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A news report by Al Mayadeen TV on Lebanon’s deepening economic crisis, and potential ways out, such as embracing its strategic geographic position at the crossroads between East and West, and as a potential transit point for Chinese goods on the New Silk Road.
The report however, alludes to key obstacles too, such as Lebanon’s historic reliance on the United States and the West, and the fear of Lebanese authorities that doing business with the East, namely China and Russia, could “anger the Americans”.
Source: Al Mayadeen News (YouTube)
Date: June 12, 2020
Due to is geographical position, Lebanon played a historical role as a link between East and West.
Lebanese ports played a key role during the Old Silk Road era.
Today, Lebanon forms an important checkpoint in the New Silk Road project. The railroads of this new project have reached Turkey, and Lebanon can very easily play an important role in this regard.
Politically, Lebanon attached itself to the West, and tied its economy to the US dollar, and it almost completely shut all doors to the East. This led to complete reliance on the West economically and with regards to arming the Lebanese military, and even political dispositions.
For years China has been showing great interest in the port of Tripoli (in Lebanon’s north), and it sought to sign deals aimed at expanding the port and establishing a free-trade zone which would work as a transit point for Chinese goods destined for Europe and the West.
However, this project failed due to the lack of Lebanese enthusiasm, according to a member of the Lebanese parliament.
Despite the fact that Arab states close to the Americans – such as the UAE – have benefited from Chinese projects, Lebanese authorities chose to be more royalist than the king, this according to a parliamentary source to Al-Mayadeen.
Most projects that could be carried out by China or Russia are continuously being met with one answer: we do not wish to anger the Americans. In this way, and due to the desires of (certain) Lebanese political sides, Lebanon has closed the door of the East before itself.
Simultaneously, the West has (effectively) closed off economic aid channels to the country, because Western states have tied any economic aid packages to political conditions that infringe on Lebanon’s sovereignty, such as the weapons of the resistance (Hezbollah), the delineation of the border between Lebanon (and Israel), and other key issues.