The new Lebanese government, born two days ago, led by Najib Mikati, after a year and three months of procrastination, will hold its first meeting today, Monday, to form a committee to prepare the ministerial declaration, as ministers begin to deliver beyond and receive.
Although most of the ministers of that government do not publicly and officially belong to any political current, their names derive from prominent party leaders and political leaders, which has been translated as political “battles” over quotas and portfolios and was one of the main reasons for delaying the birth of the government, making its appearance as ministers from As for its interior, is political, reflecting the map of the distribution of political forces in power in the country.
In the context, for example, the Ministry of Public Works and Transport is inserted, seized in advance by Hezbollah (for the benefit of Minister Ali Hamiyah) with the start of government consultations after the resignation of the government of Hassan Diab more than a year ago after the explosion of the port of Beirut, passing through the post of Ambassador Mustafa Adib, then Saad Hariri, up to the post of Mikati.
The Ministry of Public Works is one of the most important service ministries and has always been a battleground between many political forces to obtain it, because it allocates a huge budget annually and exercises protective authority over land, sea and air ports.
Hezbollah has an “interest” relationship with that ministry since joining its political allies in recent years, when the US Treasury imposed economic sanctions on former Labor Minister Youssef Fenianos, who is affiliated with the ” Marada movement, “the party’s most important ally, due to” facilitate the work of the party. ” The latter, and securing government contracts worth millions of dollars for him.
A week after the inclusion of Fenianos in the sanctions list, the US Treasury has blacklisted the companies “Arch” and “Mimar”, and are among the various companies affiliated with the Hezbollah Executive Council, which since 2019 has collaborated with Hezbollah and Fenianos, who to ensure they win bids for Lebanese government contracts worth millions of dollars.
Commenting on this issue, a member of the Public Works and Transport Commission in the House of Representatives, Representative Joseph Ishak, considered that “Hezbollah controls, directly or indirectly, most of the ministries, especially in the last two years”.
He also indicated in an interview with Al-Arabiya.net that “the Ministry of Works in Hezbollah’s favor is not new, because it has been indirectly controlled since it was taken over by ministers of its allies in recent years, and they have been facilitating its work, so the former minister has been placed on the sanctions list.
Furthermore, Ishaq, a deputy from the “Lebanese Forces” party, considered that “all ministries guarantee the interest of Hezbollah and facilitate its work in the service of the so-called Iranian-led axis of resistance”.
In turn, Professor of International Relations, Dr. Khaled Al-Ezzi, told Al-Arabiya.net: “Hezbollah insisted on the Ministry of Works for three reasons: to supervise the plan for the reconstruction of the port of Beirut, which is under the authority of the ministry, and by strengthening its control over the Beirut airport, which it uses for smuggling operations, as well as at official border crossing points.
In addition to these motivations related to “guaranteeing” the lines of “smuggling” through public ports under the supervision of the Ministry of Works, it seems that Hezbollah’s accession to the Ministry of Works is also linked to the electoral process of May 2022 as planned.
Al-Ezzi stressed that “the party wanted this bag to distribute the field to voters, especially within its environment, which testifies to concern and anger at its policies and holds it responsible for the economic and living crises that the country has had to face, not seen in Lebanon from the end of the war to the end of the 1990s. “
He also considered that “Hezbollah has lost its credibility within its environment for many reasons, the last of which is the fuel crisis that most Lebanese suffer from. in particularly those affiliated to it. Therefore, through the Ministry of Works, it wants to float within its environment ».
In the last two governments, the Hariri government and then Diab, according to the spokesman, Hezbollah took over the health ministry and transferred it to finance its health institutions and hospitals. It also allowed the importation of Iranian and Syrian medicines in Lebanon without satisfying the necessary standard health and legal.
Recruitment and offers
For her part, writer and university professor Mona Fayyad felt: “After Hezbollah established its presence in the Ministry of Health by employing a number of its affiliates, and then introduced the Iranian drug into the Lebanese market. in violation of conditions and laws in force, today it has moved to the Ministry of Works to benefit from the agreements The major projects involved infrastructural works, in in particular, the extension of the telecommunication networks within the municipalities, which are required of companies private.
In a statement to Al-Arabiya.net, said: “The Ministry of Public Works is responsible for public ports and official crossings in Lebanon, so it wants to be in direct and “official” contact with them, especially since his name was associated with it after the uprising of 17 October 2019, which led to the explosion of a Beirut port on 4 August 2020.
Furthermore, Fayyad said: “Hezbollah wanted this ministry to be aware of the agreement to supply Egyptian natural gas to Lebanon via Jordan and Syria, where the Ministry of Works should oversee the extraction process.”
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