ASSESSMENTS

Lebanon's Problems Will Exceed Its New Cabinet's Grasp

MIN READJan 23, 2020 | 21:31 GMT

Lebanese President Michel Aoun (R) heads the first meeting of Prime Minister Hassan Diab's (C) newly constituted government in Beirut on Jan. 22, 2020.

Lebanese President Michel Aoun (R) heads the first meeting of Prime Minister Hassan Diab's (C) newly constituted government in Beirut on Jan. 22, 2020. Lebanon's woes extend beyond changing the people at the top.

(AFP via Getty Images)

Lebanon finally has a new government but still no particular path out of its predicament. Prime Minister Hassan Diab, named his Cabinet on Jan. 22, but major hurdles remain, especially as the country's poor economy and security issues are unlikely to improve any time soon. Domestically, the new government must face down a persistent protest movement while avoiding blowback from the rivals it chose to exclude from power. And externally, the country is now facing potential U.S. sanctions, potential cuts in American military aid, as well as likely diplomatic isolation at a time when its economy needs all the help it can get. Given such obstacles, it is unclear how long the new government will last. And more worryingly for the region, Lebanon's economic and political contagion could infect neighboring countries who rely on Beirut’s economic linkages, particularly Syria. ...

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