Political analysts have cast doubt on the sincerity of French President Emmanuel Macron in his pledges of aid to Lebanon following a devastating blast in Beirut, saying Macron is exploiting the opportunity to advance the interests of Israel.
Elijah Magnier, journalist and political analyst from Brussels and Denijal Jegić, activist and scholar from Beirut, told Press TV that Macron’s recent visit to Beirut and his ensuing video conference with the world leaders to call for assistance to Lebanon were meant to ease maritime tensions between Israel and the Arab country in return for aid.
“As far as it concerned with Israel, Macron returned with the promise from the president to ease the maritime dispute between Lebanon and Israel” at a time when Lebanon is in need and is showing more flexibility, Magnier said.
“France speaks on behalf of Israel. The US speaks on behalf of Israel,” he added.
The political analyst further said that Western sanctions have failed to undermine the Lebanese resistance movement Hezbollah.
“It’s our people who are suffering the most and your maximum pressure is not working on Hezbollah and the axis of the resistance but is working against our people who are suffering the most,” the analyst said
He expressed regret over the resignation of Prime Minister Hassan Diab, describing him as a “rare honest prime minister that Lebanon has ever seen after Salim al-Hoss.”
The analyst said that Diab did not manage to register any success due to many problems he was facing, including the massive budget deficit and the resignation of several cabinet ministers, who are “the closest to the US and the West.”
“Everything was set up for this government to fail and everybody was insisting for it to fail,” Magnier said.
“The Americans refused to help him. The Saudis the Emiratis did not move forward because they were told by the Americans not to move forward and so the Europeans,” he added.
“We saw Macron needed to go back video to all world to help Lebanon
He said that Diab was “also attacked by the Arabs who refused to receive any delegation from the new government.”
“The Europeans and the US boycotted the Lebanese government, calling it the Hezbollah's government,” the analyst added.
Denijal Jegić, activist and scholar from Beirut, who also participated in the interview, pointed to Macron’s recent address to the Lebanese people, saying he “was specially addressing younger people, younger generation, promising a brighter future but (he) had his political agenda.”
“France has been collaborating with the political league for so many years. France has played a particular role in Lebanon but it has also a very close ally to Israel which has been at war with Lebanon for decades,” the commentator said.
“So I doubt [to] what extent France has invested in the well-being of Lebanon and Lebanon’s population and to what extent Macron's visit was more of an opportunity for himself,” he said.
Diab announced the resignation of his government following a similar move by several ministers, and amid angry protests in the country that followed the devastating blast of August 4 in the Beirut port.
Speaking to people in a live televised address on Monday, Diab first blamed the explosion on mismanagement resulting from “endemic corruption” in the country.
Diab also denounced those who are trying to take advantage of the Beirut blast for their own political gain.
According to a televised announcement later on Monday, Lebanese President Michel Aoun accepted the resignation of the prime minister's government, asking it to stay on in a caretaker capacity until a new cabinet is formed.
The catastrophic explosion, the biggest ever to hit the Middle East, killed at least 158 people. Some 6,000 were injured.
Dozens of people are still missing, and at least 300,000 people have been displaced as a result of the colossal blast, which leveled the whole port and a large section of central Beirut and turned successive apartment blocks into masses of debris and twisted metal.
Two days after the disaster, the French president visited disaster-hit Beirut and in a clear intervention in the internal affairs of Lebanon proposed a political pact for the small Mediterranean country, whose debt-laden economy was already mired in crisis and reeling from the coronavirus pandemic before the port explosion.
Macron, whose country witnessed months-long and nationwide anti-government protests by Yellow Vests for economic justice in 2018 and 2019, also claimed in Beirut that transparent governance would be put in place to ensure all international aid “is directly channeled to the people, to NGOs, to the teams in the field who need it, without any possible opacity or diversion.”
His opportunistic and populist campaign brings back to memory the French colonial past in Lebanon and is viewed by many as a provocative act that threatens the Arab country's sovereignty.
Macron’s remarks sparked a swift backlash, with many Twitter users denouncing what they deemed as interference in Lebanon’s internal affairs, which gained independence from the French colonial rule more than seven decades ago.
The French president, who practically sees himself as the self-proclaimed leader of Lebanon, said he would return to the Arab country on September 1 to check progress.
Source: Press TV