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Lebanon is teetering on the brink of collapse. August 4th marks exactly one year since the deadly explosion in the Port of Beirut, which killed more than 200 people, wounded approximately 6,500 and caused the economy to plummet. The economic situation remains dire, with shortages in every field of life from food, medicine, baby formula, gasoline and electricity. The Central Bank of Lebanon has totally run out of reserves and there are severe restrictions for the Lebanese people on the amount that they can withdraw from their personal accounts.
Unfortunately, Hezbollah has become the main benefactor with the financial backing it receives from Iran. Hezbollah has almost totally dominated the country’s military, political and commercial sectors. For the last several months, Hezbollah has been issuing “ration cards” for food, medicine and fuel, making the citizens dependent on the Shiite terrorist group.
With Hezbollah’s unparalleled political influence on the political system, Prime Minister-designate Said Harari has been unable to form a government.
Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz proposed on July 6, 2021 to extend humanitarian assistance to Lebanon. “As an Israeli, as a Jew and as a human being, my heart aches seeing the images of people going hungry on the streets of Lebanon,” Gantz said. No answer has come yet from Israel’s northern neighbor.
What could and should be done about Lebanon today? Is it in America’s, Israel’s or the international community’s interest to extend a helping hand to Lebanon, or is Hezbollah’s influence too great now? Have we passed the point of no return?
Here to discuss this was Dr. Walid Phares.
About the speaker:
Walid Phares is a Middle East expert and pacesetter, often predicting trends and situations on the ground years before they occur. He is a Fox News Expert, advisor to the US Congress and the European Parliament and served as a senior advisor on national security foreign policy to presidential candidate Mitt Romney 2012.
Dr. Phares taught political science and Middle East studies at Florida Atlantic University between 1993 and 2004. Since 2006, he has taught Global Jihadi strategies at the National Defense University in Washington, D.C. Dr. Phares lectures to academic associations and on campuses nationwide and internationally, including at the US Intelligence University, Georgetown, Columbia, University of Chicago and Ecole Militaire of France in Paris.
After having authored six books on Middle East politics and history in Arabic in the 1980s, Dr. Phares authored another five in English since the mid-1990s. His most important volumes were published after 9/11 starting with Future Jihad: Terrorist Strategies against America, read and cited by many members of Congress and the European Parliament. Dr. Phares predicted the rise of jihadi urban networks and set forth strategies to counter them in the West and overseas. Media and colleagues alike rave about Phares’s hallmark book, The Coming Revolution: Struggle for Freedom in the Middle East, which predicted the Arab Spring a year in advance
Dr. Phares is a native of Beirut, Lebanon, and immigrated to the United States in 1990. He speaks fluent Arabic, French and English. Prior to moving stateside, Dr. Phares was a student union leader and lawyer and founded a social-democratic party, which he represented in several political coalitions. Dr. Phares holds a Ph.D. in international relations and strategic studies from the University of Miami, a Political Science Degree from St. Joseph University, a Law degree from the Lebanese University in Beirut and a Master in International Law from Universite Jean Moulin in Lyons, France.