As protesters in Beirut storm government buildings, part of a "tsunami of rage" triggered by the historic and deadly explosion that decimated the capital city's vital and historic port less than a week ago, CNN reported, and the government later confirmed, that the Lebanese government is stepping down.
Lebanon's government was struggling to contain a wave of unrest, despite a worsening outbreak of SARS-CoV-2, as allegations of corruption, incompetence and foreign interference commingled in the public's utter lack of faith in their leaders. In their desperation, the country's leaders turned to China for financial support as the state teetered on the edge of bankruptcy.
Now, apparently, Prime Minister Hassan Diab, who rode into power as a "reformer" back in December, 2 months after an uprising brought down the previous government, has had enough: He's stepping down with the rest of his cabinet (three ministers have already resigned). His government will soon accept "caretaker" status and saddle the Lebanese people with the responsibility of electing their third government in less than a year.
Lebanon's government is expected to step down on Monday, two government sources told CNN, less than a week after a massive explosion in Beirut killed more than 160 people and sparked days of violent protests.
A senior ministerial source told CNN he believed the government would be reduced to caretaker status by Monday night. Three cabinet ministers have already quit, along with seven members of parliament.
The news comes as the country reports its biggest jump in daily new COVID-19 cases, heaping injury upon injury.
Clashes over the weekend were some of the most violent seen in recent memory, sources told CNN.
Prime Minister Hassan Diab
Diab's ministers had repeatedly accused the ruling class of disrupting their plans for reform. Politicians aligned with the country's banking elite torpedoed the government's IMF-endorsed economic program, which had been expected to dig into bank profits.
The protests over the weekend were some of the largest and most violent the city has seen in nearly year. The city convulsed with anger as protesters occupied several government ministries and threw stones and shards of glass at security forces. Police fired hundreds of rounds of tear gas as well rubber bullets and, in some cases, live fire.
Lebanon is facing a banking crisis, and its currency has tumbled 70% vs the dollar as its economy has cratered this year. Rescue talks with the IMF hit the rocks before last week's explosion.
As we wait to see how all of this shakes out, we can't imagine how another power vacuum at the top will help the people of Lebanon. And as Pepe Escobar points out, it's very likely that the biggest beneficiaries of all of this will be "global financial vultures" aligned with the US, Saudi Arabia and France.