Lebanon holds a special place in the heart of everybody in Bahrain and the Gulf region. Hence, we are heartbroken about what has befallen Lebanon over the past decade and particularly the last couple of years. Lebanon today is unrecognizable from the nation of yesterday. This is a broken nation where around 90% of citizens now live in extreme poverty; while a minority have stolen the entire nation’s wealth.
For decades Lebanese culture was Arab culture; Lebanese music, Lebanese art has always been prominent and influential in the region. But where is Lebanese culture today?
Lebanon in 2022 has become an appendage of Iran. Lebanese culture and heritage have been strangled out of existence. Tens of thousands of citizens have already fled Lebanon, many in tiny boats, giving rise to disasters where several have drowned. Many citizens have sought refuge in the open arms of Gulf states.
Politically Lebanon is governed by figures who are totally hostile to Lebanon’s Arab culture. They have continually attacked Arab states in their public statements, while making personal attacks against Arab leaders. We know that this isn’t the view of the vast majority of ordinary Lebanese.
Economically, Hezbollah has sought to make Lebanon a satellite of Iran; importing fake Iranian medicines, sub-standard Iranian products and Iranian fuel. By using Lebanese financial institutions to launder illegal Iranian revenues and Hezbollah drug money, these criminals have deliberately sought to get Lebanon cut off from the global banking system; so that the Lebanese are left with no choice apart from seeking revenues in the poisoned embrace of Iran.
Hezbollah has turned Lebanon into a drugs empire; exporting hundreds of thousands of Captagon pills manufactured inside Syria. These deadly products have been turning up by the tones at the ports and borders of Gulf states, making it obvious that Iran and Hezbollah seek to ruin this region and create millions of drug addicts.
The good news is that there is an easy exit from this catastrophe: If Lebanese citizens in the coming days succeed in voting against Hezbollah and its allies and supporting a majority of representatives who are dedicated to rescuing Lebanon then this nightmare ends. There can be genuinely competent individuals running government departments; and the World Bank and IMF will have leaders who they can deal with in order to put together a rescue package which can return Lebanon to solvency.
No patriotic Lebanese citizen wants to live in a pariah state. No Lebanese citizen wants a broken economy. No Lebanese people want to get sucked into a ruinous war between Iran and Israel. And nobody in Lebanon – perhaps even Hezbollah – wants to live in a broken failed state.
We love and respect the Lebanese people: They are among the best-educated, wisest and most cultured Arab nations. We know that as individuals they all want the best for their nation and their loved ones.
Over the coming days, hundreds of millions of us throughout the Arab world will all be hoping and praying that the Lebanese collectively make the right decision in the coming elections; and that they come out in large numbers to punish those who have done so much to destroy their nation, while bringing in a new generation of leaders who can rebuild the Arab state of Lebanon which we all know and love.