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With Macron's visit to Beirut, Lebanon's future is looking a lot like the past

September 1, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

Rabbiya 31 August 2020 ?? Soazig de la Moissonniere / Presidency of the Republic

On Lebanon's centenary Tuesday, French jets whizzed over the mountains of its former mandate as a French president planted a cedar tree declaring the country's "rebirth."

Beirut, Lebanon (CNN)On Lebanon's centenary Tuesday, French jets whizzed over the mountains of its former mandate as a French president planted a cedar tree declaring the country's "rebirth. "

President Emmanuel Macron toured neighborhoods where Lebanese officials have been personae non gratae, embraced activists who have called for the downfall of the Lebanese establishment and even had dinner with the singer Fairuz, the single most popular Lebanese cultural icon who has for decades shunned the country's political leadership.

Back then, General Henri Gouraud declared a new Lebanese state whose first Prime Minister would be Auguste Adib.

Macron on Tuesday says he wants to usher in a new "political chapter" and has sponsored a political process that led to the naming of a new Prime Minister-designate named Mustapha Adib.

Even for a country notorious for being subject to heavy external interference, Macron's tour of Lebanon has been extraordinary.

During months of economic spiral that saw the local currency tank, poverty rates soar and the banking sector teeter on the verge of collapse, people in Lebanon decried the absence of leadership, accusing the political elite of plundering what little resources were left in the country.

In recent months, world leaders repeatedly proclaimed Lebanon's political system untouchable, refusing to deal with the corrupt leadership amidst the country's economic downfall.

US Undersecretary of State David Hale also paid a visit to Lebanon, coinciding with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif's own tour of the country.

He's supported Lebanese protesters' demands for a nonsectarian, civil state, something that seems to be gaining traction among the country's leadership.

He's called for a new "political pact" that could upend previous national agreements, namely the Taif Agreement which, in 1990, ended the country's 15-year civil war but critics say created fertile ground for the corruption and mismanagement that would continue to fester for decades.

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