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Endimensjonal fortolkning av virkeligheten: I norske medier snakker man om alt Libanon har å takke Syria for: de har sørget for stabilitet, og den er truet hvis syrerne forsvinner. Virkeligheten er en ganske annen: Syria er blitt stående i Libanon fordi det tjener dets egne interesser. Først og fremst økonomiske. Korrupsjon og okkupasjon går hånd i hånd. Men av en eller annnen grunn er norske medier lite interessert i å beskrive virkeligheten slik FTs Roula Khalaf gjør:

Først den strategisk storpolitiske utnyttelsen:

Syria’s dominance of its smaller neighbour has been, above all, a strategic priority. Lebanon bolstered Syria’s regional ambitions, allowing it to play a bigger role in the Middle East and to use Lebanese territory and organisations like Hizbollah to exert pressure on its arch-foe Israel.

Libanon ga også sysselsetting til Syrias voksende skare av arbeidsløse:

But as important to Syria are the economic benefits derived from its political influence. Lebanon has absorbed Syrian labour, easing the social pressures on the Damascus regime. It has provided access to a liberal economy, giving the Syrian business community a privileged business outlet.

The estimated 500,000 Syrian workers who repatriate $2bn (€1.5bn, £1bn) a year are a source of cheap labour and perform menial tasks that are looked down upon by the Lebanese. But their work is also unregulated, largely due to Syrian influence over Lebanon’s ministry of labour.

Men den største sektoren er den svarte økonomien. Fordi Syria har makten, og selv er et diktatur, har eliten kunnet berike seg som de ønsket. I de senere år ble de junkies på denne korrupsjonen. Deres egen økonomi er fullstendig stagnert. Tilfellet Syria/Libanon er et klassisk eksempel på hvordan maktmisbruk graver sin egen grav.

Lebanon has also been the source of less benign financial gain, a fertile ground for Syrian intelligence officers, along with their Lebanese partners, to illegally enrich themselves.

While Syrian influence did not create corruption in Lebanon it has exacerbated it.

But according to the Lebanese Transparency Association, a non-governmental organisation, corruption in Lebanon reached unprecedented levels in recent years, as the meddling of Syrian intelligence in politics became more intrusive – appointments at ministries, universities and even trade unions have needed Syrian approval.

«Syrian intelligence [agencies] scare administrators into making decisions, or a high officer gets paid to favour a company in a deal. He can force it on ministers that he had a role in appointing,» says Charles Adwan, executive director of the association.

«Security and intelligence control this country so security protects corruption and corruption gives [money] to security. This is the system that was transferred to Lebanon,» says Haitham Mallah, a human rights lawyer in Damascus.

Denne honningfella som er uimotståelig i et autoritært system, er den samme fella Putin og Russland har gått i. Kombinasjonen sikkerhetsapparat og økonomisk mafia er dødelig.

Versjonen Syria gir er så forskjellig at man må velge: de lar seg ikke forene.

Lebanese and Syrian officials deny the charges of corruption. Commenting on the fight against corruption in Syria, Buthaina Shaaban, a government minister, says: «President Assad is [choosing] names who are known for their clean record and reputation.»

Lebanese politicians also accuse Syrian and Lebanese security officials of involvement in a money-laundering scandal at Bank al-Medina last year – a charge security chiefs have denied.

In December 2003, Tahsin Khayat, the owner of New TV, a Lebanese television station that had been investigating the high-profile scandal, was arrested by security officials and questioned about alleged links to Israel, then quickly released.

Mr Khayat told the FT that, before his arrest, he had openly declared that documents in his possession linked a top Syrian intelligence officer in Lebanon to the scandal. The officer had called him and threatened to throw him into prison.

I et slikt system blir alt til salgs. Når det koster 50.000 dollar, minimum, bare å møte en syrisk offiser, sier det seg selv at man er villig til å gå ganske langt for å fjerne trusler mot systemet.

Political corruption can be even worse, according to the Lebanese Transparency Association. There were rumours in Lebanon in the run-up to the 2000 parliamentary elections that a price list had been established for aspiring MPs.

An introduction to a Beirut-based Syrian officer who could be helpful was said to cost between $50,000 and $150,000. A meeting in Damascus would require as much as $500,000.

Syrian fingers dipped in Lebanese pie
By Roula Khalaf (sub)

NRK, Aftenposten m.fl. har ikke FTs ressurser, men det gikk kanskje å videreformidle noe fra de som kan?
Published: March 22 2005 02:00