the economic center of Lebanese market.

    Anyway, again I still don’t see concrete examples. You say the banks. Let’s discuss the banks. First, Hariri became PM in 1993 and military operations in the south did not end until 2000. As you also now, this put Lebanon in the high risk zone for country investment, which means you cannot attract investments in the middle of war except if you increase the interest rate which Hariri did. The investors were mostly domestic (banks consolidating private money accounts). During Paris II, Hariri negotiated scrapping a good part of bank profit for the country’s interest.

    Forgive to say that this is non-sense. Economists have shown very well that the perceived threat on the currency was overblown, and even if there was one, shooting the interest rate up was the stupidest action one could undertake. Actually, it is stupid from “state perspective”, but it is very clever from a “private sector, bank” perspective. And this is where you understand what was going on. Shoot the interest up makes players avoid the restructuring of the financial sector geared towards the interest of the public at large, but consolidate the monopolizing tendencies of the banks. Actually even if you take it from hardcore monetarist perspective (i.e. only building investor’s confidence and strengthening the currency is what is important) it could work, but this would require that the central bank is independent! This is very important! Instead it was banks (chaired by Hariri) and Hariri employee at the Central Bank that were agreeing on the best interest rates in order to protect banks for non-productive reasons.

    See it is important to understand that Hariri’s cronyism was not very apparent. It is really by understanding the mechanism of the political economy of Lebanon that I can perceive how the manipulation of specific economic processes led to corruptive practices. My initialpoint was not to say that Hariri directly stole for his own account money from public saving. That would be stupid and he does not need it. Instead controlling the whole mechanism and processes of an economy is way more rewarding!

    Another thing, Hariri — against IMF advice — insisted to peg the Lebanese currency. This currency stabilization, in the middle of war, cost the country a lot. You know bech that the only way through which the Central Bank could replenish its FX reserves was through the issuance of bonds in foreign currency. This means that a great deal of today’s debt was spent for this purpose.

    So you think this is good? Maybe at the time a devaluation could have been a good thing to do. But wait a minute, a devaluation should be backed by clear shown intent by the state to show that there is a comprehensive economic policy to follow. Anyway, there are two Hariri periods. One where the experiment was tried and one where panic started and they started to try patching things up, of course without at any point trying to endanger the interests of a moribund banking sector.

    Finally, boumb, IRFID or no IRFID, Lebanon has witnessed in its history good opportunities of wealth accumulation during the silk boom, then later after WWII. The problem is that officials at the time (mainly Michel Chiha) refused to use capital to diversify the economy and Hariri’s idea seems similar to that of Chiha, to restrict activity to tourism because they think Lebanon is too small to be competitie in other sectors. I disagree with this.

    You know its weird because the point on which you “disagree” with Hariri serves as probably the pillar of his economic practices, and actually betrays his cronyist tendencies. That’s something I have noticed a lot with Leftist-turned-Haririst, they think they can just pick and choose in order to serve their opportunistic political interests.

    The bottom line of it all is that hariri did not conduct comprehensive state practices because he could not care less and not because “they did not let him do so”. This does not play against any political interests even the Syrians. Instead Hariri thought let’s do our own little kingdom, just as much as everybody else, but under the cover of “reconstruction”.

  8. seriously, tayyeb, how about the Corm-Hoss government. Why didn’t Corm devaluate?
    And again, just let me know which country can pick up economically with a 7-year war in its south that occasionally stretched to cover the whole of the country. How many times were electricity factories and bridges hit and reconstructed? Any cost there?
    As for where was Hariri allowed to reconstruct, remember when Hani Hammoud was beaten up when he showed up in Ouzaii for the reconstruction plan? Do you know how much money the army cost the treasury a year (20%) for what? For drivers of officers and army clubs renovation? How about the Council of the South or Ministry of the Displaced? And by the way, the south down to Tyre got a new highway, and so did the Bekaa (but these were not Hariri’s initatives and I’m not opposed to them, only to show that money was spread in all directions). Again, Solidere did not cost the treasury (save for the Abou Jmeel evacuation).
    Again, in 24 months, how did Corm behave? Growth went to negative. But on July 11, 2006, growth was projected at 5 percent despite all the trouble. Whose policies were at play then? Lebanon crossed the one million tourist per season. This all mean more money for the country, which I believe you can use to encourage other sectors and diversify. But again, Syria did not let growth go without a useless war.
    You cannot be blamed for running a country that has the upper say in Damascus and an armed militia that decides wars whenever it pleases. These do not look like normal conditions for managing the economy. Do they look normal to you Bech?

  9. ust a few point in reaction to “anonymous” ‘ post:

    – the debt was 2b$ in 1993. 7b$ dollars of reconstruction expenses were engaged between 1993 and 1998. the 20b$ that are left, were due for interests. this is massive robbery by the banks in a country that was helped by almost all countries in the world and had political stability because of the Hariri-Hraoui-Berry-Hezbollah-Syria leadership.

    – debt service concentrate 80% of public dubget. no need to say that it is nonesens

    – interest rates beagn to slower down in 1998 after hariri left governement

    – the process well described by Bech is even very dangerous for the lebanese banking sector: one day it will collapse, it is not sustainable on the ong run. Hariri tried as hard as he could to put the system in danger between 1998-1999, with massive media desinformation. however the slowering down of interest rates and the issuance of bonds suscribed by foreign banks, permitted to releive the burden and restrein the negative influence of lebanese banks on the state tresory. Moreover, we can guess that without the introduction of VAT, prepared by the Hoss governement (it is very complicated technicly and I think nobody in hariri’s courtyard has the competence for that), and then implemented by hariri, lebanon would never have been able to pay in due time. as bech said, they were in panic and thus accepeted that lowering interest rates and putting some money back (VAT) was invitable.

    – devaluation is not an option. why ? because all lebanese that do not hold dollars would be ruined.

    – everything was not changed between 1998 and 2000. You should remerber that all medias and most politicians (hariri, joumblatt) where against that governement. I remerber joumblatt accusassion in parliament : “this is a pro-american government, and anti-syrian” (nothing to do with our business, quite funny though). Moreover, in this kind of context you cannot just change everything in one shot. you have firstofall to avoid panic, for the pound not to collapse, and thus you must be carefull. anyway. hariri’s era was 10 years, the hoss government was two.

    – about solidere and hariri’s honesty, you’re being to naive. there’s plenty of literrature on it, have a look on it.

    – by th way, electricity factories did not cost a penny to the lebanese state, the european union always paid them

  10. moun,
    again you didnt give an explanation. If $20 b were teh result of interest rates, why did we have to increase these rates. Do military operations between 1993 and 2000 count as high risk therefore would force you to increase interest to sell your bonds? And since you want to stabilize the currency, then the more reason you need to issue bonds with hight interest rates.
    – Solidere, too many issues there. Again it did not cost the treasury.
    – Electricite du Liban, good research it. From the days of Mr. Elie Hobeika, to Ayoub Humayed, Abdul-Hamid Beydoun, Humeyed then Fneish. It cost money for facilities and for production of itself (mind you some areas never pay their bills).
    Again, explain why growth went to negative under Corm. And it is not true Hoss did not have power. He had all Syrian support while Siniora was being prosecuted for false charges. So don’t make it as if the Hoss government was helpless in front of Hariri. It was the other way around and the era of the rule of intelligence and Jamil Sayyed’s. Just a small reminder, when Siniora demanded that revenue of Casino du Liban come to treasury, Lahoud and co 7ara2o deeno. This is the style how they let Hariri rule. If you want, I can have examples like these that I can cite until tomorrow.

  11. Ok, I read the articles and I got pretty disappointed.
    I tend to be more comprehensive to people than they deserve, sometimes, and this time was one of them. I expected, learning that hussain is an ex-leftist, to read at least leftist “literature” distorted. But I find one cheap piece of propaganda that doesn’t show anything apart that the guy in question is a complete traditional zelm.
    How could anyone go through an elitist process, studying and playing leftism in AUB and turn to be that much of a zelm!?? I mean one could go back to pure Marxist social interpretation and say that money defines it all. What else could explain such sophism like:
    “The country needs to start generating wealth” or “And welfare follows capital not accompanies it.”
    These dumb chrono-logical statements that only serve dumb economic schemes that suits best those that are meant by the “country” in the first statement, regardless of any logic, which is the haririst fucks (or exploiters).
    Or that economy is a “matter of views”, yes, Marx who spent his life proving what nonsense this phrase meant would have danced in his grave, if reading such “leftist” crap.
    One of the attrays of “economic” discussion for dumbasses is that they put together a mathematical scheme, which have been circulated enough in pseudo scientific revues and books and thus “reasonably” passes as a decent paradigm of discussion, about money coming and going and trying to be smart showing that in one point or the other, Hariri, or whomever they defend, was just following “indicators” (like the dumbest one in this case mentioned, “growth”) while Hoss and Corm couldn’t prevent decline of growth. And choose, whenever they decide suitable, to get something outside the monetary mathematical scheme, like Hezbollah’s wars for example, to justify their failures.
    This is Doxa, in the bouridieusian sense, exposed. Paradigm, arguments, the whole logic of a debate (right to the most historically absurd arguments because they were taken out of their history), all working magically for the dumb discussion to actually take place, and exist, and thus declare its immoral beholder as a decent interlocutor.
    I mean, how else could and argument like “people like Nasser kandil” work, by itself, as it was even to resume something.
    Ya habibi, the biggest manyouk here is not Najah Wakim nor Kandil nor Kanso as the numbers and history shows. You’ve got it all wrong!

    SOLIDERE was taken by force (I mean the lands) to more than a hundred thousand families, NOW THAT IS ECONOMY. And the dude Moun had to remind you, o leftist one, that devaluation RUINS PEOPLE. The total price of lands in downtown Beirut – I will take my time to say it for there are people that have been mislead by a powerful media establishment – was evaluated by corporate friends of the martyr prime minister to a mediocre amount and they were given mediocre shares to that amount, thus giving them mediocre benefits to that amount – THAT IS CALLED THEFT -When their lands actually worth much more than that in estimates, and you know that real estate economy works with “estimates” and “propaganda”.

    Honest is too much of a word for a guy that was everything BUT a smart economist. Talking “economy” in the case of Hariri, as the examples shown by bech and moun indicate, is non-sense. He and his equipe are not even worthy of being compared to “conservative revolution” phenomenon we saw in the west with Thatcherism, Reaganism and lately Sarkozysm. Hell, one could’nt even call harirists an “equipe”, the best word for those that like to kiss hands and feel touched about it is zelm, or lackeys.

    As for the economic logic we were trying to apply here to the Lebanese case, apart from who was responsible for consolidating and PROMOTING the ruling class that followed the 1992 elections, and who obstructed the functioning of the “taftich el markaziy” and the “majliss al khidmah el madaniyyah”, and who deployed the army on the streets of Beirut to ban the union’s protest (remember on who’s side you are siding o leftist one), and supposing it worked:
    Hariri’s accomplishments are only measured by the numbers of the working class population that left the country from 1992 till… NOW (“growth” was going OK till 1998).
    This is harirism.

  12. Anonymous,

    – when i said electricity factories were paid by the european union it was in reaction at your argument that israelis always destroyed them and that it costed a lot. reconstruction of those factories did not cost a penny (thanks to EU). as far as electricity production is concerned, of course it costed a lot, that is obvious. the true reasons are first : massive corruption by all traditionnal leader (berry, hraoui, joumblatt, etc. and certainly not Hoss), and more, about non paid bills, you should know that what cost most is not southern inhabitants that “cheated” on it, yet some ambassies (germany for example) that never paid the bills. and they consumed much more than people in southern lebanon, or southern beirut. hariri’s never demanded those bills to be paid, however, hoss did.

    – about inflation and interest rates: when, as in 1993, you have so little debt (2b$) that the pound have been stabilised (you must admit that it was hariri that put pressure on it in 1992 to undermine Karame’s government), and you have a programme of investment that is only about 5b$, you don’t need important interetst rate. the link between interest rates and inflation is important but it has also to do with your solvability. your simplistic manner to explain that it was normal that the lebanses state pays so much interest for so little endebtment, is rethorical and is usually argument for pure montarist. i can read you’re “leftist” (to the extend it means something), i don’t understant.

    – in 2006, the lebanese debt was 61bLL, 40bLL for debt service (2/3 of it). what has been reconstructed in lebanon ? lets take the eras that were almost never hit by israelis (beyrouth, northern lebanon, jabal loubnan): an airport that has the capacity of Orly airport in paris, whereas traffic is so much less, a gigantic port whereas beirut will never be the center city for ship trade in the mediterranean, a ring betwwen east and west beirut, some tunels in beirut, the southern highway. the whole costed 6b$. that’s almost all. there is abslutly no infrastructure at all in lebanon, all development has been concentrated in beirut, there is no productive economy, only luxury and chiha’s style restaurant and casinos. we have all this debt for so little. i mean come on, how can you defend a guy that destroyed our economic capacities for decades by ruining the country. the theoric debt without debt service was in 2006 of 12bLL.

    – i think you know that syrian power was not monolithic. between the former vice-president and the actual president, you know there was some trouble. you also understant that one part was allied to saoudis and americans, and in lebanon with hariri. you cannot just say that hoss goverment was syrian and that hariri was weak in front of him. it is completly unsincere. by the way, the composition of hoss goverment was the less “syrian” of that time (i admit there was obvious and major mistakes as Murr and co). was hariri forced by syrians when he ordered shootings on demonstrators in 1992 ? when he accepeted elections of 1996 and 2000 that were all massively corrupted ?? surprisingly, he always won those elections. if we he was censored by syrians, and he was a true man of state, he would have resigned in 1992, and had left lebanon.

    – secondly, you cannot ignore that hariri owned directly or inderectly most lebanese medias.

    – if you’re point was to say that hariri is not the only corrupted man in lebanon, i defintly agree. all his allies of the time were too: berry, joumblatt, hraoui etc. etc. and there were all allied to syrians.

    – if you’re point is that he was a competent and honest man, and that people like Hoss were uncompetent and understood nothing in economy, then i this debate has no sense at all. whatever is your point, you cannot rewrite history like that.

  13. sorry, just about military operations and risk and interest rates…this is really weak and unsincere. it was low scale intensity military operations, and most people in lebanon and in the world (and i premuse you also) were definitly sure that hariri’s program was going to install lebanon in prosperity and progress. the country and the government was supported by the saoudis, the americans, france, and syria. then, all these conterbalanced largely low scale operations most of the time limited to the south. the country economic solvability and risk were well rated.

  14. I think we are moving in circles in this debate. Alhaqid, I think you are just like Wakim and Co., cannot argue without foul language. Ya3tik il 3afieh.
    Moun, how many tourists did you expect in Lebanon between 1993 and 2000? How many investments? Military operations were not low scale and often Israeli jest would hit Sidon, or na3meh or anywhere.
    Finally, let’s clear this once and for all: The US gave Syria Lebanon in 1990. Syria had the upperhand in everything. Its allies Jumblatt, Berri and the rest won everything. Syria kicked out Maronite leaders and took in Hariri, but with restrictions. First, Hariri is Sunni and his leadership poses threat domestically for Syria. Second, Hariri is a Saudi-sponsored politician. So Hariri, even though he got along with Syria, he played by the rules but he was never Syria’s favorite. When you talk about whatever happened under his rule, like shooting at demo in 93 or GLC strike in 1996, you should look at the minister in charge. In both cases, the defense and interior ministers (and Army Commandor Lahoud who imposed the curfew in 1996) were never Hariri’s people but took orders from Syria. The conclusion: Hariri was never Syria’s favorite but was given some leeway in governance.
    This leeway included economics. But due to war and the corruption he could not stop (or perhaps his men even participated in), no serious solution of his could work.
    So, in my opinion, Hariri was never given a chance to implement his program. The bits he implemented, like some highways, were adopted to the Lebanese situation and came at a very high cost. Even the Labor Unions, which Hariri of course hate, he couldnt control or confront. These were taken from actual labor leaders and leftists into the hands of the Syrian intelligence and they were used against Hariri for political not labor reasons. Mehlis report talks partially about this.
    Anyway, the story is long. My last tip here, is to deal with it this way: Whenever an action happened in Lebanon, try to trace who was behind it and not say Hariri outright (who was the minister, who gave the order…) When judging Hariri’s action (the orders he did give especially in econonomics), try to be in his shoes and see what could have been done better and in what way (given what was at hand). I’m not saying Hariri never erred, but he should not be blamed for a country he was never able to rule and in which he was killed.
    And btw, leftism does not have one single perspective. Here is an article on some leftism:
    http://www.alhayat.com/business/06-2007/Item-20070624-5ee78cda-c0a8-10ed-0082-a4949a10194f/story.html

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