Lebanon before 2020 is not the same after it.

The bombing of the Beirut port nearly crushed the city with ammonium nitrate, and turned August 4 into a sinister articulation date that left more than 200 dead and 6,000 wounded, displaced about 100,000 families, and caused material damage exceeding $ 5 billion.

The explosion resounded in a year scheduled to celebrate the centenary of the emergence of the state of Greater Lebanon (1920). It was evidenced by the manifestations of the collapse and fragility of the state, after decades that had accumulated corruption in the opinion of many.

Accordingly, Lebanon folded its first centenary, and the crises gap was exposed in front of it, accompanied by the implementation of the horizon of a political solution, and forcible isolation from its Arab and international surroundings.

The year 2021 begins, and the investigation continues with the port explosion lost in the corridors of internal disagreements, and the announcement of the formation of Saad Hariri's government continues, at a time when the repercussions of the economic and societal collapse continue to a bottomless path, and the Lebanese are devoid of the street, after their aspirations in the October 17 uprising dissipated. October 2019.

In a question and answer, Al-Jazeera Net, with analysts, researchers and experts, looks to the Lebanese scene in a country that seems heavy to bear in 2021 after an arduous year of political and economic hardship.

1. What is the fate of the local investigation into the Beirut Port explosion?

In light of the divergence of constitutional jurisprudence and the intensification of political differences - after the allegation of the judicial investigator, Fadi Sawan, against the head of the caretaker government, Hassan Diab, and the ministers Ali Hassan Khalil, Ghazi Zuaiter, and Youssef Fenianos - the Lebanese are increasingly concerned about the fate of the investigations.

Here, writer and political analyst Munir al-Rabie puts the port explosion as the crimes, whose truth will not be revealed.

Because whoever committed it or caused it is unable to bear its consequences.

In Al Rabee’s opinion, the Lebanese state, from the first day, went to ridicule the investigation by announcing that it was seeking to complete it with 5 days, and focused on the issue of corruption and the burden of responsibility, without asking about the identity of the owner of the nitrate ship, and the reason for coming to Lebanon 7 years ago.

For his part, Dr. Fadi Al-Ahmar, a researcher on Middle East affairs, believes that there are 3 main obstacles in the way of the investigation: first, the ongoing struggle between the judiciary and parliament over the constitutionality of the investigation, and secondly, the security signs are evident by the liquidation of people who have some information about the port, and third, the approach International after the issuance of a decision by the US Congress, which includes a call to involve international investigators in the investigation.

Observers rule out the birth of the government soon as a result of a sectarian and partisan power struggle (Al-Jazeera)

2. What are the obstacles that hinder the formation of Saad Hariri’s government in light of his disagreement with the President of the Republic and his political team?

Spring breaks down the obstacles in 3 points: First, Saad Hariri is unable to form a government that threatens him with US sanctions;

Because of Hezbollah's participation.

Secondly, President Michel Aoun does not want to form it unless Hariri concedes everything in his favor and in favor of his son-in-law, MP Gebran Bassil.

Third, Hezbollah is not ready to form a government before the Donald Trump administration leaves.

For his part, Al-Ahmar approaches the faltering formation of the government due to the nature of the political forces ’dealings with it, as it may be the last government during the presidency of Michel Aoun, which continues until 2023, and may continue beyond his reign to manage the political vacuum, as the Tammam Salam government did over two years, after the end of Former President Michel Suleiman (2014) until the election of Aoun (2016).

Al-Ahmar believes that "Aoun wants to form a government after he has passed more than half of his term without governments, and Hariri wants to become the head of an actual government, and not a designated president after the losses he incurred politically and popularly and in his international and Arab relations, and Hezbollah wants to form a government with his participation to tighten his grip on Political reality. "

However, Al-Ahmar and Al-Rabee 'exclude the soon-to-be birth of the government as a result of the sectarian and partisan power struggle, and the political analyst believes that Biden's arrival to power does not guarantee the facilitation of her birth.

Because Lebanon is nothing but a deferred detail within the Iranian file.

3. How will the effects of the US-Iranian conflict manifest itself on the Lebanese scene?

Tariq Abboud, an academic and researcher in international relations, considers that Lebanon is divided into two axes, an ally with America, and the last ally with Iran.

But the latter does not interfere in Lebanese affairs as Washington does with its delegates and its embassy, ​​because Hezbollah is able to achieve its interests without Iranian interference.

Therefore, Abboud expects that the Biden administration will be a copy of Barack Obama's administration, and its return to joint (nuclear) work agreements with Iran, without ensuring that the matter will reflect positively on Lebanon.

Because its crisis is primarily internal, followed by external links.

As for Al-Ahmar, it summarizes the manifestations of the conflict with 3 words: "Siege, Punishment and Unrest."

He believes that "the US-Iranian settlement does not seem close, especially as it will not only include the nuclear file, but also include two main files: ballistic missiles and Iran's influence in the region, and this is what Lebanon means because Hezbollah is Iran's operations room in the region."

According to Al-Ahmar, the conflict may take a thorny course, in exchange for Washington's continuation of its policies towards Lebanon at the level of imposing sanctions and the continuation of the blockade, preventing any assistance to the state, with the possibility of fueling security turmoil.

4. How will the transfer of the reins of power from the Trump administration to the Biden administration affect how Washington approaches the Lebanese file?

In the form, Washington's dealings with Lebanon may change, especially since Trump's provocative personality differs from Biden, who is fluent in dealing with the diplomatic language, according to Al-Ahmar, who excludes a change in the American approach to the Lebanese file in content.

And he believes that "the pressure that Trump has caused on Iran and its successor, Hezbollah, will not be abandoned by the Biden administration as gains in favor of America."

Likewise, the spring considers that Trump has established a pressure path that is difficult to change, and therefore "Lebanon has a full year at least before he touches the serious changes in the Biden administration towards it."

As for the researcher Abboud, he expects that the Biden administration will reflect a solution to Lebanon, after the Trump administration practiced thuggish behavior on his political reality, as he put it, in order to push the resistance and the Lebanese to surrender to its conditions, and thus to the conditions of the Israelis.

5. What is the fate of the French role in Lebanon after the French initiative failed to achieve its goals?

Al-Rabee 'considers that the content of the French initiative has fallen as soon as the Finance Ministry has accepted the assignment of Hezbollah and the Amal Movement.

It is unlikely that France will give up its role, knowing that America does not want its initiative to succeed except on its terms, and that "Iran will not sell France any concession to Lebanon, but rather prefers to sell it to the Americans."

In his opinion, France also sees Lebanon as a strategic location on the Mediterranean in the context of the confrontation with Turkey, in addition to the historical, emotional and cultural connection.

However, Al-Ahmar believes that "France does not have all the cards in Beirut; but it wants to consolidate its presence geopolitically, and America understands that, in addition to the fact that the conflict in the Eastern Mediterranean is based on gas, and France may be forced to keep pace with the American position on the level of not distinguishing between the military and political wings of Hezbollah." ".

6. In light of the changes that some Arab countries are witnessing in their relations with Israel, what is the reflection of the normalization path on the Arab approach to the Lebanese file?

Abboud believes that Lebanon is at the heart of the Palestinian cause, and one of the few countries that resist the Israeli divisive project in the region. He expects that "the Israelis will push the Gulf states to pressure Lebanon to subdue it, but it will be hard to submit, after it has gone through the experiences of resisting the occupation, while the Arab states that have not You are ever in conflict with Israel. "

But Al Rabeeh considers that the normalization agreements will lead to inheriting the role of Lebanon, which it played since its formation and after the Palestinian Nakba (1948), "especially as it benefited from the Arab estrangement with Israel by building political, economic and social prosperity, and was accompanied by the banking secrecy law that attracted Arab capital." .

The analyst calls for a reading of the expansion of the Haifa port, and the signing of health and hospital agreements between Israel and some Gulf countries, "which means that Lebanon will either be out of time or attached to the normalization process, while its fate in this regard is linked to the position of Iran and Hezbollah."

French President Macron's attempt to control the terms of the Lebanese game is not easy yet (European)

7. What is the fate of the technical negotiations with Israel over the demarcation of the maritime borders after Lebanon raised the ceiling of its demands to expand the disputed area from 860 to 2,200 square kilometers?

After the technical negotiations, which began on October 14th, between the Lebanese and Israeli sides, under the auspices of the United Nations and American mediation, were postponed to an unspecified date, Al Rabeeh notes that some data indicate that they will resume in next February.

He believes that the postponement of the negotiations occurred with an Iranian push after it was confirmed that Biden won the elections, and that the Lebanese delegation negotiates technically, not politically, and when it cedes the additional space it is demanding, it can be said that the framework agreement has reached its end, excluding that, especially since the demarcation Borders are among the most prominent cards in the Iranian-American conflict.

For his part, Al-Ahmar believes that Lebanon has a right, and the aggressor is Israel, and raising the ceiling of demands is part of the negotiation game.

Because the Lebanese side wants to recover the largest amount of territorial waters, which may give the negotiations a long path that will be difficult to achieve in the foreseeable future.

As for Abboud, he considers that America stands by Israel and is not a neutral party, and that when Washington sought to raise the ceiling of the demands of the Lebanese side, it left negotiations and moved to the threat, pointing out that "the two sides need a framework agreement that ends the conflict over the disputed economic zone."

8. How will the scene of the economic and banking crisis emerge in Lebanon after more than half of the Lebanese people are below the poverty line?

The researcher and economist, Kamal Hamdan, considers that Lebanon’s economic crisis includes several crises: a decline in the growth rate at a historic rate of 25%, a sharp decline in state revenues, an unprecedented multiplicity of the exchange rate of the lira against the dollar, and an undeclared bankruptcy in the banking sector in light of the inability of citizens to Access to their deposits.

He believes that behind this lies "a crisis of an imminent social explosion after poverty rates doubled and wages decreased. The Lebanese may need a miracle in 2021, after the ruling system proved with a dangerous indicator (its lack of professionalism) in crisis management."

Hamdan fears that the slogan of "rationalizing support", carried by the Central Bank and the Palestinian Authority, will be a pathway to a major looting process, which requires the middle and poor classes to be charged the cost of liberalizing the prices of basic commodities, after the subsidies were a cover for the consequences of the collapse of the currency.

And if a government of specialists does not come to determine the size of the black hole, according to Hamdan, and proposes a fair distribution of losses in light of 1% of the Lebanese owning a quarter of the national income and 50% of the national wealth, which means that Lebanon is on its way to the abyss, with the destruction of the pillars of social protection, with more hunger And violence.

Hamdan does not rule out the return of the Lebanese to the street, which began with recent student demonstrations against paying installments in dollars, after the danger facing the Lebanese became existential and existential.