Lebanon (MNN) — Lebanese Prime Minister Sa’ad Hariri steps away from Parliament, turning an already-complicated political landscape on its head.
“Hariri plays at least three roles in the political life of Lebanon. What he had announced (on Monday) is that he will not run for re-election in the Parliament coming up on May 15,” Camille Melki of Heart for Lebanon says.
“That’s a major blow because he’s the leader of the Sunni moderate political party here in Lebanon, and his decision is going to create a major political vacuum.”
Some analysts say the departure leaves room for Iran-backed Hezbollah to expand its influence in Lebanon. Like Iraq and Yemen, Lebanon is merely a pawn in the regional power struggle between Iran and Saudi Arabia.
As leaders play political chess, the people suffer. Lebanon’s economic collapse, a direct result of politicians’ corruption, is one of the world’s worst since the 1850s. More than 75-percent of Lebanese have fallen into poverty since late 2019, and the currency lost 90-percent of its value.
Heart for Lebanon provides help and hope in the name of Jesus. The ministry uses “everything that God puts in our hands to help lead people from despair to hope – hope in Christ and Christ alone,” Melki says.
“Heart for Lebanon not only provides food and basic hygiene supplies, but, in (cold) weather like today, [we provide] blankets, warm clothing, care, and informal education programs [with] fun activities for children.”
There are plenty of needs but few resources. “Nearly half [of Lebanon’s total] population is refugees from Iraq, Syria, Palestine, or other neighboring countries,” Melki says.
“The refugees and the locals alike are suffering tremendously because of the economic downfall in Lebanon.”
Although the ministry began with refugees, it now serves both populations equally.
“Heart for Lebanon came to existence in 2006 to respond to a major crisis between Hezbollah and Israel. After that, for years, we’ve been serving the refugee population in Lebanon,” Melki says.
“Today, Heart for Lebanon cares equally for the refugee population and the local distressed communities. We reach out to 2,400 Lebanese families in the Bekaa Valley and southern Lebanon, as well as another 2,400 refugee families in those two sectors.”
Header image depicts Sa’ad Hariri, ex-Prime Minister of Lebanon commenting on the Special Tribunal for Lebanon at Leidschendam (NL), 18 August 2020. (Wikimedia Commons)