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At the inter-Lebanese conflicts' social roots - How the absence of social development policies generated the outburst of cedars' land

Développement et Civilisations, July 2008, n°365

By René Yerly(1)

Editorial
René Yerly’s article
Counterpoint
Lebret’s views on Lebanon’s particularities

Editorial

by Richard Werly

Cultural clashes or class struggle

In the debates and in the media, the class struggle has given way to cultural or religious clashes. Is it a reflect of the reality or a fashion? The interactions between these various forms of divisions which tear apart the human community are so large that this question can be asked with no problem.

René Yerly shows, in his article, a Lebanese society in which the respect of the others and the sharing of celebrations was the rule inside each social class, between people with different religions, and he takes apart the mechanism by which the fights to get to power correspond to the religious differences within the poorest classes.

The meeting in Bangalore, organized by DCLI and AREDS (Association of rural Education and Development service, Tamil Nadu, India) on the rise of fundamentalisms led to the conclusion that fundamentalism had nothing to do with the religious doctrines, but was a result of the manipulation of the most disadvantaged by men seeking power. The participants agreed to explain the religious fundamentalism’s success by the despair of those who were marginalized by the inequalities generated by the doctrinaire application or even fundamentalist application of neoliberalism.

The UN day against torture just reminded us that, in the name of the fight against terrorism but, in reality, often in the name of the preservation of the established order, the use of torture was expanding and that the victims belonged, in most cases, to the most modest classes. The victims had been wrong to protest against the injustices which were done to them.

The interreligious dialogue is necessary but it will not resolve the tensions coming from inequalities and injustices.

At the inter-Lebanese conflicts’ social roots - How the absence of social development policies generated the outburst of cedars’ land

by René Yerly(2)

Lets come back with a bit of hindsight on Lebanon, two years before the beginning of the war, now that we are talking about a possible Mediterranean Union (conference organised in Paris on the 13th of July 2008) to understand what the history of this country, which has suffered from wars and rifts, can teach us. Civilisations’ crossroad, place of dialogue of cultures and religions? At what price and depending on what risks? René Yerly gives us his viewpoint and helps us to decipher the reality.

It is not easy for a foreign observer to understand the meaning of the disputes which took place during the first part of the month of May in the streets of Beirut. There is a tendency to ignore, since a while now, the conflicts of personnel or collective interests which often constitutes the background of many crises and to favor pseudo conflicts of “civilization” or of “culture” explanations. Yet, it is not bold to think that sectors of the population, within a same country, with different material situations and in different economic and geographical areas can develop a different way of thinking and of acting without it being necessary to explain it with the cultural and religious differences.

An integrated multicultural pre-war elite

Indeed, it is striking to notice, on one side, to what extent the so called community conflicts which shake Lebanon do not exist at all amongst those who managed to profit, since the fifties, from the phenomenal development of the oil economies of the region and by the inflow of Arab capitals which, at the same period, were fleeing countries in the grip of a pseudo-socialist coup(3), such as Egypt, Syria or Iraq(4). The engineers and the entrepreneurs will manage to pick up a large part of the oil manna while the bankers and the industrialists take advantage of the massive arrival of their Egyptian, Syrian and Iraqi equivalents and the flow of money that they drain in their luggage.

This elite, concentrated in the Beirut of the time, where one could find the best schools and universities, all run by occidental, secular or religious, French or American education institutions(5), with different community roots but all having gone through the same educational mould, could enjoy together the same pleasures of life in the same cabarets of Beirut, on the same beaches and in the same mountain resorts. Therefore from the start this elite’s dominant and common culture was the one promoted by these same educational institutions.

We must notice that this Lebanese business environment was, then, just partially linked to the political power which remained within the traditional notables’ hands, in town and in rural areas. In the sixties, period when active ideological debates started to develop, echoing the cold war and the conflicts which then shook different areas of the planet, from Palestine to Vietnam, the Lebanese Parliament saw the increasing arrivals of militants and lawyers who joined in with the notables and business men.

New elites from the war

The wars that took place in the country between 1975 and 1990 are going to freeze the parliamentary scenery for 20 years(6) while new faces are emerging from the militia(7), and even worse, from the business area linked to the militia, who finances them directly or who acts as an intermediary between them and the foreign governments while in the same time benefiting from the dramatic situation left on the ground: property speculation in the areas where the population is deported, advantaged repurchases of abandoned proprieties, arms and drogue dealing, charity financing for the jeopardized population by the military conflicts, the absence of public social security nets and the disintegration of the State to build up political clients, etc. The militia leaders, generally from poor backgrounds, are associated with these undertakings. As a consequence, each community will see the emergence of a mafia-political environment coming from the militia behind which are hidden the financers. Once “peace” was back in 1990 after the final invasion by Syria of the last Lebanese resistance areas, this new elite, united by the now diseased Rafic Hariri, capo di tutti capi, saw itself propelled at the head of the State where it will have a direct access to the public finances. We must not forget that this represents a colossal pool of money compared with the turnovers achievable by a private business.

To stay in power, it will then link this pillaging to the Syrian commandment in Lebanon and in Damascus(8). There, it will organize an opaque redistribution in favor of its political clients by the intermediary of public auction(9); it will directly get richer by involving the country in a public loan policy at prohibitive rates(10) which it subscribes to itself and by diminishing the taxes on businesses’ revenues under the pretext of attracting the foreign investments(11). In fact, these two last measures enables it to attract the traditional bourgeoisie(12) and its foreign mentors’ benevolence, notably Saudi Arabian and Syrian, who largely subscribe to State loans. It will also grow richer by being a highly paid agent offering, to its Gulf partners, an unequaled access to land in a country where, hitherto, this access was closely controlled.
As for the “rebuilding», it will mainly be limited to the capital’s center and to its main entrances(13). The city center was taken over by this new elite using the intermediary of Solidere lead by Rafic Hariri at the top followed by his Arab partners.

From now on, the political scene has changed. The 1992 parliamentary “elections”, in a country totally under Syrian domination, are going to enable the members of the militia, agents of Syrian and Saudi Arabian influence and contractors linked to the mafia-political background, to break through into Parliament. The former days’ engineers and the businessmen, will have, in the meantime, partially off shored themselves benefiting from the oil boom and from the development of numerous emerging countries(14). The petty bourgeoisie and the middle class, who conveyed the values and culture given by the occidental universities in the capital will have found refuge in France, United-States and in Canada. The era of militiamen, with guns or ties, federated by their financers at the head of which there was M. Rafic Hariri, is going to replace the Parliament composed of traditional notables and militiamen based on an economy running traders, industrials and bankers.

When the dominant values change – Europe seems to move away

Important aspect. The departure of the intellectual and teaching elite from, in most cases, a middle class background, is going to lead to a significant decline of the Lebanese quality and the level of education. The “business” culture moves in, the one with the two hundred necessary words to circulate in the business world. Culture in itself disappears. The Lebanese, intellectually and culturally impoverished, will from now on turn themselves towards the Gulf countries, new El Dorado(15), and will, encouraged by their new political leaders(16), conspicuously turn their back to Europe and the Mediterranean. Europe who used to be a source of culture and whose intellectual proximity was a reason of pride for the country, will suddenly be seen as too sophisticated from an intellectual point of view and too distant. The country will simply loss the capacity of understanding Europe. The Mediterranean, seen as a bridge between Lebanon and Europe and as an area for exchanges, will not exist anymore in the Lebanese’s mind. New private universities will be created as pure commercial undertakings only promoting the cheap-rated culture.
Thousands of young Lebanese will generally end up with a business science degree, to head straight towards the Gulf countries. They will not be the only ones. Even the most venerable universities organize the departure of entire classes to these countries through the intermediary of their partnerships with European or American firms who are happy to find young bi or trilingual people, impatient to leave their country and to escape a militia state stranglehold wanting foreign countries’ money(17).

At the bottom of the ladder

What happened at the bottom of this country’s social ladder since before the1975-1990 wars was very different. While Beirut, with its universities, banks, businesses and industries was capable of catching hold of part of the oil manna and attracting the financial and professional elites fleeing the surrounding countries, the rural regions sunk into poverty being victims of the disinterest of the capital’s elites and their own traditional elites who all moved to the capital where they shared the showy life of the new bourgeoisie. The IRFED mission led by Lebret took into account, for the first time at the beginning of the sixties, the importance of the gap which separated the rural regions and the capital. Beirut’s suburbs were growing under the inflow of a peasantry with no more roots and with no social protection.

Moreover the first clashes in 1975 are going to take place between the cast-off of this unequal development and are going to be the signal of a widespread quarry on the treasures accumulated in Beirut: pillaging of Beirut’s ports’ warehouses by Christians militiamen from the mountains, pillaging of Bank Street by Muslim and pseudo progressive groups, demanding of ransoms from the well-off citizens from local minority communities, pillaging of deserted houses, etc.
The country people take advantage of this period of instability to catch up in their economy which was lagging behind. At that stage, the militia provided with the best means of achieving an upward mobility for all those who did not obtain a job in the capital nor gain from the local economic development. Traditionally gathered around their traditional notables and the charitable religious organisms which represented the forced passage to obtain good health and education, they managed to liberate themselves through pillaging and the demanding of ransoms. But they were bumping into each other when sharing out the loot and worsened the community aspect of the conflict which was already present through the Sunni bourgeoisie’s old requests of a better sharing out of powers within the Lebanese State’s institutions.
In this context, the return to peace marked the end of the emancipation through the militia for most of these people from the poor sectors except those whose headman used to organize an opaque redistribution at the head of the State. With the middle classes, they will suffer tremendously from the increase of the taxes necessary for the reimbursement of the public loans because these drawing out are more than ever concentrated on the indirect taxation while, as mentioned previously, the direct taxation is reduced(18). They will be subject, in an even more dramatic way, to the consequences of the criminal negligence from the militia government of M. Hariri towards the industrial and agricultural sectors. Its only attention being put on what could attract to Lebanon, capital and Arab tourists from the Gulf: propriety promotions and luxurious hostelry monopolizing the nicest areas of the country, areas of debauchery. This debauchery will reach a level never seen before in the country.

The poor sectors of the society will suffer from the massive and non controlled entry of a foreign working force from Syria, Egypt and Asia. The consequences were the decline of the general wage of the least qualified, the increase of unemployment of the latter, more emigration and weakening of union’s actions. This immigration was, once again, organized by the new powers in the interest of, in the same time, its Syrian mentors and the traditional Lebanese bourgeoisie whose rallying was wanted.

Towards the bursting of the feeling of national belonging

In these conditions, it is not surprising that the poor sectors of the population are more than ever subjected to political leaders and to religious authorities. The latter take interest in their lot through their private charities or through the intermediaries put into place within the State itself to misappropriate part of its performances and resources and to put them at their own benefit. The falling back onto the community’s authorities and leaders is even stronger with the increase of precariousness, precariousness which is maintained by the political leaders from the militia for their own interest, for the old families’ interest and for the traditional bourgeoisie’s interest because it permits it to have a stock of political clients. It is not even a possibility that the actual elite in power develops a social security net or fights against unemployment because that would emancipate the population from their grip.

But the consequence of this is an outburst of the feeling of belonging to the nation, and a development, stronger than ever, of the identity differentiation depending on community belonging. If the Christian religious orders, the non-religious French institutions, sill very present, always transmit the traditional European culture and favor an intellectual proximity with the Mediterranean and European world, the same is not true for teaching institutions developed by the two Shiites, the Amal movement and Hezbollah or the Sunni private schools. As for private, Anglo-Saxon influenced, schools and universities, they prepare for emigration to the United States or to the Arab countries, actual business paradise for all the Lebanese. The official curriculum of the ministry of education is not the way to make all the young Lebanese fit into the same mold. The impossibility to write a single textbook on the Lebanese contemporary history symbolizes the breaking up of points of views and divergences of cultures.

The middle classes

Then there are the middle classes. Even though quite a lot of them accept to follow the big mafia-political leaders of the country, others militate for a State of law and a society in which the merit and the competences fully take their role in the upward mobility. The fact of belonging to a community certainly influences their choice. Even though the general Aoun completely represents the Christians middle classes’ ideal because by being the former army commander in chief, his arrival at power would symbolize the return to the State of institutions, the Muslim middle classes hesitate to follow him because he does not belong to their community. However the Shiite middle classes find themselves in the Hezbollah, next to the poorest Shiites and to a devout bourgeoisie, and, concerning the most evolved but not necessarily the most incorruptible, to the militia party of M. Nabih Berri. As regards the Sunni and Druze middle classes, the prominent community leader position occupied respectively by M. Hariri and the militia chief M. Walid Joumblat(19) in favor of the wars prevented the emergence of other leaders capable of embodying the middle classes’ interests.

Conclusion

There are two trends which face each other today on the Lebanese scene. On one side there is an alliance, today in power, of former members of the militia, old families and traditional bourgeoisie federated by M. Hariri(20), who bases itself on political supporters from the poorest sector of the population and from the Sunni and Druze middle classes(21).And on the other side, one can find the Christian and Shiite middle classes, the poor Shiite classes(22) and the remaining of the ideological parties(23). The history of their fight however makes us forget that these trends formed themselves on the shards of a Lebanese society previously rich from its Arab culture, from older community cultures and from what its opening on the Mediterranean and Europe brought it, before that this heritage was destroyed by internal conflicts and by conflicts, taking advantage of its contradictions and of its weaknesses, orchestrated, during thirty, by large powers and by its own neighbors. The cultural decline which resulted from this is one of the most appalling sights- but not the only one- that the Mediterranean history has offered during the last decades.

René Yerly
Beirut, 1st of June 2008

Counterpoint

by Hassan Zaoual

Nation, classes and community. The Lebanese imbroglio.

René Yerly offers us a rereading of the conflicts which permanently affect a country dear to us: Lebanon. The observations made on this country are numerous but the inside eye in this note gives it its originality. Lets now take a look at its content.

While underlining the optical mistakes that an external eye can make, particularly when it is influenced by the media, René Yerly makes us discover, in a militant way, the hidden aspects of a composite society, torn apart by the personal and clannish interests. Put down like this, the economic and social aspects of the Lebanese society’s contradictions gain an importance rarely brought up on the international scene. Thereby, the fact of applying, in a hasty way, to everywhere in the world the notion of “choc of cultures” even of religions and civilizations suddenly finds itself strangely qualified or even challenged. This attitude held by René Yerly is to be rehabilitated in this period of crisis and of radical uncertainties. Obviously, everything can be manipulated and this is what the author is trying to prove.

To understand a country one must also know its history. Lets go back to the historical journey of Lebanon well before the beginning of the civil war in 1975. René Yerly underlines the elites’ connivance, independently from their denominational or clannish origin, in the unequal partitioning of the country’s wealth. He highlights the fact that this allowance economy has been fed, before everything else, by the influx of capital from the Arab neighbors whose prosperity is, as well, linked to the oil manna. In this context (1960-1975), Lebanon had assets, linked to its culture, heritage, and economy of free undertakings and to its freedom in its mores (cabarets), to invest profitably in with his neighbors (Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Saudi Arabia etc.). The commercial know-how of the Lebanese entrepreneurs acted like a magnet in this attractiveness. These Lebanese entrepreneurs’ relational capacity gave place to, through René Yerly’s description, business networks which developed themselves beyond local and national belonging. In these conditions, we were making “economy” with no politics. In other words, by following Montesquieu’s formula, trade calms the mores.

As the author highlights it, this multi-community and multinational elite involved in this trade, had built, above the peoples and the tribes who constitute the freshly independent Arab nations, a sort of “common culture” (common interests, common preoccupations, similar educational models gained in the important universities, often foreign one, from Beirut etc.) . The latter found its niche in a context marked by an appealing modernity opening the way for speculative investments and to shared pleasures(beach tourism in the sun, sex and sand style and mountain resorts). These one thousand and one nights are going to disappear with the arrival of a war economy (1975-1990). The sociologic stability built during decades, and with it the Lebanese Nation State, is radically at risk. Indeed, according to the author, at the same time of the Lebanese State’s governance crisis, we will see new elites strongly linked with the militias appear. Little by little, the trade’s regulating role will be replaced by other means of catching wealth which will find anchorage in the debatable community based legitimacy.

As soon as 1975, we passed from an “economy” with no politics to a ”politicized economy” through which the exacerbation of identity conflicts becomes a source of enrichment and a method for social domination. The network leaders are going to adopt this political strategy to maintain their social position. This is how violence becomes a method of governance and of sharing of wealth. This type of scenario is quite common insofar as more the diversity of a country is big, easier is the possibility to bring human groups into conflict, one against the other. The slightest difference, harmoniously incorporated, in the past, to the stability of the national community, becomes an excuse for the reconstruction of a new context marked by a sort of distinction excluding ones fellow man. It is in this type of reconstruction of situations that genocides, past and to come, are plotted secretly.

In the Lebanese context, this manipulation ensured the communitarian leaders with “legitimacies” drawn from a cynical management of the most buried beliefs in the communitarian unconscious. In other words, the “the black boxes” of the symbolical adherence sites are subject to a strategic decoding from the actors(24). In practice, as René Yerly describes it through the Lebanese experience, this manipulation of the bloody identities (saying of the Lebanese poet Amin Maalouf) secures the interests of the dominant political and mafia linked network within the ethnic and/or denominational communities.
Each one is put up against the other and the leaders benefit from it. Here, the manipulated identity becomes a formidable enrichment tool in favor of some people and at the expense of the majority of the people.

Because of their ability of adaptation to the most varied situations, these networks of influence will find themselves at the head of the recomposed Lebanese State, at the end of the hostilities(1990). In these circumstances, as the author reveals, the economic and political reconstruction of Lebanon is absorbed by the interests of the same leaders, the ones who contributed to the destruction of the Lebanese fraternity. The author describes, in details, the means used by this dominant social class, all communities taken together, to enrich themselves at the expense of the “reconstructed” Lebanese State (fiddled public markets, embezzlement, corruption and all types of dealings etc.). In reality, the “reconstruction” amounts to a trompe-l’œil concentrated in Beirut whose urban restoration is, moreover, entrusted to the Solidere society, dominated by the Hariri group from the name of the former assassinated Prime minister.

In substance, these practices are, according to the author, legitimated on a ideological point of view by pseudo liberal economic reforms whose consequences contributed to the Lebanese State excessive debt and to an increase of social inequalities. In this uncoordinated reconstruction of the Lebanese society, the middle classes, the society’s gravity centre, will loose their roots and their money which will incite them to emigrate or even to join the religious movements as it is the case for the middle Shiite classes.

Now that there is a project for a Mediterranean Union, Lebanon has lost its intellectual and cultural proximity with Europe and the Mediterranean as a whole. These contradictions are destroying the national felling and are opening the ways to the return of communitarianism under other modes which are well described by the author. Thus the Lebanese citizen is shaken about, depending on the situations, betweens the community he belongs to and the nation. Ultimately, in the light of this article, the society of rights capable of uniting all the Lebanese, beyond all the different kinds of diversities, still needs to be built. But, how do we think and organise such a project in the particular context of Lebanon at a time where even the contemporary societies the most advanced in the Nation state model are in crisis, that is to they are rammed by a globalised economy who does not recognise the national border neither the real needs of the people?

Hassan Zaoual
Zaoual[at]free.fr

Lebret’s views on Lebanon’s particularities

“Lebanon appears to be a society still in transition, dominated by an intense community individualism, with religious origins. The explanation of this individualism is found in its history.[…] The Lebanese development problem can not only be seen in economic terms. It is the whole structure of the nation and of the State that is here in question. However, Lebanon has a worldwide function which is important to save. It is at the crossing of several civilizations, to facilitate their contacts and exchanges.

Little territory in comparison with its population and its worldwide vocation, Lebanon cannot survive on the only resources of its soil. It will be able to do so, less and less, because […] of its accelerated demographic growth. […]. As a result the Lebanese economy is an economy of insecurity, insecurity in which the Lebanese intelligence must constantly triumph. It is necessary to have […] a governmental structure of maximum effectiveness. The elites must conceive that cooperation, according to the competences and depending on the national common good, is to be introduced. The classes that have been privileged must collaborate to establish a national economy and to cooperate towards a harmonious development of the country and reduce the social inequalities. Water, roads and schools, these are the essential conditions of all balanced and human economic development. But even more than that, it is necessary to have multipurpose teams, technically prepared and who would devote themselves to the rural activities in the villages.

It would be scandalous that a country with so many positive development factors[…] depends more on foreign countries than on itself to raise its standard of living. The discharge, of the effort that one does not want to accomplish, on another person is one of the morbid behaviours of which Lebanon suffers from.”

Sources: “pre-report of M. Lebret, director of IRFED”
Published in ‘L’Orient’, Lebanese newspaper, 22nd of September 1960

Footnotes

[1] - Lebanese economist

[2] - Lebanese economist

[3] - The regimes which originated from these coups were in reality nationalist and populist regimes.

[4] - A few years before, they had already benefited from the arrival of Palestinian funds fleeing the troubles which had to lead to the formation of the Israeli State in 1978.

[5] - Lets quote in particular at a university level, « l’Ecole des letters et le Centre d’Etudes Mathématiques » attached to the university of Lyon, the Jesuit University of Saint-Joseph and the American University of Beirut.

[6] - There will be no legislative election between 1972 and 1992.

[7] - Numerous traditional parties will create their militia, in particular, the Progressive Socialist Party of M. Joumblat (Druze), the Kataeb party of M. Gemayel (maronite Christian), the Marada party of M. Frangié (maronite Christian, the communist party, etc. But new militias will also appear, in particular, the Shiite party Amal of M. Berri, the Shiite Hezbollah, the Lebanese Forces of MM. Germayel son, Hobeika then Geagea (maronite Christians), etc.

[8] - It is only in 1998 that the then Syrian president, M. Hafez el-Assad, reacted to this corruption coming from Lebanon by making the General Emile Lahoud elected as president of the Lebanese Republic. The latter had the mission of carrying out the operation“ clean hands” which meant to push aside M. Rafic Hariri, in power since 1992 and who was the main one responsible for this Syrian elites’ corruption. However this operation met the opposition of other parties, allies of the Syrians, in particular the Amal party of M. Nabih Berri, President of Parliament since 1992 and still is, and the other personalities who were then allies with Syria such as M. Michel Murr, Parliament’s Vice-President(2004-2005)

[9] - The most blazing case being the one of the Council of the South put in charge of the infrastructure development of the south of the country and who also pays the support of the Shiite party, Amal, of its leader; M. Nabih Berri, and of Rafic Hariri’s successive governments’ political clients.

[10] - In 1992; the national debt was only of 3.1 billion US$ after 15years of war. It to 3.9 billion in 1993 before doubling in one year; in 1994. The average rates used in 1993 on the treasury bill in Lebanese pounds were of 20.6% and will end up at 25.1% in 1995, offering during that year a bonus of 18.9% compared to the London Interbank Offered Rate. Even though these rates could be justified in 1993 by an estimated inflation of 24.7%, that was not the case after, because the inflation collapsed, as soon as 1994, to 8%, then stayed at that level for two years before going even lower, to less than 1% in 1999.

[11] - The tax rate on companies’ profits was reduced from 25.3% to 10%, as soon as 1994 by M. Hariri’s first government , at the same time that he decided to begin the ”reconstruction” of the country…

[12] - In particular the large Christian business bourgeoisie.

[13] - Notably, Beirut’s airport and the motorway of the south who links it with the city enter.

[14] - It is, in particular, the case of design offices or businesses of public works such as Dar-el-Handassah, which is, today, the fifth engineering office in the world by its size, CCC, CAT, etc.

[15] - Even more than ever, since the barrel price increased up to 150$

[16] - The Lebanese’s political class’s obvious disinterest concerning the euro-Mediterranean partnership is a proof of this. Not surprising for those who know that the construction of a state of law and of an economical model inspired by the European model, which is this partnership would lead to, are at the antipodes of their preoccupations.

[17] - This is why the High School of Engineering of Beirut, which comes under the Jesuit School Saint-Joseph, is proud to reveal its partnerships with large French businesses such as France-Telecom or the Lyonnaise des Eaux who expatriate their best students in destination of the Gulf countries.

[18] - Between 1997 and 2002, the fiscal pressure is going to increase considerably , that is to say it is going to go from 16.77% to 22.68% of the GDP (+ 35.24%) in 5years, but this increase is essentially linked to a strong increase of the indirect taxes whose revenues go from 12.84% to 17.85% of the GDP (+39%), in particular because of the putting into place of the value added tax, whereas the revenues from the direct taxes evolve at a clearly inferior level, going from 3.92% of the GDP to only 4.83%(+23%).

[19] - Lets recall that M. Joumblat is from one of the largest and richest Druze families. Son of an atypical leading founder of the Progressive Lebanese Socialist Party, he managed to reconstitute a personal fortune thanks to war and to his “20year friendship” with M. Hariri. Through the deportation, in 1983, of 300.000 Christians from the region under his control, he allowed the Druze community of that region to grow richer, for the time being, thanks to the pillaging of the belongings of the exiled and to the embezzlement of the CAISSE DES DEPLACES??????; created after the war. However, he prevented any economic development of his region by controlling the undertakings and by demanding ransoms. And, no member of the Socialist International has ever given any interest to the social problems which concern the whole country and as a consequence their own community. He represents, today, the reign of the “old families” and at the same time the one of the militia and the one of the mafias.

[20] - To whom his son succeeded his son Saad after his assassination on the 14th of February 2005.

[21] - Alliance having reached power after the 2005 legislative elections, election marked by massive irregularities (unfavourable distribution of constituencies for the Christians, M. Hariri bought a massive amount of votes, political mobilisation of the Sunni clergy by M. Hariri, etc.) and followed by the dissolution, by the new parliamentary majority, of the Constitutional Council, institution in charge of examining the invalidation of the recourses introduced by the opposition

[22] - The Amal Party, though being of a mafia-political nature, is today part of the opposition because, faithful ally of Syria, it opposes itself to the present government’s pro-occidental policies since the legislative elections of 2005.

[23] - Communist Party, Nasserite organisations , National-Social Syrian Party, Baath Party, etc.

[24] - Cf. our work, Les économies voiles du Maghreb, L’Harmattan, 2006.


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