The French government has imposed entry restrictions on unnamed Lebanese individuals, warning that they are working closely with their European allies to define sanctions regime.
It has been more than half a century since the European powers started losing their grasp on the colonies they once owned and still it appears that accepting that truth is harder than what was initially thought. For a country like India with a large population and a great human capital, it was easy to turn the tables against their oppressors, using their newfound political clout to move things forward again. For countries like Lebanon that were located in a most tumultuous part of the world, that feeling of overlordship still lingers within the minds of their oppressors still.
France has announced that it has imposed numerous sanctions on Lebanese figures who allegedly had a hand in prolonging the country’s political crisis and were deemed responsible for the current corruption gripping the state. The news was announced by the French foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian on Thursday though no name as of this moment has been revealed to the press. “We have started to implement restrictions on access to French territory against personalities involved in the current political blockage or involved in corruption” Le Drian said in a statement. As part of their effort, France intends to stop issuing visas to Lebanese officials, barring their entry to the country. The French foreign minister further emphasized that his country was also working closely with other European partners to talk about the extra measures needed to be implemented in near future.
In the wake of the explosion at Beirut’s seaport back in August last year, the French government intervened under the guise of a neutral party arriving to lend its aid to the country that was suffering because of what had happened. Following the protests that began not long after the French president’s arrival, Emmanuel Macron expressed dissatisfaction with the way the situation was being handled, calling for a radical change to be implemented in the country. Though Macron didn’t exactly define what his vision would be and what it would require of both the country and its people, we do know that the young president had instructed his Lebanese counterparts to form a government free of “partisans” and populated with “non-aligned specialists”. Though Macron’s government hasn’t specified what they mean by “partisanship”, it is assumed that France seeks to reestablish its foothold over the country by getting rid of all those that stand against it, most specifically Hezbollah.
According to the official statistics, at least half of the Lebanese population live in relative poverty. The value of Lebanese pound has dramatically dropped ever since the beginning of the economic crisis in Lebanon and the political infighting has done nothing to help with the worsening situation. Worse still, it is widely believed that the shadow war between political figures such as Saad Hariri, Michel Auon and Hassan Diab has spilled into dangerous grounds, with each of them forging alliances with foreign actors that might not have the best of Lebanese people at heart. In the meantime, it appears that Israel has ramped up its activities along with the Mediterranean Sea border between the two countries maritime territories, further complicating things in this chaotic situation. At this time, the only thing worsening the situation is possibly further sanctions and restrictions which might send the country even further down.
To address the current situation in Lebanon, Le Drian is due to visit Lebanon next week on May 5 and to hold talks with Lebanese senior officials the day after. A couple of other news outlets have reported that Le Drian has already arranged meetings with President Michel Aoun, Speaker of the Parliament Nabih Berri as well as Gebran Bassil and a couple of other politicians. France’s foreign ministry still hasn’t confirmed Le Drian’s trip but given the french government’s new policy toward Lebanese officials, it is likely that these meetings will happen as intended. Until further notice, we cannot speculate as to what developments might come out of these meetings but it is safe to assume that like ages past, it won’t be doing much for the country in the long term.