EU Looking To Target Lebanese Officials With Sanctions

On September 16th, members of the European Union voted on a resolution that included condemnation of Lebanese officials for their obstruction of investigations of the blast that occurred a year ago, as well as a legal framework for targeted sanctions. 571 out of 681 members of the European Parliament backed the resolution. Lebanese officials were denounced for the country’s economic collapse; the nation, according to Al-Jazeera, has plunged three-quarters of the total population into poverty. Officials’ handling of the devastating blast that happened a year ago was also condemned in the resolution and highlighted. The resolution also called for general elections to be held in May 2022 as well as the creation of an international humanitarian task force that would handle foreign aid effectively. 

French politician and European parliamentarian Christophe Grudler spearheaded the resolution and urged his fellow members to join him in pressuring Lebanese officials to seek accountability for the devastation they have caused the country. In a tweet made on September 16th, Grudler claimed, “Europe must show its support for the Lebanese people, and demand an example from the Lebanese leaders and an end to corruption.” 

The action from the EU may come from a good place, yet its presence can’t help but look inappropriate. A politician from a country that formerly colonized Lebanon until the 1940s claiming that its intentions are to “save” the Lebanese people looks misplaced and misguided. While Lebanese officials are to blame for the catastrophe, there isn’t much evidence pointing toward sanctions against the government being a possible solution. 

The most recently made government in Lebanon was led by Najib Mikati, according to Middle East Eye. Prior to this, Lebanon had endured a year of political chaos after former prime minister Hassan Diab and his cabinet members resigned following the Beirut explosion. The explosion’s aftermath included over 210 deaths, misplaced 300,000 people, and was condemned around the world. Since then, many families of the victims of the explosion have demanded justice to no avail; it’s been reported that Lebanese officials have tried to obstruct justice and avoid accountability. 

The Lebanese government has yet to comment on this resolution passed by the EU. Victims are still demanding justice for the explosion that took place in 2020, and Lebanese officials have neglected the opportunity to take care of their citizens and unveil the truth about the events that took place. If this resolution succeeds and Lebanese officials are sanctioned, there’s no telling what will happen in the time that follows with regards to the government as a whole, as well as the Lebanese citizens themselves.