The Heat: Lebanon’s economy collapses and the pandemic takes a toll in the Middle East

The Heat

Decades of government corruption and financial mismanagement are finally catching up with Lebanon, resulting in an economic meltdown not seen since the 1970’s.

The currency is in a free fall, there’s an acute shortage of basic necessities and the World Bank predicts half the country will become poor. To make matters worse, businesses have been forced to shutter as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. There seems to be no end in sight to Lebanon’s woes.

To discuss the economic crisis in Lebanon:

  • Hafed Al Ghwell is a senior fellow at Johns Hopkins University’s Foreign Policy Institute.
  • Habib Battah is an independent journalist and the editor of

Plus — nearly 280-thousand people have contracted COVID-19 in Iran, where the death toll is beginning to surge. And Saudi Arabia one of the Arab world’s richest countries isn’t far behind.

It’s been forced to drastically scale down the Hajj pilgrimage, usually an event that draws millions, now reduced to a trickle of Muslim worshipers. Meanwhile, war-torn Syria and Yemen continue to grapple with the virus.

To discuss the impact of the pandemic: 

  • Mohamad Ali is a correspondent for Press TV in Syria.
  • Sarbas Nazari is a freelance journalist in Tehran.

For more: