Alwaght- At its security meeting led by Prime Minister Hassan Diab, the Lebanese government decided to form a security operation room to address the devaluation operation against the country’s currency pound.
The PM said it was not acceptable that a crime takes place but no criminal is held accountable, adding that he had accurate information that what happened to the national currency was purposely, insisting that he will not stay silent when some are playing with the people’s living.
The remarks appear to have meant the behind-the-scenes movement by a group that seeks to put the skids under the PM’s crackdown campaign against the corruption in the country.
Diab’s revelations about the coup plot
On Saturday, Diab said that a month after he formed cabinet, Lebanese people understood his seriousness and resolution of the government to get things right. He said that the cabinet enjoys a high rate of the citizens' trust and that is frustrating for those who hoped to see its fall. That is the reason they are resorting to fake news and rumors, he went on.
He also talked about “planned attacks” by sides he called “well known to all”, adding that they resort to any tool to fail the other side.
“They sunk the country into huge debts and destroyed the Lebanese people’s resources,” he said, continuing “but the efforts for a coup have failed and all of their secret and open meetings to oust the government will go nowhere. They have shown that people’s concerns and obsessions are not important to them. But we are not like them and will not be like them. Let me be clear, we will not allow the disappearance of our people’s money.”
He asked the people to show patience with the government because “fighting corruption is tough.” He asserted that the changes are in their way no matter how much they press to prevent them.
“They are trying to ignore the realities after destroyed everything. We were silent but they did not stop their lies and rumors,” he added.
Government’s program to fight corruption
Lebanon’s economic crisis has its deep roots in both the accumulated debts and entrenched corruption. The economic challenges for the government were compounded after coronavirus pandemic hit the country and this is motivating the country to become more serious in its fight against corruption.
The presidency press office announced last week that President Michel Aoun called for more investigation to discover corruption cases. It added that so far the number of cases related to financial violations and money laundering reached 18. Suspicious dealings, sales of fake medicines, and suspicious contracts are also covered by the press office’s report.
The cases include suspicious investment and launching black market in Beirut-Rafic Hariri international airport, bribery, replacing original cancer medicines with fake ones at Rafic Hariri hospital, and special dealings at the airport, breaching the citizens' rights and freedom of action in wasting the public resources of social security fund.
Amid the revelations, the PM announced a crackdown against corruption and ordered the High Judicial Council to take its role in boosting the people’s trust in the judiciary. He told the supervisory bodies of the country “today I want you to fully play your role. The corruption has dragged the country to the verge of collapse without chances of questions [to the culprits].
The corruption lobbies massively resist
To push back against the government’s anti-corruption campaign, the corruption lobbies seem to have already started their measures to challenge the government and oust it if possible. Here are their most important arrangements to this end:
1. Trying to derail the popular protests from their right course: In fact, the groups whose corruption case are opened for an inquiry by the government are going to great lengths to use the current tense situation to engineer the situation towards calls for the government resignation by sending goons and rioters among the peaceful protestors.
2. Chanting divisive slogans: The corruption lobbies are trying hard to replace the economic slogans of the demonstrators with divisive and sectarian ones to prepare the ground for the sectarian and religious feud in the country. Behind this move, they seek to put pressure on the government and prepare the ground for the intervention of foreign actors.
3. Manipulating the national currency value against dollar: The corrupt circles are also devaluating the national currency pound against the US dollar. This will serve to press the government. This financial war against the government has been so open that the government officials several times pointed to it.
All in all, what is clear is that the part of the recent protests in Lebanon that were turned into violence and riots were guided by the behind-the-scenes corruption lobbies. Their main aim is to divert the demonstrations to a sectarian and religious conflict for the final goal of pressuring the government to quit its anti-corruption push.