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Lebanese must oust Hezbollah to save their economy (asiatimes.com)



There is perhaps no more accurate judgment on the state of an economy than the currency market. In this respect, although the Lebanese pound remains officially – fantastically, one might add – pegged at roughly 1,500 to the US dollar, in truth it takes close to 9,000 pounds to exchange for a dollar. That is an 83% devaluation in the market’s faith in the economy.

Many Lebanese, however, are unaware that their national crisis is in fact of Lebanon’s own making. Mostly, they blame an American embargo – one that does not really exist. This misplacement of blame blinds the country to the real cause of its malaise: Hezbollah.

Except for sanctions imposed by the US Treasury Department’s anti-terrorism arm, the Office of Foreign Assets Control, on a few Lebanese entities and individuals connected to Hezbollah – the self-claimed “party of God” – there is no financial restriction on the state of Lebanon or any of great substance against its institutions, public or private.

But even without being under sanctions, foreign direct investment – usually the engine of economic growth – shies away from Lebanon. Foreign investors are simply unwilling to bring their money into a country that lives in a state of perpetual war, with Hezbollah currently involved in regional entanglements – in Syria, Yemen and Iraq – or threatening to go to war with Israel.

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