Qatar's Finance Minister Ali al-Emadi reportedly said on December 14 that the country will be standing by Lebanon during its current economic crisis. While attending a conference in Doha, Emadi told the forum that Lebanon's economic and political stability is very important for the government and for the Middle East and so Qatar will always stand by them. The support from Qatar came as Lebanon is facing the worst economic crisis since the 1975-1990 civil war. The country's rooted state waste and corruption have landed Lebanon with one of the world's heaviest public debt burdens.
Qatar is not the only country to support Lebanon. Earlier this month, the United States had decided to lift the hold on military aid of more than $100 million to Lebanon, which was frozen for a month. In October, the US State Department had informed the Congress about the decision to withhold military assistance but didn’t provide any reason for such a move. According to media reports, Trump administration wanted to distance itself from Hezbollah, the Shiite militant group based in Lebanon. Saad Hariri, former Prime Minister of Lebanon who resigned on October 29, had Hezbollah members in his cabinet which reportedly forced the administration to put a hold on aid. But after the news of withholding the military aid surfaced, US lawmakers compared it with Trump’s similar decision involving Ukraine for which impeachment proceedings are currently underway.
The nationwide protests are considered to be one of the worst in Lebanon with protesters witnessed to have put forward demands to end corruption and poor management by the government for nearly three decades. Lebanon is currently going through a severe economic crisis which catapulted the country into a political crisis following nationwide protests triggered by new proposed taxes. The country’s gross debt, at 85.4 billion dollars, had increased by 0.7 per cent from last year, one of the biggest public debt ratios in the world. Recently, the banks announced a weekly cap of $1,000 on cash withdrawals and restricted transfers abroad. Lebanon Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri had also called the country a ‘sinking ship’. A Lebanese daily quoted Berri saying the efforts to form a new government were completely frozen which aggravated the ongoing crisis.