Lebanon looks to China as US, Arabs refuse to help in crisis (AP News)

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    Lebanon looks to China as US, Arabs refuse to help in crisis – By Bassem Mroue (AP News) / July 15 2020

    BEIRUT (AP) — Facing a worsening economic crisis and with little chance of Western or oil-rich Arab countries providing assistance without substantial reforms, Lebanon’s cash-strapped government is looking east, hoping to secure investments from China that could bring relief.

    But help from Beijing risks alienating the United States, which has suggested such a move could come at the cost of Lebanese-U.S. ties.

    A tiny nation of 5 million on a strategic Mediterranean crossroads between Asia and Europe, Lebanon has long been a site where rivalries between Iran and Saudi Arabia have played out. Now, it’s becoming a focus of escalating tensions between China and the West.

    In recent months, the Lebanese pound has lost around 80% of its value against the dollar, prices have soared uncontrollably, and much of its middle class has been plunged into poverty. Talks with the International Monetary Fund for a bailout have faltered, and international donors have refused to unlock $11 billion pledged in 2018, pending major economic reforms and anti-corruption measures.

    Continue to article: https://apnews.com/0564280d7b7a9ccf181a6b3f96de9f6c

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